Tag Archives: Australia

Add Your Piece of History… 4th August

4 Aug
  • On this day in 1929.  The first passenger train departs Adelaide on the Ghan railway line to Alice Springs.  The original Ghan train was called the Afghan Express, a name which was soon shortened to just “The Ghan”.  It was named The Ghan because it followed the tracks of the Afghan camel teams which used to make the trek across central Australia.  The first train trip of the Ghan pulled out of the Adelaide station on 4 August 1929 with 120 passengers on board.  The train now travels through the centre of Australia, between the cities of Adelaide and Darwin, a total journey of 2979km.


  • On this day in 1961.  Barack Obama celebrates his birthday today.  Barack Hussein Obama II was born in  Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.  Barack is the 44th and current President of the United States. 


  • On this day in 1901.  Louis Armstrong was born on this day in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.  Considered the father of Jazz, he replaced the Beatles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Hello, Dolly!” when he was 63 years old.


Please feel free to add a piece of history (something personal or general history).


The Ghan waiting at Alice Springs station befo...

The Ghan waiting at Alice Springs station before continuing north to Darwin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter

Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add Your Piece of History… 31 July

31 Jul
  • On this day in 1942.  The town of Mossman in far north Queensland is bombed by the Japanese.   In WWII, the first real attack of the Japanese on an Australian base occurred with the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942.  That attack was the first of about 90 attacks that occurred at various places in and around Australia during the war.  Shortly after this initial attack, the northwest coastal towns of Broome and Wyndham also came under fire, followed by Derby a few weeks later.  It is less well known that the town of Mossman, near Cairns, was also bombed.  On the night of 31 July 1942, Sub Lieutenant Mizukura dropped eight bombs, thinking that the lights he saw were Cairns.  In fact it was Mossman, and while the other seven bombs have never been recovered, one fell on a sugar cane farm near Saltwater, Mossman.  It caused a crater that measured 7 metres wide and a metre deep, and sent flying shrapnel through the window of a nearby farmhouse.  Farmer Felice Zullo’s two and a half year old daughter was wounded in the head from shrapnel which entered the house while she was in her cot at the time.
  • On this day in 1947.  J.K. Rowling celebrates her birthday today.  Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury, England.  J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter books.  The use of J.K. Rowling was the publisher’s decision to stop boys from being discouraged by the story’s author being female.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add Your Piece of History… 19th July

19 Jul
  • On this day in 1916.  The night of the 19th of July 1916 is sometimes referred to as Australia’s “worst day in history”.  This is the day the nation lost almost 2000 men in a single night, during World War I.   The Battle of Fromelles was the first significant battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front.  It begun 19 days after the Battle of the Somme began, the main purpose of the Fromelles was to draw German troops away from being redeployed to the Somme from areas of the Western Front where less fighting was taking place.  The main battle commenced with an attack at 6:00pm by troops of the 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions.  The Australian troops were to attack from the north, from a point known as the ‘Sugarloaf’ while the British were to come in from the west.  The problem was that the Australian Division was inexperienced, while the British Division were under strength.  Although small sections of the German trenches were captured by the 8th and 14th Australian Brigades, the attack lacked the necessary element of surprise to be effective, as it was preceded by seven hours of artillery bombardment.  German machine gunners inflicted heavy damage on the Allied troops and by 8:00am the following morning, the Battle of Fromelles was all but over, and the troops forced to withdraw.  The 5th Australian Division suffered a total of 5,533 casualties, including over 1900 deaths, while the 61st British Division suffered 1,547 casualties, to the Germans’ 1,000.


  • On this day in 1799.  The Rosetta Stone is discovered, holding the key to unlock the secrets of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.  The Rosetta Stone is a dark grey pinkish stone of granite, although it was originally thought to have been basalt.  It was discovered on the 19th of July 1799 by French Captain Pierre-Francois Bouchard during Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign in Egypt.  The irregularly shaped stone inscribed with ancient writing was found near the town of Rosetta, approximately 60km north of Alexandria.  The stone contained fragments of passages written in 3 different scripts, Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Demotic Egyptian.  The Greek passage stated that all 3 scripts were identical in meaning.  Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs, a language that had been considered dead to two thousand years.  25 years later, French Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion successfully deciphered the hieroglyphics.  It was the first time that the world became aware of the depth of the history and culture of ancient Egypt.


Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).


Soldiers of the Australian 5th Division, waiti...

Soldiers of the Australian 5th Division, waiting to attack during the Battle of Fromelles, July 19, 1916. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Pierre-François Bouchard discovered the Rosett...

Pierre-François Bouchard discovered the Rosetta Stone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Add Your Piece of History… 11th July

11 Jul



  • On this day in 1979.  The abandoned U.S. space station Skylab returned to Earth. It burned up in the atmosphere and showered debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.  In all, the space station orbited Earth 2,476 times during the 171 days and 13 hours of its occupation during the tree manned Skylab Missions.  Astronauts performed ten space walks totalling 42 hours and 16 minutes.


