recording history – Septimus Power

This photograph of the artist H S Power (Septimus Power) appeared in the Canberra Times on 13 May 1927.

The major piece of work that Power painted in relation to the opening of Parliament House was entitled – The Arrival of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and. Duchess of York at the Opening of Federal Parliament House Building, Canberra 9 May 1927.

Power’s work as a war artist is perhaps more well known. He is among many artists featured on the Australian War Memorial site. Bringing Up the Guns is featured here and courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

follow up to the story of the missing papaw

Courier Mail – 3 June 1942

Whacko! The language of exhilaration

I was reminded of the expression “Whacko!” recently while watching Showcase’s television production of Tim Winton’s classic Australian novel Cloudstreet.  Thought I would go for a little hunt to see where it might pop up.  It first appeared in newspapers in the 1930s, continued its popularity in the 1940s and was less in use in the 1950s and 60s.

Whacko – an expression of joy, approval, happiness, expectation

Sunday Times – 13 March 1949 and Courier Mail – 21 December 1948

The Examiner – 26 August 1941

Note : prior to the fall of Singapore in February 1942

Courier Mail – 5 June 1942  Note:  an important case to follow up?  And whacko!  Here’s a case of serendipity at work.  I just happened to attend this school.  I can’t imagine why this episode wasn’t mentioned in the annals.

Trove’s list feature – pulling stuff together

Something a little different today to explore more of what Trove Australia has to offer.

Trove logo

The lists feature in Trove is a way for researchers, writers, historians, genealogists and others to group their items of interest.  You can choose to share them (public) or not (private).

To give you a better idea of what’s possible, here are a few lists that others have compiled

Toowong Cemetery Obituaries A-E by Hilda Maclean

Gundagai’s 1852 flood – by Crooksey

Caring for the war wounded and Advertising Australia – Picture Australia

Happy compiling.

Thomas Fiaschi – doctor, soldier, wine maker

This is Il Porcellino, a replica of a Florentine wild boar sculpture.  Located outside the Sydney Hospital, it commemorates the lives of Dr Thomas Fiaschi and his son Dr Piero Fiaschi.  Interested in the medicinal quality of wine, he first planted vines at Sackville Reach in the Hawkesbury region in 1882 on acreage that was to become Tizzana Winery.

The Il Porcellino photograph is from the GPS location marking site Waymarking.  The presentation of this portrait of Dr Fiaschi was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 July 1926.

Sydney Opera House

It takes a vision, staying the course and overspending a budget to develop amazing infrastructure. In 1966, the estimated cost of the Sydney Opera House project was over $50 million.  It ended up costing $102 million. For some more statistics and a few under construction photos head over here.


The Australian Womens Weekly – 16  March 1966

summer talcs and toilet water

The Traralgon Record – 30 September 1898



A lump of magnesia is a blessing to those women whose faces shine from heat. Just rub the lump lightly on the glowing surface; allow it to remain on a short time and wipe off lightly; this will not clog the pores like face powder.


Rose Hill Race Course – as pretty as a picture

Illustrated Sydney News – 9 May 1885

In the days before photography, illustrators told the story for those who could not be there.  This is a scene from the first day of racing at the new Rose Hill Racecourse near Parramatta.

conditional religious tolerance

Placing conditions on other people’s beliefs and expecting them to be grateful for our benevolence.  Doesn’t happen today…. does it?

Sydney Gazette – 24 April 1803

SECOND. That the Religious Exercise of their Worship may suffer no hindrance, it is expected that no Seditious Conversations that can any wise injure HIS MAJESTY’s Government, or affect the Tranquillity of this Colony, will ever happen, either at the Places prescribed for their Worship, or Elsewhere . But that they will individually manifest their Gratitude and Allegiance, by exerting themselves in Detecting and Reporting any impropriety, of that or any other nature, that may fall under their observation.

THIRD. As Mr. Dixon will be allowed to perform his Clerical Functions Once in Three Weeks at the Settlements at Sydney, Parramatta, and Hawkesbury, in Rotation, the Magistrates are strictly forbid suffering those Catholics who reside at the places where Service is not performing, from resorting to the Settlement and District at which the Priest officiates for the day.

FOURTH. The Catholic Service will be performed on the appointed Sundays at 9 o’clock in the morning.

FIFTH. No improper behaviour, during the time of Service, is to be allowed by the Priest, who will be responsible to the Magistrates for his Congregation’s going regularly and orderly to their respective homes, after the Offices are ended.

SIXTH. And to the end that strict Decorum may be observed, a certain number of the Police will be stationed at and about the places appointed, during the Service.

SEVENTH. Every Person throughout the Colony will observe, that the Law has sufficiently provided for the Punishment of those who may Disquiet or Disturb any Assembly of Religious Worship whatever, or Misuse any Priest, or Teacher, of any Tolerated Sect.

(Signed) JAMES DIXON. Subscribed before Us, this 19th Day of April, 1803.


whispered unthinking vulgarities in Parliament

In a week when behaviours in the Australian Parliament have been particularly unattractive, here’s a piece from 60 years ago.  In 1952, Robert Menzies was Prime Minister and Herbert Evatt was Leader of the Opposition.  Note the discretion shown by the author of this item. Whispered, unthinking and unrecorded details in the press.

Townsville Bulletin – 30 August 1952

SPEAKER REBUKES HOUSE  Listeners Disgusted

CANBERRA, Aug. 29. — Foul language being broadcast from Parliament House is disgusting listeners.   Letters of complaint are deluging the Speaker whenever a whispered interjection is picked up by the microphones. He told the House today that he had received “most alarming reports” of parliamentary broadcasts. During question time he reprimanded Ministers and leading members of the Opposition for talking across the table of the House. He warned that if cross the table conversations did not cease, he would have them recorded: and said he had already consulted radio engineers on the possibilityof doing so. The only microphones per manently ‘alive’ during parliamentary broadcasts are those before the Speaker, and the one between the Minister at the table and the Opposition Leader.

Other microphones in the Chamber are switched on by a technician when the member nearest them rises to speak. Many Ministers and prominent Opposition members have mastered the technique of whispering interjections to the table microphone. These interjections pass unheard by the member speaking, but devastate his broadcast speech. Complaints to the Speaker have not been directed at these interjections, but at whispered, unthinking vulgarities uttered by those who forget the microphone is open.