Old Jokes

Jan. 7th, 2014 10:11 pm
xenith: (Eucalypt)
It's the last of VWeek!

So I raided the Chums volume for some old jokes.

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xenith: (Eucalypt)
This one is Blundells Cottage from the park along edge of Lake Burley-Griffin in Canberra. One of the few buildings in the area that pre-date the creation of the Australian Capital Territory.


I did share some photos from here in my trip report but these is a better coverage. Also I found the self-guided tour brochure so can include some bits form that. They'll be in italics.

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"Click, click, click, click," accompanied with a continuous "burr-urr-burr-uerr," like the sound made by the revolving shaft of a screw streamer; overheard the footsteps of the two men on the look-out--footsteps not rhythmical, but now slow, now quick, as the ship tosses and dips her bows. A loud, clear, "ping," followed by the opening of a door, then for a minute all other sounds are drowned by a noise that a baby's exaggerated cracker might make. Another "ping," comparative quietness resigns again. Such are the sounds that assail the ear of your friend Ulysses, who at the moment of writing is to all intents and purposed a prisoner in the estuary of the Thames.

Picture 1 I am in a cheerfully lit cabin, as clean and bright as a newly-minted shilling, and as big as a dining-room table. Behind me is the bunk that amid all these noises I slept in last night as sound as a top. In front of me is a lamp lashed to the table, and, if I life my eyes, they light upon the honest face of Peter Frost, who is making up his log, and who for nearly five years now has been master of the Nore lightship. Behind him again is his sleeping bunk. A brightly-polished copper stove, drawers underneath, and little cupboards at the side of each bunk, and a small book-case complete the equipment of this snug room, who acquaintance I made yesterday afternoon on the famous lightship at the mouth of the Thames.

It was then about five when the Vestal's cable was slipped from our starboard bow, and as the yacht which had brought me to the Nore steamed away I waved my adieux to Captain Reading, from whom I had received many kind attentions on the way down.

"You're a prisoner here now," said the master in kindly tones. "You can't send any letters off by post from here, or a telegram. You can't go a walk either for a change of air if the ship should disagree with you. But we'll have a cup of tea ready in a few minutes, and then it'll be time to light the lantern." I find that to get off the Nore is not an easy matter, else I should have been home by this time.

Meanwhile all hands were busy, putting the deck in something like order, for besides myself, the master, and three men, the Vestal had landed on the lightship's deck a ton of coal, a quantity of casks of water, drums full of oil, and boxes of provisions and clothes. These were put away only temporarily for the night, and this with tea brought us close to sunset, the time for hoisting the lantern, which, during the day, is in the deckhouse. I had a look at it here while it was being lit, which operation is performed by the cook for the time being.

It is octagonal, and is outside measurement is 18 feet. Inside it are 24 separate lamps, arranged in eight groups of three in the form of an equilateral triangle with the apex downwards. As these lamps revolve, one groups sheds its combined light in a particular direction, appearing to the spectator in the line of this direction like a large globe of light. This is only for a moment, for one lamp after another ceases to shine in this direction, and the globe of light dwindles until it disappears. Meanwhile, however, the first lamp of the next three is coming round, a faint spark appears, which slowly grows, until the rays from all three are focussed again in the direction of the on-looker. Thus, if anyone at a distance could always keep abreast of the same point of the lantern, the light to him would always appear the same.

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A dress

Jan. 4th, 2014 08:46 pm
xenith: (Eucalypt)
Back to the National Museum, and this dress was of interest. Actually it wasn't. I just glanced at it, and then the nearby labels, and then gave the dress a close look, for it is actually made from wool.

But my photo is very poor. Really, have a look at the much better photos on the museum's web site. The text below is from the panel accompanying the dress on display.


The Faithfull family of Springfiled station, near Goulburn, New South Wales, gew wealthy supplying wool to Britain. In about 1885, one Faithfull daughter bought this dress from David Jones department store in Sydney. The dress represented the latest in British fashion, but its origins probably lay close to home. It is made of fine wool of the type grown on Springfield.


By the 1880s, wool was Australia's most important export. Thousands of fleeces were shipped to Britain's mills to be scoured, carded, combed, spun, dyed and woven into cloth. Some of the wool eventually returned to Australia -- as bolts of fabric or ready-made clothing, drapery and furnishings.
xenith: (Eucalypt)
Front page

The British Pharmacopoeia was created in the mid-19th century as a standard reference to replace the three pharmacopoeias in use at the time. The first edition was published in 1864. From the first time I saw it, I thought it seemed a useful type of book. I'm not sure for what yet but one day...
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xenith: (Eucalypt)
At Melbourne museum there is a recreation of two cottages from the former Little Lon district, either a miserable slum and red light district or vibrant working class community of migrant and itinerant workers. Or both.


