Australian History

AUSTRALIA HISTORY: Red Dust Revival sparks huge turnout of vintage cars, motorcycles at Lake Perkolilli

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#AceHistoryDesk – Red Dust Revival: One of Australia’s oldest motor racing tracks has roared back to life, more than a century after it became a playground for pioneers on West Australia’s Goldfields.

a vintage car racing on a dry, red dirt lake bed.
Cars can reach well over 160kph racing on Lake Perkolilli.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

About 150 vintage cars and motorcycles from across the country are racing on the hard claypan surface at Lake Perkolilli on the outskirts of the historic gold mining city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The Red Dust Revival event has attracted hundreds of spectators as vintage car lovers re-enact races held there before World War II. 

Russell Platts has spent much of the event waving the chequered flag as one of the race marshals and says he has the best seat in the house.

“We can smell the action here, it’s so close, I love it,” he said.

“We’re right here on the start and finish line, nice and close, it’s the best seat for sure.”

A man in a white coat waves the chequered flag at a vintage race car.
Russell Platts says he has the best view of the action.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

Organiser Graeme Cocks said it took an army of volunteers many months of planning to stage the event.

He said the interest from around the country had been overwhelming.

“With the three-year break, we’ve had people building cars all over Australia — from Tasmania to Queensland to Darwin — and we’ve got three times the number of cars here this time,” Mr Cocks said.

“There’s now a big shortage of spare parts because everyone has bought it all up.”Organiser Graeme Cocks says 105 vintage cars and 40 motorcycles registered for the Red Dust Revival.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

‘It’s very nostalgic’

Between 1914 and 1939, speed records were set on the lake’s hard, smooth surface at a time before quality roads were built.

But WWII put an end to the legendary races as fuel and men became scarce.Cars line up at the starters’ line on Lake Perkolilli.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

Among the most determined to make the trip west for the event was Johnno Everett, who lives on the outskirts of Sydney.

He drove his 1928 Model A Ford nearly 4,000 kilometres across the Nullarbor.

Most towed their vehicles or put them on trucks.A sign at Lake Perkolilli points to other famous race tracks around the world.   (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

Kevin Boardman attended the last event in 2019 and has made the journey again from Goulburn in New South Wales.

“It’s very nostalgic,” he said, while leaning against the tyre of his 1914 T Model Ford speedster.

“The thing is this race meeting was very unique back in the days when it ran.

“It’s the oldest racecourse in Australia, exactly the same as it was back in 1914.”A race car driver and crowd at Lake Perkolilli claypan racetrack near Kalgoorlie in 1928.(Supplied: WA Museum)none

Family affair rebuilding car

Matt Harrington is a fish out of water in the dust of Lake Perkolilli.

The remote-control submarine pilot from Perth has spent the past year rebuilding a 1930 Model A Ford with his children.

“My 13-year-old twins got interested in it,” he said.

“We thought it would be a good thing as a family together; get them off social media [and] all the online bullying and everything.

“We sat down in the shed, put the radio on and we built a car together.Matt Harrington and his son Tom, 13, with the car they built together.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

“We bought it as a rolling chassis and then with the help of Tom and his twin sister Sarah we’ve put the engine together, got parts from all around Australia, and now we’re competing.”

The vintage car hit a top speed of 82kph on one of its early runs around the 3km track. Other drivers were clocked well above 160kph.

“That probably doesn’t sound fast but out there it’s so scary,” Mr Harrington said.John Lakeland behind the wheel of a 1938 Triumph sedan that he has converted into a sports car body.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

Car body made from oil drums

While most of the cars at the event have seen better years, they were built to last.

Vintage car collector John Lakeland is effectively running two cars in one.

He purchased a 1938 Triumph dolomite sedan seven years ago and combined it with the body of a pre-war sports car that had been parked in a friend’s shed for decades.

Even among such an impressive field of vintage cars, the rustic body of the Triumph stands out due to the fact it is built from old oil drums.

“We’ve gone to great pains to make it using old worn-out parts from that era. So the car basically looks like it has just come out of a barn,” Mr Lakeland said.John Lakeland, of Melbourne, has been racing a 1938 Triumph at the Red Dust Revival.  (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

“The car still runs well. It’s done 650,000 miles (1 million kilometres) when I bought it and we’re probably up to 670,000 miles (1.1 millions kilometres) now and still going strong.”

As a member of the UK-based Pre-1940 Triumph Motor Club, Mr Lakeland has owned more than 30 Triumphs in his lifetime.

His present collection stands at six.

“I currently have more pre-war Triumphs than anyone in the world,” he said.

“They are absolutely magnificent cars that are polished to the Nth degree, but this car [the 1938 Triumph] gets more attention than the polished cars do.The hard claypan surface at Lake Perkolilli is one of Australia’s oldest race tracks.  (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

“If I drive to an event or a service station, people are drooling over it and talking about it.

“Whereas if I drive the shiny one, they like it but they don’t pay as much attention as they do to this one, which looks like it’s been knocked around.”

Embracing the 1920s theme

While most spectators’ eyes are glued to the track, not everyone comes for the racing, but rather to relive the fashion of a bygone era.

One group of four women was spotted walking their dogs in 1920s-themed clothing, as they headed for the trackside tent to sip on champagne.Heather Mettam (from left), Ray Yates, Erna Gazeley and Jenny Fuller embraced the event by dressing in 1920s fashion.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)none

“I don’t think we’ve seen a race yet,” Jenny Fuller joked.

“Definitely Great Gatsby — that’s the theme,” Erna Gazeley said of the group’s outfits.

“I think we’ve all watched Downtown Abby a bit too which helped,” Ray Yates said.

It’s proof that the 1920s has indeed been revived on the WA Goldfields.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.24: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History

AUSTRALIA HISTORY: Black & White Mugshots of Criminal Underworld in 1920’s

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#AceHistoryDesk – Criminal underworld of 1920s New South Wales captured in an exhibition of rare mugshots………” They are unlike any mugshots you see anywhere else in the world – and we have looked.”

Side by side 1929 black and white mug shots of Arthur Caddy. Close up of Arthur's face and Arthur with hat, leaning on chair.
Arthur Caddy suspect photograph from 1929. Crime unknown.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

Sydney Living Museums curator Nerida Campbell says mugshots reproduced from glass negatives for the travelling exhibition Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties are candid and compelling.

Side by side 1928 black and white mug shots of May Smith. Close up of May's face and May, with hat, leaning on a chair.
“Botany” May Smith, photographed in 1928, was suspected of supplying cocaine.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

More than 100 mugshots are included in the exhibition at the Albury Library Museum in regional New South Wales.

Ms Campbell said the photos were taken of suspects by NSW police between 1920 and 1930.

“There are about 130,000 negatives held at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney and these are images taken by officers in the course of their inquiries,” she said.

“The images were taken so that police could show them to witnesses from a crime without making them aware that this person was in police custody.”

Ms Campbell said the suspects brought their own personality and character to the images.

“Some are staring right down the camera trying to intimidate the police officer taking the photo and some of the women are flirting,” she said.

“People are smoking cigarettes, holding handbags and holding conversations.”A 1930 photo of Guiseppe Mammone, who was suspected of murder and believed to be a Camorra mafia leader in Sydney.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

Ms Campbell said the 1920s were a time of great change in the criminal underworld in NSW.

“We begin to see cocaine being sold and bought during that period,” she said.

“Before that there were not as many cars on the roads, but in the 1920s we see the rise of the ‘teenage joy-rider’ — young men who just couldn’t resist the lure of those shiny fast cars.

“They would steal them, but many of them hadn’t driven a car — they hadn’t even seen their parents drive a car.

“You can imagine the kinds of mayhem we were seeing on the streets of towns and in cities in that period.”Gladys Lowe in 1928. Ms Lowe was suspected of opium possession.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

Mafia bosses to petty crims all feature in the mugshots.

“In the images you will see everything from those stone-cold gangsters … through to teenagers who made one dumb mistake and ended up in police custody.”Edna May Lindsay in 1929. Ms Lindsay stole a cheque from her employer. She and her boyfriend forged the signature with the aim of cashing it.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

Ms Campbell said some stories behind the images were a mystery, but many were known.

“There is one picture that I find compelling — she is a 19-year-old named Edna Lindsay, dressed as a beautiful flapper, and you can see the tears in her eyes.

“She had been led astray by her boyfriend and had stolen a cheque from her employer and got caught.

