Australian History

AUSTRALIA HISTORY: A vital piece of Broome’s WWII has been restored after spending nearly three decades exposed to the harsh elements of northern WA.

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#AceHistoryDesk – Broome plane wreck could uncover lost secrets of deadly World War II air raid

Old plane propeller and engine covered in blue tape.
The engine comes from one of five Dorniers wrecked off the coast of north-west Western Australia.(ABC KIMBERLEY: Tallulah Bieundurry)none

The Dornier flying boat engine has been on display at the Broome Historical Museum since the late 1970s, after it was retrieved from wrecks off the coast of Broome.

It is one of five Dorniers wrecked off the coast of the North West during the air raid of 1942, an attack on the port city that left 88 dead.

The engine at the museum is only one of two that have been retrieved, but years buried in the depths of Broome’s turquoise waters left it worse for wear.

Kimberley king tides and mudflats caused severe erosion over its years at sea, leaving its metal engine rusted and flaking apart.

Old plane engine covered in rust
Layers of rust and corrosion covered the engine for decades before conservation treatment. (ABC Kimberley: Tallulah Bieundurry)none

Last week, the museum was paid a visit by a team specializing in industrial repair and metal restoration to bring the piece of Broome’s history back to life.

Metals conservator Vanessa Roth travelled hundreds of kilometres to take part, and she initially had concerns about how well the conservation would work due to the level of degradation. 

“When things go into the water, there’s a period where deterioration happens very quickly,” she said. 

“A calcium carbonate crust starts to help things settle … but if you disturb it again, then it starts to deteriorate quite quickly.” 

The race was on to save the engine, but Ms Roth was careful to keep its authenticity.

“We are trying to preserve the significant qualities of an artefact and its history, we don’t necessarily try and make it look brand new,” she said. The remnants of a Dutch Dornier flying boat 75 years after it was destroyed by a Japanese air raid on Broome.(Supplied: Stephen Van Der Mark)none

Michael Lake is a member of the Broome Historical Society, and he said displaying the engine outside has had some benefits to the artefact’s preservation. 

“The blessing is that every wet season, the engine gets doused with nice, fresh rainwater,” he said.

“The thing is …we needed to do something to preserve it in a better condition.” 

Method of Conservation

Typical methods of conservation were going to be difficult in the harsh climate of Broome, with remoteness being the biggest issue but Ms Roth was open to trying new treatments for the engine. 

“A lot of things taken out from the ocean undergo a process of electrolysis, where it’s put into a particular solution and then attached to an electric current,” she said.

“There was a big risk that it could all fall apart in a solution, so we looked to what other methods could be used.”

Sponge-blasting was recommended, which could potentially take out chlorides from the metals and remove corrosion, so the team pushed on. 

Exposing historic details

When the clean-up was done, it revealed a previously hidden serial numbers buried under layers of rust.

“I’m really thrilled that the sponge-blasting has been able to preserve and reveal a lot of detail,” Ms Roth said.

“Now that we have markings on the engine components, we can get a specialist in to do lot more research.”Sponge-blasting revealed serial numbers on the engine. (ABC Kimberley: Tallulah Bieundurry)none

The serial numbers will open the door for further research into the Broome air raid and the World War II era. 

Conservation treatment has been on the agenda for more than a decade.

Various grants, including support from the Netherlands Embassy and the Consulate General in Australia, have aided the museum to tick it off the list.

Mr Lake said he was glad the historic artefact can be appreciated as a vital part of the Broome air raid collection.

“It’s a very visual reminder for those who walk through the museum of our history,” he said.

The engine is one of five Dorniers wrecked off the coast of the north-west, only 2 of which have been retrieved. The other is on display at the Broome airport.

With regular lanolin coatings and protection from the elements, the engine is expected to stay in good condition for another 40 years. 

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

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Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: #OTD Fifty years ago today weather changed overnight when the (BOM) switched from Fahrenheit to Celsius just part of Metric Conversation Change

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#AceHistoryDesk – Bureau of Meteorology’s 50th anniversary of ‘sudden death’ switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius:

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 6 seconds
50 years since Fahrenheit

The change was part of Australia’s conversion to the metric system, overseen by the Metric Conversion Board.

And while the overall shift was a mammoth task, the transition was considered fairly seamless.

Retired meteorologist Mike Bergin, who was training with BOM at the time, said one of the biggest discussion points was whether or not to phase out Fahrenheit.

“And in the end, the decision was made that on the first day of September, we’re going cold turkey, and it’s the end of Fahrenheit, and we’re starting with Celsius.

“So for many people, I’m sure that was a pretty dramatic sort of a decision.”

black and white image of a woman with a thermometer in her mouth
Standard body temperature changed from 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 37 degrees Celsius.(ABC News)none

Converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius was no small feat.

To do so, the BOM replaced 6,000 Fahrenheit thermometers and recovered the mercury from them.

They also had to convert 15 million historical temperature records from Fahrenheit to Celsius.  

Catchy jingles replace the magic

And then there was the task of changing the language in everyday life.

“The one thing I can remember is that 100 degrees Fahrenheit was [thought as] some sort of magical, that’s super hot, number,” he said.

“Of course, it converts to a very awkward 37.78 degrees Celsius, so it loses its magic.

“But I think maybe 40C has become the ‘oh, my goodness, it’s really hot’ point.” To help people adjust, the BOM released a series of pamphlets and jingles to describe the feeling of each temperature(Supplied: BOM)none

To help, the weather bureau coined a series of jingles to describe the feeling of a temperature in degrees Celsius.

These included the “frosty fives”, “tingling tens”, “temperate twenties”, “thirsty thirties” and “flaming forties”.

Miles to metric measurements

The switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius was the first phase of the BOM’s change to metric.

At the same time, they abandoned the use of inches in air pressure.Changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius was just one of many steps to moving to the metric system.(ABC News)none

Stage 2 of the conversion, in April 1973, changed wind speeds to kilometres per hour instead of miles per hour.

And the final stage, completed in 1974, saw rain heights, wave heights and snow depths changed to metres. 

Mr Bergin said this change was more memorable.

“I know rainfall wasn’t quite as smooth and nor was wind,” he said.

“It’s still the case today, if you travel rural and regional areas and speak to particularly older people, the language is still very much about inches.

“They’ll tell you they’re 50 kilometres from a certain town, but we had half an inch of rain last night.”Retired meteorologist Mike Bergin was training with the BOM the year they made the switch from Fahrenheit.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)none

Weather forecasts were not the only aspect of Australian life that changed to metric during that period.

Between 1970 and 1980 road speeds, dress sizes, scales, recipes and medical prescriptions were also converted, among others.

Despite the potential for disruption to normal life, the change was surprisingly trouble-free in both private and commercial spheres, according to a 1982 report by the federal government.

The report described the process of metrication as a “most significant event in Australia’s integration with the modernising world”, set in motion following the change to decimal currency in 1966.

A Senate committee determined the move to metric to be both desirable and practical — simpler, more efficient and more widely used around the world. 

In 2022, just a handful of countries still use the Fahrenheit scale.

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

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Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: Wurundjeri elder Aunty Margaret Gardiner’s quiet legacy for Victoria’s Aboriginal community

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#AceHistoryDesk Good luck to anyone trying to pull the wool over Aunty Margaret Gardiner’s eyes…………..” She wasn’t backward in coming forward, she’d ask a question, even if it was a bit prickly,” her brother, Uncle Andrew Gardiner, recalled with a smile.

Aunty Margaret Gardiner smiles, wearing a possum-skin cloak as she stands in front of a field in a black-and-white photo.
Wurundjeri elder Aunty Margaret Gardiner remained highly active in Aboriginal affairs throughout her later life.(Supplied)none

The family of the respected Wurundjeri elder, who passed away aged 63 this month, has given permission for her name and image to be used.

Uncle Andrew said his sister could be fairly blunt as she pursued bureaucrats, agencies and individuals for information on the issues affecting her community.

But there was a purpose to her tenacious investigations.

“To make sure that they were doing the right thing by the community that should have been dealt with,” Uncle Andrew said.

With a careful eye for detail, Aunty Margaret was constantly building up a “helicopter view” of Victorian Aboriginal affairs.

Aunty Margaret Gardiner holds a microphone as she stands, appearing serious, wrapped in a possum-skin cloak.
Aunty Margaret often spoke up to ensure concerns around cultural protocols and Aboriginal sovereignty were heard.(Supplied)none

“Her priority was cultural heritage, because that grounds everybody and that maintained her grounding as an Aboriginal woman,” Uncle Andrew said.

