The Meeting Place

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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Take care on that drive SD and (apart from the eye treatment) enjoy the two days away, the mutts will be OK, probably be spoilt as well....

Another good read RnR....

Another good read RnR....

Safe travels Shaggy

9 January

On this day:

1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first person to fly in a balloon in the United States.
1799 – British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduces Great Britain’s first income tax to raise funds for the war effort in the Napoleonic Wars.
1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul's Cathedral.
1868 – The last convicts arrive in Western Australia.
1903 – Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson is appointed the second Governor-General of Australia.
1909 – Australia defeats England nine points to three in the first rugby union test match at Blackheath's Rectory Field in England.
1917 – WWI: The Battle of Rafa is fought near the Egyptian border with Palestine.
1997 – Yachtsman Tony Bullimore is found alive five days after his boat capsized in the Southern Ocean.

Jean-Pierre Blanchard

Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753–1809) was a French inventor, best known as a pioneer in balloon flight. Blanchard made his first successful balloon flight in Paris on 2 March 1784, in a hydrogen gas balloon launched from the Champ de Mars.

Crossing of the English Channel by Blanchard in 1785.

Blanchard moved to London in August 1784, where he took part in a flight on 16 October 1784 with John Sheldon, just a few weeks after Italian Vincenzo Lunardi made the first flight in Britain and the first outside France on 15 September 1784. Blanchard made three flights in Britain, the third was the first flight over the English Channel, taking about two and a half hours to travel from England to France on 7 January 1785, flying from Dover Castle to Guines. Blanchard was awarded a substantial pension by Louis XVI. The King ordered the balloon and boat be hung up in the church of Eglise Notre-Dame de Calais.

Blanchard then toured Europe, demonstrating his balloons. He holds the record of first balloon flights in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. Among the events that included demonstrations of his abilities as a balloonist was the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia in Prague in September 1791.

The first balloon flight in the Americas on 9 January 1793.

On 9 January 1793, Blanchard conducted the first balloon flight in the Americas. He launched his balloon from the prison yard of Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and landed in Deptford, Gloucester County, New Jersey.

One of the flight's witnesses that day was President George Washington, and the future presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were also present. Blanchard left the United States in 1797.

Blanchard married Marie Madeleine-Sophie Armant (better known as Sophie Blanchard) in 1804. On 20 February 1808 Blanchard had a heart attack while in his balloon at the Hague. He fell from his balloon and died roughly a year later on 7 March 1809 from his severe injuries. His widow continued to support herself with ballooning demonstrations until it also killed her.

Great Britain’s first income tax

The inception date of the modern income tax era is typically accepted as 1799. With Great Britain embroiled in a costly war with France and Napoleon’s forces seemingly intent on invading the nation at the earliest opportunity, William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minster and Chancellor of the Exchequer, came up with innovative means of bolstering the country’s depleted coffers. In his budget of December 1798, he introduced to an income tax to aid ‘the prosecution of the war’. This was to be ‘a temporary measure’ and came into force on 9 January 1799.

William Pitt the Younger introduced a progressive income tax in 1798 to begin on 9 January 1799.

Levied at 1 per cent on annual incomes of above £60 and 10 per pent on those earning over £200, it is estimated to have raised around £6 million for the exchequer.

Widely denounced, it was repealed in 1802 by Pitt’s successor, Henry Addington, after a peace treaty was signed with Napoleon. But a precedent had been set and when war broke out again with the French the following year, Addington brought an amended version of the tax back. This lingered on until after the Battle of Waterloo, and its abolition in 1816 was supposedly greeted ‘with a thundering peal of applause’ in Parliament.

Cartoon showing British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (represented by a harp-playing angel) trying to trick the English public (represented by John Bull, the personification of England) to pay for the war through an income tax.

Lying dormant for the next twenty-six years, income tax was finally revived by the Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel in 1842 and has been with the nation in one form or another ever since.

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson

Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership, superb grasp of strategy, and unconventional tactics, which together resulted in a number of decisive naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars.

He was wounded several times in combat, losing the sight in one eye in Corsica and most of one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He was shot and killed during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar near the Port City of Cadiz in 1805.

Nelson is shot on the quarterdeck of the Victory. Painted by Denis Dighton, circa 1825.

After his death at Trafalgar, Nelson's body was placed in a cask of brandy mixed with camphor and myrrh, which was then lashed to the Victory's mainmast and placed under guard. Victory was towed to Gibraltar after the battle, and on arrival the body was transferred to a lead-lined coffin filled with spirits of wine. Collingwood's dispatches about the battle were carried to England aboard HMS Pickle.

King George III, on receiving the news, is alleged to have said, in tears, "We have lost more than we have gained.” When the ship reached England, Nelson's body was unloaded from the Victory at the Nore. He lay in state in the Painted Hall at Greenwich for three days, before being taken upriver aboard a barge, accompanied by Lord Hood, chief mourner Sir Peter Parker, and the Prince of Wales.

Nelson's coffin in the crossing of St Paul's during the funeral service, with the dome hung with captured French and Spanish flags.

On 9 January 1806, a funeral procession consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St Paul's Cathedral. After a four-hour service he was interred in the crypt within a sarcophagus originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey. The sailors charged with folding the flag draping Nelson's coffin and placing it in the grave instead tore it into fragments, with each taking a piece as a memento.

Convict era of Western Australia

In December 1828, the British Colonial Office agreed to establish a colony at Swan River in Western Australia. It then issued a circular outlining the conditions of settlement, which stated, "It is not intended that any convicts or other description of Prisoners, be sent to this new settlement." For the first fifteen years, the people of the colony were generally opposed to accepting convicts, although the idea was in constant circulation almost from the start.

Perth Gaol in about 1865 with exterior yards and walls visible.

The Perth Gaol or Old Perth Gaol was a convict built gaol constructed in Perth between 1854 and 1856 to house convicts and other prisoners.

In 1845, the York Agricultural Society, which consisted mostly of pastoralists, argued that the colony's economy was on the brink of collapse due to an extreme shortage of labour. In July 1848, Charles Fitzgerald was appointed Governor of Western Australia and he took a strongly pro-convict stance throughout his governorship.

In 1848, Britain offered to send out 100 first offenders in the final years of their terms but refused to finance the colony as a regular penal settlement. The colonists protested and eventually the British Government agreed to the colonists' demands for funding, but since the expenditure was not warranted for only 100 convicts, it was decided to greatly increase the number of convicts sent.

The Perth Town Hall, which was built with convict labour, incorporates a number of convict motifs, including windows in the shape of the broad arrow.

The Town Hall foundation was laid on 24 May 1867 by Governor Hampton and it was opened on 1 June 1870 by Governor Weld. All of the woodwork was constructed by prisoners in Fremantle, and the huge circular ribs for the roof were conveyed from the prison to Perth on a carriage specially constructed for the purpose.

The first 75 convicts arrived in Fremantle on 1 June 1850. Daniel Scott, the harbour-master was able to rent out his wool warehouse as the only secure place to keep them. Between 1850 and 1868, 9721 convicts were transported to Western Australia on 43 convict ship voyages. Most convicts in Western Australia spent very little time in prison. Although there was no convict assignment in Western Australia, there was a great demand for public infrastructure throughout the colony.

As well as building mines and bridges and dredging channels for shipping and transport, convict labour between 1850 and 1868 erected a number of public works. They built or improved roads between Fremantle and Perth, east to York, and to Bunbury and Albany to the south. They erected public buildings including Government House, the Town Hall, Perth Gaol, Pensioner Barracks and Causeway. In Fremantle, the equivalent convict-built structures are the Fremantle Gaol and Convict Asylum.