“When you look at that image you can see the dark circles under her eyes and the tears making her eyes glisten, you just don’t see that in modern mugshots to that degree.”Charles Simmons, alias George Moody, in 1920. He was suspected of a break, enter and steal.(Supplied: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums)none

Ms Campbell said a 1920s police photographer would have needed a good relationship with the person being photographed, as they had to maintain a pose for a few seconds for a clear image to be captured.

“He had to be able to get them to go along with what he needed,” she said.

She said the 1920s NSW police officer who took the mugshots had remarkable photographic skills.

“We believe the police photographer was George Howard,” Ms Campbell said.

“He would have to deal with natural light,  glass-plate negatives and processing them.

“It was a very different skill to today.”

Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties is on at the Albury Library Museum until October 30.

Thanks to ABC News

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.17: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: Fa’aleo Tupi, Tongan rugby legend who changed the game has died age 72

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#AceHistoryDesk – Half a century later, people still talk about it — the day the Tongan rugby team made history by beating the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Fa'aleo Tupi in rugby line up
Fa’aleo Tupi stands in the rugby line up, date unknown.(Supplied: Cindi Sarchet)none

It was the second test, played at Ballymore on June 30, 1973. Tonga beat Australia 16 points to 11 — a monumental victory that’s never been repeated.

Fa’aleo Tupi played in that legendary team. He would go on to play a pivotal role in bringing Polynesians to play rugby union in Australia.

In those days, there were no Pacific islanders in the Australian side.

Tupi, 72, was a colossus of a man in his playing days, standing 192 centimetres tall and weighing 120 kilograms.

He died on August 19 after a battle with illness and was laid to rest at the weekend in a traditional ceremony in Woodridge, south of Brisbane, attended by hundreds of people.

Men carry casket into car
The casket of Fa’aleo Tupi is carried at his funeral at St Edwards Church in Daisy Hill.(ABC News: Steve Keen)none

Sinitela Sarchet recalls her father talking about that famous game.

But she said it was a long time before she understood how much it meant to the Tongan people.

“He actually said that he was quite famous in Tonga,” she said.

“It wasn’t until we got into our teens that we understood how important he was and how important that Tongan team at the time was for that whole nation.”Fa’aleo Tupi’s funeral was held at St Edwards Church.(ABC News: Steve Keen)none

‘The whole club changed’

Three years after that match at Ballymore, Tupi moved to Australia on a working visa alongside Fatai Kefu, father of Wallaby veteran Toutai Kefu.

Both players were lured to the Souths Magpies in Brisbane, a team that was struggling at the time.

“At the end of the 1975 season we’d won one game and got mercilessly belted every week,” Souths Magpies Peter “Doubles” Daley remembered.

“Tom Feao, who was a Tongan hooker who played for us, said he could get his mates from Tonga.

“Three of them arrived next year, two of them test players, being Fa’aleo Tupi and Fatai Kefu.

“The morning they arrived, we were playing a trial game against Brothers — and they insisted on playing.Fa’aleo Tupi played a pivotal role in bringing Polynesians to play rugby union in Australia.(Supplied: Cindi Sarchet)none

“They hopped straight off the plane and we beat Brothers 7-4 that afternoon. The whole club changed after that day.”

Bob Hammond, a member of the Souths Magpies committee, played alongside Tupi and Kefu.

“I was a little hooker, so I had the big Tongan boys as my second rowers, so you felt sort of bulletproof against some of the sides out there,” Hammond said.Fa’aleo Tupi was a prominent leader in the Tongan community.(ABC News: Steve Keen)none

“Souths in those days, you’d almost call easy beats.

“They arrived and it almost had an immediate impact. We all of a sudden had this empowerment about us.

“Quickly we started making semi-finals and finals in A-grade.”

For Fa’aleo Tupi and his family, life changed dramatically.

“They didn’t speak any English, so there was a language barrier and I don’t think there was lot of other ethnic groups around that time in the 1970s,” Ms Sarchet said.

“Dad must have gone through a lot of struggles with a change of environment, the language barrier and also starting from nothing and not having anything here.”

Bill Hayden helped with permanent residency

Fa’aleo Tupi and Fatai Kefu were initially only meant to stay in Australia for three years, but Souths Magpies helped them navigate a path to permanent residency.

“The club president at the time Neil Betts — he had played prop for Australia,” Mr Daley said.

“Betsy had some real good contacts — Bill Hayden had played for the club.

“He was able to help Betsy navigate the way through the system.”

The former federal Labor Party leader who later became governor-general was, in those days, playing hooker for Souths Magpies.

Mr Daley said former senator Bert Milliner, whose son played for Souths, also helped in getting the Tongans permanent residency, which “opened the door for a lot of other players to come here and families.”

Fatai Kefu was a member of the 1973 Tonga team.

His son, Toutai Kefu, went on to play 60 Tests for the Wallabies and said his father and Fa’aleo Tupi remained friends throughout their lives.

“They were best mates,” he said.

“You can imagine three Tongan guys, no education, no money, no English and in, I suppose, white Australia back then — playing rugby, which was a predominantly private school sport.

“To do that was quite courageous and brave.

“My initial thoughts of him (Fa’aleo Tupi) is being such a big man back then, I mean he towered over everyone, six foot seven, really athletic, really big man with big hands.

“They all used to live together, just hanging around the house watching them socialise and drink and sing. Happy memories.”

‘They still talk about that team’

Toutai Kefu is now coach of the Tonga rugby union team, known as Ikale Tahi.

“They still talk about that team (1973 Tonga team) in Tonga now,” Toutai Kefu said.Tautai Kefu says it was courageous for his father and Tupi to move to Australia in the 1970s.(ABC News: Michael Rennie)none

“I coach the current Ikale Tahi team and I reference that team all the time about how tough they were back then, how hard they worked, for really nothing.

“They just played for the jersey and for their families. That team that beat the Wallabies were great pioneers and held Tongan rugby up.

“Pasifika players now nearly make up 50 per cent of a lot of the super rugby teams, rugby league teams, we’re even starting to have Tongan players representing England, Wales, all the home unions.

“We’re spreading far and wide.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.01:  2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History


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#AceHistoryDesk – On Wattle Day

Wattle Day is a day of celebration in Australia on the first day of September each year, which is the official start of the Australian spring. This is the time when many Acacia species (commonly called wattles in Australia), are in flower. So, people wear a sprig of the flowers and leaves to celebrate the day.

Woman buying wattle for Wattle Day, Sydney, 1935

Although the national floral emblem of Australia is a particular species, named the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), any acacia can be worn to celebrate the day.

The day was originally intended to promote patriotism for the new nation of Australia:

“Wattle Days emerged to prominence in Australia in the early years of the federated nation. They took on some of the national and civic responsibilities for children that [the more formal] Australia Day could not.” – Libby Robin[2]

Tasmanian origin, 1838

Black wattle Acacia mearnsii

On 1 December 1838, the first Hobart Town Anniversary Regatta was held in HobartTasmania to celebrate the Anniversary of the 17th-century European discovery of the island by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who made the first reported European sighting of the island on 24 November 1642.[3] It was estimated between 5000 – 6000 people attended. On 10 August 1853 in Launceston, during ‘Cessation of Transportation Celebrations’ the procession marched under a triumphal arch decorated with wattle blossom.[4]

It was suggested that for future regattas, the event should be celebrated by the wearing of a sprig of silver wattle blossom (Acacia dealbata) tied with British Navy blue ribbon.[5] The proposal attracted some ridicule as the silver wattle blooms in August and September and would be unobtainable in November .[6] As a result, the November-flowering black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) was substituted for the regatta. The custom of wearing a sprig of wattle at the regatta persisted until at least 1883.[7]

The theme of wattle in literature, poetry and song took off from the 1860s to the early 1900s. When Adam Lindsay Gordon died in 1870 he was buried ‘here the wattle blossoms wave’ – a quotation from his poem ‘The sick Stockrider’. There were wattle waltzes and you could drink Foster’s Wattle beer.[4]

A “Wattle Blossom League” was inaugurated by W. J. Sowden and the South Australian chapter of the Australian Natives’ Association in 1890 as a women’s branch of the Association.[8] The aim of the ‘Wattle Blossom League’ was to ‘encourage Australian literature and music’. Members should ‘at all suitable public assemblies wear a spray of wattle blossom either real or artificial, as a distinctive badge’. Another aim of the league was ‘to promote a national patriotic sentiment among the women of Australia’.[4] The last monthly meeting of the Wattle Blossom League was held at Beach’s Rooms on 1 June 1893.[9]

The Wattle Club, 1899

The push for the recognition of the nation-wide use of wattle as a symbol of the first day of spring was given momentum by the formation in 1899 of the “Wattle Club” in Victoria. It was initiated by Archibald James Campbell, a leading ornithologist and field naturalist with a particular passion for Australian wattles, of which there are more than 1,000 species.[10] For several years the club organised bush outings on the first day in September specifically for the appreciation of wattles in their natural setting. Campbell was an active member of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Their 1904 outing went to the You Yangs and in 1906 they went to the Werribee Gorge.[4]

Wattle Day League, 1909

Golden wattle Acacia pycnantha

The first suggestion of a dedicated Wattle Day was made by Campbell during a speech in September 1908.