“She felt the need to do the right thing and not take handout grants from the government necessarily because she didn’t want to feel a cultural cringe that we were owning to the government rather than making decisions for ourselves about our cultural heritage.”

‘A fierce fighter for her people’

Born in Birchip in Victoria’s north-west in 1958, Aunty Margaret spent her early childhood years in nearby Charlton, before the family later moved to Melbourne.

There, she and her brother became more tightly connected with their mother’s family, including Aunty Winnie Quagliotti, a key elder in the Wurundjeri community who established the Wurundjeri corporation.

Andrew and Margaret Gardiner smile as they pose for a photograph together, as teenagers or young adults.
Margaret Gardiner and her brother Andrew grew up with a strong connection to their mother’s Wurundjeri culture.(Supplied)none

As a young woman, Aunty Margaret was quick to get to work for her community, starting off with a job at the Dandenong Aboriginal co-operative.

Through the 1970s and decades that followed, there were big changes in Victorian Aboriginal affairs as a surge in the number of community-run bodies delivered greater self-determination to Indigenous communities.

Aunty Margaret was in the thick of it, working at the former Mirimbiak Nations Aboriginal Corporation with Victorian native title groups to help traditional owners assert their rights over country.

She was also involved in significant projects capturing the oral histories of Victorian traditional owners, accumulating a deep knowledge of Aboriginal history across the state.

“She had that teaching and grounding about how to talk with elders and had that information and who was allowed to see it,” Uncle Andrew said.

Most recently, she sat on the board of the Birrarung Council, helping give a voice to the interests of the Birrarung (Yarra River) through a set of legislation she helped her Wurundjeri community push forward.

Uncle Andrew Gardiner appears thoughtful, dressed in a hat and rainjacket under grey skies in a green field.
Uncle Andrew Gardiner says his sister was passionate about safeguarding Aboriginal cultural heritage and values.(ABC News: Joseph Dunstan)none

After years of involvement in different community organisations, Uncle Andrew said his sister’s contributions would live on in simple but profound changes, such as improved access to housing and health services for Aboriginal people in Dandenong and Melbourne’s south-east.

“A lot of people say she was a fierce fighter for her people and she had this strength and she was staunch … yeah, because she kind of had to, she had to be able to do that representation for people,” he said.

In a letter of condolence to her family, a senior lawyer who had worked with Aunty Margaret gave their own insight into the elder’s formidable reputation.

“[The lawyer] mentioned that she was somewhat challenged at times to be able to respond to Marg’s questions, because they were very particular legal questions, and she’d go ‘ok I’ll have to go and research that’,” Uncle Andrew said.

‘She just led the way’

If you dropped in to see her, odds were her phone would be ringing hot, as Aboriginal community members from across the state sought her frank advice on matters of cultural protocol.

Gary Murray, a multi-clan human rights advocate who is a descendant of several nations including Wamba Wamba, Dhudhuroa, Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung, said Aunty Margaret was a “leader at the highest level” when it came to cultural matters.

“In terms of the knowledge that she had from her ancestors and from her own connection to country, as well as where she worked,” he said.

As a multi-clan elder, she fought to protect the cultural interests of her other nations too, heading to court to raise her concerns about the right people speaking for country.

“I think she was outstanding in those matters,” Mr Murray said.

“She was always very articulate, very strong, exerted her rights … she just led the way.”

She was never one to embrace the spotlight but her family and others who worked alongside her say Aunty Margaret’s legacy shouldn’t be understated.

“Marg was one of those ones who did it quietly but very strongly and didn’t like to be acknowledged or recognised in a sense,” Mr Murray said.

“More recently, a particular university was offering her an honorary doctorate and she was very strong on saying no, she didn’t want it.”

Uncle Andrew, who is part of the First Peoples’ Assembly working to prepare Victoria for state-based treaties, said his sister was wary but interested in where that path could take her community.

“She was reserving her opinion about treaty, to see how it would work,” he said.

“But she wasn’t going back on what Wurundjeri’s opportunities and aspirations needed to be, either.”

Aunty Margaret is survived by her children Jemima Gardiner, Luke Gardiner, Mathew Gardiner and Jesse Rotumah-Gardiner.

A private funeral is planned for September 5, when she will be laid to rest at Coranderrk Aboriginal Cemetery in Healesville.


#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Aug.27:  2022:

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Australian History

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: PS Rodney shipwreck reveals one of the earliest and most violent industrial disputes

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#AceHistoryDesk – Shipwrecks are synonymous with tumultuous tempests, fierce battles, mutinies and piracy, but the sinking of the Paddle-Steamer (PS) Rodney would go down in history as the first to be sunk in a fiery conflict by striking shearers.

1880's photo of the paddle steamer Rodney
The PS Rodney played an important role transporting goods and wool on the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers.(Supplied: Echuca Historical Society)none

It was the early hours of August 27, 1894. Under the cover of darkness, the PS Rodney was boarded by a group of 150 masked striking shearers hell-bent on the vessel’s demise.

Today marks the 128th anniversary of the PS Rodney’s sinking in a quiet lagoon on the Darling River near Pooncarie in NSW.

It marks a significant moment in our country’s history, bringing an end to one of Australia’s most violent and destructive union conflicts.

Paddle steamer barges fully loaded with wool packs.
Echuca Wharf was the main trade port for the PS Rodney that used barges to transport tonnes of wool.(Supplied: Echuca Historical Society)none

The shearers’ strike began in the early 1890s on the eve of a crippling depression and amid a scorching drought, when the country’s wool growers attempted to introduce anti-union contracts to reduce shearers’ pay rates and lessen the impact of plummeting wool prices.

Unionised shearers and wool workers already enduring poor working conditions retaliated at this breach of trust, triggering the start of the massive 1891 shearers’ strike.

The events over the three years that followed resulted in camps of striking shearers burning woolsheds that employed strikebreakers or scab workers.

The bloody clashes that started in Queensland and spread to NSW and Victoria are remembered as the earliest and most violent industrial disputes in Australia’s history.

Lady in  red shirt smiling at camera
Dot Hammond, retired president of the Echuca Historical Society, grew up on a wool property herself.(Supplied: Echuca Historical Society)none

Dot Hammond, retired president of the Echuca Historical Society, grew up on a sheep station and remembers some tough times, including droughts, and understands the difficulties the wool growers would have faced at the time.

Her research uncovering how the shearers’ strike affected the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee River trade shows that many graziers were also struggling due to the low wool prices and were forced to employ non-union shearers.

Massive timber wharf with paddle boat
Echuca Wharf was the third-largest port in Australia with 240 paddleboat river traders.(Supplied: Echuca Historical Society)none

“Tolarno Station was one of several sheep stations that chose to hire strikebreakers, or non-union shearers, in an attempt to get their sheep shorn,” Ms Hammond says.

Due to the looming depression and high unemployment, pastoralists had no difficulty finding men desperate for work and willing to take up work as scab labourers.

sepia photo of shearers at work in a shearing shed
Shearers at work on Blandensburg Station in Queensland circa 1890s.(Supplied: Queensland State Library)none

“Strikebreakers were transported to Echuca by rail under police protection, before boarding several paddle-steamers, with 45 boarding the PS Rodney destined for Tolarno Station,” Ms Hammond says.

“Unionist shearers were in hot pursuit with the aim of stopping the scab workers from getting to Tolarno.

“The PS Rodney departed Echuca Wharf with only minutes to spare, before over 100 unionist shearers raided the wharf and resorted to throwing stones at the paddle-steamer.”

The unionist shearers didn’t give up the fight and went in pursuit, gaining support along the hunt for the vessel, their large camps becoming a force to be reckoned with along the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers.

1891 photo of shearers strike camp
Striking shearer camps soon ran low on food and supplies and were disbanded, but their fight continued.(Supplied: Queensland State Library)none

Shearers take control of Murray-Darling trade

By 1894, the unionist strike camps were far more organised with more than 300 armed shearers taking control of the movement of riverboats and trade along the Murray and Darling Rivers.

Rod Taylor is a 30-year shearing veteran who is passionate about the shearing history of the stations along the Murray and Darling River regions.  

Man in checked shirt and cap holding a scale model of the PS Rodney
Retired shearer Rodney Taylor is passionate about the history of the 1894 shearers’ strike and the PS Rodney.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)none

He understands the fury that sparked the burning of the PS Rodney and the shearers’ plight, having experienced harsh working conditions himself over his three decades as a shearer.

