Dec. 19th, 2020 10:50 am
xenith: (Default)

Richmond Bridge looking more like it's escaped from the English countryside than usual.

This is the last post here. I'm stopping the Paid Account so no more photos can be added (existing photos and posts should remain). Hopefully this means I'll get around to updating my actual website and adding more content to the various subject-specific WP blogs I have. Also I'd like to start a personal journal over there. And there's always our book blog. (Eyes off the tag, do I need a bugle?)
xenith: (Hobart)
The Nanonovel just completed is a murder mystery set in Hobart in 1827, and the main character is a police constable, and pickpocket on the side. Which is all well and good, but now I need to know something about policing in Hobart in 1827. That's all.

In the 1820s, things were rather different to what we're used to. Rather than a centralised, professional police force, the job often fell to unpaid/poor paid locals, with no uniforms and not a lot of authority. In NSW & VDL, at least, the job was about maintaining order (and retrieving absconders) rather than investigating crimes.

It was also a time of change, and that meant change in what police meant. The London Metropolitan Police were established in 1829. Even in Hobart Town, there was a major restructuring in 1827 (one reason for my date).

It is also a time people don't feel a need to write about, for anywhere. The little I've found in secondary sources (books & online) has been about the organisation. And by "little" I mean I have about enough notes to fill about 1.5 word processor pages, from all the resources I've been able to find. Primary sources might be useful, if I can discover what they are and then get access to them :)

I did get lucky last week. I found Police Superintendent Humphrey's evidence to the Bigge Commission in Series 3, Volume 3 of the Historical Records of Australia (a rather dry looking series of volumes that cover three shelves in the library) and the very useful "Standing Instructions for the Constabulary of Van Diemen's Land in appendix 17 of the second volume of the three volume "Report from the Select Committee on Transportation". They being from 1820 & 1836 respectively, although the latter was issued under the same lt governor who did the restructure so it's particularly useful. (Those two reports are also full of other useful and/or interesting stuff, I should consult them more often.)

Still that's a good start, and I feel more confident about writing it now. There are big holes still. (Like where does the MC sleep at night? I'm fairly sure he's not in the prisoner barracks but the police barracks don't seem to have been built yet (I wish I hadn't come across that bit of information or I could have happily been sending him there each night.)) There's also more to be pulled from the newspapers on Trove, but that is time consuming and not frustrating because of things that are implied or hinted at but never explained. It's like doing a jigsaw with no picture and all the pieces have been mixed up with the pieces in other boxes.
xenith: (Nanowrimo)
So usual sharing of pretty colourful graphs.

White line = goal.
Blue line = actual word count


xenith: (Signal hut)
How the Good News came to Harefield


From the final issue of the Harefield Park Boomerang, a little newspaper produced for the patients of Harefield House Hospital under the editorship of Mrs Theodora Roscoe. Poems, photos (of home), funny stories and anecdotes, the usual stuff you find in newsletters produced for/by soldiers. Although this, also in the final issue, is a bit different:
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xenith: (Eucalypt)

I wasn't sure about sharing photos from this exhibition. A lot of it is audio-visual, and much of its effectiveness comes from the placement of the elements within the space, and both of those get lost in photos. Against that, it might also be of interest to those who never/rarely get down to Hobart to actually see it.

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xenith: (Light Train)

Today I went to the Scale Model Expo and took some photos! But as it was inside, most of the photos are not very good :( These are the better ones, and Troy's planes are at the end.
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xenith: (Steps)
It is Show Day today, so here are some sheep (from Longford show last year).


Ryeland ram (old English breed, prime lambs)

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xenith: (Deck quoits)
Three objects from three museums at three different levels (national, state, local) in three different states/territories.

Three objects that particularly interested me when I visited museums in the last twelve months

From National Museum of Australia Old New Land gallery:


Two skeletons, the one at the back being the shorter ones. Its head blends into the background a bit so you have to look carefully. An interesting way to demonstrate the changes between the modern merino sheep and the earlier type.

The accompanying caption says:
In the early 19th century, Elizabeth Macarthur played a key role in importing and breeding merino sheep. Today, descendents of these sheep form a closed-flock at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, near Sydney.

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Sep. 6th, 2014 08:45 pm
xenith: (Railway)
Beechworth, in north-east Victoria, but I've been here before in 2009 so this is just a sort of overview of the town post, and then some bits and pieces later as I feel like it.


Looking at the older post, reminds that on the first time I came here I was asked "Why go there?" and this time it was "Why go there again?" Same answer, of course: because it's there. But also, I keep visiting places and having a quick look around and thinking "One day I'll have to come back and have a proper look about". So the more I travel, the longer my list of places still to visit becomes. Silly :)

In 2009, I stayed 2 night in Beechworth but left first thing in the morning, with a 2 hour stop over in Benalla on the way back to Melbourne. So I wanted to spend a bit more time in both, and I also included two other places just seen from the coach window (there were no trains running in 2009) to make sure there was enough to make the trip worthwhile. Four nights. Four towns.