The Wattle Day League was formed on 13 September 1909 at the Elizabeth Street, Sydney headquarters of the Royal Society, with J. H. Maiden, director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens as president. Its purpose was to present to the various State governments a unified proposal for a national day on which to celebrate the wattle blossom.

In 1910 the League settled on “Wattle Day” as 1 September, and approached Sowden to form a branch of the League in South Australia.[11]Campbell and A. K. Warner founded a branch in Melbourne.[12]

It was taken up, and there were celebrations in 1910 in three state capital cities: Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide,[13] although the Melbourne event was a muted affair due to heavy rain. The day was significant in being the first organised demonstration on a definite day across a number of States ever witnessed in Australia. On 1 September 1911 Adelaide was described as a city ‘decked with gold’.[4] In 1913, the national Wattle Day League (or Federation) was established to formalise the organisation of events for the celebration of Wattle Day[14]

Queensland followed in 1913. Sydney celebrated that year by planting 200 wattle trees in centennial Park.

Australian Coat of Arms with the Golden Wattle design, 1921

The Golden Wattle was incorporated as an accessory in the design of the Coat of Arms of Australia in 1912.[16]

Following the outbreak of World War 1 all attempts to gazette the emblem or Wattle Day were put aside.

There was some confusion in NSW over the date. In 1916, New South Wales changed its date for Wattle Day to 1 August, so that the indigenous, early-flowering Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) could be used.[1]The Cootamundra Wattle was planted all over Sydney and when the Red Cross called for sprigs of wattle to sell in Martin Place for the war effort, this species had mostly finished flowering. The League was granted a temporary change. Schools in NSW continued to use 1 August as the date for Wattle Day and there was some resistance to 1 September despite the association with Spring. That resistance now appears to have almost disappeared.[17]

Among other poetry, Scottish-Australian poet and bush balladeer Will H. Ogilvie (1869–1963) wrote ‘Sunny country’ which was often recited on past Wattle Days:[18][19]I dreamed of a sunny country last night, a golden dreamOf wattles down, the gully, and of gum, trees by the stream;Of dancing haze and sides of blue, no other land can showSave this, our sunny country, where the golden wattles grow.

Australian Bicentennial Celebration, 1988

On 19 August 1988, as part of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival of First Fleet in Sydney in 1788, the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) was officially proclaimed as Australia’s national floral emblem by the Governor-General of Australia, the Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen AK GCMG GCVO KBE. A formal ceremony was held in the National Botanic Gardens on 1 September, at which Ms Hitchcock was a guest of the government. Specimens of Acacia pycnantha were planted near the entry.[17]

National Wattle Day, 1992

In 1986 Maria Hitchcock of Armidale NSW began a campaign to have both gazetted. With the aid of ABC’s Ian McNamara (“Macca”), whose Sunday morning national program Australia All Over focuses on all things Australian, the message went out resulting in hundreds of letters of support being sent to the Prime Minister. The campaign was not progressing until Maria Hitchcock met with Senator Graham Richardson at a Labor Party event in Armidale. Soon after the decision was made to gazette the Emblem at a special ceremony in Canberra at the ANBG on 1 September. At that ceremony Ms Hitchcock was told by Senator Ray that she would have to personally gain letters of approval for the gazettal of National Wattle Day from each Premier and Chief Minister. Once again enlisting the aid of Ian McNamara and his loyal listeners, a new campaign of letter writing began. It took three years but the goal was finally achieved. Ms Hitchcock bundled all the letters together and sent them to Canberra requesting gazettal of National Wattle Day for 1 September each year.[17]

On 23 June 1992, Bill Hayden, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, declared that “1 September in each year shall be observed as ‘National Wattle Day’ throughout Australia and in the external Territories of Australia”.[20]

2010 marked the centenary of the celebration of Wattle Day on 1 September 1910 in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, and Australian Geographic magazine was amongst those who urged the public not to miss the chance to celebrate it again.[21]

Recent Developments

With the controversy over 26 January as Australia Day, in light of the historic treatment of Indigenous people, some Australians have been proposing Wattle Day as an alternative for national celebrations.[22]

Some popular wattles

Australian state floral emblems

The Golden Wattle is Australia’s national floral emblem; but in addition each Australian state has its own floral emblem.


  1. a b Panter, R. (1995). “Australia’s Wattle Day”Parliament of Australia, Canberra, ACT. Archived from the original on 13 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  2.  Robin, L 2002, ‘Nationalising nature: wattle days in Australia’, Journal of Australian Studies, 26, 73, pp. 13-26.
  3.  “About Wattle Day”. Wattle Day Association, Canberra, ACT. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  4. a b c d e Hitchcock, Maria (1991). Wattle. Australian Govt. Pub. Service. ISBN 978-0-644-12678-6.none
  5.  “Classified Advertising”The Hobart Town Courier. Vol. XI, no. 640. Tasmania, Australia. 23 November 1838. p. 4. Retrieved 14 August2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  6.  “Domestic Intelligence”Colonial Times. Vol. 24, no. 1174. Tasmania, Australia. 27 November 1838. p. 7. Retrieved 14 August 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  7.  “National Emblem”The Mercury. Vol. CXLIII, no. 20, 225. Tasmania, Australia. 21 August 1935. p. 3. Retrieved 14 August 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  8.  “History of the Wattle Day Movement”The Journal (Adelaide). Vol. XLVIII, no. 13199. South Australia. 30 August 1913. p. 12. Retrieved 10 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  9.  “Wattle Blossom League”South Australian Register. Vol. LVIII, no. 14, 527. South Australia. 5 June 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 27 April2019 – via National Library of Australia.none
  10.  Walsh, N. (2015). “Acacia”VicFlora: Flora of Victoria. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria: Foundation Victoria, Melbourne. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  11.  “Wattle Day League”The Advertiser (Adelaide). Vol. LIII, no. 16, 174. South Australia. 18 August 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 10 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  12.  “The Wattle Sentiment”The Argus (Melbourne). No. 20, 010. Victoria, Australia. 8 September 1910. p. 6. Retrieved 10 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  13.  “Wattle Day history”. Wattle Day Association, Canberra, ACT. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  14.  “The Wattle Federation”The Examiner (Tasmania). Vol. LXXII, no. 15. Tasmania, Australia. 17 January 1913. p. 7. Retrieved 14 August 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  15.  “Wattle Day League”The Brisbane Courier. No. 17, 246. Queensland, Australia. 23 April 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 10 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.none
  16.  “Australian coat of arms”WorldWideWattle. Western Australian Herbarium and Department of Parks and Wildlife, Dalwallinu, Western Australia, Australia. 2016. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  17. a b c Hitchcock, Maria (2012). A celebration of wattle : Australia’s national floral emblem (2nd ed.). Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921719-56-1.none
  18.  “The Golden Wattle: Australia’s National Flower”Robertson Mail. Vol. 38, no. 56. New South Wales, Australia. 31 July 1925. p. 3. Retrieved 27 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.none
  19.  “Wattle magic everywhere”The Register News-pictorial. Vol. XCIV, no. 27, 476. South Australia. 6 September 1929. p. 5. Retrieved 27 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.none
  20.  “Floral emblems of Australia”. Australian National Herbarium, Canberra. Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  21.  Rule, C. (2010). “On this day: Wattle Day”Australian Geographic, Sydney, NSW. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2017.none
  22.  Wright, Tony (31 August 2017). “Wattle Day: Could a new, golden Australia Day bloom in the springtime?”Sydney Morning HeraldArchived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 14 August2018.none
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.01:  2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: 99yrs Today Meet Koolbiri or Outback mailman Jimmy who delivered post by walking 700km through the Nullarbor

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#AceHistoryDesk – Ninety-nine years ago today, a small snippet of an extraordinary life was noted in an Adelaide newspaper: On page 17 of the Saturday Journal, readers were introduced to Koolbiri, also known as Mailman Jimmy.

