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Today's Chat, No Set Topic


.........................................Something comes into your mind? share it, as everyone is different so all topics have followers :) Happy thoughts, sad thoughts or just reflective thoughts - let's enjoy chatting without agro or nastiness. Who knows what we might learn from each other..........................................:) 

(A combination of Lets Chat and Today in memory of Gerry, Geomac and Seth.) 

Please keep it general so all can be included not about subjects that can aggravate like Politics or Religion. 

Today's Date Sunday 7th May 2017   

Many thanks to RnR and Toot for making this into such an interesting topic on past events for us all to learn so much. 

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1776 – Great Fire of New York: Part of New York City is burned shortly after being occupied by British forces.

The Great Fire of New York was a devastating fire that burned through the night of September 20, 1776, and into the morning of September 21, on the West Side of what then constituted New York City at the southern end of the island of Manhattan. It broke out in the early days of the military occupation of the city by British forces during the American Revolutionary War.

Much of the New York’s Loyalist population fled the city in early 1776 when Washington’s Continental Army forces occupied the streets. Six days before the Great Fire broke out, on September 15, about 12,000 British soldiers landed on lower Manhattan Island and quickly captured the mostly empty New York City without much fighting.

An artist's interpretation of the fire, published in 1776. New York Public Library.

The fire destroyed about one third of the city, while some unaffected parts of the city were plundered.

Estimates for the number of buildings destroyed range from 400 to 1,000, representing between 10 and 25 percent of the 4,000 city buildings in existence at the time. Many people believed or assumed that one or more people deliberately started the fire, for a variety of different reasons. British leaders accused revolutionaries acting within the city and state, and many residents assumed that one side or the other had started it.

The British interrogated more than 200 suspects, but no charges were ever filed.

This 1776 map has contemporary markings in red depicting the area damaged by the fire.

Major General James Robertson confiscated surviving uninhabited homes of known Patriots and assigned them to British officers. Churches, other than the state churches (Church of England) were converted into prisons, infirmaries, or barracks. Some of the common soldiers were billeted with civilian families. There was a great influx of Loyalist refugees into the city resulting in further overcrowding, and many of these returning and additional Loyalists from Patriot-controlled areas encamped in squalid tent cities on the charred ruins.

The fire convinced the British to put the city under martial law rather than returning it to civilian authorities. Crime and poor sanitation were persistent problems during the British occupation, which did not end until they evacuated the city on November 25, 1783.


……. Before this measure was taken, Washington met with members of the continental congress to discuss a defense strategy for NYC. Knowing that the British had strategic military advantage and that there was little hope of retaining the city, a suggestion was made to burn down NYC to eliminate any profit the British might gain from its capture. This plan was quickly rejected, but it is speculated that some patriot sympathizers carried it out independently…..

1780 – American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point.

Benedict Arnold (1741–1801) was a general during the American Revolutionary War, who fought for the American Continental Army, and later defected to the British Army. While a general on the American side, he obtained command of the fortifications at West Point, New York (which after 1802 would become the site of the U.S. Military Academy), overlooking the cliffs at the Hudson River (upriver from British-occupied New York City), and planned to surrender them to British forces. This plan was exposed in September 1780. Arnold was later commissioned into the British Army as a brigadier general.

Arnold was born in Connecticut and was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. He joined the growing army outside Boston and distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery. Despite Arnold's successes, he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but most often he was acquitted in formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts and concluded that he was indebted to Congress although he had spent much of his own money on the war effort.

Arnold's Oath of Allegiance, May 30, 1778.

Frustrated and bitter, Arnold decided to change sides, and began secretly plotting with British General Sir Henry Clinton and Major André, who had just been named the British spy chief. In July 1780, he was awarded command of West Point. His scheme was to surrender the fort to the British, but it was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers which revealed the plot. Upon learning of André's capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot.

One of Arnold's coded letters to the British. Cipher lines by Arnold are interspersed with lines by his wife, Peggy.

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000. He led British forces on raids in Virginia and against New London and Groton, Connecticut before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, he moved to London with his second wife Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold.

He was well received by King George III and the Tories, but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he returned to the merchant business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick. He returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.

The name "Benedict Arnold" quickly became a byword in the United States for treason or betrayal because he betrayed his countrymen by leading the British army in battle against the men whom he once commanded.


Despite Arnold's successes, he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments.