The arrival of the Hougoumont in Western Australia on 9 January 1868 marked the end of convict transportation anywhere in the world.

Western Australia's convict era only came to an end with the cessation of penal transportation by Britain. In May 1865, the colony was advised of the change in British policy, and told that Britain would send one convict ship in each of the years 1865, 1866 and 1867, after which transportation would cease. In accordance with this, the last convict ship to Western Australia, the Hougoumont, departed Britain in 1867 and arrived in Western Australia on 9 January 1868.

Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson

Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson, GCMG, PC (1852–1928) was a British aristocrat who served as the second Governor-General of Australia, in office from 9 January 1903 to 21 January 1904. He was previously Governor of South Australia from 1899 to 1902.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson with his wife Emily and his sons Hallam and Lionel, circa 1862. Hallam Tennyson in his viceregal uniform.

Tennyson was born in Twickenham, Surrey, and educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the oldest son of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and served as his personal secretary and biographer; he succeeded to his father's title in 1892. Tennyson was made Governor of South Australia in 1899. When Lord Hopetoun resigned the governor-generalship in mid-1902, Tennyson was the longest-serving state governor and thus became Administrator of the Government until a permanent replacement was made.

Tennyson was eventually chosen to be Hopetoun's permanent replacement, but accepted only a one-year term. He was more popular than his predecessor among the general public, but had a tense relationship with Prime Minister Alfred Deakin and was not offered an extension to his term. Tennyson retired to the Isle of Wight, and spent the rest of his life upholding his father's legacy.

Rugby union between Australia and England

The rivalry between England and Australia started on 9 January 1909 at Blackheath's Rectory Field in England. The Wallabies won the match 9-3. The two nations next met in 1928, at Twickenham, and England won 18-11.

The Australian squad on the 1908–09 rugby union tour of the British Isles.

Twenty years passed before England and Australia next met, again at Twickenham, with Australia winning the 1948 test 11-0. It would then be another decade until the two nations played another test against one another. In 1958, they met again at Twickenham, and England won 9-6.

Since 1909, England and Australia have played each other 49 times. Australia have won 25 matches, England have won 23, and there has been one draw.

Battle of Rafa

The Battle of Rafa, fought on 9 January 1917, was the third and final battle to complete the recapture of the Sinai Peninsula by British and empire forces during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. The Desert Column of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) attacked an entrenched Ottoman Army garrison at El Magruntein to the south of Rafah, close to the frontier between the Sultanate of Egypt and the Ottoman Empire, to the north and east of Sheikh Zowaiid. The attack marked the beginning of fighting in the Ottoman territory of Palestine.

'Marching out to Rafa', 8 January 1917. Photograph taken by Sergeant Edward Gordon Williams 11/1398, Wellington Mounted Rifles. Auckland War Memorial Museum.

After the British Empire victories at the Battle of Romani in August 1916 and the Battle of Magdhaba in December, the Ottoman Army had been forced back to the southern edge of Palestine as the EEF pushed eastwards supported by extended lines of communication. This advance depended on the construction of a railway and water pipeline. With the railway reaching El Arish on 4 January 1917, an attack on Rafa by the newly formed Desert Column became possible.

Australian Light Horsemen heading back to camp after the Battle Of Rafa. Donor: S. Clerehan, AWM.

During the day-long assault, the Ottoman garrison defended El Magruntein's series of fortified redoubts and trenches on rising ground surrounded by flat grassland. They were eventually encircled by Australian Light Horsemen, New Zealand mounted riflemen, mounted Yeomanry, cameliers and armoured cars. In the late afternoon, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade captured the central redoubt and the remaining defences were occupied shortly afterwards.

Tony Bullimore

Tony Bullimore (born 15 January 1939) is a British sailor from Bristol. He was rescued after capsizing during the 1996 Vendée Globe single-handed around-the-world race. The race was marked by a number of incidents, including the death of another contestant, Gerry Roufs.

Tony Bullimore's ocean rescue, 9 January 1997.

On 5 January 1997, in the Southern Ocean, Bullimore's boat, Exide Challenger capsized and the majority of press and media reports assumed that the 57-year-old sailor was lost. The Royal Australian Navy launched a rescue mission for Bullimore and another capsized competitor, Thierry Dubois. Bullimore was alive and managed to survive in an air pocket in the upside-down boat in pitch darkness, having lost his food supplies, aside from a bar of chocolate.

On 9 January 1997, Thierry Dubois was rescued by an Australian Seahawk helicopter embarked on the frigate HMAS Adelaide. Adelaide then proceeded further south to where the Exide Challenger had been located by a RAAF Orion. Adelaide dispatched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to the Exide Challenger where crew members knocked on the hull. Hearing the noise, Bullimore swam out from his boat and was quickly rescued by personnel from Adelaide.

HMAS Adelaide then returned both Dubois and Bullimore to Perth. During the return journey, Bullimore met with each member of the boat's crew to thank them for saving his life.


William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minster and Chancellor of the Exchequer, came up with innovative means of bolstering the country’s depleted coffers. In his budget of December 1798, he introduced to an income tax to aid ‘the prosecution of the war’. This was to be ‘a temporary measure’ and came into force on 9 January 1799.

So this is the guy we have to thank lol, made me wonder how they managed before.

During the Anglo-Saxon period, the main forms of taxation were land taxes, although custom duties and fees to mint coins were also imposed. The most important tax of the late Anglo-Saxon period was the geld, a land tax first regularly collected in 1012 to pay for mercenaries. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the geld continued to be collected until 1162, but it was eventually replaced with taxes on personal property and income.




Love this story - they pickled him.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE Napoleonic War, Britain’s most famous naval hero is struck by a fatal musket ball at the very moment of his greatest strategic triumph. Rather than bury his body at sea, a quick-thinking Irish surgeon preserves it in a cask of brandy lashed to the deck of the ship. A hurricane is on the horizon and the mast has been shot off; there is no way to hang the sails that would get ship (and body) to England quickly.

……By keeping Nelson’s remains in brandy and ethanol—“spirit of wine” in the lingo of the day—Beatty was setting himself against popular wisdom. As a scientist, he knew Nelson’s body had the best chance of surviving the journey if he used the strongest proof liquor on board. But if it didn’t work—and there was no guarantee it would—standard rum was the politically safer choice. 

…..Before he could be proven right or wrong, the ship had to limp its way back to England—grieving, wounded, jury rigged. And Beatty’s best impromptu efforts could only slow the decomposition of Nelson’s corpse, not arrest the process entirely. The body was slowly rotting. Two weeks into the journey, gaseous pressures burst the lid of the cask, startling one of the watchmen so much he thought Nelson had returned to life and was trying to climb out.

I remember when the navy rescued Tony Bullimore, it was so exciting, same feeling when the two miners came out of the pit in Tasmania and when Stuart Diver was  found at Thredbo - best tv ever.

Yes Toot,  I remember those as well

Thanks Toot. Love your 'extras' each day.


Wasn't the legend that Nelsons body was place in a barrell full of rum on Victory but the seamen drilled a hole in the barrell and drank most of it whilst retuning to England.

The naval rum ration was always referred to as a Tot O Nelsons Blood after this event.

Probably not true but a better story :)


Toot, Peter and I were 'glued' to the tele. on  those three occasions, and they  were definitely magic moments when when they all emerged alive and o.k. 

The dedication of those rescuers in all three times, was beautiful to watch.

