xenith: (Default)
From the Daily Telegraph, 9 September 1899:

The thermometer 92deg. in the shade in London in July. Hence the following with accompanying illustration, from the "Daily Mail"-

"When everyone is trying to solve the problem of how to keep cool, it is not surprising that the always-willing-to-oblige inventor should come forward with suggestions for improving the lot of perspiring humanity. The [below] illustration embodies the more or less Quixotic devices for keeping cool which the heat wave has brought forth.

Illustration )
"A penny releases a miniature blizzard from an automatic machine which sets an electric fan working. The pocket-stove used in Arctic countries has its counterpart in the pocket refrigerator, while the small electric battery in the hip-pocket sends a current of cool air through the coil which encircles the legs. London is not adopting these inventions with any degree of enthusiasm."
xenith: (Default)
Today I came across this odd story in a copy of the Examiner (28 October 1899) and not having an H entry, I thought I'd share it.



Many men have made their homes in strange places; but perhaps the strangest habitation of them all is the rusty, battered furnace-boiler in the Erie Basin, Brooklyn, in which "Old Moore, " as he was commonly called, spent 40 years of lonely life, and in which he recently died.

"Old Moore's" history is strangely pathetic. In early manhood he was captain of a large merchant ship plying between Brooklyn and the East Indies. On his last voyage he married a native girl, of rare beauty, and was proudly bringing his bride to America, when his vessel was caught in a hurricane and dashed to pieces, every life but his own being lost.

He never recovered from the shock of losing his young wife; and day after day for 40 years he would row out to sea in the hope that he might at last find her body. Among the piled-up wreckage in the Erie Basin, hulls of abandoned coal-boats, old machinery, anchors, furnaces, and the debris of neighbouring factories, he found on old furnace-boiler, part of which was lined with abestos, and in these narrow, but warm, quarters, only 7ft. long, 4ft. wide, and 6ft. high, he made his home. He converted a broken steam shovel into a stove, and on it he cooked the few fish he caught. He never spoke a word to any soul except an occasional greeting to the watchman; and steadily declined all offers of sympathy and help.

In a home still smaller, and almost equally strange, a Tennessee man and his wife have lived for a generation, and brought up a stalwart family of 11 children. The home consists of a hollow tree, 7ft. in diameter, perched high on the side of an East Tennessee mountain. The floor is made of rough slabs, split from smaller tree trunks, dry leaves form comfortable beds, and the skins of animals a sufficient covering, while the entire furniture consists of an axe, a rifle, and a hunting knife, an iron pot, a water pail, two or three large gourds, a bread tray, and a meal bag.

In Wisconsin a party of hunters recently discovered a wild man living in a cave in the side of a huge bluff, partly covered with undergrowth. The man, who was apparently about 60 years old, had nearly lost all human likeness. His matted hair and beard almost enveloped him; his clothing consisted of a single sack wrapped around his body; and he had lived so long in the pine forest that he had lost all knowledge of human speech, and could only jabber incoherently.

His arms and legs were so enormously strong that he could lift a weight of half a ton as easily as a strong man could lift a hundredweight, and the soles of his feet were literally as hard as iron.

At Funfkirchen, in Hungary, a former landowner of great wealth has for many years led a similar savage life, roaming the woods by day in search of food, and spending the nights in caves or trees.

In the wildest part of the Alleghanies a party of hunters discovered a cabin nestling among the rocks on a barren hill-side. The occupant of this cabin--probably the most solitary in the world--was a middle-aged woman, of education and refinement, who retired to it from the world ten years ago.

It would be difficult, however, to find a more remarkable home than that which a fisherman has made for himself in an island off the coast of Labrador. 'This ingenious man has converted the skeleton of a whale, the carcase of which had drifted ashore, into a snug residence, which defies wind and weather; and here he leads, rent free, the life of a Jonah--only with a longer lease of the whale.

(The same article turns up in a NZ paper so I assume it originally appeared in an American publication. Beyond that, I've no idea of the source of the tales, and I don't care :)
xenith: (Default)
Today I came across this little announcement, and the tone of it caught my attention.


Without wishing to unduly alarm the residents of the low-lying portions of Inveresk, I wish to notify them that both the North and South Esk Rivers are rising very rapidly, and that there is a possibility of Inveresk being flooded this afternoon or tonight.