Pride turned him into a traitor, what a rat.

1817 – In an official dispatch, Governor Lachlan Macquarie advocates the adoption of the name Australia for the continent, as suggested by Matthew Flinders.

Australia was previously named New Holland by the Dutch sea explorers who landed on the western coast in the early 1600s. James Cook claimed the eastern coast of the continent for England in 1770, naming it New South Wales. After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip was given orders to extend the claim further west. The western half of the continent continued to be known as New Holland, and the eastern half was New South Wales.

Map from The History of New Holland by William Eden, 1787. Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

Matthew Flinders became the first explorer to circumnavigate the entire continent, doing so between 1801 and 1803. After being wrongly imprisoned by the French for seven years, accused of being a spy, Flinders returned to England. In 1810 he wrote an account of his expeditions, 'A Voyage to Terra Australis'. It was in this account that Flinders proposed the name 'Terra Australis' or 'Australia' be adopted for the southern continent. There were many supporters of his proposal in England, but wealthy sponsor Sir Joseph Banks did not support his suggestion. Flinders died before the new name of the continent could be decided upon.

A General Chart of Terra Australis or Australia, started by explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) and completed by Lieutenant Phillip Parker King. Inset: Matthew Flinders.

It was Governor Lachlan Macquarie who, impressed by Flinders’ arguments, advocated that the name Australia be adopted, and began to use this term regularly.

In an official dispatch dated 21 September 1817, Macquarie stated:

"the Continent of Australia, which I hope will be the Name given to this country in future, instead of the very erroneous and misapplied name, hitherto given it, of 'New Holland', which properly speaking only applies to a part of this immense Continent."

More: Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms, Australian National University. Relevant Dictionary.


The name Australia derives from Latin australis meaning southern, and dates back to 2nd century legends of an "unknown southern land".  Matthew Flinders named the land Terra Australis, which was later abbreviated to the current form.

1921 – Oppau explosion: A storage silo in Oppau, Germany, explodes, killing 500-600 people.

The Oppau explosion occurred on September 21, 1921, when a tower silo storing 4,500 tonnes of a mixture of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate fertiliser exploded at a BASF plant in Oppau, now part of Ludwigshafen, Germany, killing 500–600 people and injuring about 2,000 more.

In a 20 metre high silo at the BASF plant a mixture of ammonium sulfate and nitrate clogged together under the pressure of its own weight, turning it into a plaster-like substance. The workers needed to use pickaxes to get it out, a problematic situation because they could not enter the silo and risk being buried in collapsing fertiliser. To ease their work, small charges of dynamite were used to loosen the mixture. This apparently suicidal procedure was in fact common practice although it was well known that ammonium nitrate was explosive.

Two explosions, half a second apart, occurred at 7:32 am on 21 September 1921 at Silo 110 of the plant, forming a crater 90 metres by 125 metres wide and 19 metres deep. The explosions were heard as two loud bangs in north-eastern France and in Munich, more than 300 km away, and are estimated to have contained an energy of 1–2 kilotonnes TNT equivalent.

Photo with caption from Popular Mechanics Magazine 1921.

About 80 percent of all buildings in Oppau were destroyed, leaving 6,500 homeless. The pressure wave caused great damage in Mannheim, located just across the Rhine, ripped roofs off up to 25 km away and destroyed windows farther away, including all the medieval stained-glass windows of Worms cathedral, 15 km to the north. In Heidelberg (30 km from Oppau), traffic was stopped by the mass of broken glass on the streets, a tramway was derailed and even here some roofs were ripped off.

Five hundred bodies were recovered within the first 48 hours, with the final death toll recorded being in excess of 560 people. The funeral was attended by German President Friedrich Ebert and Prime Minister Hugo Lerchenfeld, and saw crowds of 70,000 people at the cemetery in Ludwigshafen.


To ease their work, small charges of dynamite were used to loosen the mixture. This apparently suicidal procedure was in fact common practice although it was well known that ammonium nitrate was explosive.

Holy Moley

1937 – J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is published.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, FRSL (1892–1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who is best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Tolkien, who self-illustrated many of his famous works, was as much an artist of pictures as he was of words.

The Hobbit was first published on 21 September 1937 with 20 or so original drawings, two maps, and a cover painting by Tolkien himself. Original illustrations by Tolkien.

Tolkien served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, from 1945 to 1959. He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis and they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings.