He wears worn clothes, a cap on his head, bare feet and holds a mug. The photo is old and black and white
In his younger years, Koolbiri delivered mail between Fowlers Bay and Eucla.(Supplied)none

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains the name and image of a person who has died.

In the 1870s he delivered the post between Eucla in Western Australia and Fowlers Bay in South Australia.

The two Nullarbor communities are now linked by a 371-kilometre stretch of Eyre Highway, but that did not exist back then.

Every month, Koolbiri set out on the 700km-plus round trip on foot.

“He ran with the mail bags every fortnight from the Bay to Eucla, a distance of 280 miles, and returned during the following fortnight,” the paper stated.

“He could do the journey in faster time than a man on horseback.”

The newspaper report also said Koolbiri had recently died. 

An article published in another Adelaide newspaper in 1928 said he was a “remarkable character, well known on the west coast”.

“He had astounding endurance,” it said.

“And [he] was recognised as The Royal Mail between Fowlers Bay and Eucla for a long period.”

Straight road with road sign and no trees
Fowlers Bay and Eucla are now linked by the Eyre Highway.(ABC Goldfields-Esperance: Sam Tomlin)none

Almost a century later, Mirning elder Uncle Bunna Lawrie said Koolbiri’s story was a source of pride.

“The only man who could walk as fast as a horse,” he said.

“Some people really didn’t believe it – they thought, ‘This man must be a magic man.'”

A wooden sign shows the distances to a range of different towns
These days, a sign at Eucla tells travellers exactly how far away from home they are. (ABC News: Emily Smith)none

Tom Gara, a historian who has worked with Aboriginal people on the Nullarbor since the 1980s, said Koolbiri’s incredible feats were still remembered, both in records and in oral histories.

“He’s quite well known in the early historical sources relating to the Nullarbor Plain,” Mr Gara said.

An aerial shot of cliffs next to the ocean.
Fowlers Bay and Eucla are remote communities along the Great Australian Bight.(Supplied: WA Museum/Andrew Halsall)none

Meagre payment for amazing feat

Without Koolbiri’s efforts, Mr Gara believes the new Eucla settlement would have had no means to communicate at all. 

Mr Gara guessed Koolbiri probably did the mail run from about 1871-72 until 1875-76, before the telegraph station was built in 1877.

Ruins of the telegraph station
Koolbiri did the mail run in the 1870s, it’s thought before Eucla’s telegraph station was built in 1877.(ABC Esperance: Emily Smith)none

“I imagine once they started to build the telegraph line, they would have had an established track going from Fowlers Bay to Eucla,” Mr Gara said.

“They would have got the local telegraph inspector to carry the mail or something like that.”

While Mr Gara said mail was delivered on foot by other postmen, he had never heard of any travelling nearly as far as Koolbiri.

“He was supposedly rewarded with tobacco, which sounds like a pretty meagre payment for what he was doing,” Mr Gara said.

Nullarbor Plain: low scrub and desert.
Koolbiri’s feats are remembered in records and oral histories about the Nullarbor Plain.(ABC News)none

The author of Koolbiri’s obituary also noted he took almost nothing with him, aside from the mailbags.

“The most amazing thing to me was that he found sufficient food and water to carry him through the journey,” it said.

But Mr Gara said that made sense.

“He survived by hunting along the way, and getting his water from the rock holes and things that he knew about,” Mr Gara said.

“So he was surviving traditionally out there, which is not surprising.”

Uncle Bunna hoped other people would learn about, and draw inspiration from, the mailman’s story in the future. 

A beach with a high escarpment above
The beach near Eucla, where Koolbiri once delivered mail.(ABC Esperance: Emily Smith)none
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Aug.25: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: Chinese Immigrants Who Came During Gold Rush of 1860

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#AceHistoryDesk – Louey and Kate O’Hoy were part of the early Chinese immigrants who came to Australia during the gold rushes………………The O’Hoys — their name was Anglicised on arrival — came to Bendigo from Canton, China, in 1860.….Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landline at 12:30pm on Sunday, or on ABC iview.

A Chinese man and woman wearing traditional robes in the 1800s in portraits side-by-side
The entrepreneurial Louey O’Hoy and his wife, Kate O’Hoy, in 1889. (Supplied: Dennis O’Hoy )none

By then, Victoria’s population had swollen to one million, a tenfold increase since the discovery of gold at Bendigo, Ballarat and elsewhere in 1851.

It utterly transformed the growing colony.

“Bendigo became one of the richest goldfields in the world,” said Dennis O’Hoy, Louey and Kate’s grandson.

A black and white family portrait of the O'Hoy family comprising two young girls and three boys with their parents
A young Dennis O’Hoy (front, centre) with his family. (Supplied: Dennis O’Hoy)none

Canton to Australia’s Big Gold Mountain 

Dennis, 84, is a retired university art teacher, cultural custodian of the goldfields’ Chinese and an authority on the lives they led.

“They had their own name for Bendigo — ‘Dai Gum San’, translated it means Big Gold Mountain,” he said.

Australia — to the Chinese — was called “Sun Gim San”, “New Gold Mountain”, Mr O’Hoy said.

The Chinese name for “Old Gold Mountain” was applied to the Californian gold rush of 1849.

However, the Chinese presence, and their influence, on Australian goldfields is often forgotten or overlooked.

“A quarter of the population in Bendigo was Chinese-born during that gold rush period,” Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum’s Leigh McKinnon said.

“And, in a lot of goldfields, sometimes that proportion was much higher.”

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 15 seconds
This Day Tonight: Meet Loong, Bendigo’s Chinese dragon (1970).

Chinese entrepreneurship 

The museum showcases relics of world significance and stories of the Chinese on the goldfields and in the decades that followed.

Today, the most impressive exhibit is Loong, thought to be the oldest, five-clawed imperial dragon in the world.

It dates from the 1890s and, for many years, was the centrepiece of Bendigo’s Easter procession.

The annual Easter Fair began in 1871, to raise money for charities, including two hospitals and an aged persons’ home. It is still a major tourist attraction today.

“My grandfather, Louey O’Hoy, was one of the originators of the Chinese Association and Chinese procession,” Mr O’Hoy said.

The entrepreneurial Louey O’Hoy prospered in Bendigo.

“Grandfather became quite successful, he started many, many shops in Sandhurst, as Bendigo was then known,” he added.

“Gradually, he had butchers’ shops, grocers’ shops, pig farms and market gardens.”

A man with short grey hair sits in a warm lit room during an interview
Louey and Kate O’Hoy’s grandson, Dennis, is a cultural custodian of the goldfields’ Chinese. ( ABC News: Tim Lee)none

After the gold rush ended, the Chinese took on important roles in all walks of life: everything from merchants, rural labourers and traditional Chinese herbalists.

“Many of them were from farming backgrounds and they transferred those skills and adapted them to the local environment and were often very skilled producers of fresh fruit and vegetables, often in very trying conditions,” Mr McKinnon said.

Louey O’Hoy’s enormous civic contribution was recognised by the imperial government in China.

In 1889, he was conferred with the rank of a mandarin, roughly equivalent to a knighthood.

Racism and injustice 

By then, Australian society was changing. The aftermath of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion at Ballarat — where disgruntled miners fought government troops — had won the diggers reforms such as the right to vote.

However, by the 1890s, the push to Federation and Australian nationhood saw those egalitarian and democratic ideals fade.

Ultimately, it led to the White Australia policy that discriminated against anyone not deemed a “British-born citizen”.

The O’Hoy family felt its injustice.

An older man with walking stick walks down a dusty path in a cemetery on a bright winter's day
Dennis O’Hoy visits the White Hills Cemetery daily and three times a year lays food and drinks there as gifts to his ancestors. (ABC News: Tim Lee)none

Dennis O’Hoy’s father, Que Lan O’Hoy, came to Bendigo in 1894, aged 19, to carry on the family’s work.

He married in China in 1910, but Australia’s stringent immigration laws prohibited his wife from joining him in Australia.

“In 1901, with the Federation of Australia, the Immigration Restriction Act was brought in,” Dennis O’Hoy said.