If there are signs of water going over the embankment, the Post Office Clock will be tolled for half an hour, and residents living on the lower portion of Inveresk are advised to leave their houses immediately the warning is given.

Originally it appeared in a special edition of the Examiner, although I came across it in a little book The Tasmanian Floods 1929, Compiled for the Government of Tasmania by William Judd. The 1929 Flood was the worst natural disaster to hit Launceston. In order to alert residents in threatened areas of the danger, a special one-page issue of the local newspaper (the Examiner) was printed and distributed to all the houses the day before, as in hours before. The above announcement, written by the Mayor, appeared in this issue, along with a request from other residents to provide assistance. The problems of communicating with the masses, before TV and widespread radio.

The book continues with:

It was a pitiless night. The rain was falling in torrents, and a strong wind was blowing, but the first disaster came before mid-night, in the failure of the electric supply, and the plunging of the whole city into Cimmerian darkness.

The flood waters had submerged the local station – later they destroyed it – and had broken down the Hydro-electric mains, so all hope of securing electric light had to be abandoned.

And then the dreaded summons of the alarm bell.

Launceston is proud of its centenary chimes, and of the deep sonorous notes of the big bass bell, on which the hours are struck, but few who heard it slowly tolling in the very early morning hours of the Black Saturday will ever forget the sense of impending disaster that it created, especially when it was joined by the harsh clanging of the fire bell.

He goes on to describe the arrival of volunteers with their cars, and how they waded through water and rain to rescue the residents, and then later in boats. Fascinating details of an event I'd grown up hearing about, and seeing photos from, but never had it brought to life like this little booklet managed.
xenith: (Deck quoits)
No. 14 Platoon Trench Orders

1. Equipment must be worn at all times.

2. Sand bags are placed in each fire tray for the collection of Rubbish Dirty Ammunition and Empties and must be used for that purpose. Tins, broken food and other litter must not be thrown about the trench of into sump holes.

3. The N.C.O. in charge of each section will be held personally responsible for the cleanliness of the respective fire bays and sector of trench.

4. It is of great importance that the covers of latrine tins be lowered after use.

SENTRIES – All Sentries must know Number of their post also number of trench sector. The Waiting man must get up and Report "number of post and sector 'all correct'" WHENEVER an officer passes.

Sentries must not have their meals while on look out. N.C.O. on duty must relieve them for sufficient time to enable them to eat each meal.

Waiting man to sit NEXT to sentry on periscope. Sentries must stand where periscope can be arranged for this to be done. By night both sentries stand and look OVER top. Waiting men are to fire should a target be spotted by sentry, to rouse the platoon in case of alarm and to fetch N.C.O. on watch should it be necessary to draw this attention to anything.

D.O. Wilson 2nd Lieut
Platoon Commander

(In an envelope addressed to Field Post Office 12. Postmark Jy 21 16)
xenith: (Deck quoits)
This is wonderful. It's based on Launceston but, once you get past the first bit, I don't think that really matters. (A bit over ambitious with the newspaper editions, do you think?)

It is far more intriguing to gaze with prophetic eye into the future than ruminate retrospectively on the past or to reflect prosaicly on the present.

"A prophet hath no honour in his own country," postulated the good St. John. But he knew nothing about crystal sets, television, light aeroplanes or electric heating. He didn't even know anything about high audio frequency. Neither do you or 1; but that is beside the point. And so I must go on.

Come, take a ramble in your imagination with me through Launceston on this summer afternoon in this year of grace 1978. You are probably in your 90th year, but, having taken the advice of Professor Voronoff in your youth, you have all the vivacity and ebullience of a schoolboy. Therefore, your imagination should be correspondingly accommodating.

Mind your head! Those beastly air hogs fly too low these days in t heir light 'planes. 1 thought lie was going to hit that mechanical policeman. I must say he plies a pleasing 'plane. Do you remember a time--30 years ago--when the traffic used to be controlled by policemen? What were they? Six feet of humanity with blue uniforms and a bored smile. They used to write nasty things in small books when you did things with cars.

Yes, this is St. John Street. These were the old Public Buildings right up till 1938. There is the old Income Tax Office. Remember when taxes used to be a shilling and more in the pound? A bit different to 1/2d per cent, eh? Those were barbarous days, as Kipling used to say on his way from the races.