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature, or more precisely, of high fantasy.

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Letters from Father Christmas, are a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children, from Father Christmas ... Christmas House, North Pole. The stories are told in the format of a series of letters, told either from the point of view of Father Christmas or his elvish secretary. Each letter was delivered in an envelope, including North Pole stamps and postage marks as designed by Tolkien. They documented the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear.

Book cover of my version and the first 1920 letter with illustrations 'Me' and 'My House' (including the cover drawing).

My copy of the book includes both replica envelopes and pull-out replica letters.

:) A very great favourite of mine. Sent 'my version' of the Tolkien Xmas letters to my grandkids for years.

The Father Christmas Letters.


Brilliant imagination.

1938 – The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall on Long Island in New York. The death toll is estimated at 500-700 people.

The 1938 New England Hurricane was one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to strike Long Island, New York and New England. The storm formed near the coast of Africa on September 9, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21. The majority of the storm damage was from storm surge and wind.

Saltaire village on Fire Island in Suffolk County, New York was heavily damaged and six residents killed.

It is estimated that the hurricane killed 682 people, damaged or destroyed more than 57,000 homes, and caused property losses estimated at US$306 million ($4.7 billion in 2017). Other damages included 26,000 automobiles destroyed and 20,000 electrical poles toppled. The hurricane also devastated the forests of the Northeast, knocking down an estimated two billion trees in New York and New England. Damaged trees and buildings were still seen in the affected areas as late as 1951.

It remains the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recorded New England history. Despite the destruction, one unexpected positive outcome did emerge from the storm. The devastation reportedly helped solve the unemployment crisis that had been lingering since the Great Depression, as thousands of people were able to find work on Long Island helping to clean up and repair the damage.

The state of New York has been affected by 84 tropical or subtropical cyclones since the 17th century. They occur primarily in September but have also hit during every month of the hurricane season, June through November. Tropical cyclones rarely make landfall on the state, although it is common for remnants of tropical cyclones to produce heavy rainfall and flooding.


The state of New York has been affected by 84 tropical or subtropical cyclones since the 17th century. Who knew?

1965 – Australian actor David Wenham is born in Marrickville, New South Wales.

David Wenham (born 21 September 1965) is an Australian actor who has appeared in movies, television series and theatre productions. He is known in Hollywood for his roles as Faramir in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Carl in Van Helsing, Dilios in 300 and its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, Neil Fletcher in Australia and Lieutenant John Scarfield in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. He is also known in Australia for his role as Diver Dan in SeaChange.

In 2009, he again took to the stage, this time as the lead actor, Jerry Springer, in the British musical Jerry Springer: The Opera. In 2010, Wenham starred as the disgraced Melbourne lawyer Andrew Fraser in the Australian TV series Killing Time. Wenham plays New Zealand detective Al Parker alongside Elisabeth Moss in the 2013 BBC series Top of the Lake.

In 2013, Wenham returned to the stage to play the lead role of John Proctor, in the Melbourne Theatre Company's mid-year production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. In 2014, Wenham starred as Patrick Jones in Paper Planes, released on 15 January 2015. That same year, Wenham voiced the role Jacko a frilled-neck lizard, in Blinky Bill the Movie. Wenham played the role of Harold Meachum in the Netflix original TV series Iron Fist, which premiered in March 2017. In 2018, Wenham he was the  voice of Johnny Town-Mouse in Peter Rabbit.


Australian actor David Wenham, whose portrait won this year’s Archibald Packing Room Prize, is also a well-known Sydney Catholic.

The Lord of the Rings actor has spoken of his happy upbringing in a devout Catholic family at St Brigid’s Parish, Marrickville, including fond memories of his father Bill, who was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society in the SBS series aired last year Who Do You Think You Are?

My boys went to the same school as David Wenham. It was a great school which produced many famous people. Some of them didn't get the recognition they deserved though. 

1971 – The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is involved in Australia's last major action of the Vietnam War in the Battle of Nui Le.

The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4 RAR) was an Australian Army infantry battalion and part of the Royal Australian Regiment. The battalion was formed on 1 February 1964 and was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009.

The battalion began its first tour of Vietnam on 1 June 1968, relieving 2 RAR. Based at Nui Dat, in Phuoc Tuy Province it was joined by Victor and Whisky companies from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) on 2 June, and was formally renamed 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion with an Australian Commander and New Zealander 2IC.