Heaven SD -- boy if that is true those blokes would do anything for a rum   yuk

Great story SD, but ugh.

:) I used to enjoy rum.

Have to get up earlier to read all the info. which is fantastic.

But YIKES THAT RUM - horrendous lol.

Thanks as always.

Thanks for the laugh Toot and SD,  .. if I was a Rum drinking I think that story would be enough for me to refrain from partaking of same any further.....

RnR, just love coming in here and reading your stories.

Good to know Deanna

Thanks Deanna.

The spammers sure are busy this evening ..... better not say anymore as one never knows what could come out of my mouth least it will give this a bump.

Yes, the spammers have been busy for a very long time of late -- where the hell are the moderators!!!!!!!!???????????

10 January

On this day:

49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signalling the start of civil war.
1697 – Willem de Vlamingh made the first documented European sighting of the land region which became the city of Perth.
1812 – New Orleans, the first steamboat on the Ohio River or the Mississippi River arrives in New Orleans, 82 days after departing from Pittsburgh.
1863 – The Metropolitan Railway, the world's oldest underground railway, opens between Paddington and Farringdon, marking the beginning of the London Underground.
1968 – John Gorton becomes the nineteenth Prime Minister of Australia.
1971 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer and founder of Chanel dies.
1977 – The Easey Street murders, an unsolved crime in which two women were brutally stabbed to death in their home in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.
1989 – Assistant Australian Federal Police commissioner Colin Winchester is shot dead in the driveway of his Canberra home.

Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon

During the Roman republic, the river Rubicon marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the northeast and Italy proper, controlled directly by Rome and its socii (allies), to the south.

Governors of Roman provinces were appointed promagistrates with imperium, the right to command in their province. The governor would then serve as the general of the Roman army within the territory of his province. Roman law specified that only the elected magistrates (consuls and praetors) could hold imperium within Italy. Any promagistrate who entered Italy at the head of his troops forfeited his imperium and was therefore no longer legally allowed to command troops.

Location of the Rubicon river.

Exercising imperium when forbidden by the law was a capital offence. Furthermore, obeying the commands of a general who did not legally possess imperium was also a capital offence. If a general entered Italy while exercising command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. Generals were thus obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy.

Julius Caesar paused on the banks of the Rubicon.

In 49 BC, probably on January 10, Julius Caesar led a single legion, Legio XIII Gemina, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he deliberately broke the law on imperium and made armed conflict inevitable. According to Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase alea iacta est, i.e. the die has been cast.

The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any individual or group committing itself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action, similar to the modern phrase "passing the point of no return."

Crossing the Rubicon.

Caesar's decision for swift action forced Pompey, the lawful consuls C. Claudius Marcellus and L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus, and a large part of the Roman Senate to flee Rome in fear. Caesar’s decision changed the history of Rome. He and his soldiers defeated Pompey and by 46 BC Caesar was the dictator of Rome. He remained in charge until his assassination, in the Roman Senate, on the 15th of March in 44 BC.

Willem de Vlamingh

Willem Hesselsz de Vlamingh (1640–1698) was a Dutch sea-captain who explored the central west coast of Australia in the late 17th century. In 1696 Willem de Vlamingh commanded the rescue mission to Australia's west coast to look for survivors of the Ridderschap van Holland that had gone missing two years earlier. The mission proved fruitless, but Vlamingh charted parts of the continent's western coast.

Willem de Vlamingh's ships, with black swans, at the entrance to the Swan River. Coloured engraving, 1796.

On 10 January 1697, he ventured up the Swan River. He and his crew are believed to have been the first Europeans to do so. They are also assumed to be the first Europeans to see black swans, and de Vlamingh named the Swan River (Zwaanenrivier in Dutch) after the large number of them they observed there. The crew split into three parties, hoping to catch an Aborigine, but about five days later they gave up their quest to catch a "South lander”.

New Orleans steamboat

New Orleans was the first steamboat on the western waters of the United States. Owned by Robert Fulton and Robert R. Livingston, and built by Nicholas Roosevelt, its 1811–1812 voyage from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to New Orleans, Louisiana on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers ushered in the era of commercial steamboat navigation on the western and mid-western continental rivers.

The route of the maiden voyage of the New Orleans.

In 1811, after a successful trial trip around Pittsburgh on 15 October, the New Orleans finally set sail for New Orleans on 20 October. The next morning, October 21, the New Orleans was cheered by the villagers of Beaver, Pennsylvania. They had seen the boat approaching down a straight stretch of the river. During its first stop, at Wheeling, then on Virginia's northwestern point, Roosevelt welcomed crowds aboard the ship, charging them a twenty-five-cent fee for the opportunity and tour.

After stopping in Louisville, the New Orleans headed upstream under its own power and completed a brief excursion before returning to Louisville. For the next month, Roosevelt waited for the waters of the Ohio River to rise enough for the New Orleans to safely pass, with a draft of less than six inches, over the treacherous "Falls of the Ohio”.

The New Orleans enters the Mississippi.

Although the trip on the Ohio River had been largely peaceful and easygoing, the passage of the Mississippi River was to be fraught with danger and uncertainty. There were Indian sightings and a fire aboard ship in early December. Then, in mid-December, the first in a series of earthquakes struck the area, but the river's water cushioned the New Orleans, allowing it to continue, undamaged by the quakes.

On December 15, the famous New Madrid earthquake struck altering Mississippi River landmarks such as river islands and river channels that confused the pilot's visual navigation. At some small river towns, villagers begged to be taken aboard to escape the earthquake's desolation, but the New Orleans lacked the provisions to feed the refugees and would have no more available until the boat reached Natchez, Mississippi, in late December 1811.

The New Orleans had to navigate a river full of obstacles and unknowns after the earthquakes.

The boat finally reached New Orleans on 10 January 1812, 82 days after departing from Pittsburgh.

Soon, the New Orleans began making regular runs between New Orleans and Natchez. The New Orleans became the first of thousands of steamboats that converted river commerce from a one-way trip downstream to two-way traffic, opening the Mississippi River and Ohio River valleys to commercial trade.

The Metropolitan Railway

The Metropolitan Railway, also known as the Met, was an underground passenger and goods railway that served London from 1863 to 1933, its main line heading north-west from the capital's financial heart in the City to what were to become the Middlesex suburbs. Its first line connected the main-line railway termini at Paddington, Euston, and King's Cross to the City. The first section was built beneath the New Road using the "cut-and-cover" method between Paddington and King's Cross and in tunnel and cuttings beside Farringdon Road from King's Cross to near Smithfield, near the City.

Construction of the Metropolitan Railway close to King's Cross station in 1861.

In the first half of the 19th century the population and physical extent of London grew greatly. The increasing resident population and the development of a commuting population arriving by train each day led to a high level of traffic congestion with huge numbers of carts, cabs, and omnibuses filling the roads and up to 200,000 people entering the City of London, the commercial heart, each day on foot. By 1850 there were seven railway termini around the urban centre of London.

The congested streets and the distance to the City from the stations to the north and west prompted many attempts to get parliamentary approval to build new railway lines into the City. Finally, Royal assent was granted to the North Metropolitan Railway Act on 7 August 1854 paving the way for the world's first passenger-carrying designated underground railway.

Montage of the Metropolitan Railway's stations from Illustrated London News December 1862, the month before the railway opened.

Despite concerns about undermining and vibrations causing subsidence of nearby buildings and compensating the thousands of people whose homes were destroyed during the digging of the tunnel construction began in March 1860.