  • On this day in 1848.  The Waterloo railway station in London opens.


  • On this day in 2006.  Bombay terrorist attack on trains kills more than 160 people and injures a further 460 when seven bombs are detonated on the train network in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai.


Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).




English: Skylab space station. Français : La s...

Skylab space station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Main entrance to London Waterloo rail...

Main entrance to London Waterloo railway station, on the north-east side. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)






Add Your Piece of History… 7th July

7 Jul
  • On this day in 1841.  Explorer Edward Eyre completes the first crossing of Australia from east to west, travelling across the Nullarbor Plain from Adelaide to Albany.
  • On this day in 1958.  The highest ever recorded tsunami hits Lituya Bay, Alaska.  An earthquake measuring between 7.9 and 8.3 on the Richter Scale occurred along a nearby fault line, displacing approximately 40 million cubic yards of dirt and glacier from a mountainside a the head of the Bay.  The landslide triggered a tsunami, or series of waves, the tallest of which reached an estimated 524 metres (1700 feet) in height.
  • On this day in 1940.   Ringo Starr an English musician, singer and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles, celebrates his birthday today.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

Eyre Highway on the Nullarbor Plain, Australia...

Eyre Highway on the Nullarbor Plain, Australia. Road Sign for longest straight road in Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Lituya Bay a few weeks after the 1958...

Lituya Bay a few weeks after the 1958 tsunami. The areas of destroyed forest along the shorelines are clearly recognizable as the light areas rimming the bay. A fishing boat anchored in the cove at lower left was carried over the spit in the foreground; a boat under way near the entrance was sunk; and a third boat, anchored near the lower right, rode out the wave. Photo by D.J. Miller, United States Geological Survey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add Your Piece of History… 6th July

6 Jul
  • On this day in 1951.  Geoffrey Rush celebrates his birthday today.  He was born in Toowoomba, Australia.  He has stared in movie’s such as Shine (1996),  Shakespeare in Love (1998), Pirates of the Caribbean, The King’s Speech and The Eye of the Storm (2011).
  • On this day in 1560.  The Treaty of Edinburgh is signed by Scotland and England.
  • On this day in 1942.  Anne Frank and her family take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse to escape being sent to Nazi concentration camps.  In 1944 the Nazi Gestapo discovered the hiding place and the family was shipped off to a  concentration camp, Anne Frank died in 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany of typhus.
  • On this day in 1943.  The last of the heavy Japanese bombing attacks on Darwin occurs, though less serious attacks continue. The first of an estimated 64 air raids against Darwin during 1942 – 1943 occurred on 19 February 1942.  At least 243 civilians and military personnel were killed, not counting the indigenous Australians whose deaths were not counted, as the Japanese launched 2 waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters.  Three more minor attacks were carried out in August.  The final attack on Australian soil occurred on 12 November 1943.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

English: Geoffrey Rush at the 2011 Cannes film...

Geoffrey Rush at the 2011 Cannes film festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The explosion of an oil storage tank ...

The explosion of an oil storage tank and clouds of smoke from other tanks, hit during the first Japanese air raid on Australia’s mainland, at Darwin on February 19, 1942. In the foreground is HMAS Deloraine, which escaped damage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bombing of Darwin plaque outside Governmen...

The Bombing of Darwin plaque outside Government House on the Esplanade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add Your Piece of History… 1st July

1 Jul
  • On this day in 1937.  England implements the world’s first telephone emergency system.  It began as a response to an emergency situation in which 5 people were killed.  Phone calls were delayed when people attempted to report a fire.  It was decided that a single number system was necessary to enable emergencies to be reported quickly and efficiently.  The first actual call on the British 9-9-9 emergency number occurred 7 days later, on 8 July 1937, when a woman reported a burglar outside her home.  The burglar was apprehended.


  • On this day in 1997.  After 156 years of British colonial rule, Hong Kong was returned to China.  Britain invaded China in 1839, during the First Opium War.