The battalion first took part in Operation Toan Thang II on the Bien Hoa-Long Binh border, before conducting patrols through Phuoc Tuy. It then conducted patrols, ambushes, and searches along the Long Khanh-Bien Hoa border in an attempt to disrupt Viet Cong activity before returning to Nui Dat on 24 September. 4 RAR/NZ returned to the Long Khanh-Bien Hoa border on 27 December, in response to increased in Viet Cong activity. It later took part in operations in the Bien Hoa province before departing for Australia on 19 May 1969 for further retraining. Total casualties during the deployment included 19 killed and 97 wounded.

Members of 4RAR/NZ leaving Nui Dat for Vung Tau inside a RAAF Iroquois helicopter. Other troops in 4RAR were transported by road convoys and with RAAF Caribou aircraft, ending their combat role in South Vietnam, 1971. AWM CUN/71/0538/VN.

4 RAR returned to Vietnam for its second tour in May 1971. Continuing the pacification program that 1 ATF had adopted in Phuoc Tuy in April 1969, 4 RAR/NZ engaged in operations designed at seeking out and destroying the Viet Cong in their base areas, preventing their access to the civilian population, and in helping to create a security for the South Vietnamese. The battalion became involved in intense fighting and although it sustained heavy casualties during these engagements, it successfully hindered communist attempts to move south.

Australia's final involvement came during the Battle of Nui Le on 21 September 1971. The battle was fought in the former Phuoc Tuy Province between elements of the 33rd Regiment of the North Vietnamese Army and 'B' and 'D' Companies of the 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion during Operation Ivanhoe. Five Australians were killed and 30 wounded.

In November 1971, the Australian 4RAR and Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment flags at Nui Dat base were lowered for the last time by New Zealand Regimental Policeman Private Tai Whatu and Australian Regimental Policeman Private John Skennar of Grafton, NSW. AWM.

The total Australian casualties in the Vietnam War, 1962–72 were 500 dead and 3,129 wounded, injured or ill. The total of 500 deaths comprises 426 battle casualties and 74 non-battle casualties.

More: Battle of Nui Le. 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4 RAR).

….People often thought of the Vietnamese enemy as guerillas who got around in black pyjamas. They were wrong. North Vietnam had a professional army made up of well-trained soldiers, organised in standard military units. The appearance of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) units on a battlefield usually inspired dread among Allied soldiers and the 33rd Regiment was among the best of the best.

By contrast, the Australian army usually operated in companies of about 120 men. This was more than enough to deal with Viet Cong units but an unexpected encounter with NVA regulars could test their abilities to the limit….




1831 – The first drawing of a numbat is made, following the first recorded sighting a day before.

The first specimen of a Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) to be scientifically examined was collected within 3 years of the establishment of Perth as the Swan River Colony. The first recorded sightings of Numbats by Europeans occurred in September 1831, during an exploratory trip south along the Avon valley from the site of the present township of York, by Ensign Richard Dale, George Fletcher Moore and two others. Examination of Moore's diary and the expedition map of Dale reveals that this animal was collected to the north-east of Brookton, 138 km from Perth.

Moore’s diary for 21 September reads:

“Saw a beautiful animal; but, as it escaped into the hollow of a tree, could not
ascertain whether it was a species of squirrel, weazel, or wild cat.”

On the next day, the 22 September 1831, he wrote:

“... chased another little animal, such as had escaped from us yesterday, into a hollow tree, where we captured it; from the length of its tongue, and other circumstances, we conjecture that it is an ant-eater – its colour yellowish, barred with black and white streaks across the hinder part of the back; its length about twelve inches”.

George Fletcher Moore. A reproduction of the first drawing of a numbat from George Fletcher Moore's diary on 22 September 1831.

Dale took the specimen back to England and lent it to G.R. Waterhouse, who described and exhibited it at a meeting of the Zoological Society of London.

The subsequent fate of this specimen is not known. A second specimen to come under scientific scrutiny, however, is held in the British Museum of Natural History. Waterhouse first thought it had been collected in Van Diemen's Land, but later found that it was from ‘Swan River’, a term often used in reference to the colony rather than to the vicinity of the river itself. The first published illustration of the Numbat, a full-page hand-coloured lithograph, accompanied Waterhouse's detailed description.

Richter's Myrmecobius fasciatus, 1845 from John Gould, Mammals of Australia, Vol. I Plate 52, London, 1863. Museum of Victoria. My simplified drawing of a numbat.