(It did occur to me in the days beforehand that maybe I should have made the trip longer, but by the time I got to the end, four days was quite enough thanks. One of these days I'll go on a trip that involves lots of sitting around and relaxing. Really.)

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xenith: (Steering wheel)
Hydro Tasmania as one hundred years old, and as part of their celebrations, they're having open days at some of their stations. Trevallyn was open yesterday, so I went down for a look.


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xenith: (Car)

This weekend the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania had a "Public Awareness Day" i.e. an open day where members of the public also bring along their vehicles. I went along on Saturday and took some photos but camera failed miserably at the inside photo things. Which is a pity because they have some very cool vehicles. Some of the not-so-bad photos below:

This first part has the older (pre-1910) cars. Then some motorcycles. Then a range of other interesting vehicles. Then outside.

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xenith: (Eucalypt)

See this photo? I took this photo, then went to retake it and nothing happened. No movement of lens. No sound of focusing. No shutter click.


(Firstly, I tried to buy a new battery. DSE don't sell them. Battery place doesn't either. "Too many different types, he said, and the capabilities of phone cameras now--" Bah. Camera far exceeded stupid phone camera.)


I retook the same photo on little camera of weird photoness and crappy battery. It's not too bad with the streetscape thing. (And it is nice having a quiet, small camera, even if I kept losing it in my pocket.)
xenith: (Railway)
OK I will do the cemetery. That way I can spend some time sorting and editing next batch of photos and now have to worry about getting them up tonight.

You can read or not, as you wish. (Although there might, or might not, be a reference back n later posts, depending on what I decided to show/writer about.) (Also, there might be a test at a the end.) As usual, I've included extracts from the Wangaratta Cemetery Self-guided Tour Brochure in italics.


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xenith: (Railway)
I'll leave these in the order they were taken, mostly, because there is no reason not to and moving them around is tedious and time consuming.

Art Deco Court House! I don't know why the idea of an Art Deco-style court house is so cool, but it is. Maybe because court houses are either usually elaborate older buildings or dull newer buildings. Maybe because the writing on the building is Art Deco too, which is just so non-court housey. Whatever the reason, it is a cool looking building.

The heritage walk brochure goes on about it in great lengths. It says Court House & Public Office: They were built in 1938 at a cost of £14,000. OK so maybe not great or lengths but it is included.

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xenith: (Railway)
Random choice gives Wangaratta as the topic of the first photo post. It was also the first stop on my trip, and the last.

(I caught the Sydney express train from Melbourne, and got off here to catch coach to Beechworth. This gave me over three clear hours to wander about the town and takes photos. Camera had over ideas :( This lead to much sadness and then purchase of a little red camera with automatic everything and some other annoying traits, and I had an hour or two of photo taking. Then on Friday, I intended to return here and catch express back to Melbourne but they were saying delays of up to 40 minutes due to track work, so I cancelled and instead booked an earlier (and cheaper) VLine service. When I asked the nice lady at the counter what would get me to Melbourne by 6.30 pm, she frowned at the timetable and said "There's the 1.42 but it's a coach". Due to trackwork, coaches were substituting for trains. But it would allow me to spend a few more hours wandering around taking photos and get to Melbourne in plenty of time for my plane. So I booked on the coach and was given a ticket saying 1.42 Coach. But when I turned up on Friday to get on the 1.42 Coach it was instead 1.42 Train. Which was good. But the point of that being, I spent a couple of hours in Wangaratta on both Monday and Friday.)


Now to the photos, and I have split them into two posts. This one will be Murphy Street, some views of the streets and some of buildings along it, with notes from the heritage walk brochure the nice lady at the information centre gave me. The second post will be the other streets. I'm using the Heritage Walk Wangaratta brochure produced by the Wangaratta Regional Tourism Board, and I'll put bits from that in italics. These first paragraphs are a slightly rearranged version of their "Snapshot of Wangaratta's History".

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Aug. 5th, 2014 07:58 pm
xenith: (Signal hut)
As you've probably seen elsewhere, the fourth of August 1914 was the start of World War I (which was the 5th of August in Australia, which is today) and, as you;ve probably also seen, I've been doing a lot of related work at the museum. All right, that's all I've been doing for months? Years? Something like that.