Construction was not without incident. In May 1860, a GNR train overshot the platform at King's Cross and fell into the workings. Later in 1860, a boiler explosion on an engine pulling contractor's wagons killed the driver and his assistant. In May 1861, the excavation collapsed at Euston causing considerable damage to the neighbouring buildings. The final accident occurred in June 1862 when the Fleet sewer burst following a heavy rainstorm and flooded the excavations.

The banquet at Farringdon Street station to mark the opening of the Metropolitan Railway, from the 'Illustrated London News'. London Transport Museum.

The line opened to the public on 10 January 1863 with gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives.

Trial runs were carried out from November 1861 while construction was still under way. The first trip over the whole line was in May 1862 with William Gladstone among the guests. By the end of 1862 work was complete at a cost of £1.3 million.

John Gorton

Sir John Grey Gorton GCMG, AC, CH (1911–2002) was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 10 January 1968 to 10 March 1971. He led the Liberal Party during that time, having previously been a long-serving government minister.

John Gorton prior to leaving for war service in 1941.

Gorton enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940, and during the war served as a fighter pilot in Malaya and New Guinea. He suffered severe facial injuries in a crash landing on Bintan Island in 1942, and while being evacuated his ship was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. He returned to farming after being discharged in 1944.

Sir John Gorton, 19th Prime Minister of Australia, 10 January 1968 to 10 March 1971.

Gorton was elected to the Senate at the 1949 federal election. He took a keen interest in foreign policy, and gained a reputation as a strident anti-communist. Gorton was promoted to the ministry in 1958, and over the following decade held a variety of different portfolios in the governments of Robert Menzies and Harold Holt.

Gorton defeated three other candidates for the Liberal leadership after Harold Holt's disappearance in December 1967. He became the first and only senator to assume the prime ministership, but soon transferred to the House of Representatives in line with constitutional convention. The Gorton Government continued Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, but began withdrawing troops amid growing public discontent. He resigned as Liberal leader in 1971 after a confidence motion in his leadership was tied, to be replaced by William McMahon.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was a French fashion designer and businesswoman. She was the founder and namesake of the Chanel brand. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited in the post-World War I era with liberating women from the constraints of the "corseted silhouette" and popularising a sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style.

Coco Chanel in 1920. Logo. Perfume.

A prolific fashion creator, Chanel extended her influence beyond couture clothing, realising her design aesthetic in jewellery, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product. She is the only fashion designer listed on TIME magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Chanel designed her iconic interlocked-CC monogram in the 1920s, meaning Coco Chanel. It is still in use today.

As 1971 began, Chanel was 87 years old, tired, and ailing. She carried out her usual routine of preparing the spring catalogue. She had gone for a long drive the afternoon of Saturday, 9 January. Soon after, feeling ill, she went to bed early. She died on Sunday, 10 January 1971, at the Hotel Ritz, where she had resided for more than 30 years.

Chanel, WWII and allegations of activity as a Nazi agent.

Easey Street murders

The Easey Street murders refer to the killing of Suzanne Armstrong and Susan Bartlett, who were stabbed to death on 10 January 1977 in their home at 147 Easey Street in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.

The crime remains unsolved. The women were stabbed multiple times. Armstrong's 16-month-old son, Gregory, was unharmed. The women's bodies were discovered three days after they were killed. Neighbours had heard the baby whimpering.

The murders were later linked to the disappearance and probable murder of Julie Garciacelay, a librarian originally from Stockton, California. Garciacelay had disappeared from her North Melbourne, Victoria apartment on 1 July 1975. There was a blood-soaked towel on the floor and some of Julie's underwear had been cut and strewn about. Julie Garciacelay, 19, has not been seen since.

On January 15, 2017, Victorian police offered a reward of up to $1 million for information to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the Easey Street murders.

Colin Winchester

Colin Stanley Winchester APM, (18 October 1933 – 10 January 1989) was an assistant commissioner in the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Winchester commanded ACT Police, the community policing component of the AFP Australian Federal Police responsible for the Australian Capital Territory.

Colin Winchester. David Eastman's arrest.

On 10 January 1989, at about 9:15 pm, he was shot twice in the head with a Ruger 10/22 .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle fitted with a silencer and killed as he parked his police vehicle in the driveway of his house in Deakin, ACT. David Harold Eastman was convicted of Winchester's murder on 11 November 1995 after a four-year surveillance investigation. Winchester is Australia's most senior police officer to have been murdered.

A new inquiry relating to his conviction was announced in August 2012. In 2014, the inquiry, headed by Justice Brian Ross Martin, found there had been "a substantial miscarriage of justice", Eastman "did not receive a fair trial", the forensic evidence on which the conviction was based was "deeply flawed" and recommended the conviction be quashed. However Martin said he was "fairly certain" Eastman was guilty but "a nagging doubt remains".

Fantastic RnR. Starting to read before getting work done :). I must have had telepathic thoughts as just zapped in.

:) Phyl.

I wasn’t interested in politics when John Gorton was PM but those who hated him said he was an embarrassment - a known womaniser and alcoholic.  But he was more than that, a strong-willed war hero whose removal was considered by many to be an act of treachery.

The party gathered the next day, and speaker after speaker rose to attack Gorton. The chief termite, Howson, delivered the angriest words of all: “I use language which Amery addressed to Chamberlain: ‘Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God go!’” After two hours of this, Gorton’s supporters, perhaps unwisely, moved a vote of confidence, resulting in a tied result of thirty-three for and against. Contrary to popular myth, Gorton did not use a casting vote against himself, but declared: “Well, that is not a vote of confidence, so the party will have to elect a new leader.” The termites had done their work; McMahon was elected leader.

Centenary and sesquicentenary objects featuring black swans: Photo by Pat McAnuff

There's something very fishy about David Eastman's trial, reeks of police corruption IMO.



Gorton was an interesting character, not like the bland sausage machine type pollies we have today.

A few flaws maks us human. pretending we are flawless is deluding ones self.

Give me a flawed character for company any day rather than those in the camp of righteousness and perfection. A far more interesting  travelling companion .

Take it easy.


Me too Shaggy.

Just noticed the Wedgewood plate - the swan is white lol

I found that story The Accidental Prime Minister you posted Toot really interesting. Just shows what opposition an individual with strong or ‘voter focussed’ ideas who is thrust into the political party machine has to endure, often more from supposedly ‘loyal party colleagues’ than anywhere else including opposing parties at times.

Sad state of affairs which is even more pronounced today IMO. Shades of Malcolm Turnbull.

:) Re the Wedgewood white swans.

11 January

On this day:

630 – Conquest of Mecca: The prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city, Quraysh surrender.
1917 – The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage.
1923 – Occupation of the Ruhr: Troops from France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr area to force Germany to make its World War I reparation payments.
1965 – The Wanda Beach Murders occur in Sydney and remain unsolved.
1986 – The Gateway Bridge opens in Brisbane.
2002 – The first planeload of al-Qaida prisoners from Afghanistan arrived at the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
2005 – Eyre Peninsula bushfire: Nine people are killed in bushfires in South Australia, making them the worst fires seen in Australia since Ash Wednesday.
2008 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer dies at age 88.

Conquest of Mecca

The conquest of Mecca is the historical event when Mecca capitulated and was conquered by Muslims led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad on 11 January 630 (Julian calendar), 20 Ramadan, 8 AH. Muhammad started the journey on 6 Ramadan, entered Mecca on 18 Ramadan. He died two years later.

Mecca’s Sacred Mosque and Kaaba during Hajj, 2008.

The Kaaba is the building at the centre of the mosque. It is the most sacred site in Islam and considered by Muslims to be the bayt Allah, the "House of God”. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when praying.