The Numbat eats termites exclusively. Numbats eat many different species of termites but they do not eat ants, except for incidentally when foraging for termites. They eat up to 20,000 termites a day. Numbats do not need to drink water because they get enough water from the termites they eat.

Once widespread across southern Australia, the Numbat's range is now restricted to several small colonies and it is listed as an endangered species. The numbat is an emblem of Western Australia and protected by conservation programs.

The drawing of a numbat created by Perth cycling group Fight Club on the Strava mapping app, 2018.

More: Fauna of Australia 22. Myrmecobiidae, by J A Friend. Wikipedia.

Numbats and woylies flourish at Dryandra after feral cats pushed WA icon towards 'extinction pit'.

Just five years ago, the numbat — Western Australia's animal emblem — found itself on the edge of extinction. In just a couple of years its population had crashed. The nocturnal woylie, which is also now only found in Dryandra and two other locations, was also being wiped out, with the population falling from 14,000 to just a few hundred.

Scientists considered a number of different scenarios, including disease. But motion sensor cameras set up at Dryandra, 160 kilometres south-east of Perth and one of only two locations where numbats have managed to survive, showed the striped marsupial was facing a different kind of attack — feral cats.

Juvenile numbats are just starting to emerge from logs in Dryandra woodland.

A feral cat bait called Eradicat was already being trialled in Dryandra and was widely rolled out. A 1,000-hectare predator-proof fence was also built to ensure an "insurance population" of both numbats and woylies. The measures are helping with the number of numbats in Dryandra now increased to about 400.

They are also being supplemented by a breeding program at Perth Zoo, with numbats released back into Dryandra fitted with radio collars to help scientists monitor their survival.

Full ABC story.

What cute little guys Numbats are :)

1882 – Sydney’s magnificent Garden Palace burns to the ground.

On the morning of 22 September 1882, Sydney awoke to a grand and terrible spectacle. Its most flamboyant building, the Garden Palace, was burning to the ground. The Garden Palace was sited at what is today the southwestern end of the Royal Botanic Garden at Farm Cove, although at the time it was built, it occupied land that was outside the Garden and in The Domain.

Farm Cove was established in 1788 by Governor Phillip. Although that farm failed, the land has been in constant cultivation since that time, as ways were found to make the relatively infertile soils more productive. By 1802, the gardens had begun to be planted with a collection of native and exotic plants. The Botanic Garden was founded on the site by Governor Macquarie in 1816 as part of the Governor's Domain. The Gardens underwent numerous changes and developments in ensuing decades, but the most significant was perhaps the construction of the Garden Palace Exhibition Building. This feat of Victorian architecture was, for a brief moment, the pride of Sydney.

Measured against today’s landmarks, the Garden Palace stretched from the Conservatorium, across the Cahill Expressway and in front of the State Library. State Library of NSW.

The Garden Palace was purpose-built for Sydney to host its first international exhibition in 1879 and the first World's Fair to be held in the southern hemisphere. The building was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and modelled on London’s Crystal Palace.

One of the great attractions of the exhibition was to ascend the north tower in Sydney’s first hydraulic lift to enjoy rare elevated harbour views. National Library of Australia.

It featured four towers which were visible from almost any point in Sydney. The Garden Palace achieved what it was hoped it would do: it showcased the prosperity of Sydney to the world, and resulted in increased infrastructure for the city, such as a new tram network. Local Indigenous artefacts were also on display at the exhibition. The objects represented the cultures of around 50 different Aboriginal tribes from south-east Australia.

The Garden Palace continued to be utilised extensively after the international event for further exhibitions. Various Government departments established offices in the building with many storing important documents in the basement.

On 22 September 1882, a fire started in the Garden Palace shortly before 6am. Primarily made from timber rather than stone, the enormous building burnt to the ground.

Burning of the Garden Palace, Sydney, September 22 1882. Supplement to the Illustrated Sydney News, 25 October 1882.

A news report on 23 September 1882 described it thus, "When the fire was raging in its greatest strength, the sun was seen behind the burning palace through the haze of smoke raising above the horizon its crimson disc. The scene was the most imposing, as it was the most pitiful, ever seen in the colonies.”

The Burning of the Garden Palace, seen from the North Shore, by John Clarke Hoyte 1882. State Library of NSW.