  • On this day in 1942.  Australia’s worst maritime disaster occurs when the Montevideo Maru is torpedoed by American Submarine “USS Sturgeon”.   The war in the Pacific was initiated when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  Having taken out a large portion of the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese then set their sights on expanding their empire from the Indian/Burmese border, south through Malaya, across the islands off Indonesia to New Guinea, north west to the Gilbert Islands and north to the Kuril Islands off the Japanese coast.  In January 1942, Japanese forces landed in Rabaul on the island of New Britian, now part of Papua New Guinea.  There they established a defence base, launching offensives against Australian troops.  Prior to the invasion, there were an estimated 1400 troops in the region.  Of these, around 400 managed to escape.  The remaining 1000 were taken as prisoners of war (POWs), along with more than 200 civilians.  One group consistingg of almost 80 Australina officers and Army nurses was successfully moved from the base to Japanese territory.  The next group, made up of the remaining POWs and civilians, was transferred to the Japanese transport ship Montevideo Maru to be taken to Hainan, off the southern coast of China.  The carrier left Rabaul on 22 June.  The Montevideo Maru was not marked as  POW carrier.  The ship was torpedoed by the submarine USS Sturgeon.  It sank off the coast of the Philippines, near Luzon.  All 845 POWs and 209 civilians were killed, locked in the ship’s hold as it went down.  On 1 Jully 2012, 70 years after the tragedy, a memorial was unveiled in Canberra to honour the 1054 Australian prisoners who died aboard the Montevideo Maru.  The event remains Australia’s worst maritime disaster.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

Montevideo Maru c. 1941

Montevideo Maru c. 1941 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Add Your Piece of History… 27th June

27 Jun
  • On this day in 1880.  Bush ranger Ned Kelly’s siege of Glenrowan begins.  Glenrowan is a small town located approx. 180km north east of Melbourne.  Following the murder of police informer Aaron Sherritt yesterday, Ned Kelly’s gang expected a large number of police to travel to Glenrowan by train.  They attempted to get some of the townsfolk to help them lift the rail tracks, which would cause the train to crash and kill a large number of the expected police.  Few people were willing to assist, and people were gradually rounded up and held in the Glenrowan Inn so that they could not warn the train.  After entertaining the hostages for hours with games and dancing, the Kelly gang allowed the more trusted hostages to go home at nightfall, as the train was running late.  Thomas Curnow, the local school teacher was on of those released.  When he heard the train approaching he ran to warn of the danger ahead.  This gave the police time to prepare.  Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shoot out with police.  Gang member Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed and Ned was shot 28 times in the legs, which were unprotected by the armour.  Ned survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging by Judge Redmond Barry on the 29th October 1880.  Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on the 11th November 1880.
  • On this day in 1871.   The yen became the new form of currency in Japan.
  • On this day in 1880.   Helen Keller, the first blind and deaf person to communicate effectively with the sighted and hearing world, is born.  She was born near Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA.  Though normal at birth, Keller lost her senses of sight and hearing as a result of a fever, possibly scarlet fever or  meningitis, in February 1882 when she was 19 months old.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

English: Ned Kelly armour, located at the Stat...

Ned Kelly armour, located at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ned Kelly the day before his execution

Ned Kelly the day before his execution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Add Your Piece of History… 26th June

26 Jun
  • On this day in 1880.  Bushrangers, the Kelly Gang, execute police informer Aaron Sherritt, shortly before they themselves are captured.  Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bush ranger had a gang consisting of himself, his brother Dan, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart  Aaron Sherritt was an associate of the Kelly’s, and was close to the Byrne family,  He was engaged to Byrne’s sister for a while.  After the gang was outlawed following the murder of 3 policemen at Stringybark Creek in 1878, Sherritt turned police informant for money.  Sherritt advised the police to camp out in a cave near Byrne’s family home in the hopes of capturing Byrne as he visited his mother.  Sherritt’s presence was noted, and Byrne’s sister broke off her engagement to him.  On the night of 26th June 1880, Sherritt was at home with his new wife, mother-in-law and 4 policemen.  Sherritt answered a knock at the door, he was shot dead by Byrne.  Within a couple of days, Byrne was killed in a shoot out between the Kelly gang and the police.  Ned Kelly was the only one to survive to stand trial, after which he was hanged.

Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).

English: Joe Byrne's grave in the Benalla Ceme...

Joe Byrne’s grave in the Benalla Cemetery. Joe was a member of the Ned Kelly’s gang and was killed by police during the siege at Glenrowan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The site of the Glenrown Inn. This wa...

The site of the Glenrown Inn. This was where the bushrangers, Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart had their final shoot out with the police in 1880, at Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Add Your Piece of History… 24th June

24 Jun
  • On this day in 2010.  Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, is sworn in.  Kevin Rudd was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia in December 2007.  Before Rudd could finish his first term as Prime Minister, there was a push to replace him.  On the evening of 23 June 2010, then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, called for a leadership ballot.  When it became clear that Ms Gillard had the support of the Caucus, Kevin Rudd was forced to stand aside as leader of the Australian Labor Party.



  • On this day in 1967.  The Beatles recorded “All You Need Is Love”  


Please feel free to add your piece of history (something personal or general history).



The Bannockburn Monument near Bannockburn in S...

The Bannockburn Monument near Bannockburn in Scotland. The monument commemorates the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314. The monument, which consists of two hemicircular concrete walls surrounding a flagpost, symbolises the camps of the two antagonists on the night before the battle. A mounted statue of Scottish king Robert the Bruce stands nearby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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