Let's stop here for a moment in Brisbane Street. What crowds there are now since Launceston has reached a population of 500,000! Can you put your mind into reverse and recollect the 50,000 League? A fine body of men. Even they were not optimistic enough to visualise half a million people. They are still in existence, only under another name, of course. The Five Million Club is their present designation.

I rather like the look of those 15-storey shops, though they do give you the feeling of a hemmed-in atom. Once Brisbane Street extended only 250 yards or so. But people have made so much money since Mr. Ockerby gave us 3 o'clock closing that they have been able to put their money into building investments--and this is the result. No, thanks. There's no time to have one now--it's just gone three. And since they have put those televisors into the bars they'd know it at the Police Station as soon as we approached the counter.

Snippy for length )
xenith: (Deck quoits)
Virtual gold star to first correct answer :) These were intended to occupy members of a garden tour while on the bus.


Things you might find in a garden other than plants

dhle oost
eghiill nsww
aaceginn rtw
aaceooprrs tttt
xenith: (Deck quoits)
Last random entry for today because I am tired, and sick of fighting with computer. This the first in a series that was published in the Examiner. I saved to a folder on the drive years ago, but I'll just use the first one :)


Sir, I am aware that it is next to impossible for a writer to give en exact description of occurrences of 60 years back. At the same time an eye witness, on whose memory the scenes remain as vividly as if they had happened yesterday, naturally has a desire to see them related correctly, and, perhaps, "B" may also like to be in possession of the real facts of his story. I do not propose to add to the necessarily brief and rapid sketch which he given of the startling events that were crowded into that night at Elphin with the exception of one instance in order to further elucidate the character of Brady.

My father, hearing a gun discharged at the back of the house, went out to see what it meant, not suspecting bushrangers, when he was immediately seized by armed men from each side of the back porch, one of whom, annoyed at resistance, gave him a bayonet thrust, but the weapon getting tangled in his necktie, the man gave him a blow on the head with it, and when he was taken back into the house the blood was seen running over his face. The wound was dressed by his son-in law, Dr. Landale, Brady assisting and expressing his sorrow for what was done, and threatened summary punishment on any man who offered further violence.

There was not a large party of friends collected, the only visitors being Dr. Landale and his wife. The family consisted of my father and mother, myself, then a boy nearly eight years old, and my younger sister, too young a child to retain any distinct memory of what took place. My brother and my other sisters were from home at school.

The story of Brady requesting one of the ladies to seat herself at the piano, and singing to the music, is probably founded on the fact that while the bushrangers were surrounding the house, my sister, Mrs. Landale, was playing on that instrument the ominous air "The Campbells are coming."

The servant alluded to having been thrust into a room and the door locked, escaped by a second door, eluded Brady's sentry within a few yards of him, and made straight for Mr. Mulgrave's, the P.M., who despatched a message to the barracks, and at once armed himself and hurried to Elphin accompanied by one soldier, one constable, and, I think, the messenger. In the meantime Brady having been signalled by one of his sentries that men were on the move towards the house, collected his men with a whistle, gave the order, " Now my lads, we must go," and retired to an outhouse, whence they intended to give the soldiers a warm reception. Mr. Mulgrave rushed into the house at the front, double-barrelled gun in hand, enquiring in excited tones, " Where are the scoundrels?" and was answered by a volley from the outhouse, one bullet taking a piece out of the soldier's coat, one leaving a round hole in an upper window, and several leaving their track along the shingles of the porch, where it could he seen for many years. Brady and his men then removed to a field bounded by the Patterson's Plains and Elphin roads. Then arrived Dr. Priest, who would not dismount but insisted on reconnoitring, and rode round the field where the bushrangers were. As he passed they fired a volley, nine bullets hitting the horse, and two piercing his knee. I saw the dead horse riddled with bullets. The doctor was taken, not to Launceston, but to Elphin, where he was well known, and where he died after a fortnight's suffering. When he at length consented to have the limb amputated his medical brethren agreed that it was too late to perform the operation. Dr. Priest's white trousers accounted for the line in which the bullets took effect.

A good deal of plunder was collected, and bound in bundles, and a horse and cart were got in readiness for carrying it away, but, thanks to Mr. Mulgrave's prompt action, these bundles were left behind, and so were the horse and cart.