“My mother, Que Lan’s wife, was only allowed to stay in Australia for two years, so living in Bendigo and every couple of years she’d have to go back to China.”

The Immigration Restriction Act was finally abolished in 1958. By then, the number of Chinese in Bendigo and elsewhere in Australia had dwindled.

Preserving the rich history of the Chinese in Bendigo fell to a few families, descendants of the gold rush days.

A grey tombstone with chinese inscription.
Stone tablets mark 950 Chinese graves at Bendigo’s White Hills Cemetery. (ABC News: Tim Lee)none

In the early 1960s, Que Lan O’Hoy’s family donated the land — a large city block — on which the Golden Dragon Museum stands.

In 2016, Dennis O’Hoy was awarded the Order of Australia for his contribution to preserving heritage and civic service.

He’s an almost daily visitor to Bendigo’s White Hills Cemetery, the city’s largest.

At the entrance, he pays homage to his ancestors by burning joss sticks and candles in a brick burning tower.

In the cemetery grounds, distinctive stone tablets mark 950 Chinese graves.

Three times a year, Mr O’Hoy continues the family tradition of observing important religious rituals.

He brings wine, chicken, pork, drinks and biscuits to the cemetery and lays them there as gifts.

Australia has been good to him and his family, he muses.

Even if, they and other Chinese were not always treated equally.

“It’s my way, of Chinese people, to venerate their ancestors.”

Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landline at 12:30pm on Sunday, or on ABC iview.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Aug.22: 2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Australian History

FEATURED AUSTRALIA: The history of drinking culture from rum as a currency to non-alcoholic wine

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🤣😂🤣😁🤣😁😁 only in Australia 🌏🦘
Ace News Room Cutting Floor 15/08/2022

Follow Our Breaking & Daily News Here As It Happens:

#AceHistoryDesk – Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund ‘Toby’ Barton, was many things: A leader, a visionary and as one of his obituaries summed up, “a great Australian”

A man's hand holds a beer in a bar.
Australia has a long and messy relationship with alcohol.(ABC News: Dane Meale)none

And, according to author Matt Murphy, he was also “an outright drunk”.

“If you look at our early parliaments — drunkenness was just accepted.”

And Barton is far from an exception. Since colonial times, Australia has been a country soaked in booze, as drinking has been both a national pastime and a source of untold harm and tragedy.

But is it finally starting to change?

Colonial roots

When the First Fleet set off from England 235 years ago, its cargo was indicative of the kind of country Australia would become.

The first governor of the NSW colony, Arthur Phillip, insisted on bringing two years’ worth of carefully rationed food for the new settlement, in case conditions were inhospitable for agriculture.

He also took along four years’ worth of rum.

“The marines, who came to escort the First Fleet, insisted and insisted and finally got their way — to have four years’ worth of rum on board … [But] it didn’t last close to four years,” says Mr Murphy, who wrote the book ‘Rum: A Distilled History of Colonial Australia’.

It’s hard to overstate how important booze was in the first few decades of the colony.

“Alcohol was a currency. If you wanted something done, you had to pay for it. How were they paying for it? With booze,” Mr Murphy says.

“There’s lots of records of people buying and selling things for rum. For example, buying land in [the Sydney suburb of] Pyrmont for rum or selling your wife for rum.”

The NSW Corps, or the permanent regiment of the British Army, became known as the Rum Corps because they controlled the access to alcohol.

As the colony grew, rum was made locally and imported. But this wasn’t the kind of rum we know today.

“Rum [became] a generic term … People were making ‘rum’ from potatoes and making ‘rum’ out of peaches. There was hooch, backyard rubbish. People died on the spot drinking some of this, they went blind. It was pretty nasty stuff,” Mr Murphy says.

“[But] people would need rum to start their day, like people need their coffee today.” 

An 1800s sepia-coloured photo of a drunken man in a wheelbarrow
Alcohol and drunkenness became firmly entrenched in the lives of colonial Australians, which has had an impact to this day.(Supplied: The State Library of NSW)none

During these early years of the colony, grog was also introduced to First Nations people, which had incredibly destructive effects.

As the 19th century progressed, demand for rum dropped, but people kept turning to other varieties of alcohol.

The social, economic and health tolls of this much alcohol across Australian society prompted various governments to try and curb drinking habits.

But this came with mixed results.

The six o’clock swill

Starting in 1916, states adopted rules where bars had to close at 6pm.

“It partly came about because of the temperance movement, because they were wanting to cut down on alcohol consumption,” says Richard Midford, an adjunct professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute and a clinical psychologist.

“But it came into place during the First World War, in a major part, because people felt that the homefront shouldn’t be having a good time while the boys were away fighting in France.”

A 1940s black-and-white photo of many men cramming at a bar as one woman serves them beers
Photographer Max Dupain captured the ‘six o’clock swill’ in 1940s Australia.(Supplied: The State Library of NSW)none

But the ‘six o’clock swill’, as it became known, had an unintended consequence — a culture of extremely heavy drinking developed, where workers would drink as much as they could between clocking off at 5pm and the 6pm bar closures.

It was not pretty. Bars would lay sawdust on the floor to soak up patrons’ urine and vomit, while many were refitted with tiled walls and floors (a feature which remains today) to make cleaning easier.

“It lasted from the time of the First World War right through, in some states, to the 1960s,” Professor Midford says.

A 1950s black-and-white photo of excited pub patrons raising their glasses as a clock nears 10pm
Patrons at the Northern Club Hotel in Sydney toast the introduction of 10pm closing in 1955.(Supplied: The State Library of NSW)none

In 1965, an unlikely invention was introduced to try to reduce drinking — the wine cask.

“The wine cask was invented to preserve wine, not to drink it more quickly,” Mr Murphy says.

“When you take the cork out of wine, it immediately starts to oxidise, it immediately starts to go off. And so the average person would rather drink it than tipping it down the sink tomorrow.

“[Cask wine] doesn’t oxidise.”

But, he says, “it quickly became just a convenient thing to stick under your arm and take to a party”.

Booze and politics

Alcohol and politics has long been a noxious mix in this country.

An early 1900s black-and-white photo of a hotel with a beer advertisement
Alcohol really doesn’t provide ‘good health’.(Supplied: The State Library of NSW)none

According to Mr Murphy, the fact that Australia’s first prime minister was “an outright drunk” isn’t even the most outrageous example. Not even close.

“John Norton was elected in a [NSW] by-election in 1898. When he entered parliament, he was drunk every day,” Mr Murphy says.

“Really, I mean disgustingly drunk, apparently. To such a point that about two months later, he downed his dacks and pissed on the parliamentary carpet.”

Mr Murphy also points to then-governor general John Kerr’s drunken speech at the 1977 Melbourne Cup, which he calls “disgusting”.

An inebriated Kerr rambled on in front of the racetrack audience, noting “life is wonderful for all of us”, before presenting the cup.

“[Bob Hawke] said himself that his most endearing attribute to all Australians was his world record for drinking a yard glass,” Mr Murphy adds.

Bob Hawke 🤣😂😂🤣😂😂😂🤣😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Hawke entered the Guinness Book for World Records in 1954 for finishing a yard of ale in 11 seconds while he was studying at University College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. But he gave up drinking when he went into parliament and stayed off the grog when he was prime minister.

What a great man 🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🔥😂😂😂

Mr Murphy says the attitudes of politicians have had a major influence on our drinking culture over the generations.

But recently, there’s been much discussion about how this is actually playing out in Canberra.

The stuff that’s come out of parliament … is another example of a boozy workplace culture [without] restrictions put in place,” says Nicole Lee, an adjunct professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute and CEO of drug and alcohol consultancy 360 Edge.

She says parliament and other workplaces need to become spaces where “we do think about women; and people from culturally diverse backgrounds; and people who don’t want to drink; and people who don’t want to be around people who are drunk at work”.

Part of the culture

Experts say the centuries of heavy drinking have meant booze is now closely interwoven with Australian culture.

“We’ve got that sense that if you go anywhere in Australia, socially, that there’ll be alcohol there and you’re expected to drink it,” Professor Lee says.

Professor Midford adds: “There’s a very strong culture of going out and deliberately getting drunk. If you have that sort of culture, the sorts of harms that are going to occur, in terms of violence and sexual predation, are going to be much higher”.

Today, there’s a patchwork of drinking habits across demographics.

“There is some indication that people in middle age are actually drinking more — and a lot of that is driven by women drinking more,” Professor Lee says.