In 628 CE, the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina signed a 10-year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. According to the terms of the treaty, the Arab tribes were given the option of joining either of the parties, the Muslims or Quraysh, a mercantile Arab tribe that historically inhabited and controlled Mecca.

The polytheistic Quraysh opposed the monotheistic message preached by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, himself a Qurayshi from the Banu Hashim. The Quraysh harassed members of the nascent Muslim community, and attempted to harm Muhammad To escape persecution, Muhammad and his companions immigrated to Medina.

The prophet Muhammad on his way to conquer Mecca.

Also according to the terms of the treaty, should any of these tribes face aggression, the party to which it was allied would have the right to retaliate. As a consequence, the Banu Bakr tribe joined Quraysh, and the Khuza'ah tribe joined Muhammad.

After hostilities between the two led to a massacre the Khuza'ah sent a delegation to Medina to inform Muhammad, of this breach of truce and to seek help from Muslims of Medina being their allies.The Quraysh also sent a delegation to Muhammad, petitioning to maintain the treaty with the Muslims and offering material compensation. The Muslim forces had gathered in strength to settle account with Quraysh and for the final attack and the opening of Mecca.

Mecca in the 1850s.

Muhammad assembled a large Muslim army. The army entered Mecca on Monday, 11 December 629. The entry was peaceful and bloodless entry on three sectors except for that of Khalid's column. The hardened anti-Muslims like Ikrimah and Sufwan gathered a band of Quraysh fighters and faced Khalid's column. The Quraysh attacked the Muslims with swords and bows, and the Muslims charged the Quraysh's positions. Muslim losses were two warriors.

After a short skirmish the Quraysh gave ground after losing twelve men, prompting the rest of the Quraysh to embrace Islam.

Kingsland explosion

The Kingsland explosion was an incident that took place during World War I at a munitions factory in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, United States, on January 11, 1917.

The Canadian Car and Foundry Company, based in Montreal, had signed large contracts with Russia and Britain for delivery of ammunition. An enormous factory was constructed in the New Jersey Meadowlands, which was then referred to as Kingsland. The company executives decided not to take any chances with security for their plant. They constructed a six-foot fence around the plant and hired security guards to conduct 24-hour patrols around the perimeter and to screen each worker as they entered the plant.

A view of a section of the factory after the fire and explosions of January 11, 1917. International Film Service, Inc.

On January 11, 1917, a fire started in Building 30 of the plant. In 4 hours, probably 500,000 pieces of 76 mm high explosive shells were discharged. The entire plant was destroyed. It was said to have been a spectacle more magnificent than the nearby 1916 explosion at Black Tom, an act of sabotage by German agents to destroy American-made munitions. From office buildings and tall apartments, people in New York City watched with amazement.

Nearby railway shops damaged by the explosion.

Kingsland resident Theresa Louise "Tessie" McNamara, who operated the company switchboard, was credited with saving 1,400 lives. Despite the fire McNamara stayed at the switchboard. She plugged in each of the buildings and shouted the warning, “Get out or go up!” No one was killed in the fire as a result of her announcements.

Tessie McNamara, circa 1917.

Rumour had it that a group of saboteurs operated under the direction of Frederick Hinsch. He recruited a German national, Curt Thummel, who changed his name to Charles Thorne. Hinsch instructed Thorne to obtain employment at the factory. Thorne was hired as assistant employment manager. In this position he facilitated the hiring of several operatives sent by Hinsch to infiltrate the factory. One of those employees supposedly was Theodore Wozniak.

After the Kingsland plant was completely destroyed, police and federal investigators uncovered the source of the fire. It started at Wozniak's workbench in Building 30. Wozniak, who lived at the Russian Immigrant House on Third Street in New York City, eluded the detectives who were watching him and disappeared.

A reparations case was launched by lawyer John J. McCloy against Germany in 1934 that dragged on for many years and was finally settled in the 1950s. Germany never admitted guilt, but paid $50 million in reparations to the United States.

Occupation of the Ruhr

The Occupation of the Ruhr was a period of military occupation of the German Ruhr valley by France and Belgium between 1923 and 1925 in response to the Weimar Republic's failure to continue its reparation payments in the aftermath of World War I.

French soldiers in the Ruhr in 1923. German Federal Archive.

The Ruhr region had been occupied by Allied troops in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, during the Allied occupation of the Rhineland. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the war, Germany accepted responsibility for the damages caused in the war and was obliged to pay war reparations to the various Allies, principally France. The debt was huge. As some of the payments were in raw materials, German factories were unable to function, and the German economy suffered, further damaging the country's ability to pay.

By late 1922, the German defaults on payments had grown so regular that a crisis engulfed the Reparations Commission; the French and Belgian delegates urged occupying the Ruhr as a way of forcing Germany to pay more, while the British delegate urged a lowering of the payments. The entire conflict was further exacerbated by a German default on coal deliveries in early January 1923, which was the thirty-fourth coal default in the previous thirty-six months.

Protests by gymnasts from the Ruhr at the 1923 Munich Gymnastics Festival. The sign on the left reads "The Ruhr remains German"; the sign on the right reads "We never want to be vassals". German Federal Archive.

The occupation was greeted by a campaign of passive resistance. Approximately 130 German civilians were killed by the French occupation army during the events, including during civil disobedience protests.

French Premier Raymond Poincaré decided to occupy the Ruhr on 11 January 1923 to extract the reparations himself. General Alphonse Caron’s 32nd infantry corps under the supervision of General Jean-Marie Degoutte carried out the operation. Some theories state that the French aimed to occupy the centre of German coal, iron, and steel production in the Ruhr area valley simply to get the money. Some others state that France did it to ensure that the reparations were paid in goods, because the Mark was practically worthless because of hyperinflation that already existed at the end of 1922.

Internationally the French invasion of Germany did much to boost sympathy for the German Republic although no action was taken in the League of Nations since it was technically legal under the Treaty of Versailles. The French, with their own economic problems, eventually accepted the Dawes Plan which substantially lowered German reparations payments, and withdrew from the occupied areas in July and August 1925.

Wanda Beach Murders

The Wanda Beach Murders refers to the case of the unsolved murders of Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock at Wanda Beach near Sydney on 11 January 1965. Their partially buried bodies were discovered the next day. The victims, both aged 15, were best friends and neighbours. The brutal nature of the slayings and the fact that the twin killings occurred on a deserted, windswept beach brought publicity to the case. It remains one of the most infamous unsolved Australian murder cases of the 1960s.

The Wanda sand hills.

At the time, the Schmidt family consisted of mother Elisabeth and Marianne's siblings, Helmut Jr., Hans, Peter, Trixie, Wolfgang and Norbert living in the suburb of West Ryde in Sydney. Marianne's next-door neighbour was Christine Sharrock. On 1 January 1965, Christine and Marianne visited the beach at Cronulla, which had been a popular picnic spot for the Schmidts. The following day, the Schmidt children visited the beach there again without Christine. Elisabeth Schmidt had meanwhile been admitted to a hospital for a major operation, leaving Helmut Jr and Marianne in charge of the household.

Marianne Schmidt and her best friend Christine Sharrock, both 15.

On Monday 11 January, accompanied by Marianne's youngest four siblings, the girls again set off for Cronulla. They arrived at about 11am, but it was very windy and the beach was closed. The group therefore walked down to the southern end of the beach and sheltered among the rocks. At some point during this time, Christine left the others and went off by herself. There is no evidence of her whereabouts during this period, but after her death, it was discovered she had consumed alcohol and some food that was different from the rest of the party; it is suspected this occurred while she was alone.