“Sheep stations were very much owned by the privileged — the ‘Squattocracy’ I called it. They considered the workers second-class citizens, and it was virtually a class war that became very bitter,” Mr Taylor says.

By the winter of 1894, the striking shearers were gaining support and numbers along the Murray and Darling Rivers preventing the transport of essential goods and scab-shorn wool, sometimes by the use of extreme measures that seriously threatened the $5 million river trade.

The PS Rodney’s final hours

Low river with party submerged wreck of the PS Rodney
The wreck of the PS Rodney, now heritage-listed, can be seen during times of low Darling River flow.(Supplied: Rod Taylor)none

After failing to stop the strikebreakers at Echuca, the shearers pursuing the vessel attempted to block its path on the Darling River with barges and fencing wire strung across the river. This unsuccessful attempt made them more ferocious in their violent endeavour to stop the vessel.

The PS Rodney’s Captain, Jimmy Dickson, moored the boat in a remote lagoon 37 kilometres from Pooncarie, where he thought they would be protected by the surrounding swamp.

“Under the cover of darkness, with all on board asleep, the PS Rodney was boarded by around 150 masked shearers. They threw the scabs overboard, set the barges of goods adrift, and set the vessel alight as the horrified Captain Jimmy Dickson looked helplessly on,” Mr Taylor says.

The resulting fire burnt the 32-metre-long timber paddle-steamer to the water line. Its skeletal remains are still visible more than 100 years later, during low river flows and drought as a reminder of that tumultuous moment in Australia’s history.

What’s left of the Rodney is now heritage-protected and, despite a reward offered at the time, no-one was ever convicted over the fire.


#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Aug.27:  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: A message in a bottle has been found 86 years after two tradesmen hid it in a Brisbane primary school.

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#AceHistoryDesk – Heritage workers discover secret message in a bottle penned 86 years ago in Queensland school spire

A slightly torn and worn note.
The handwritten message was tucked into an old ginger ale bottle in 1935 and later found in the spire of a Brisbane school 86 years later. (Supplied)none

The note was written by 16-year-old apprentice carpenter Gordon Benson and carpenter Douglas Heron, who together built the spire of Junction Park State School in Annerley.

Restoration workers discovered the bottle in the spire last August.

The note was handwritten in lead pencil and dated October 12, 1935 — a year before the building opened.

“Built this fleche for the Dept of Public Works 12 of July 1935.”

“We now are looking down of [sic] you.

“Since removing it, if any of my children, children are living, pass this onto them.


‘A story of hope’ passed on to children

A man and woman stand around a frame with images and the message inside it.
The note was presented to Geoffrey Benson and Marilyn Blundell, two of Mr Benson’s five children.(ABC News: Alexander Lewis)none

The handwritten note was presented to two of Mr Benson’s five children, Geoffrey Benson and Marilyn Blundell, in a ceremony at the school today.

A glass bottle with a note in at.
Restoration workers discovered the bottle in the school spire last year.(Supplied)none

“Once realising it was written by my father, it wasn’t a surprise,” Mr Benson, who worked for the public works department himself, told the ABC.

“Dad always thought about his family, and his children, and the future of his children.

“I guess having come through the depression and being put in a position where he’s not very far away from joining the war, there were probably a lot of things on his mind.”

Gordon Benson has 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

He worked for the public works department until his retirement at the age of 60, leaving only briefly to serve in the army at New Guinea during World War II.

Ms Blundell, a teacher at Surfers Paradise State School, said it was emotional seeing her father’s note for the first time in person.

“It’s a story of hope. He was 16 and didn’t know what was to come,” she said.

“He had the hope there would be children and children’s children.”

A black and white photo of George Benson wearing his uniform.
Gordon Benson was just 16 at the time he wrote the message as an apprentice carpenter before serving in World War II.(Supplied)none

Ms Blundell’s cousin, who also worked for the department, recognised the surname in a newsletter and made contact.

“The years all lined up and I confirmed it,” Ms Blundell said.

“It was definitely Dad’s writing.”

Continuing a legacy of family love

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the carpenters probably left the note as “a bit of a lark” while finishing what would become a heritage-listed school.

“Apparently Gordon was a real live wire. I think his family absolutely endorse that,” Mr Bailey said.

“He kind of knew it would get discovered at some point.”

A sepia tone picture of the family.
A photo of the Benson family, taken in 1979.(Supplied)none

Junction Park State School Principal John Bray said the school first opened in 1888.

“We should never forget history because it brings us together and we learn from it,” he said.

“It’s a green bottle and very small so I suggest it would have been a ginger ale bottle,” Mr Benson said.

Ms Blundell said her father never mentioned the note.

“It was written in pencil and that’s why it hasn’t faded,” she said.

The department was unable to track down Mr Heron’s family.

Mr Benson said his father would have been very proud and amazed by the discovery.

“It’s interesting that he had a love of his future family before they’d even been born and a continued love for his family after he’s passed on,” he said.

“So our legacy is to keep that love going.”


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

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: NT Aboriginal queen’, Nellie Camfoo, on race, love and the children that were taken

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#AceHistoryDesk – Nellie Camfoo’s days of riding horses may be over, but in her mind, she still calls herself “a cattle girl”……………..Swinging her arm in the air to the rhythm of the rope she once held, she takes her mind back to a time when she mustered for cattle in the bush.

A black and white photograph of a woman holding an Aboriginal string figure with her fingers.
Nellie Camfoo’s story offers an insight into life as an Aboriginal woman in the 20th century.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory)none

“Yeah!” she said, bouncing her now slender frame in the chair where she sits.

“Riding those horses, jumping off, chasing them cattle and pull them up, take them in the yard and brand him.”

a woman with grey hair sits in front of green palm tree and is looking to the distance.
Nellie Camfoo says she misses living out on country.(ABC News: Pete Garnish)none

A life spent in the bush, navigating two worlds 

At 90 years, Ms Camfoo offers an insight into life as an Aboriginal woman in the 20th century, from being displaced from her land and helping with the war effort without pay, to being unable to marry without a permit. 

She has also danced for Australian prime ministers, advised on Indigenous issues and spent much of her life advocating for Aboriginal women.

Her mind remains full of memories growing up her way and “the Mununga [whitefella] way” on Mainoru Station, in remote Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

A row of women stand side by side at a cattle station. They are all wearing cotton dresses and are happy.
Nellie Camfoo (back) with a group of young women and girls at Mainoru Station in the Northern Territory.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory.)none

Born Nellie Martin in 1932, her early years were spent living a traditional life, traversing the land between the station and the coast on foot with her family, looking for bush tucker.

She credits her family for teaching her about Aboriginal law and how to navigate two worlds.

Ms Camfoo’s father was an Aboriginal stockman at Mainoru station and, unlike other hostile stories in the area, the family had a positive experience living and working alongside its white owners. 

She worked long days as a ringer — roping bullocks and branding them — and when she wasn’t outside, she was inside cooking or cleaning.

A clan of Indigenous people gather around livestock killed on a cattle farm.
Nellie Camfoo was born and raised in Mainoru in Arnhem Land.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory )none

It was here she met the love of her life, Tex Camfoo, a dashing head stockman she fondly remembers as her “old man”.

He taught a young Nellie how to break a horse and chase cattle.

“I’m thinking about my old man, my husband [and] how good he was.

“We had good fun in the bush, probably the best fun as stockmen on the cattle station,” she said.

A woman with grey hair sits under a tree and uses her hands to tell a story
Nellie Camfoo said she still grieves for the children that were taken away from Mainoru.(ABC News: Pete Garnish)none

‘That’s wrong’ — remembering the stolen children

But living close to white people in Mainoru came with its hardships.

When government officials came to the station looking for “half caste” children to take during the era of the Stolen Generations, Ms Camfoo was protected by the colour of her skin.

She witnessed children with fairer skin to hers taken and, decades on, finds it hard to talk about.

 “White man take them and the kid was crying for aunty and uncle and everybody, well that’s wrong,” she said.

“We don’t go along and take the white kid from Adelaide or Sydney or Canberra or wherever, we’ll get shot from white people.

“Make me cry … I’m old now but I’ve still got the [pain] inside me.”