A man downs two cans of alcoholic drinks at once.
Binge drinking continues to be a problem in Australia.(Getty Images: Brook Mitchell)none

People in the country drink more than people in urban areas.

“The further you go away from a major city, the higher the drinking levels and the higher the risky drinking,” Professor Lee says.

And there are different drinking habits among Indigenous Australians, who often get lumped into one group.

“Fewer First Nations people drink, compared to the general community, but those that do drink tend to drink at higher levels,” Professor Lee says.

“Factors of colonisation, of the stolen generations, of trauma — all of those things are linked to higher alcohol consumption.”

On the decline

Yet there are cracks appearing in our close relationship with booze.

We’ve recently seen the rise of the ‘sober curious’, as Dry July has become increasingly popular, along with zero and low-strength alcohol products.

A line of bottles of non-alcoholic wines.
Non-alcoholic wines can now be found in supermarkets around Australia.(ABC RN: Nick Baker)none

As perceptions around alcohol are slowly starting to shift, overall drinking rates are starting to go down in Australia — thanks to one particular demographic.

“[The fact that] drinking rates are going down is nearly entirely driven by young people,” Professor Lee says.

“People in their 20s are still the heaviest drinking group, but fewer of them are drinking. Those that do drink are drinking less [than previous generations] and they’re starting later … It is a really big shift.”

So what’s behind this shift among young people? Experts say it’s thanks to a mix of education, awareness and different priorities.

“There’s a lot more talking about [alcohol consumption]. It’s a lot more visible when there’s problems — those problems are more often reported on,” Professor Lee says.

“[Young people] are being healthier, they’re probably more conscious of their appearance — alcohol is really the only drug that makes you fat by just taking it … Also I feel like young people are much more ambitious than my generation.”

Or, as Professor Midford puts it: “Young people are much more savvy, I think, about the effects of alcohol than those 20 or 30 years ago”.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Aug.15:  2022:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

Aussies 😂🤣😂🤣😂
Australian History

(AUSTRALIA) Thomas Shadrach James Story: If a teacher’s success is measured by their students’ achievements, then he must be one of the most successful teachers in Australian history #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryReport – Feb.05: He taught in a small schoolhouse near the Murray River on the border of Victoria and New South Wales: The government at the time ruled that the children he taught should not receive more than three years of education: But James’s students would become some of the leading Indigenous activists of the 20th century: His standing in the community was such that he became known as Grandpa James: ” He didn’t talk about reading and writing, he talked about leading and writing,” his granddaughter Robynne Nelson says.

#AceHistoryDesk says this teacher taught Aboriginal children ‘leading and writing’. His students changed Australia for the better

Kindness & Love❤️ says Amazing Teacher

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article contains images of people who have died.

ABC News: Tuesday 10 Nov 2020 at 4:44am

Old black and white studio portrait photo of a middle-aged man wearing a three-piece suit and tie.
ABC NEWS Thomas Shadrach James taught some of the leading Aboriginal activists of the 20th century.(Supplied)

Roll call

Thomas Shadrach James’s students included:

  • Doug Nicholls: Athlete, pastor, activist, governor of South Australia
  • Margaret Tucker: Writer, activist, co-founder Australian Aborigines League
  • William Cooper: Community leader, activist, co-founder Australian Aborigines League
  • Jack Patten: Journalist, activist, first president of the Aborigines’ Progressive Association
  • Bill Onus: Entrepreneur, actor and activist
  • Geraldine Briggs: Activist, first president of National Aboriginal and Islander Women’s Council

‘A very clever boy’

James was born in 1859 on the African island of Mauritius, then a British colony.

His Indian parents arrived on the island to work as indentured labourers on the sugar plantations.

James’s father then became a catechist, or educator, for the Anglican Archbishop. Later, to pay for his son’s education, he worked as an interpreter for shipping companies and the government.

Ms Nelson, who travelled to Mauritius to learn more about her grandfather’s early years, says James was “a very clever boy”.

“Even at the age of 14, he was working with his father to educate other children,” she says.

But tragedy struck the family. First James’s younger brother died, and then his mother.

Soon after, James’s father remarried. His new wife was a young woman, not much older than James himself.

“This became a real divide between him and his father,” Ms Nelson says.

“He ended up wandering down along these shipping yards, befriending a ship captain — and ended up jumping on a boat and coming to Australia.”

A spiritual calling

James worked in Tasmania as a teacher before moving across Bass Strait to study medicine at Melbourne University.

But his plans to become a surgeon were thwarted when he contracted typhoid fever, which gave him the shakes.

Then, a walk along Melbourne’s Brighton Beach in 1881 changed his life.

A  black and white photo of a beach. Trees line the hills behind. People in upper-class Victorian-era dress sit in foreground.
Brighton Beach as it was in the 1880s.(National Library of Australia)

He came across a group of people singing — a choir of Yorta Yorta people from the Maloga Aboriginal Mission, near Echuca-Moama on the Victoria/NSW border.

“That day I felt the Lord had spoken to me,” he later wrote.

He met the mission’s founder, Daniel Matthews, and offered to teach there.

Soon, he was living on the mission near the Murray River, teaching in a small wooden hut.

Teaching ‘over and above’ the law

Maloga Mission was part of a system of reserves the NSW government used to “manage” the Indigenous population, La Trobe University emeritus professor of history Richard Broome says.

“Aboriginal people were to be transformed from their traditional ways into black Christian farmers,” Dr Broome says.

The government dictated that Aboriginal children only receive three years of education, until they were nine years old.

“They had an imagined destiny for these children as rural labourers or domestic workers,” Dr Broome says.

“James thought differently.”

Black and white photo of about 50 children standing with a man and blackboard in front of a small wooden building.
Thomas Shadrach James, right, stands with his students in front of the Maloga Schoolhouse in 1884.(NSW State Archives and Records)

In 1886, a local journalist who spent a week at Maloga Mission reported that “for all practical purposes the pupils are better educated than the majority of state school children”.

James wrote about his approach, saying such results were “attainable by speaking to the scholars themselves and seeking at all times to make their work in school a pleasure”.

Dr Broome says James would have given his students a sense that they could succeed if they worked hard.

“He built their self-esteem,” Dr Broome says.

“He would have believed also, through his Christian message, that they had the right of equality before God.”

Ms Nelson says James’s classes went “over and above what the law allowed”.

“He was teaching them to grow up to be leaders,” she says.

“He taught them about India and the Raj and how the people rose up — how the pen was mightier than the sword.”

And his classes weren’t just for the kids.

The Scholars Hut 

At night, under candlelight, James taught special classes for the adults of the mission.

“What he was doing was giving the skills of activism,” Dr Broome says.

“The ability to advocate to government on your own behalf, to write petitions, to write letters.”

The night school became known as the Scholars Hut, and many of the Yorta Yorta men living on the mission put the skills they learned there to good use.

“They started writing letters off to the governor, asking for farm blocks they could farm for themselves,” Ms Nelson says.

At the same time, Maloga’s days were numbered.

The mission, run by Matthews and his wife Janet as a private enterprise, was underfunded, and Matthews became increasingly overbearing.

“He was a paternalist, he [thought he] was going to guide the Aboriginal people to a better life,” Dr Broome says.

“But, of course, the young men knew what they wanted and they started to request land from the government — and started to arc up against his control.”

‘Our home’

The campaign by the Scholar’s Hut students resulted in the government announcing a new reserve, five kilometres upstream from the Maloga Mission.

The reserve was given the name Cummeragunja — meaning “our home”.

Black and white photo of a teacher and large group of students outside a weatherboard schoolhouse.
Thomas Shadrach James (left) and his students at the Cummeragunja Mission schoolhouse, NSW.(State Library of Victoria)

“Our people moved there from Maloga in 1888 with the promise of land that the governor was going to give to our Aboriginal men,” Ms Nelson says.

Twenty 40-acre farm blocks were given to residents and the mission became a productive, thriving farm producing wheat, wool and dairy, with the residents working towards self-sufficiency.

By this time, James was married to Aboriginal former student Ada Cooper, and the couple had children of their own.

They’d moved with the other residents away from Matthews and his mission to Cummeragunja, where James took on an expanded role in the community, not just as a teacher but as church minister, cricket coach, choir leader, football team manager, linguist — and healer.