The panel there says....

You are invited to enter the world of Little Lon in the 1880s and 1890s.

Alleys, backyards and parts of two houses are recreated here: one of a very poor family, the other of a family better off. Although new timber buildings were outlawed in 1850, many survived for several decades, in increasing states of disrepair.

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xenith: (Eucalypt)

Left-hand cottage, with loose board, is the poorer cottage.

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xenith: (Eucalypt)

Right hand cottage, the "better off" one.

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xenith: (Eucalypt)
An up-country match usually takes place on a Saturday, when one township will muster an eleven to play another. The team go to the match on horseback--for the Australian rides everywhere, and will, it is said, go for a mile to fetch his horse to ride a mile.

Chums 21 June 1893 Cricket

From Chums, 21 June 1893
xenith: (Eucalypt)
Staffordshire figures are fairly commonplace in house museum and the like, especially the pair of spaniels. Possibly it was a law that every house had to have a pair.

Beyond the dogs though, what's interesting are the people figures, because they depicted well-known people of the time: celebrities, players in current affairs, fictional characters, anyone who might attract an audience willing to pay for an ornament to put on their mantelpiece. You get the usual suspects, kings and queens and such. The first time I actually came across them, other than the spaniels, was a collection brought into the QVMAG with multiple Napoleons.

Img_9182 Img_9181

The National Museum has on display a pair of William Smith O'Briens. One wearing fancy clothes and chains, the other in prisoner clothes.

Being intended for mass consumption, the figures were often made quickly and cheaply, especially later in the century when the back were often left unpainted. And there were other ways to easily create a "new" figure.

On the right, Dick Turpin. Change the name painted on the bottom, and we have an Australian "knight of the road" in Frank Gardiner.
xenith: (Eucalypt)
I thought I should write something myself but while I was gathering some link, I decided the introduction to the Wikipedia article says it quite well. So...

William Smith O'Brien was an Irish Nationalist and Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of the Young Ireland movement. He also encouraged the use of the Irish language. He was convicted of sedition for his part in the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848, but his sentence of death was commuted to deportation to Van Diemen's Land. In 1854, he was released on the condition of exile from Ireland, and he lived in Brussels for two years. In 1856 O'Brien was pardoned and returned to Ireland, but he was never active again in politics.

Or there's the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Or an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1864.

Or this biography in the paper describing the National Library of Ireland's William Smith O'Brien collection:

O'Brien became a member of Daniel O'Connell's Catholic Association but disliked O'Connell's threat to the political interests of the local Clare gentry class. He and O'Connell also disagreed over Irish poor law, tithe reform, the repeal of the corn laws, and non-denominational education reform. After O'Connell was imprisoned for sedition in 1843, O'Brien joined the Repeal Association and acted as leader in O'Connell's absence. This brought him into contact with a group of younger men led by Thomas Davis and associated with the Nation newspaper. A dispute arose over Young Ireland's support for Robert Peel's proposal for three non-denominational university colleges. Young Ireland also disliked O'Connell's conciliatory moves towards Lord John Russell's new Whig government. Matters came to a head when in August 1846 Thomas Meagher attacked O'Connell's non-violent approach and O'Brien led a split between Young Ireland and the Repeal Association. The following year O'Brien became leader of Young Ireland's Irish Confederation.

When the government ordered the arrest of several prominent Young Irelanders including Charles Gavan Duffy and suspended habeas corpus O'Brien attempted to initiate a rebellion. Enthusiasm was muted and on 29 July 1848 he and several others besieged Widow McCormack's house, outside Ballingarry in county Tipperary where police had taken her children hostage. O'Brien was arrested on 7 August and in October 1848 he was sentenced to death for high treason. This was later commuted to transportation for life to Van Dieman's Land.


On arrival, he was sent to Maria Island, to the probation station at Darlington, where he was given a cottage to live in. That one there, with the open door and the sign out the front.

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Jan. 1st, 2014 05:51 pm
xenith: (Eucalypt)
I think, for the first week of the year, I shall make it Victoriana Week here. I have some photos, of houses and object, some from Canberra, some older. I have some books to scan things from. I wonder if I can manage two posts a day. Also, I'll have to do one on O'Brien.


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