Ms Camfoo said she’d seen a lot during her long life, including when war came to Australia.

a monochrome image of smoke billowing out of oil tanks near the harbour
Nellie Camfoo spent years working in Darwin after it was bombed by the Japanese.(Supplied: Library & Archives NT )none

After Darwin was bombed by the Japanese, she was sent there to help with the rebuilding effort.

Fluent in five Indigenous languages, she was tasked with communicating messages to Aboriginal tribes across the far north.

“Helping talk to the people and get all the language from other tribes and put them in English like we’re talking now,” Ms Camfoo said.

A group of Indigenous women and children sit on the ground. They are all smiling to the camera and are happy.
Nellie Camfoo (centre) photographed with her sisters and family in Bulman.(Supplied: Gillian Cowlishaw )none

Her domestic skills were also sought after Ms Camfoo stayed on in Darwin to support the army with cooking, washing and ironing.

It was hard work, done for no pay.

“Even though I was in Darwin working [with] the army, World War II, no money, just for tucker. Well, that’s wrong,” she said.

‘Love is love’ — navigating the law as a mixed-race couple

After working in Darwin, Ms Camfoo missed home and made her way back to Mainoru where her romance with Tex started to blossom.

Son of a Rembarrnga woman and a Chinese saddler, Tex was removed from his family as a child and taken to a school for “half caste” children on Groote Eylandt.

A man wearing a cowboy shirt stands in the bush with a cigarette in his mouth.  With a quiff hairstyle, he gazes into the camera
Texas Camfoo was the head stockman at Mainoru Station.(supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory)none

Before his death, he told anthropologist, Gillian Cowlishaw, his name growing up was Harry, but there were too many kids with the same name on the mission, so he was baptised Jimmy instead, after his father.

As an adult he was nicknamed Texas to match his cowboy life and would later be deemed by the government to be a European by default, because of his Chinese ancestry.

It meant he could go into a pub and freely drink alcohol with other white stockmen.

But he couldn’t marry Nellie without a permit.

A black and white photograph of a stockman backjumping on a horse at a cattle station.
Tex Camfoo back jumping at Mainoru Station in the Northern Territory.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory)none

Under the Aboriginal Ordinance Act that governed Indigenous lives at the time, non-Aboriginal men faced a fine or jail time for being intimate with Aboriginal women. 

Marriage was also banned without permission from Native Affairs.

Ms Camfoo said she was confused by the rules that dictated her early life.

“White man not allowed to marry Aboriginal girl like me … what reason? You tell me?” she said.

A young woman tends to a wound on a man's leg. She is smiling to the camera.
Under the Aboriginal Ordinance Act, Tex and Nellie needed a permit to get married.(Supplied: Gillian Cowlishaw)none
a monochrome image of an old homestead on a cattle station
Authorities would come to Mainoru Station to question Nellie and Tex about their relationship.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory)none

After waiting years for their marriage permit to come through, they were finally married in a church in Katherine.

The nonagenarian still wears her wedding ring and said she hadn’t forgotten the fight it took to be with her husband.

“Love is love … you can’t stop the love, white, black, Chinese or Indian or whatever,” Ms Camfoo said.

Displaced and exiled from Mainoru 

After getting married, Nellie and Tex Camfoo stayed and worked at Mainoru, but when the station sold in 1968 their lives were uprooted again.

The station was sold to new American owners the same year that Aboriginal stockmen were granted equal pay in Australia.

When the law changed, Rembarrnga stockman and their families were moved on from Mainoru, and forced to set up camp further north in Bulman.

Ms Camfoo found herself a refugee on her own land and said the ordeal took its toll.

“It’s too hard to tell you the story about this Mainoru when white man selfish for that country and then Aboriginal we are selfish for our country because our ground is our ground,” she said.

A black and white photograph of a woman standing at a doorway and posing. She places her hands on her hips and is smiling
Nellie Camfoo photographed in 1976.(Supplied: Gillian Cowlishaw)none

Ms Camfoo with her husband continued to defy the odds in Bulman, securing government backing to set up a cattle station in the 1970’s, however the venture folded within a decade.

The couple share a large extended family that still live in Bulman, but they never went on to have any biological children.

Ms Camfoo said she fell pregnant after getting married, but miscarried when she fell off a horse during a buck jumping accident.

Young at heart with culture and dance

Ms Camfoo said some people on Jawoyn country regard her as an “Aboriginal queen” for her knowledge and authority, and wants the younger children to know their roots.

“When they are around me, the boys and girls, I just say ‘number one, don’t lose your culture’,” she said. 

“I want young people to learn. I want our way in the front, our law.”

A caucasian woman and indigenous stand side by side and are smiling at each other.
Nellie Camfoo photographed with Australian anthropologist Gillian Cowlishaw (left) in Beswick.(Supplied: Gillian Cowlishaw)none

Ms Camfoo said her spirit lives in the bush, and likes to get out on country whenever she can.

Moving her body in the chair, as though she’s ready to break out into a dance, the elder invites me out on country to dance with her.

She tells me she wants the learning to work both ways. 

“That’s my law. I don’t dance your rock and roll, I don’t learn it,” she said. 

“You don’t know my dancing as well because you have to get used to it, like how to move your foot and knee.

“I’ve done all the jobs that I am proud of and learning, but white man not much learning my language, my law, but I still tell them.”

Two women stand side by side on a field. They are wearing sun dresses and are smiling.
Nellie Camfoo (right) with her friend Glen Stuart at Mainoru Station in the late 1940’s.(Supplied: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory)none

Ms Camfoo turned 90 in July. A party was planned to celebrate the milestone but was cancelled at the eleventh hour because of sorry business.

The Rembarrnga woman doesn’t talk about the loss that postponed her party, but the passing of another elder has hit a nerve and she understands the significance of reaching 90.

“I’m happy I’m that old … my body is strong,” she said.

a woman with long grey hair and missing teeth is smiling to the camera.
Nellie Camfoo photographed outside her home in Katherine.(ABC News: Pete Garnish)none

With her days out bush behind her, Ms Camfoo now lives independently in a unit in the remote town of Katherine, where we meet to talk about her life’s experiences and struggles. 

Smoking a tobacco pipe that she made herself using bamboo taken from the river, she tells me we are one, despite our differences in colour.

“Black and white they are one, we are one, you and me,” Ms Camfoo said. 

“We’re brothers and sisters … we’ve got different skin, but we’ve got the same blood.”

#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

AUSTRALIA HISTORY: Tasmanian Aboriginal woman Nunami Sculthorpe-Green leads a group of 30 headset-wearing people through the CBD streets of Hobart/nipaluna #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Feb.06: She talks calmly into her microphone, telling the stories of the atrocities committed against her people since white people landed in the area.

#AceHistoryDesk says Hobart’s first Aboriginal walking tour exposes the city’s ‘true history’ of Black War and atrocities according to ABC News report.

A woman stands in front of a group of people
Nunami Sculthorpe-Green says she wants to give people a new way to look at the city.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

The group is on the opening night of Takara nipaluna (palawa kani for Walking Hobart).

They are following the 1832 route of a group of 40 members of the Aboriginal resistance as protesters walked to old Government House to negotiate an end to the Black War.

Tasmania’s Black War ran from around 1823 to 1832.

It included the infamous Black Line, where colonists would form a line stretching across lutruwita/Tasmania’s settled districts and move south trying to round up the Indigenous population, which had already suffered a devastating toll wrought by disease, dispossession and violence.

The walking tour aims to expose the history and stories hidden under the asphalt and behind the sandstone facades of Hobart.

“What I’m trying to do in the tours is give people a new way to look at the city and a way to immerse themselves in Aboriginal history and the true history of this place,” Ms Sculthorpe-Green said.

“Specifically, stories about people, covering from pre-invasion, the landscape changes today and covering some pretty dark stuff, like the Black War, bone collecting.”

A woman wearing a backpack with a small Aboriginal flag sticking out of it has her back to the camera as she speaks to a group
The tour is aimed at locals who want to know more about their city, rather than tourists.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

The idea for the tours was sparked seven years ago and, after 12 months of development, it was first run in March 2021 as part of the 10 Days on the Island festival.

Ms Sculthorpe-Green said the audience reception was encouraging.

“A lot of people say they’d heard some of the story but had never had it pieced together in one continuous story before,. It really helps them wrap their mind around a huge period and the huge journey our people have been on,” she said.

“A lot of them feel more supportive of our campaigns at the end, because they see what we’ve come through to where we are now.”