A historical photograph of the Cummeragunja team of Aboriginal footballers in 1900.
Cummeragunja’s football team in 1900. The mission had successes in both cricket and football.(Supplied: Jenny Hocking)

Yorta Yorta elder Alfred Turner, also known as Uncle Boydie, says if anyone at Cummeragunja took ill they would call upon Grandpa James.

“Any time of night, he would go and attend to them,” he says.

Ms Nelson says James’s medical approach was informed by his Indian heritage, his study at Melbourne University, and Aboriginal bush medicine.

“He was also the dentist, by the way, but that was pretty rough going,” Ms Nelson says.

The Cummeragunja Walk-Off

In 1907, the NSW Aborigines Protection Board took back the land blocks they’d given to individual farmers on Cummeragunja. Later, the land was leased to white farmers. The community protested loudly, to no avail.

Then, in 1909, the Aboriginal Protection Board began taking Aboriginal children from their families — and Grandpa James was powerless to stop them.

“When the authorities would come onto the mission, he’d tell them all to run and hide, down the riverbank, their own secret places to hide,” James’s granddaughter Rhonda Dean says.

“[Later] he would take them home to his place with Grandma Ada, and he would go over the lesson that day, because he didn’t want them to miss out, even though, Mum said, there was much sadness for those that had gone.

“He was able to give them that courage to go on — and that we’ll fight later to get our girls back.”

Over the next three decades successive administrators subjected Cummeragunja residents to increasingly restrictive and dehumanising conditions.

Farming profits were taken from the community, residents needed a pass to enter or exit the mission and workers were given measly rations. Housing and sanitation were inadequate.

Finally, in 1939 — 17 years after James’s retirement — the deteriorating conditions at the reserve led to the Cummeragunja Walk-Off.

Hundreds of people met and decided to permanently leave the mission in protest. James, in his late 70s and living across the river in Mooroopna, took the minutes for this historic meeting.

Regarded as the first-ever mass strike by Aboriginal people in Australia, the walk-off has been described as a defining moment in Australian Indigenous activism.

The leaders of the strike were former students of Thomas Shadrach James.

#AceHistoryDesk report …………Published: Feb.05: 2022:

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Ace Daily News Australian History World History & Research Reports

(AUSTRALIA) When colonists arrived to set up the city of Melbourne, Bunurong people who had lived on the land for tens of thousands of years had their world upended and its now after 185yrs its being put right #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryReport – June.27: It’d be the equivalent today of a giant spaceship pulling up over the city,” Bunurong man Dan Turnbull said: And I know, that’s outrageous. But it was outrageous, what happened at the time.”

AUSTRLIA: Melbourne’s birth destroyed Bunurong and Wurundjeri boundaries. 185 years on, they’ve been redrawn after the formal founding of Melbourne, the Wurundjeri and Bunurong people have reasserted their status as traditional owners over the heart of what is now a sprawling city home to more than five million people

Across the state, including in Far East Gippsland and the north-east, there are pockets of land where traditional owners are still working towards formal recognition.Wurundjeri cultural burning revived at Coranderrk….When Wurundjeri people were last freely conducting cultural burns in the 1850s, historical records show Gold Rush settlers interpreted it as a threat. This week, the ancient land management tool has been further restored.

NOTE: This story contains images and names of people who have died.

A black and white painting shows men unloading crates from a ship on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River).
The settlement of Melbourne began in 1835, within months of John Pascoe Fawkner’s ship The Enterprise arriving on August 29.(Supplied: State Library of Victoria)

Over just a few decades, Bunurong and Wurundjeri people were pushed off their land to make way for Melbourne: Languages, cultural practices and access to important sites were banned: In some instances, there were contemporary accounts that Aboriginal women effectively terminated pregnancies, such was their despair at the world their children would grow up in.

A detailed drawing shows a group of Aboriginal people overlooking the beginnings of the city of Melbourne being built.
A drawing by surveyor, architect and artist Robert Russell from 1840 illustrates how the Melbourne settlement swiftly displaced Aboriginal people.(State Library of Victoria: Robert Russell)

“You probably struggled to find anything that could have had a greater impact, apart from maybe a natural disaster at a huge level,” Mr Turnbull said.

Princes Bridge near Flinders St Station in Melbourne's CBD with hardly any traffic on it.
In the space of 185 years, the Birrarung has become badly polluted, as the city of Melbourne has been built around it.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)

After four years of close discussions, the two groups were not able to reach agreement on where a boundary line should be drawn across the city’s centre.

So the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council stepped in with a proposed border to mark Wurundjeri country to the north and Bunurong country to the south — and this week, both groups agreed on that proposal.

The new line means both traditional owner groups, who already held responsibility over large tracts of land, will have their recognised land expanded.

It’s the process of years of work piecing back together knowledge that, before colonisation, had been shared between generations of Bunurong and Wurundjeri people for tens of thousands of years.

The new boundary line runs from west to east across the city, placing the CBD, Richmond and Hawthorn in Wurundjeri territory, and Albert Park, St Kilda and Caulfield on Bunurong land.

A map of metropolitan Melbourne is split into a yellow northern half (Wurundjeri) and pink southern half (Bunurong).
The boundary (purple line) will take effect from July 1, with Wurundjeri country (yellow) to the north, and Bunurong (pink) to the south.(Supplied: Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council)

Mount Cottrell, which is the site of a 1836 massacre in which at least 10 Aboriginal people were killed, will be jointly managed by the two groups above the 160-metre point.

The decision clarifies who councils, businesses and communities in the most densely populated parts of the city should recognise as traditional owners from July 1.

Mr Turnbull, who is the CEO of the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, said his people were “deeply excited” by the outcome, which required concessions from both traditional owner groups.

“I’m only speaking for our group, but I think both groups would agree that in order to reach this outcome, that we’ve all had to be quite flexible,” he said.

Dan Turnbull stands in front of bushland, dressed in a black Bunurong Land Council shirt.
Bunurong man Dan Turnbull says the boundary agreement is the product of long-running and respectful discussion.(ABC News: Joseph Dunstan)

But Mr Turnbull said his community was at peace with that and believed the result was “a better future state for everyone”.

The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, which has also agreed to the boundaries, declined to comment.

Reviving ancient boundaries is a complex exercise

Trying to resolve the question of where the boundary should be drawn was a task fraught with complexity.

For one thing, the borders as they were practiced before colonisation were not legalistic, explicit lines, but commonly understood landscapes and markers including plains and rivers.

Many of those have been concreted over and waterways diverted to build Melbourne, meaning the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, which developed the agreed-upon proposal, had to consider other markers.

That includes man-made elements such as roads, with Bank Street to become part of the boundary running through South Melbourne.

In outlining the boundary, the council acknowledged how the forces of colonisation had warped and bent the boundaries.

A black and white photograph shows a crowd of people watching on Prince Alfred lay the foundation stone at Melbourne Town Hall.
Barely 30 years after colonisation had begun, Prince Alfred was laying the foundation stone at the Melbourne Town Hall in 1867.(State Library of Victoria: Charles Hewitt)

“Today, as modern people living an ancient Culture, we are comfortable enough in ourselves to draw a line on a map,” the council said.

“We are strong enough in the old ways to know, in our hearts, that the line it is as accurate as we can make it today.

“To identify a road or a new waterway as a boundary is our answer to a problem not of our creation.”

The written records of colonisers also played a key role in understanding where the boundaries lay before colonisation.

In particular, the diaries and recollections that quoted two prominent Aboriginal leaders during the early years of colonisation — Bunurong elder Derrimut, and Wurundjeri elder William Barak.

A painting of Derrimut, who is wearing a ring on each hand and a possum-skin cloak.
Derrimut was a key Bunurong elder during the early years of colonisation.(State Library of NSW: Benjamin Duterrau)

The council found Wurundjeri land was largely defined by the Birrarung (Yarra River), including country surrounding waterways which flowed into the freshwater Birrarung.

Council took the “crucial indicator” for Bunurong land to be if the water on it flowed into saltwaters.

Council chair Rodney Carter, a Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta man, said every decision to recognise traditional owners was really significant.

“But I think what’s really present in all our minds, is such a populous place, our capital city in the state of Victoria … it’s fantastic that we can now hand that over to the traditional owners to sort of lead what should happen to the protection of cultural heritage,” he said.

Mr Carter said it was important to acknowledge the line required in today’s Australia to manage land affairs did not reflect the historical boundaries, which were “more blurred because they’re the places that bring us together, make us stronger”.

“The boundaries are the places that define us, in our strength towards each other and our relationship,” he said.