Site where the bodies were found.

When Christine returned to the group, it was decided to take a walk into the sandhills behind Wanda Beach. Around 1 pm, the group had reached a point around 400 metres beyond the Wanda Surf Club, and they stopped to shelter behind a sandhill as the younger children were complaining about the conditions. Marianne told her younger siblings that she and Christine would return to the rocky area at the south end of the beach where they had hidden their bags, then return to fetch the children and head home.

Instead, however, the girls continued into the sandhills. When Peter Schmidt told them they were going the wrong way, they laughed at him and walked on. The younger Schmidt children remained waiting behind the sandhill until 5 pm. They returned to collect their bags and then went home. The girls were reported missing at 8.30 pm.

On Tuesday, 12 January, Peter Smith was taking his three young nephews for a walk through the Wanda Beach sandhills. Some distance north of the surf club, he discovered what appeared to be a department store mannequin buried in the sand. He brushed away sand from the hand and realised that it was a body. The police were called from the surf club.

When the bodies were uncovered, Marianne Schmidt was found lying on her right side with her left leg bent. Christine Sharrock was face down, her head against the sole of Schmidt's left foot. From a 34-metre long drag mark leading to the scene, police determined that Sharrock had fled, possibly while Schmidt was dying, only to have been caught, murdered and dragged back to the body of her friend. Attempts had been made to rape both girls. Sharrock's skull had been fractured by a blow to the back of the head and she had been stabbed multiple times. Schmidt's throat had been slashed and she too had been stabbed several times.

Exhibits showing suspects.

An intensive search was undertaken to find the murder weapons but they were never found. There had been a number of people seen in the area who were never identified; Sydney in 1965 was a conservative place and the area around Wanda Beach attracted a range of people, who did not necessarily want to identify themselves to police, which frustrated the police investigation.

A large police investigation failed to identify the killer. The case was reopened as a cold case in 2007 and in 2012 blood from a possible knife wipe mark found on the clothing of one of the girls was identified as that of a male but DNA testing could learn nothing more from the sample. While admitting that current technology was unable to provide more information, police were confident that future advances would give more assistance.

The Gateway Bridge

On 16 May 2010 the Queensland Government renamed the Gateway Bridge and its duplicate the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges. An opinion poll conducted by Brisbane's Channel Nine News, showed 97% of people were against the decision to rename the bridge and most people still call it the Gateway Bridge.

Gateway Bridge Construction, 24 April 2009.

The bridges are a side-by-side pair of road bridges on the Gateway Motorway (M1), which skirts the eastern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The western bridge carries traffic to the north and the eastern bridge carries traffic to the south. The original bridge Gateway Bridge was opened on 11 January 1986 and cost A$92 million to build. The duplicate bridge was opened in May 2010, and cost $350 million.

Guantanamo Bay detention camp

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Since the inmates have been detained indefinitely without trial and several inmates were allegedly severely tortured, the operations of this camp are considered to be a major breach of human rights by Amnesty International.

Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, shown here under construction. Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy.

The camp was established by President George W. Bush's administration in 2002 during the War on Terror. After Bush political appointees at the U.S. Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice advised the Bush administration that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp could be considered outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, military guards took the first twenty detainees to Guantanamo on 11 January 2002. Since that date 779 men have been taken to Guantanamo.

Detainees upon arrival at Camp X-Ray, 11 January 2002. Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy.

Bush's successor, President Barack Obama, promised that he would close the centre, but met strong bipartisan opposition, with Congress passing laws to prohibit detainees from Guantanamo being imprisoned in the U.S. During Obama's administration, the number of inmates was reduced from about 245 to 41. Most former detainees were freed and transferred to other countries.

Eyre Peninsula bushfire

The Eyre Peninsula bushfire of 2005, an event also known locally as Black Tuesday and by South Australian Government agencies as the Wangary bushfire, was a bushfire that occurred during January 2005 on the lower part of the Eyre Peninsula.

Wangary residents take refuge at the sea during the bushfire. ABC.

Maximum temperatures were recorded on Monday 10 January 2005 of 38.6 °C at Port Lincoln; winds gusted to 63 kilometres per hour. The bushfire began not long after 3 pm in roadside vegetation on Lady Franklyn Road north of the town of Wangary, approximately 45 kilometres north-west of Port Lincoln.

Heat from the fire reached 1000°C, with speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour. By the evening, the fireground covered 1,800 hectares with a south-eastern flank of several kilometres. At 8:54 pm, when the unfavourable weather conditions for firefighting had abated, the fire was judged to be contained.

Satellite photo taken by NASA on the afternoon of 11 January 2005.

Overnight, the fire edge extended approximately 7 kilometres. Next day, temperatures again rose with Port Lincoln recording 38.2 °C. During the course of the morning and early afternoon, fire proceeded across the landscape of the Lower Eyre Peninsula in an easterly direction, carried in the main by wheat-stubble fuels.

Ultimately the fire reached North Shields and its beachside caravan park on the east coast 8 kilometres north of Port Lincoln's suburbs, and the Port Lincoln Airport and adjacent settlement of Poonindie a further 5 kilometres northwards.

Three burnt-out cars in which eight people perished on Tuesday remained at their resting sites yesterday as South Australians counted the human cost of the nation's deadliest bushfire in two decades. The Age.

During Tuesday 11 January 2005, the fire claimed the lives of nine people and injured 115, three of whom required urgent hospital treatment in Adelaide. The fire resulted in 780 square kilometres of land being burnt, the loss of nine lives, injury to another 115 people, and huge property damage. It was South Australia's worst bushfire since the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983.

Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG ONZ KBE OSN (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.

Hillary in Royal New Zealand Air Force uniform, during World War II, at Delta Camp, near Blenheim, New Zealand. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school. He made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II. Prior to the 1953 Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 as well as an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952.

As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.

Edmund Hillary on the New Zealand five-dollar note.

Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted most of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts, many schools and hospitals were built in Nepal. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal. Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995.

Upon his death on 11 January 2008, he was given a state funeral.

Thanks RnR, interesting what measures the French went to to receive reparation from Germany for WW1, it just proved that you can't get blood out of a stone, but can understand their anger. 

I remember the Wanda murders, just to think the murderer got away with it and is probably dead now, I hope he had a miserable life.


Discovered something about the black stone of Mecca, so much left to learn about this life.


The Black Stone of Mecca, or Kaaba Stone, is a Muslim relic, which according to Islamic tradition dates back to the time of Adam and Eve. It is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient sacred stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Stone is a dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims, that has been broken into a number of fragments cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Although it has often been described as a meteorite, this hypothesis is still under consideration.It is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient sacred stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The Stone is roughly 30 cm (12 in.) in diameter, and 1.5 meters (5 ft.) above the ground. When pilgrims circle the Kaaba as part of the Tawaf ritual of the Hajj, many of them try, if possible, to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that it received from the Islamic prophet Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they are to point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba. The Stone is broken into a number of pieces from damage which was inflicted during the Middle Ages. The pieces are held together by a silver frame, which is fastened by silver nails to the Stone.

There are various opinions as to what the Black Stone actually is. Muslims say that the Stone was found by Abraham (Ibrahim) and his son Ishmael (Ismail) when they were searching for stones with which to build the Kaaba. They recognized its worth and made it one of the building's cornerstones.

Secular historians point to the history of stone worship, and especially meteorite worship, in pre-Islamic Arabia, and say that it is likely that the Stone is a meteorite. There is no way to test this hypothesis without removing and examining the Stone, which would not be permitted by its guardians.