Ms Sculthorpe-Green said the tours helped people realise they lived in a colonial city.

“I think when you live in a colony you wouldn’t really realise what that means and the true history of the place,” she said.

“I think people would never think about Aboriginal dispossessions as being the foundation of the country and a 30-year attempted genocide of our people as to why these cities stand.”

A woman with a headset microphone stands side on to the camera, and speaks to a group
The tour follows the route taken in 1832 by 40 members of the Aboriginal resistance, as they walked to old Government House to negotiate the end of the Black War.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

The tour also looks forward.

“Spanning to our activism today is really important. I didn’t want to leave our story in the past, I didn’t want it to be far away from where people are,” Ms Sculthorpe-Green said.

“I wanted people to realise that our stories are here in the city, right here with us all the time, and they connect to us today.”

History at home

While most walking tours are pitched at visitors keen to explore the nooks and crannies of a new city, Takara nipaluna is also aimed at getting locals to better understand their home.

Dramaturge Sarah Hamilton worked with Ms Sculthorpe-Green on the tour’s development.

A woman holding a baby looks at the camera
Dramaturge Sarah Hamilton, who helped develop the tour, says it “exposes that this city hasn’t always been a colonial city”.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

“I think it’s fundamental that we have that context and we understand what makes this place we live in,” Ms Hamilton said.

“It exposes that this city hasn’t always been a colonial city, that it is rich in story and culture, and that there was a really terrible war that took place here and that, essentially, this city is built on that war.”

Ms Hamilton said it was a privilege to work with Ms Sculthorpe-Green.

“I think she has the wisdom of, like, a 100-year-old person with her knowledge of history and culture,” she said.

“But also I think it’s an incredibly generous act that she’s doing this, because she’s had to process a lot of very sad history as well.”

Treading the streets

Despite being set in the streets of Hobart, rather than on the stage, Takara nipaluna is part of the 2022 Theatre Royal season and will run regularly throughout the year.

The theatre is Australia’s oldest, continually in use playhouse. It began its operations in 1837, just six years after the Black War ended.

A man sits in otherwise empty theatre stalls
Theatre Royal chief executive Simon Wellington says he was taught nothing about the Black War when he grew up.(Supplied: Rosie Hastie)

Chief executive Simon Wellington said that, when he grew up in Tasmania, he was taught nothing about the Black War.

“As a society, we need to be a lot more aware of that. If we’re going to understand and comprehend the future, we’ve got to understand the past,” he said.

Mr Wellington said he wanted the theatre to tell stories relevant to the local community and its sense of identity.

“For me, it’s about being able to diversify the range of stories that are told by the Theatre Royal, and the experiences that we can offer that are outside of sitting in a theatre,” he said.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Feb.06: 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: all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: and all wordpress and live posts and links here: 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

King Billy ~

My Great Britain t Great Great. Grandfather, King Billy Turner. This man gives me the strength, motivation, and inspiration to stand up and fight for my ancestors and our future generations to save Deebing Creek from desecration at the hands of the government and any development by developers on our sacred land. They have tried to take everything away from us and I’m not going down without a fight. I owe at least that much to my ancestors who aren’t here and able to fight this battle for themselves. If we don’t stand up against them on behalf of our ancestors, who will….

Because Off King Billy Turner, I can achieve the thing’s that I do. ❤️

King 👑 Billy Australian First Nations People
Australian History

Power ~

His tongue was framed to music,

And his hand was armed with skill,

His face was the mould of beauty,

And his heart the throne of will.


There is not yet any inventory of a man’s faculties, any more than a bible of his opinions. Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being? There are men, who, by their sympathetic attractions, carry nations with them, and lead the activity of the human race. And if there be such a tie, that, wherever the mind of man goes, nature will accompany him, perhaps there are men whose magnetisms are of that force to draw material and elemental powers, and, where they appear, immense instrumentalities organize around them. Life is a search after power; and this is an element with which the world is so saturated,—there is no chink or crevice in which it is not lodged,—that no honest seeking goes unrewarded. A man should prize events and possessions as the ore in which this fine mineral is found; and he can well afford to let events and possessions, and the breath of the body go, if their value has been added to him in the shape of power. If he have secured the elixir, he can spare the wide gardens from which it was distilled. A cultivated man, wise to know and bold to perform, is the end to which nature works, and the education of the will is the flowering and result of all this geology and astronomy.

All successful men have agreed in one thing,—they were causationists. They believed that things went not by luck, but by law; that there was not a weak or a cracked link in the chain that joins the first and last of things. A belief in causality, or strict connection between every trifle and the principle of being, and, in consequence, belief in compensation, or, that nothing is got for nothing,—characterizes all valuable minds, and must control every effort that is made by an industrious one. The most valiant men are the best believers in the tension of the laws. “All the great captains,” said Bonaparte, “have performed vast achievements by conforming with the rules of the art,—by adjusting efforts to obstacles.”

The key to the age may be this, or that, or the other, as the young orators describe;—the key to all ages is—Imbecility; imbecility in the vast majority of men, at all times, and, even in heroes, in all but certain eminent moments; victims of gravity, custom, and fear. This gives force to the strong,—that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or original action.

We must reckon success a constitutional trait. Courage,—the old physicians taught, (and their meaning holds, if their physiology is a little mythical,)—courage, or the degree of life, is as the degree of circulation of the blood in the arteries. “During passion, anger, fury, trials of strength, wrestling, fighting, a large amount of blood is collected in the arteries, the maintenance of bodily strength requiring it, and but little is sent into the veins. This condition is constant with intrepid persons.” Where the arteries hold their blood, is courage and adventure possible. Where they pour it unrestrained into the veins, the spirit is low and feeble. For performance of great mark, it needs extraordinary health. If Eric is in robust health, and has slept well, and is at the top of his condition, and thirty years old, at his departure from Greenland, he will steer west, and his ships will reach Newfoundland. But take out Eric, and put in a stronger and bolder man,—Biorn, or Thorfin,—and the ships will, with just as much ease, sail six hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred miles further, and reach Labrador and New England. There is no chance in results. With adults, as with children, one class enter cordially into the game, and whirl with the whirling world; the others have cold hands, and remain bystanders; or are only dragged in by the humor and vivacity of those who can carry a dead weight. The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited, and cannot serve any one: it must husband its resources to live. But health or fulness answers its own ends, and has to spare, runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of other men’s necessities.

All power is of one kind, a sharing of the nature of the world. The mind that is parallel with the laws of nature will be in the current of events, and strong with their strength. One man is made of the same stuff of which events are made; is in sympathy with the course of things; can predict it. Whatever befalls, befalls him first; so that he is equal to whatever shall happen. A man who knows men, can talk well on politics, trade, law, war, religion. For, everywhere, men are led in the same manners.

The advantage of a strong pulse is not to be supplied by any labor, art, or concert. It is like the climate, which easily rears a crop, which no glass, or irrigation, or tillage, or manures, can elsewhere rival. It is like the opportunity of a city like New York, or Constantinople, which needs no diplomacy to force capital or genius or labor to it. They come of themselves, as the waters flow to it. So a broad, healthy, massive understanding seems to lie on the shore of unseen rivers, of unseen oceans, which are covered with barks, that, night and day, are drifted to this point. That is poured into its lap, which other men lie plotting for. It is in everybody’s secret; anticipates everybody’s discovery; and if it do not command every fact of the genius and the scholar, it is because it is large and sluggish, and does not think them worth the exertion which you do.

This affirmative force is in one, and is not in another, as one horse has the spring in him, and another in the whip. “On the neck of the young man,” said Hafiz, “sparkles no gem so gracious as enterprise.” Import into any stationary district, as into an old Dutch population in New York or Pennsylvania, or among the planters of Virginia, a colony of hardy Yankees, with seething brains, heads full of steam-hammer, pulley, crank, and toothed wheel,—and everything begins to shine with values. What enhancement to all the water and land in England, is the arrival of James Watt or Brunel! In every company, there is not only the active and passive sex, but, in both men and women, a deeper and more important sex of mind, namely, the inventive or creative class of both men and women, and the uninventive or accepting class. Each plus man represents his set, and, if he have the accidental advantage of personal ascendency,—which implies neither more nor less of talent, but merely the temperamental or taming eye of a soldier or a schoolmaster, (which one has, and one has not, as one has a black moustache and one a blond,) then quite easily and without envy or resistance, all his coadjutors and feeders will admit his right to absorb them. The merchant works by book-keeper and cashier; the lawyer’s authorities are hunted up by clerks; the geologist reports the surveys of his subalterns; Commander Wilkes appropriates the results of all the naturalists attached to the Expedition; Thorwaldsen’s statue is finished by stone-cutters; Dumas has journeymen; and Shakspeare was theatre-manager, and used the labor of many young men, as well as the playbooks.