I started with the photos from the Weekly Courier, a local weekly publication with full page photographic inserts in the middle, and spent some time transcribing a diary and one afternoon looking at photos of dead bodies in trenches*, but mostly recently I've been looking at service records, and reading them. These build a different story of the war to the usual ones. This story is made up from medical records, lists of promotion and transfers, letters from next of kin, medical records, disciplinary matters and requests for replacement medals/discharge papers. It is accounts of men in and out of hospital, dying of wounds soon after returning home, or decades later. GSW & shell shock** & gassing. It is letters from family asking for news when they haven't heard anything in a long time, or wanting the address of the hospital to write to, or enquiring about personal effects for a dead son while dealing with a seriously injured son, or waiving the claim of a bastard son's rights to medals (as next of kin) in favour of the soldier's father (but don't address these letters to the mother, as she doesn't know about the child), or trying to find the location of a grave Of men declared missing during August 1916 but the family having to wait months for the official KIA verdict, along with accounts of witnesses who had last seen them (being blown up by a shell, laying the ground seriously injured). The dead left there to be buried by shells. An NCO buried by his men in the cemetery of a nearby village.

Those who never made it out of (training) camp because they lied about their age. One such young man, whose two brothers had enlisted earlier, came back for a second try when he was old enough and was finally get sent over overseas, only to run up a string of AWLs. Pages of them. Even when he was finally sent home, he jumped ship in the US. Or the forty-four year old whose wife wrote a very long letter saying how hard he was finding it, how he really wanted to enlist and do his bit, but he was finding it very hard and he'd be forty-six in a few months... Or a young man from Warsaw, Russia who was discharged for being an enemy agent. He was actually from Bohemia, but he really hated the Germans and wanted to fight them, his letter said.

Recommendation for awards for gallantry, with accompanying descriptions. A major whose knee was injured when a plane fell into his tent. A captain blown up by a shell and twice covered by dirt, who was suffering from concussion and gassing. A young Duntroon graduate with a bright future killed in the Gallipoli landing. The three brothers, of whom only one came home. The major who shot himself on the transport home.

This is not the story you get through TV and films. It's a story about people doing what they did and how it affected them, and it contrasts so differently with the ra-ra dramatics you get on the screen (and in books and magazines) that I'm not sure I can watch them any more. It's a little depressing, with occasional light moments, but mostly it's fascinating and deep and I wish it would go away and leave me along.

*This is not a good thing to do. Not at all. There are some fascinating WWI photos that are worth looking at. Maybe even spending a whole afternoon looking at, but not exclusively bodies in trenches.

**Which seems to have originally been used to describe the (not visible) injuries caused by a shell including hearing loss, but later developed the broader meaning, although I can't find a source to confirm this
xenith: (Eucalypt)
Last night we went to a trivia fundraising event, and it was a bit... odd.

Not the trivia event itself. I'd been to the same event last year and it was much the same. Eight rounds of 10 or 20 questions. Each team is given a paper with the questions on it and ~five minutes to write down their answers. They can buy an answer ($2) or clue ($1) each round. Usual sort of thing.

The first round was easy, a sort of warm up round, with facts and figures. (e.g. How many days in June? How many S's are there in the name of the world's longest river? Fred collects cigarettes ends to make into cigarettes for himself. 7 ends will make one cigarette. He has 49 ends. How many cigarettes can he make?) We got 10/10. As did most of the other teams.

Second round was names of women who have won Olympic gold medals, scrambled. Also not that hard for the most part, and we got 20/20. As did three of the other teams.

Third found, badly copied photos of people to identify. A bit harder, but we got 10/10. As did, um, no other teams.

Fourth round was Tasmania. Bit harder. (e.g How many columns outside the town hall? When did women get the vote? What were the names of Tasman's ships?) But 20/20 again.

Really. Quite odd.

I kept going up to the check the scoreboard at the front of the room, and each time, there was the perfect score. Not something that is likely to happen again -- you need just the right combination of topics & team members -- but fun.

(Round 6 we finally got two wrong (What is the name of the white semi-circle thing at the base of the the fingernails?) and also in the final round; but we'd obviously won by then.)


Jul. 21st, 2014 09:10 pm
xenith: (Blue towers)
I seem to be juggling three new stories in my head: plots ideas and developments, character backgrounds, world building details and background research. Three. One is usually enough to keep me occupied.

#3 decided today that the characters needed names, and with that came their back stories. And I don't know anything about trains (well not enough to write about them) and even less about railway construction.

#2 at least just needs me to do some back-to-origins reading, and then I can make up the rest as I go (yay for SF).

#1, I am sure, is laughing at me, and I've forgotten their names. Also, police procedures 1820s-style?

Three. Gah.
xenith: (Lights)
Friday afternoon I caught the bus down to Hobart. I didn't see a point in getting up first thing in the morning to catch a bus when I didn't have to be there in the evening, and there was a Redline bus going down at lunch time. What I forgot was I don't like going to Hobart on Redline. Coming back is OK but going down I don't like. Anyway, I got down there after 5 pm and went to the Alabama Hotel to meet Joee.


It's a new hotel. "Budget Boutique" is how they describe themselves, and they have pink flamingo lights in the stairwell.

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Jul. 16th, 2014 04:17 pm
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
Lack of posting here is due to much writing and reading. Which is good, although it does leave me with lots of things I want to do here. This week I'll do some.


xenith: (Default)

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