Colonel Balfour was riding past some men whom he mistook for his own. Hearing the click of fire-locks he called out, " My men, what are you doing ? I'm the colonel," and was replied to by shots, which blew off his cap and pierced it. Some ten soldiers were sent to Elphin under a lieutenant, but did not arrive till the bushrangers had disappeared. The officer said that he had made a detour with a view of cutting off their retreat. He had to endure much "chuff" on this account, but I presume he did what he judged to be the right thing.

Brady, when captured, was wearing Colonel Balfour's cap. He was brought along the Elphin road well guarded, and on horseback, his leg being wounded. My father met him, and had a conversation with him, and took me with him. I observed that the prisoner spoke calmly, and occasionally smiled and joked. He was certainly a different man from the run of bushrangers, and, perhaps, had he lived under milder laws in the first instance, would have exhibited a very different course of life.

Yours, etc., William Dry

Launceston Examiner, 1 February 1888
xenith: (Deck quoits)
This one is more of a memory prompt. It comes from a letter by John Robertson(?), the Presbyterian minister for Bothwell, a small town in the Central Highlands. Writing in 1851, he describes Bothwell as

a small & poor township of 300 people all engaged in trade, handcrafts, or as labourers, & in which nearly nine tenths of the adult population are, or have been convicts

Probably not something they'll put on their tourist brochures :)

John was writing about his Sunday school and the problems of getting children to attend. I wanted to write a note to myself to remember Sunday schools were real schools for teaching reading and writing, for any children who felt a need to attend or whose parents felt a need for them to attend, and not limited to those who shared the same religious persuasion as the church providing the school. While complaining about attendance in general, John did note that parents from a particular class did feel more inclined to push their children to attend -- they wanted their children to share the benefits of an education that they'd never had themselves.
xenith: (Deck quoits)
Ad on back cover of programme for Irene, Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1974.

"Fine, Miss Sanders, I'll write you down as an Ms; you're my eighth this week."

You don't have to tell an A.M.P. man there's a new kind of woman. He meets them all.

Independent women--even though a lot of them are married. Women starting businesses, programming computers, creating research, getting deep into the business of making a success of life.

Now it might surprise you to know the first female A.M.P. rep was out there understanding women back in the early 40's. And you mustn't be surprised if the A.M.P. "man" who calls you is a lady. She knows her stuff.

A.M.P. isn't just in the men business; we're in the people business; and our people understand need and ambition. They have ideas that can help you. All you have to do is ask.

No matter what titles you want to use to describe your sex or attitude, A.M.P. insurance works. OK Ms. Sanders?
xenith: (Deck quoits)
This letter amused me, because it's just one sentence.

A day or two before I'd been reading an exchange online about a point of grammar and a rarely used form of a common verb. It might have been lain. One party argued that it was the correct term and therefore should have been used. The other party argued that if a word has fallen out of use to the extent that people weren't familiar with it, was it necessarily correct. To which the rejoinder was: the rules of grammar don't change! Well...

Still, this isn't an example of a change of grammar rules but a change in how sentences were put together. It was written by the Colonial Secretary* (19 September 1937) but I'm sure even today's government bureaucrats would be doing well to match it. (Possibly it's missing a comma. It can be hard to see them sometimes.) So for your entertainment...

I am directed to inform you that the necessary Instructions have been given for authorizing to you from the date of your Landing salary and allowances according to the provision made for the Minister of St Andrew’s Church in the Estimate which passed the Council in July last, and that henceforth you will be the medium of communication between the Government, and the Presbyterian Body, an arrangement from which His Excellency anticipates the most satisfactory consequences, as regards order and uniformity of procedure upon all points in which the Acts of Government may involve, in any respect the Interests of the Church of Scotland in this Colony.

*John Montagu, who not only writes a very neat hand that's easy to read, but is quite a interesting person .
xenith: (Default)
My USB sticks have some odd fragments on them. I think, to keep me motivated today, I might share some. One every 1500 words :)
xenith: (Two birds)
A couple of years ago someone gave me a book about Matthew Finder's travels. One day I'll get around to actually read it, but I've looked at the pictures. It has some interesting pictures, including this one of Circular Head/Stanley by an unknown artist. It has emus! Which I thought cool because I hadn't seen a painting with emus in it before. Not the Tasmanian emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae diemenensis), which was a different sub-species to the mainland bird. Being a large flightless bird, it went the way of many other large flightless birds once Europeans arrived.

A bit more )


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