Valuable documents and records were lost, including the 1881 census, land occupation records, railway surveys, Aboriginal artefacts, priceless artworks, the foundation collection of the Technological and Mining Museum and a new map of the colony which had taken years to complete.

Ruins of the Garden Palace after the fire on 22 September 1882. National Library of Australia.

Very few Australians, including Sydney-siders, are aware there was ever such a building in the Royal Botanic Garden. The only remains of that magnificent structure are its carved Sydney sandstone gateposts and wrought iron gates, located on the Macquarie Street entrance to the Royal Botanical Garden.

Sydney’s Garden Palace stood for just three years from 1879-1882. State Library of NSW.

More: The most beautiful building you've never heard of, Daily Telegraph. ABC. Wikipedia.

1885 – Ben Chifley, politician and 16th Prime Minister of Australia, was born in Bathurst, New South Wales.

Joseph Benedict Chifley (22 September 1885 – 13 June 1951) was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949. He was leader of the Labor Party from 1945 until his death.

Chifley was born in Bathurst, New South Wales. He joined the state railways after leaving school, eventually qualifying as an engine driver. He was prominent in the trade union movement before entering politics, and was also a director of The National Advocate. After several previous unsuccessful candidacies, Chifley was elected to parliament in 1928. In 1931, he was appointed Minister for Defence in the government of James Scullin. He served in cabinet for less than a year before losing his seat at the 1931 election, which saw the government suffer a landslide defeat. Chifley was re-elected to parliament again in 1940, on his third attempt since 1931.

Following the death of John Curtin in 1945, he became Leader of the Labor Party and was successful at the 1946 election, retaining a majority in both Houses of the Australian Parliament, and marking the first time that an incumbent federal Labor government was re-elected. The Chifley Government was defeated at the 1949 election.

Ben Chifley, so many achievements. Ben Chifley launching the first mass-produced Australian car.

The radical reforming nature of the Chifley Government was such that, between 1946–49, the Australian Parliament passed 299 Acts, a record up until then.

Amongst the Chifley Labor Government's legislation was the post-war immigration scheme, the establishment of Australian citizenship, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, over-viewing the foundation of airlines Qantas and Trans Australia Airlines, improvements in social services, the creation of the Commonwealth Employment Service, the introduction of federal funds to the States for public housing construction, the establishment of a Universities Commission for the expansion of university education, the introduction of a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and free hospital ward treatment, the reorganisation and enlargement of the CSIRO, the establishment of a civilian rehabilitation service, the founding of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and the establishment of the Australian National University.

One of the few successful referendums to modify the Australian Constitution, the 1946 Social Services referendum, took place during Chifley's term.


1888 – The first issue of National Geographic magazine is published.

National Geographic, formerly the National Geographic Magazine, is the official magazine of the National Geographic Society. It has been published continuously since its first issue in September 1888, nine months after the Society itself was founded. It primarily contains articles about science, geography, history, and world culture. The magazine is known for its thick square-bound glossy format with a yellow rectangular border and its extensive use of dramatic photographs. Controlling interest in the magazine has been held by 21st Century Fox since 2015.

The first issue of National Geographic in 1888 contained no photographs and cost 50 cents. A 1937 cover.

The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published on September 22, 1888.

National Geographic Magazine was initially a scholarly journal sent to 165 charter members and nowadays it reaches the hands of 40 million people each month. Starting with its January 1905 publication of several full-page pictures of Tibet in 1900–1901, the magazine changed from being a text-oriented publication closer to a scientific journal to featuring extensive pictorial content, and became well known for this style. The June 1985 cover portrait of the presumed to be 12-year-old Afghan girl Sharbat Gula, shot by photographer Steve McCurry, became one of the magazine's most recognisable images.

1984 photographic portrait by journalist Steve McCurry and subsequent National Geographic cover.

In addition to being well known for articles about scenery, history, and the most distant corners of the world, the magazine has been recognised for its book-like quality and its standard of photography. It was during the tenure of Society President Alexander Graham Bell and editor Gilbert H. Grosvenor (GHG) that the significance of illustration was first emphasised, in spite of criticism from some of the Board of Managers who considered the many illustrations an indicator of an “unscientific” conception of geography.

By 1910, photographs had become the magazine’s trademark and Grosvenor was constantly on the search for "dynamical pictures" as Graham Bell called them, particularly those that provided a sense of motion in a still image. In 1915, GHG began building the group of staff photographers and providing them with advanced tools including the latest darkroom.