Thanks Toot. Have just been reading a bit more about the Black Stone. What a long and involved history.

An illustration from the early 14th-century Persian Jami al-Tawarikh, inspired by the story of Muhammad and the Meccan clan elders lifting the Black Stone into place when the Kaaba was rebuilt in the early 600s.

Also had a look inside the Kaaba on Google Streetview.


You clever pair of Orators, and we receive it all from you for free :) A great way to relax and read such interesting stories/facts. Thank ya kindly.

Thanks Phyl. I'm not an orator though, that honour goes to the many contributors on Wikipedia and other sites that have lots of relevant info.

:) I'm just a humble "hunter and gatherer".

The Kaaba, pre-Islamic monument, rededicated by Muhammad in 631-32 C.E., multiple renovations, granite masonry, covered with silk curtain and calligraphy in gold and silver-wrapped thread (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) Image credit: The Kaaba in the Masjid el Haram, 2010 Tab59, CC BY-SA 2.0

I was wondering where the black stone went but apparently it is set into the eastern corner of the Kaaba.

Image result for hunter and gatherer

:) :) :) Good one Suze.

12 January

On this day:

1616 – The city of Belém, Brazil is founded on the Amazon River delta, by Portuguese captain Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco.
1893 – Hermann Göring, German commander, pilot and politician is born.
1895 – The National Trust is founded in the United Kingdom.
1962 – Vietnam War: Operation Chopper, the first American combat mission in the war, takes place.
1976 – Eight-year-old Eloise Worledge is abducted from her home in Beaumaris, Victoria. No trace of her has ever been found.
2003 – Maurice Gibb of the band the Bee Gees passes away.
2005 – Australia's first Twenty20 cricket game was played at the WACA ground between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sellout crowd of 20,700.
2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.


Belém, Portuguese for Bethlehem, is a Brazilian city, the capital and largest city of the state of Pará in the country's north. It is the gateway to the River Amazon. With an estimated population of 1,439,561 people it is the 11th most populous city in Brazil. The newer part of the city has modern buildings and skyscrapers. The colonial portion retains the charm of tree-filled squares, churches and traditional blue tiles.

Belém, the old and the new.

In 1615, Portuguese captain-general Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco of the captaincy of Bahia commanded a military expedition sent by the Governor General of Brazil to check the trading excursions of foreigners including the French, Dutch and English up the river Amazon from the river mouth at Cabo do Norte.

Captain Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco, founder of the Fort of the Nativity Scene in 1616. Detail of the Prospect of the city of Belém, the foundation of which was strategic to control the access to the silver mines of Peru. National Digital Library, Brazil.

On January 12, 1616, Branco anchored in what is now known as Guajará Bay, formed by the confluence of the Para and Guama Rivers. Caldeira mistook the bay for the main channel, and 178km upstream, he built a wooden fort, covered with straw, which he called "Presépio" (nativity scene), now known as "Forte do Castelo".

The Forte do Castelo or Fort of the Nativity Scene as it is today in Belém.

The colony formed by the fort was given the name Feliz Lusitania, "Happy Lusitania". It was the embryo of the future city of Belém. The fort failed to suppress Dutch and French trading, but did ward off colonisation. Belém was the first European colony on the Amazon but did not become part of Brazil until 1775.

Hermann Göring

Hermann Wilhelm Göring (12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German political and military leader as well as one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party. A veteran World War I fighter pilot ace, he was a recipient of the Pour le Mérite. He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen.

A celebrated World War I Ace pilot, Göring earned The Blue Max, Germany’s highest award.

An early member of the Nazi Party, Göring was among those wounded in Adolf Hitler's failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. While receiving treatment for his injuries, he developed an addiction to morphine which persisted until the last year of his life.

After Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Göring was named as Minister Without Portfolio in the new government. One of his first acts as a cabinet minister was to oversee the creation of the Gestapo, which he ceded to Heinrich Himmler in 1934. Following the establishment of the Nazi state, Göring amassed power and political capital to become the second most powerful man in Germany.

Hermann Göring. Göring stands in front of Hitler at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, circa 1928.

In 1935, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, a position he held until the final days of the regime. Upon being named Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan in 1936, Göring was entrusted with the task of mobilising all sectors of the economy for war, an assignment which brought numerous government agencies under his control and helped him become one of the wealthiest men in the country. After the Fall of France in 1940, he was bestowed the specially created rank of Reichsmarschall, which gave him seniority over all officers in Germany's armed forces.

Adolf Hitler with Göring on balcony of the Chancellery, Berlin, 16 March 1938.

By 1941, Göring was at the peak of his power and influence, and Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices. As the Second World War progressed, Göring's standing with Hitler and with the German public declined after the Luftwaffe proved incapable of preventing the Allied bombing of German cities and resupplying surrounded German forces in Stalingrad.

Around that time, Göring increasingly withdrew from the military and political scene to devote his attention to collecting property and artwork, much of which was taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting permission to assume control of the Reich. Considering it an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest.

Göring in captivity 9 May 1945 after the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. Detention report. Museum of World War II, US government.

After the war, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.

About Hermann Göring’s handwritten catalogue of stolen art.

The National Trust UK

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom. The National Trust has been the beneficiary of many large donations and bequests.

The Trust owns over 350 heritage properties, which includes many historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments, and social history sites. The Trust is also one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, owning over 247,000 hectares of land, including many characteristic sites of natural beauty, most of which are open to the public free of charge.

Alfriston Clergy House, the first built property to be acquired and restored by the National Trust. Detail of oak leaf. National Trust logo.

The trust describes itself as "a charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces—for ever, for everyone." The trust was founded in 1895 and given statutory powers, starting with the National Trust Act 1907. Historically, the trust tended to focus on English country houses, which still make up the largest part of its holdings, but it also protects historic landscapes such as in the Lake District, historic urban properties, and nature reserves. In Scotland, there is an independent National Trust for Scotland. The Trust has special powers to prevent land being sold off or mortgaged, although this can be over-ridden by Parliament.

Wicken Fen, the National Trust's first nature reserve, acquired with help from Charles Rothschild in 1899.

The trust was founded on 12 January 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley, prompted in part by the earlier success of Charles Eliot and the Kyrle Society.

In the early days, the trust was concerned primarily with protecting open spaces and a variety of threatened buildings; its first property was Alfriston Clergy House, and a decorative cornice there may have given the trust its sprig of oak symbol. The trust's first nature reserve was Wicken Fen, and its first archaeological monument was White Barrow.

Operation Chopper

Operation Chopper occurred on January 12, 1962 and was the first time US forces participated in major combat in the Vietnam War.

ARVN soldiers run to board U.S. Army CH-21C Shawnee helicopters. LIFE Magazine.

In December 1961, the USNS Core docked in Saigon with 82 US Army helicopters. A little more than 12 days later on 12 January 1962, Operation Chopper commenced.

Thirty-three United States Army Piasecki CH-21C Shawnee transport helicopters of the 8th and 57th Transportation Companies airlifted 1,036 soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) into battle against an insurgent Viet Cong stronghold, approximately 10 miles west of Saigon. The Viet Cong were surprised and soundly defeated, but they gained valuable combat experience they later used with great effect against American troops. The paratroopers also captured an underground radio transmitter.

A U.S. Army CH-21C Shawnee over the Landing Zone west of Saigon, 12 January 1962. U.S. Army.

This operation heralded a new era of air mobility for the U.S. Army, which had been slowly growing as a concept since the Army formed twelve helicopter battalions in 1952 as a result of the Korean War. These new battalions eventually formed a sort of modern-day cavalry for the Army.