There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for many. Society is a troop of thinkers, and the best heads among them take the best places. A feeble man can see the farms that are fenced and tilled, the houses that are built. The strong man sees the possible houses and farms. His eye makes estates, as fast as the sun breeds clouds.

When a new boy comes into school, when a man travels, and encounters strangers every day, or, when into any old club a new comer is domesticated, that happens which befalls, when a strange ox is driven into a pen or pasture where cattle are kept; there is at once a trial of strength between the best pair of horns and the new comer, and it is settled thenceforth which is the leader. So now, there is a measuring of strength, very courteous, but decisive, and an acquiescence thenceforward when these two meet. Each reads his fate in the other’s eyes. The weaker party finds, that none of his information or wit quite fits the occasion. He thought he knew this or that: he finds that he omitted to learn the end of it. Nothing that he knows will quite hit the mark, whilst all the rival’s arrows are good, and well thrown. But if he knew all the facts in the encyclopædia, it would not help him: for this is an affair of presence of mind, of attitude, of aplomb: the opponent has the sun and wind, and, in every cast, the choice of weapon and mark; and, when he himself is matched with some other antagonist, his own shafts fly well and hit. ‘Tis a question of stomach and constitution. The second man is as good as the first,—perhaps better; but has not stoutness or stomach, as the first has, and so his wit seems over-fine or under-fine.

Health is good,—power, life, that resists disease, poison, and all enemies, and is conservative, as well as creative. Here is question, every spring, whether to graft with wax, or whether with clay; whether to whitewash or to potash, or to prune; but the one point is the thrifty tree. A good tree, that agrees with the soil, will grow in spite of blight, or bug, or pruning, or neglect, by night and by day, in all weathers and all treatments. Vivacity, leadership, must be had, and we are not allowed to be nice in choosing. We must fetch the pump with dirty water, if clean cannot be had. If we will make bread, we must have contagion, yeast, emptyings, or what not, to induce fermentation into the dough: as the torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine. And we have a certain instinct, that where is great amount of life, though gross and peccant, it has its own checks and purifications, and will be found at last in harmony with moral laws.

We watch in children with pathetic interest, the degree in which they possess recuperative force. When they are hurt by us, or by each other, or go to the bottom of the class, or miss the annual prizes, or are beaten in the game,—if they lose heart, and remember the mischance in their chamber at home, they have a serious check. But if they have the buoyancy and resistance that preoccupies them with new interest in the new moment,—the wounds cicatrize, and the fibre is the tougher for the hurt.

One comes to value this plus health, when he sees that all difficulties vanish before it. A timid man listening to the alarmists in Congress, and in the newspapers, and observing the profligacy of party,—sectional interests urged with a fury which shuts its eyes to consequences, with a mind made up to desperate extremities, ballot in one hand, and rifle in the other,—might easily believe that he and his country have seen their best days, and he hardens himself the best he can against the coming ruin. But, after this has been foretold with equal confidence fifty times, and government six per cents have not declined a quarter of a mill, he discovers that the enormous elements of strength which are here in play, make our politics unimportant. Personal power, freedom, and the resources of nature strain every faculty of every citizen. We prosper with such vigor, that, like thrifty trees, which grow in spite of ice, lice, mice, and borers, so we do not suffer from the profligate swarms that fatten on the national treasury. The huge animals nourish huge parasites, and the rancor of the disease attests the strength of the constitution. The same energy in the Greek Demos drew the remark, that the evils of popular government appear greater than they are; there is compensation for them in the spirit and energy it awakens. The rough and ready style which belongs to a people of sailors, foresters, farmers, and mechanics, has its advantages. Power educates the potentate. As long as our people quote English standards they dwarf their own proportions. A Western lawyer of eminence said to me he wished it were a penal offence to bring an English law-book into a court in this country, so pernicious had he found in his experience our deference to English precedent. The very word ‘commerce’ has only an English meaning, and is pinched to the cramp exigencies of English experience. The commerce of rivers, the commerce of railroads, and who knows but the commerce of air-balloons, must add an American extension to the pond-hole of admiralty. As long as our people quote English standards, they will miss the sovereignty of power; but let these rough riders,—legislators in shirt-sleeves,—Hoosier, Sucker, Wolverine, Badger,—or whatever hard head Arkansas, Oregon, or Utah sends, half orator, half assassin, to represent its wrath and cupidity at Washington,—let these drive as they may; and the disposition of territories and public lands, the necessity of balancing and keeping at bay the snarling majorities of German, Irish, and of native millions, will bestow promptness, address, and reason, at last, on our buffalo-hunter, and authority and majesty of manners. The instinct of the people is right. Men expect from good whigs, put into office by the respectability of the country, much less skill to deal with Mexico, Spain, Britain, or with our own malcontent members, than from some strong transgressor, like Jefferson, or Jackson, who first conquers his own government, and then uses the same genius to conquer the foreigner. The senators who dissented from Mr. Polk’s Mexican war, were not those who knew better, but those who, from political position, could afford it; not Webster, but Benton and Calhoun.

This power, to be sure, is not clothed in satin. ‘Tis the power of Lynch law, of soldiers and pirates; and it bullies the peaceable and loyal. But it brings its own antidote; and here is my point,—that all kinds of power usually emerge at the same time; good energy, and bad; power of mind, with physical health; the ecstasies of devotion, with the exasperations of debauchery. The same elements are always present, only sometimes these conspicuous, and sometimes those; what was yesterday foreground, being to-day background,—what was surface, playing now a not less effective part as basis. The longer the drought lasts, the more is the atmosphere surcharged with water. The faster the ball falls to the sun, the force to fly off is by so much augmented. And, in morals, wild liberty breeds iron conscience; natures with great impulses have great resources, and return from far. In politics, the sons of democrats will be whigs; whilst red republicanism, in the father, is a spasm of nature to engender an intolerable tyrant in the next age. On the other hand, conservatism, ever more timorous and narrow, disgusts the children, and drives them for a mouthful of fresh air into radicalism.

Those who have most of this coarse energy,—the ‘bruisers,’ who have run the gauntlet of caucus and tavern through the county or the state, have their own vices, but they have the good nature of strength and courage. Fierce and unscrupulous, they are usually frank and direct, and above falsehood. Our politics fall into bad hands, and churchmen and men of refinement, it seems agreed, are not fit persons to send to Congress. Politics is a deleterious profession, like some poisonous handicrafts. Men in power have no opinions, but may be had cheap for any opinion, for any purpose,—and if it be only a question between the most civil and the most forcible, I lean to the last. These Hoosiers and Suckers are really better than the snivelling opposition. Their wrath is at least of a bold and manly cast. They see, against the unanimous declarations of the people, how much crime the people will bear; they proceed from step to step, and they have calculated but too justly upon their Excellencies, the New England governors, and upon their Honors, the New England legislators. The messages of the governors and the resolutions of the legislatures, are a proverb for expressing a sham virtuous indignation, which, in the course of events, is sure to be belied.

In trade, also, this energy usually carries a trace of ferocity. Philanthropic and religious bodies do not commonly make their executive officers out of saints. The communities hitherto founded by Socialists,—the Jesuits, the Port-Royalists, the American communities at New Harmony, at Brook Farm, at Zoar, are only possible, by installing Judas as steward. The rest of the offices may be filled by good burgesses. The pious and charitable proprietor has a foreman not quite so pious and charitable. The most amiable of country gentlemen has a certain pleasure in the teeth of the bull-dog which guards his orchard. Of the Shaker society, it was formerly a sort of proverb in the country, that they always sent the devil to market. And in representations of the Deity, painting, poetry, and popular religion have ever drawn the wrath from Hell. It is an esoteric doctrine of society, that a little wickedness is good to make muscle; as if conscience were not good for hands and legs, as if poor decayed formalists of law and order cannot run like wild goats, wolves, and conies; that, as there is a use in medicine for poisons, so the world cannot move without rogues; that public spirit and the ready hand are as well found among the malignants. ‘Tis not very rare, the coincidence of sharp private and political practice, with public spirit, and good neighborhood.