National Geographic Photo of the Day: 21 September 2019.


"This image was taken at Meteor Crater in Arizona - nearly a mile wide and deep enough to fit the Washington Monument," says photographer Juan Osorio. "Since astronaut training is many years away, we decided to travel 2,600 miles from home to the place on Earth most similar to the moon’s surface."


1910 – The Duke of York's Picture House opens in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

The Duke of York's Picture House is an art house cinema in Brighton, England, which lays claim to being the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. According to cinema historian Allen Eyles, the cinema "deserves to be named Britain's oldest cinema". In 2012 it was voted best Cinema in the UK.

Opening day, 22 September 1910.

The Duke of York's cinema was built at the cost of £3000 by actress-manager Violet Melnotte-Wyatt. It opened on 22 September 1910 and was one of Brighton's first picture palaces and also one of the first cinemas in the world. The Duke of York's was always a quality cinema for the more discerning patron, its marketing tag-line for many years was "Bring her to the Duke's, it is fit for a Duchess." The cinema has operated as an arts cinema since 1981 and has passed through several owners and hosted illegal punk rock concerts.

Duke of York's today.

The cinema was in a shabby state when it was purchased in 1994 by Picturehouse Cinemas who have invested in the building and returned it to its former glory. It houses one single screen with 278 seats, including a luxury balcony. It originally seated over 800, but modifications have been made to the inside of the building to create the café/bar upstairs, a concession space downstairs, and to allow for greater comfort.

Cinema in Australia.

The Athanaeum Hall in Collins Street, Melbourne exhibited the first movie shown in Australia in October 1896, within a year of the first public screening of a film in Paris on 28 December 1895 by the French Lumière brothers.

In 1906, T.J. West was the first Australian to construct a purpose-built hall for exhibiting motion pictures. By 1910, T.J. West controlled 14 permanent cinemas throughout Australia and his venues were estimated to attract a nightly audience of 20,000. The Classic Cinema in the Melbourne inner suburb of Elsternwick claims to be the longest continuously operating cinema in Victoria, opening in 1911.

The world's oldest continuously operating outdoor cinema, the Sun Picture Gardens or Sun Pictures, is located in Broome, Western Australia. According to Guinness World Records, it holds the title of the Oldest Open-Air Cinema in Operation. Its opening night was held on 9th of December 1916.


1918 – First direct radio message between London and Sydney.

On 22nd September 1918 direct wireless messages from England were received in Australia, creating considerable public interest and causing a political controversy. The messages were transmitted from the big Marconi station at Carnarvon in Wales and were received at the home of Ernest Fisk, the Managing Director of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited (A.W.A.).

On 22nd September 1918, Ernest Fisk received the first wireless message from Carnarvon at his own home experimental amateur station. Radio tower and monument at Fisk’s home in Wahroonga, NSW.

Two communications were sent, one from the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. W.M. "Billy" Hughes, who was in England trying to raise enthusiasm for the Australian war effort in Europe because public support was waning and the disastrous English military leadership of the Australian forces was under serious question.

1.15pm Sydney time: "I have just returned from a visit to the battlefields where the glorious valour and dash of the Australian troops saved Amiens and forced back the legions of the enemy, filled with greater admiration than ever for these glorious men and more convinced than ever that it is the duty of their fellow-citizens to keep these magnificent battalions up to their full strength." W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister.

E. T. Fisk with Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes.

The second message was from the Minister for the Navy, Mr. Joseph Cook, who accompanied Hughes. Australia's efforts to sell its farm produce to England were being frustrated by the English farmers and unions, which explains the jingoistic tone of Hughes and Cook's wireless messages.

1.25pm Sydney time: "Royal Australian Navy is magnificently bearing its part in the great struggle. Spirit of sailors and soldiers alike is beyond praise. Recent hard fighting brilliantly successful but makes reinforcements imperative. Australia hardly realises the wonderful reputation which our men have won. Every effort being constantly made here to dispose of Australia's surplus products." Joseph Cook, Minister for Navy.

AWA published a souvenir document of the event with the heading "The First Direct Wireless Messages from England to Australia." with a reproduction of the actual message forms as supposedly written down in Sydney.

As it happened, Germany capitulated soon after this event and both Hughes and Cook then took part in the Peace Conference and negotiations in November 1918.


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