Disappearance of Eloise Worledge

Eloise Anne "Ella" Worledge (8 October 1967 – disappeared 12 January 1976) was an 8-year-old girl who was abducted from her home in Beaumaris, Victoria, Australia, on 12 January 1976. No one has ever been arrested in her abduction, which is now considered a cold case.

Eloise Worledge, circa 1975.

Worledge's four-year-old brother raised the alarm when he noticed she was not in her room at 7:30 a.m. He later told police that he had heard "robbers" who had kidnapped his sister — but was too scared to say anything because he thought they would take him too. There was no sign of a struggle. He described hearing crackling noises that police believe to be consistent with steps on the sea-grass floor covering of Worledge's bedroom.

The flywire in Eloise's bedroom had been cut and the window wound out as far as it could go.

Police believed that Worledge was lured from her bed by someone whom she knew and trusted, and had simply left the house via the front door, which had been left unlocked. Another possibility was that she may have been abducted by a prowler known to be in the area at the time.

Neighbours reported seeing an unfamiliar car outside the house. Molly Salts, a neighbour from further down the street, saw a young man jump the fence into the Worledge property after running in front of her car and across the street. At 2 a.m., Daphne Owen-Smith heard a child's cry and a car door slam; Ann Same reported also hearing this at the same time.

Lindsay Worledge. The Age.

Both parents were initially treated as suspects. At the time of Worledge's disappearance, both her parents Lindsay and Patsy Worledge had been having affairs, and her father was believed to be depressed due to the looming divorce.

Despite a very extensive search and a $10,000 reward posted in 1976, no trace of Eloise Worledge has ever been found. Homicide cold case detectives reinvestigated the case in 2001, but to no avail. Former teacher and business adviser Lindsay Worledge died in 2017, 41 years after his daughter disappeared with police no closer to knowing what happened to his daughter.

Maurice Gibb

Maurice Ernest Gibb, CBE (22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003) was a British singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, who achieved fame as a member of the pop group the Bee Gees. Although his brothers Barry and Robin Gibb were the group's main lead singers, most of their albums included at least one or two compositions by Maurice, including "Lay It on Me", "Country Woman" and "On Time".

The Bee Gees were one of the most successful rock-pop groups ever. Gibb's role in the group focused on melody and arrangements, providing backing vocal harmony and playing a variety of instruments.

Barry, Robin and Maurice in Australia in 1959.

Born on the Isle of Man, Gibb started his music career in 1955 in Manchester, England, joining the skiffle-rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes, which later evolved into the Bee Gees in 1958 when they moved to Australia. They returned to England, where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music". Following his death in 2003, Gibb's son collected his award at Buckingham Palace in 2004.

Robin, Barry and Maurice in 1979.

Gibb's earliest musical influences included The Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, and Paul Anka; The Mills Brothers and The Beatles were significant later influences. By 1964 he began his career as an instrumentalist, playing guitar on "Claustrophobia". After the group's break-up in 1969, Gibb released his first solo single, "Railroad", but his first solo album, The Loner, has never been released.

Maurice died unexpectedly at the age of 53 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, on 12 January 2003, due to complications of a twisted intestine, with his wife, children, and brothers at his side.

Twenty20 cricket

Twenty20 cricket, sometimes written Twenty-20, and often abbreviated to T20, is a short form of cricket. At the professional level, it was originally introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 for the inter-county competition in England and Wales. In a Twenty20 game the two teams have a single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs.

Together with first-class and List A cricket, Twenty20 is one of the three current forms of cricket recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as being at the highest international or domestic level.

Australia’s first international Twenty20 game was against New Zealand in 2005.

On 12 January 2005 Australia's first Twenty20 game was played at the WACA Ground between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sell-out crowd of 20,000, which was the first time in nearly 25 years the ground had been completely sold out.

The game has succeeded in spreading around the cricket world. On most international tours there is at least one Twenty20 match and all Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition.

2010 Haiti earthquake

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogane, approximately 25 kilometres west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.

By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. Death toll estimates range from 100,000 to about 160,000 to Haitian government figures from 220,000 to 316,000; these have been widely characterised as deliberately inflated by the Haitian government.

The government of Haiti estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged. The nation's history of national debt, prejudicial trade policies by other countries, and foreign intervention into national affairs, contributed to the existing poverty and poor housing conditions that increased the death toll from the disaster.

Large portions of the National Palace collapsed.

The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other cities in the region. Notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail.

Among those killed were Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot and opposition leader Micha Gaillard. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, located in the capital, collapsed, killing many, including the Mission's Chief, Hédi Annabi.

Planes loaded with aid supplies crowd the tarmac at Port-au-Prince airport, waiting to be unloaded 18 January 2010.

Many countries responded to appeals for humanitarian aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel.

Communication systems, air, land, and sea transport facilities, hospitals, and electrical networks had been damaged by the earthquake, which hampered rescue and aid efforts; confusion over who was in charge, air traffic congestion, and problems with prioritising flights further complicated early relief work. Port-au-Prince's morgues were overwhelmed with tens of thousands of bodies. These had to be buried in mass graves.

Reading about that creature Goring, I wondered if the German people had any notion of having another go at conquering the world, but there is absolutely no sign of it.

They do not want to spend millions on their military, it seems their ugly past still weighs heavily on the people, but Donald Trumps wants them to become a friendly ally who has an up-to-date military force.  He's certainly shaken things up.

  ......Donald Trump's claims that NATO is "obsolete" and his broader questioning of collective security has been a "big surprise" to Germans says Bethold Kohler, an editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "Nobody could imagine a US president would say such a thing."

 ....Germany currently spends only around 1.2% of GDP on defence. "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military," tweeted President Trump recently. '"Very bad for U.S. This will change."

 Germany will resist Trump's calls for huge extra spending, but underfunding has been at times highly embarrassing, such as the revelation that during a Nato exercise in 2014 Bundeswehr tank commanders covered up their lack of machine guns by using broomsticks painted black.

 …Werner Kraetschell, who knows Angela Merkel and her thinking well, says she wants a "strong German army able to take international responsibility". But her difficulty is that "the German people are against the army".

Perhaps the Germans will continue a unique historical experiment, trying to become a growing international power without significant military effort.

For the past still weighs heavily. Whatever happens, there'll be no brash marching into action abroad. Instead, Germany's military will tiptoe warily into a highly uncertain future.

Reading about Eloise Worledge makes you realize how many unsolved crimes there are in Australia, incompetent police maybe?  Remember Milat?  It was so badly handled, a fella called Onions was recalled from England to testify, if it wasn't for him, he'd still be out there.

Hard to get actual numbers Toot but if South Australia is anything to go by it could be up to 10% of total cases over time, e.g. SA: Over the last 10 years about 10% remain unsolved on average each year, despite clearances of 100% in some years. The small number that remain unsolved annually build up over time and there are now over 113 cases in South Australia that remain unsolved dating back to the 1950s.

All states seem to offer large rewards from time to time in an endeavour to solve cold cases.

There are also unidentified victims. The remains of at least 20 people suspected to have been murdered have been located throughout Australia over several decades but never identified.

There are 1600 long-term missing persons in Australia who have been missing for more than six months, according to the Missing Persons Unit.

Nice of you to post this great link on the Happy Thread, RnR.

Thought Let's chat readers may enjoy seeing the pics??

Seems that the word is out on Google images Bijou. Nothing barred, so to speak.

See here.

Micha shit stirring folks . 

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