An open plain rises into a gentle hill, with some houses build along the slope.
Cultural responsibility to care for Mount Cottrell, a traumatic site of massacres, will be shared between Wurundjeri and Bunurong.(Wikimedia: Mattinbgn)

“And that’s not always clearly understood and even applied today, because we need these boundaries, really as borders.

“And they weren’t that in a past sense.

“So going forward, I think another brilliant thing is how groups actually collaborate at these points of strength, these boundaries, where they come together.

“And I feel really positive about that, because it’s an important value for us to instill in future generations on their governance.”

Caring for country responsibilities will grow

For the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, the new boundary means its responsibilities will increase after July 1, when they will take on formal responsibility for protecting cultural heritage over the vast tract of land.

“There are now 22 local government authorities that will be seeking to engage with Bunurong people for decision making within their boundaries,” he said.

The corporation is often contacted by schools, too, who are keen to ensure they are sharing culturally appropriate lessons with their students on Bunurong land.

Dan Turnbull works on a computer inside an office with maps of traditional owner boundaries on the wall behind him.
Mr Turnbull says the corporation is looking to expand so it can meet its obligations across the new area.(ABC News: Joseph Dunstan)

From July, the group will also need to be across more significant construction sites, where they have a duty to ensure that harm to any Aboriginal heritage discovered while digging is minimised.

“What we’re finding now in the city, which is the first built place in, in what is now known to be Melbourne, is often when they’re knocking down a building and they’re doing excavation into the new car parks that they’re proposing to put under the ground, they’re finding new heritage, that is still very much intact,” Mr Turnbull said.

“There will be probably 50 per cent of the city, that when you go down under that subsurface, you still find the historical stuff on top, marbles, buttons, even the rooms of the buildings, doorways, fireplaces, their rubbish pits are still there.

“And then you dig underneath that, and then all our stuff’s still there.”

Some traditional owners yet to be formally recognised

While the complete boundaries over Victoria’s capital city are now settled, the struggle for other traditional owners continues.

There are just 11 formally recognised traditional owner groups, who cover around 75 per cent of the state’s land.

As the state’s treaty process marches on, Victoria is coming closer to a point in time where individual nations may seek to negotiate agreements with the state government.

The First Peoples’ Assembly, which is laying the groundwork for treaties, is concerned about a lack of progress on the recognition of those groups, despite multi-million-dollar investments from the Andrews government in recent years.

At a meeting this month, the Assembly called on the government to urgently fast track those applications, so those groups could gain Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) status, which confers legal rights to speak for country.

The Victorian government has said it is reviewing its program aimed at supporting Aboriginal nation-building and recognition, to see how it could more closely support traditional owners.

Back on Bunurong land in Frankston, Mr Turnbull hopes news of the boundary will awaken more curiosity in Melburnians to seek out the full story of their city’s history, directly from the books of settlers like John Fawkner.

 “Because it’s a beautiful story, and it’s also a very sad story, as well,” he said.

“With more rollercoasters than any Hollywood blockbuster that’s out at the moment — the stories of warriors and leaders and things that have been lost, things that have been found.

“We’re still here and we’ll always be here.”

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Ace Daily News Australian History

(AUSTRALIA) Opinion Aboriginal History Report: There are two sides too every story in everything we read and debunking one persons or peoples does not allow ‘Free Speech’ to flourish and opinions to be heard allowing the ‘truth’ to set us all free #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.15: An influential Australian bestseller that painted a radically different view of Aboriginal history prior to colonisation has been “debunked” in a “damning” new book by two respected academics.

Author Bruce Pascoe’s best-selling Aboriginal history book Dark Emu ‘debunked’ Author and journalist Stuart Rintoul, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine on Saturday, described their rebuttal to Dark Emu as “damning”.

Bruce Pascoe's claims about Indigenous society and history rejected by historian

Dark Emu, author Bruce Pascoe’s smash hit 2014 book that argued Indigenous Australians were not just hunter-gatherers but engaged in agriculture, irrigation and construction, won numerous literary prizes, was adapted into a stage performance by Aboriginal dance company Bangarra and has even made its way into school curriculums.

Pascoe’s claims – including that Aboriginal people built homes, villages, parks, dams and wells, selected seeds for harvesting, sewed clothes, ploughed fields, irrigated crops and preserved food in vessels – have long come under fire from right-wing critics, including the magazine Quadrantand Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.

Other experts have also raised doubts, including Australian National University anthropologist Ian Keen, who described the evidence for farming as “deeply problematic”, and renowned historian Geoffrey Blainey, who said there was “no evidence that there was ever a permanent town in pre-1788 Australia with 1000 inhabitants who gained most of their food by farming”, as claimed in Dark Emu.

Now two leading experts – anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe – have taken aim at Pascoe in a new book, Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate, set to be released by Melbourne University Press next week.

Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu has won numerous awards.Source:News Regional Media

“In page after page, Sutton and Walshe accuse Pascoe of a ‘lack of true scholarship’, ignoring Aboriginal voices, dragging respect for traditional Aboriginal culture back into the Eurocentric world of the colonial era, and ‘trimming’ colonial observations to fit his argument,” Rintoul writes.

“They write that while Dark Emu ‘purports to be factual’ it is ‘littered with unsourced material, is poorly researched, distorts and exaggerates many points, selectively emphasises evidence to suit those opinions, and ignores large bodies of information that do not support the author’s opinions’.”

The highly respected academics, who have both spent their careers studying Aboriginal history, write that Dark Emu is “actually not, properly considered, a work of scholarship” and that “its success as a narrative has been achieved in spite of its failure as an account of fact”.

“Pascoe’s approach appears to resemble the old Eurocentric view held by the British conquerors of Aboriginal society,” Dr Sutton writes in the book, according to extracts published by Good Weekend.

“Those were the people who organised mass theft of Aboriginal country and many of whom justified the killing of Aborigines who resisted them, really out of greed and indifference, but often under an ideological flag of social evolutionism. They assumed they had a right to profit from the ‘survival of the fittest’ and were the ‘superior race’. The ‘less advanced’ had to make way for the ‘more advanced’. Pascoe risks taking us back to that fatal shore by resurrecting the interpretation of differing levels of complexity and differing extents of intervention in the environment as degrees of advancement and evolution and cleverness and sophistication.”

Bruce Pascoe reads Dark Emu to Glebe Public School students. Picture: Dylan RobinsonSource:News Corp Australia

He told Good Weekend that the pair began working on a response to Dark Emu in 2019 in order to “set things back to a balanced truthfulness” and “restore the dignity of complex (never ‘mere’) hunter-gathering, and thus First Nations cultural history, that has been eroded due to Dark Emu”.

Dr Walshe, meanwhile, said that when she first tried to read Dark Emu, she was so frustrated by its lack of scholarship that she didn’t finish it.

“I still struggle to believe that this has happened,” she told Good Weekend.

In a written response, Pascoe told the magazine that his book had “encouraged many Australians to recognise the ingenuity and sophistication of the many Aboriginal cultures, societies and land-management practices, which had not previously been brought to mainstream attention”.

“The extent of Aboriginal social and economic organisation has been surprising to many Australians and a nuanced debate needs to be ongoing,” he said, adding it would be “disappointing” if Australia’s understanding of Aboriginal history “digressed to a limiting debate about semantics and nomenclature”.

“Hunter-gatherer and farmer are both settler/colonial labels, and the long prevailing negative interpretation of hunter-gatherer has been used as a weapon against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as a justification for terra nullius),” he said.

“Language can be used to help people to see the world differently, to open minds to new ways of seeing. This is what I tried to achieve with Dark Emu.”

Bruce Pascoe (born 1947) is an Aboriginal Australian writer of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays and children’s literature. As well as his own name, Pascoe has written under the pen names Murray Gray and Leopold Glass. Since August 2020, he has been Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne.

Dark Emu (book)

Dark Emu cover.jpg

Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? is a 2014 non-fiction book by Bruce Pascoe. It reexamines colonial accounts of Aboriginal people in Australia, and cites evidence of pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and building construction by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A second edition, published under the title Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture was published in mid-2018, and a version of the book for younger readers, entitled Young Dark Emu: A Truer History, was published in 2019. Both the first and the children’s editions were shortlisted for major awards, and the former won two awards in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards.Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? AuthorBruce PascoeCountryAustraliaLanguageEnglishGenreNon-fiction
HistoryPublication date2014ISBN1921248017

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.15: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com