I knew a burly Boniface who for many years kept a public-house in one of our rural capitals. He was a knave whom the town could ill spare. He was a social, vascular creature, grasping and selfish. There was no crime which he did not or could not commit. But he made good friends of the selectmen, served them with his best chop, when they supped at his house, and also with his honor the Judge, he was very cordial, grasping his hand. He introduced all the fiends, male and female, into the town, and united in his person the functions of bully, incendiary, swindler, barkeeper, and burglar. He girdled the trees, and cut off the horses’ tails of the temperance people, in the night. He led the rummies’ and radicals in town-meeting with a speech. Meantime, he was civil, fat, and easy, in his house, and precisely the most public-spirited citizen. He was active in getting the roads repaired and planted with shade-trees; he subscribed for the fountains, the gas, and the telegraph; he introduced the new horse-rake, the new scraper, the baby-jumper, and what not, that Connecticut sends to the admiring citizens. He did this the easier, that the peddler stopped at his house, and paid his keeping, by setting up his new trap on the landlord’s premises.

Whilst thus the energy for originating and executing work, deforms itself by excess, and so our axe chops off our own fingers,—this evil is not without remedy. All the elements whose aid man calls in, will sometimes become his masters, especially those of most subtle force. Shall he, then, renounce steam, fire, and electricity, or, shall he learn to deal with them? The rule for this whole class of agencies is,—all plus is good; only put it in the right place.

Men of this surcharge of arterial blood cannot live on nuts, herb-tea, and elegies; cannot read novels, and play whist; cannot satisfy all their wants at the Thursday Lecture, or the Boston Athenæum. They pine for adventure, and must go to Pike’s Peak; had rather die by the hatchet of a Pawnee, than sit all day and every day at a counting-room desk. They are made for war, for the sea, for mining, hunting, and clearing; for hair-breadth adventures, huge risks, and the joy of eventful living. Some men cannot endure an hour of calm at sea. I remember a poor Malay cook, on board a Liverpool packet, who, when the wind blew a gale, could not contain his joy; “Blow!” he cried, “me do tell you, blow!” Their friends and governors must see that some vent for their explosive complexion is provided. The roisters who are destined for infamy at home, if sent to Mexico, will “cover you with glory,” and come back heroes and generals. There are Oregons, Californias, and Exploring Expeditions enough appertaining to America, to find them in files to gnaw, and in crocodiles to eat. The young English are fine animals, full of blood, and when they have no wars to breathe their riotous valors in, they seek for travels as dangerous as war, diving into Maelstroms; swimming Hellesponts; wading up the snowy Himmaleh; hunting lion, rhinoceros, elephant, in South Africa; gypsying with Borrow in Spain and Algiers; riding alligators in South America with Waterton; utilizing Bedouin, Sheik, and Pacha, with Layard; yachting among the icebergs of Lancaster Sound; peeping into craters on the equator; or running on the creases of Malays in Borneo.

The excess of virility has the same importance in general history, as in private and industrial life. Strong race or strong individual rests at last on natural forces, which are best in the savage, who, like the beasts around him, is still in reception of the milk from the teats of Nature. Cut off the connection between any of our works, and this aboriginal source, and the work is shallow. The people lean on this, and the mob is not quite so bad an argument as we sometimes say, for it has this good side. “March without the people,” said a French deputy from the tribune, “and you march into night: their instincts are a finger-pointing of Providence, always turned toward real benefit. But when you espouse an Orleans party, or a Bourbon, or a Montalembert party, or any other but an organic party, though you mean well, you have a personality instead of a principle, which will inevitably drag you into a corner.”

The best anecdotes of this force are to be had from savage life, in explorers, soldiers, and buccaneers. But who cares for fallings-out of assassins, and fights of bears, or grindings of icebergs? Physical force has no value, where there is nothing else. Snow in snow-banks, fire in volcanoes and solfataras is cheap. The luxury of ice is in tropical countries, and midsummer days. The luxury of fire is, to have a little on our hearth: and of electricity, not volleys of the charged cloud, but the manageable stream on the battery-wires. So of spirit, or energy; the rests or remains of it in the civil and moral man, are worth all the cannibals in the Pacific.

In history, the great moment is, when the savage is just ceasing to be a savage, with all his hairy Pelasgic strength directed on his opening sense of beauty:—and you have Pericles and Phidias,—not yet passed over into the Corinthian civility. Everything good in nature and the world is in that moment of transition, when the swarthy juices still flow plentifully from nature, but their astringency or acridity is got out by ethics and humanity.

The triumphs of peace have been in some proximity to war. Whilst the hand was still familiar with the sword-hilt, whilst the habits of the camp were still visible in the port and complexion of the gentleman, his intellectual power culminated: the compression and tension of these stern conditions is a training for the finest and softest arts, and can rarely be compensated in tranquil times, except by some analogous vigor drawn from occupations as hardy as war.

We say that success is constitutional; depends on a plus condition of mind and body, on power of work, on courage: that it is of main efficacy in carrying on the world, and, though rarely found in the right state for an article of commerce, but oftener in the supersaturate or excess, which makes it dangerous and destructive, yet it cannot be spared, and must be had in that form, and absorbents provided to take off its edge.

The affirmative class monopolize the homage of mankind. They originate and execute all the great feats. What a force was coiled up in the skull of Napoleon! Of the sixty thousand men making his army at Eylau, it seems some thirty thousand were thieves and burglars. The men whom, in peaceful communities, we hold if we can, with iron at their legs, in prisons, under the muskets of sentinels, this man dealt with, hand to hand, dragged them to their duty, and won his victories by their bayonets.

This aboriginal might gives a surprising pleasure when it appears under conditions of supreme refinement, as in the proficients in high art. When Michel Angelo was forced to paint the Sistine Chapel in fresco, of which art he knew nothing, he went down into the Pope’s gardens behind the Vatican, and with a shovel dug out ochres, red and yellow, mixed them with glue and water with his own hands, and having, after many trials, at last suited himself, climbed his ladders, and painted away, week after week, month after month, the sibyls and prophets. He surpassed his successors in rough vigor, as much as in purity of intellect and refinement. He was not crushed by his one picture left unfinished at last. Michel was wont to draw his figures first in skeleton, then to clothe them with flesh, and lastly to drape them. “Ah!” said a brave painter to me, thinking on these things, “if a man has failed, you will find he has dreamed instead of working. There is no way to success in our art, but to take off your coat, grind paint, and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day.”

Success goes thus invariably with a certain plus or positive power: an ounce of power must balance an ounce of weight. And, though a man cannot return into his mother’s womb, and be born with new amounts of vivacity, yet there are two economies, which are the best succedanea which the case admits. The first is, the stopping off decisively our miscellaneous activity, and concentrating our force on one or a few points; as the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, instead of suffering it to spindle into a sheaf of twigs.

“Enlarge not thy destiny,” said the oracle: “endeavor not to do more than is given thee in charge.” The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation: and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine; property and its cares, friends, and a social habit, or politics, or music, or feasting. Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more, and drives us home to add one stroke of faithful work. Friends, books, pictures, lower duties, talents, flatteries, hopes,—all are distractions which cause oscillations in our giddy balloon, and make a good poise and a straight course impossible. You must elect your work; you shall take what your brain can, and drop all the rest. Only so, can that amount of vital force accumulate, which can make the step from knowing to doing. No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. ‘Tis a stop out of a chalk circle of imbecility into fruitfulness. Many an artist lacking this, lacks all: he sees the masculine Angelo or Cellini with despair. He, too, is up to Nature and the First Cause in his thought. But the spasm to collect and swing his whole being into one act, he has not. The poet Campbell said, that “a man accustomed to work was equal to any achievement he resolved on, and, that, for himself, necessity not inspiration was the prompter of his muse.”

Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs. One of the high anecdotes of the world is the reply of Newton to the inquiry, “how he had been able to achieve his discoveries?”—”By always intending my mind.” Or if you will have a text from politics, take this from Plutarch: “There was, in the whole city, but one street in which Pericles was ever seen, the street which led to the market-place and the council house. He declined all invitations to banquets, and all gay assemblies and company. During the whole period of his administration, he never dined at the table of a friend.” Or if we seek an example from trade,—”I hope,” said a good man to Rothschild, “your children are not too fond of money and business: I am sure you would not wish that.”—”I am sure I should wish that: I wish them to give mind, soul, heart, and body to business,—that is the way to be happy. It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution, to make a great fortune, and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it. If I were to listen to all the projects proposed to me, I should ruin myself very soon. Stick to one business, young man. Stick to your brewery, (he said this to young Buxton,) and you will be the great brewer of London. Be brewer, and banker, and merchant, and manufacturer, and you will soon be in the Gazette.”

Many men are knowing, many are apprehensive and tenacious, but they do not rush to a decision. But in our flowing affairs a decision must be made,—the best, if you can; but any is better than none. There are twenty ways of going to a point, and one is the shortest; but set out at once on one. A man who has that presence of mind which can bring to him on the instant all he knows, is worth for action a dozen men who know as much, but can only bring it to light slowly. The good Speaker in the House is not the man who knows the theory of parliamentary tactics, but the man who decides off-hand. The good judge is not he who does hair-splitting justice to every allegation, but who, aiming at substantial justice, rules something intelligible for the guidance of suitors. The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape. Dr. Johnson said, in one of his flowing sentences, “Miserable beyond all names of wretchedness is that unhappy pair, who are doomed to reduce beforehand to the principles of abstract reason all the details of each domestic day. There are cases where little can be said, and much must be done.”

The second substitute for temperament is drill, the power of use and routine. The hack is a better roadster than the Arab barb. In chemistry, the galvanic stream, slow, but continuous, is equal in power to the electric spark, and is, in our arts, a better agent. So in human action, against the spasm of energy, we offset the continuity of drill. We spread the same amount of force over much time, instead of condensing it into a moment. ‘Tis the same ounce of gold here in a ball, and there in a leaf. At West Point, Col. Buford, the chief engineer, pounded with a hammer on the trunnions of a cannon, until he broke them off. He fired a piece of ordnance some hundred times in swift succession, until it burst. Now which stroke broke the trunnion? Every stroke. Which blast burst the piece? Every blast. “Diligence passe sens” Henry VIII. was wont to say, or, great is drill. John Kemble said, that the worst provincial company of actors would go through a play better than the best amateur company. Basil Hall likes to show that the worst regular troops will beat the best volunteers. Practice is nine tenths. A course of mobs is good practice for orators. All the great speakers were bad speakers at first. Stumping it through England for seven years, made Cobden a consummate debater. Stumping it through New England for twice seven, trained Wendell Phillips. The way to learn German, is, to read the same dozen pages over and over a hundred times, till you know every word and particle in them, and can pronounce and repeat them by heart. No genius can recite a ballad at first reading, so well as mediocrity can at the fifteenth or twentieth reading. The rule for hospitality and Irish ‘help,’ is, to have the same dinner every day throughout the year. At last, Mrs. O’Shaughnessy learns to cook it to a nicety, the host learns to carve it, and the guests are well served. A humorous friend of mine thinks, that the reason why Nature is so perfect in her art, and gets up such inconceivably fine sunsets, is, that she has learned how, at last, by dint of doing the same thing so very often. Cannot one converse better on a topic on which he has experience, than on one which is new? Men whose opinion is valued on ‘Change, are only such as have a special experience, and off that ground their opinion is not valuable, “More are made good by exercitation, than by nature,” said Democritus. The friction in nature is so enormous that we cannot spare any power. It is not question to express our thought, to elect our way, but to overcome resistances of the medium and material in everything we do. Hence the use of drill, and the worthlessness of amateurs to cope with practitioners. Six hours every day at the piano, only to give facility of touch; six hours a day at painting, only to give command of the odious materials, oil, ochres, and brushes. The masters say, that they know a master in music, only by seeing the pose of the hands on the keys;—so difficult and vital an act is the command of the instrument. To have learned the use of the tools, by thousands of manipulations; to have learned the arts of reckoning, by endless adding and dividing, is the power of the mechanic and the clerk. I remarked in England, in confirmation of a frequent experience at home, that, in literary circles, the men of trust and consideration, bookmakers, editors, university deans and professors, bishops, too, were by no means men of the largest literary talent, but usually of a low and ordinary intellectuality, with a sort of mercantile activity and working talent. Indifferent hacks and mediocrities tower, by pushing their forces to a lucrative point, or by working power, over multitudes of superior men, in Old as in New England.

I have not forgotten that there are sublime considerations which limit the value of talent and superficial success. We can easily overpraise the vulgar hero. There are sources on which we have not drawn. I know what I abstain from. I adjourn what I have to say on this topic to the chapters on Culture and Worship. But this force or spirit, being the means relied on by Nature for bringing the work of the day about,—as far as we attach importance to household life, and the prizes of the world, we must respect that. And I hold, that an economy may be applied to it; it is as much a subject of exact law and arithmetic as fluids and gases are; it may be husbanded, or wasted; every man is efficient only as he is a container or vessel of this force, and never was any signal act or achievement in history, but by this expenditure. This is not gold, but the gold-maker; not the fame, but the exploit.

If these forces and this husbandry are within reach of our will, and the laws of them can be read, we infer that all success, and all conceivable benefit for man, is also, first or last, within his reach, and has its own sublime economies by which it may be attained. The world is mathematical, and has no casualty, in all its vast and flowing curve. Success has no more eccentricity, than the gingham and muslin we weave in our mills. I know no more affecting lesson to our busy, plotting New England brains, than to go into one of the factories with which we have lined all the watercourses in the States. A man hardly knows how much he is a machine, until he begins to make telegraph, loom, press, and locomotive, in his own image. But in these, he is forced to leave out his follies and hindrances, so that when we go to the mill, the machine is more moral than we. Let a man dare go to a loom, and see if he be equal to it. Let machine confront machine, and see how they come out. The world-mill is more complex than the calico-mill, and the architect stooped less. In the gingham-mill, a broken thread or a shred spoils the web through a piece of a hundred yards, and is traced back to the girl that wove it, and lessens her wages. The stockholder, on being shown this, rubs his hands with delight. Are you so cunning, Mr. Profitless, and do you expect to swindle your master and employer, in the web you weave? A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleezy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web.



Who shall tell what did befall,

Far away in time, when once,

Over the lifeless ball,

Hung idle stars and suns?

What god the element obeyed?

Wings of what wind the lichen bore,

Wafting the puny seeds of power,

Which, lodged in rock, the rock abrade?

And well the primal pioneer

Knew the strong task to it assigned

Patient through Heaven’s enormous year

To build in matter home for mind.

From air the creeping centuries drew

The matted thicket low and wide,

This must the leaves of ages strew

The granite slab to clothe and hide,

Ere wheat can wave its golden pride.

What smiths, and in what furnace, rolled

(In dizzy æons dim and mute

The reeling brain can ill compute)

Copper and iron, lead, and gold?

What oldest star the fame can save

Of races perishing to pave

The planet with a floor of lime?

Dust is their pyramid and mole:

Who saw what ferns and palms were pressed

Under the tumbling mountain’s breast,

In the safe herbal of the coal?

But when the quarried means were piled,

All is waste and worthless, till

Arrives the wise selecting will,

And, out of slime and chaos, Wit

Draws the threads of fair and fit.

Then temples rose, and towns, and marts,

The shop of toil, the hall of arts;

Then flew the sail across the seas

To feed the North from tropic trees;

The storm-wind wove, the torrent span,

Where they were bid the rivers ran;

New slaves fulfilled the poet’s dream,

Galvanic wire, strong-shouldered steam.

Then docks were built, and crops were stored,

And ingots added to the hoard.

But, though light-headed man forget,

Remembering Matter pays her debt:

Still, through her motes and masses, draw

Electric thrills and ties of Law,

Which bind the strengths of Nature wild

To the conscience of a child.

Power Australia 🇦🇺
Australian History

Australian History Victoria

Sister Victorian Terrace Houses. Flemington. Vic.
These two magnificent late Victorian boom period terrace houses in the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Flemington are in fact sisters and mirror one another in layout.
Built between the 1880s and the 1890s, these two grand residences both feature bay windows upstairs and down, stuccoed brick facades (with exposed red brick walls at the side elevations), large sash windows and two chimneys each. However their crowning glories must be without doubt their wonderful verandahs and balconies with their intricately frilly lace like wrought iron fretwork.
Flemington was a suburb in its own right by 1882 when it broke away from the City of Essendon, and at the time these houses were built, Flemington was had a mixture of lower middle, middle and upper middle-class citizens. Situated on Wellington Street, in front of the Catholic church of Saint Brendan’s, these residences would have been for the latter of these groups. Houses like these would have suited a large Victorian family, and would have required a small retinue of servants to maintain.