History

THE MYSTERY OF THE WISHING TREE

THE MYSTERY OF THE WISHING TREE

In Sydney’s Botanic Gardens there is a very special Norfolk Island pine known as The Wishing Tree.   It is a replacement of the original, which was planted in the early days of the colony. A sign explains its history, and its association with Governor  Lachlan Macquarie’s

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SIXPENCE TO VISIT THE SICK

SIXPENCE TO VISIT THE SICK

Several  years ago I had to spend a few weeks in a major Sydney hospital. I didn’t actually feel sick, and since I was editing a book I took along my  notebooks and computer. There was no restriction  at all on visitors. In fact, my husband Rob

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Sydney’s WWII Home Front

Sydney's  WWII Home Front

HOME FRONT IN THE HARBOUR CITY It’s easy to forget just how concerned  ordinary Australians were for their safety during World War II. This was not without reason, given the bombing of Darwin and the arrival of Japanese midget submarines in Sydney Harbour.   A giant metal

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FROM PORRIDGE TO CHRISTMAS PUDDING!

FROM PORRIDGE TO CHRISTMAS PUDDING!

BIRTH OF THE PUDDING The English have long been maligned for the uninspired stodginess of their cooking, particularly by their gourmet neighbours, the French. Nevertheless, it was a Frenchman, Misson de Valbourg who, upon visiting England in 1690, was moved to exclaim: What an excellent thing is

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Captain Blakney – a hero of WWI

HAPPY TO SERVE Cyril Blakney  enlisted as soon as war was declared in 1914.  He was a compositor from Hobart, and also an accomplished  musician and amateur actor. Such a fine looking young man. After the Gallipoli campaign Cyril  served on the Western Front.   On June 10 1917 he

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GOLF TEES OFF IN SYDNEY

GOLF TEES OFF IN SYDNEY

HITTING OFF One of Sydney’s first golf courses was laid out in the grounds of Grose Farm; land on which Sydney University was later built. We have proof of an official  club being  formed in a 1839 diary entry by the prosperous young merchant Mr  Alexander Brodie

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THE TRIBULATIONS OF A MUSEUM CURATOR

THE TRIBULATIONS  OF A MUSEUM CURATOR

To be honest, Mr Wall, one of the Australian Museum’s pioneer curators, does not look well or particularly happy  in the above photo. Let’s hope he had been more cheerful on his wedding day. On Friday, April 30 1941 The  Sydney Advertiser announced; On Thursday, the 29th instant,

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POISON PACT OR MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?

POISON PACT OR MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?

I first heard of the Wheeldon case in July 2017, on The Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Radio National. The  story  looked back to a day in 1986. Retired Macquarie University professor Peter Mason had gestured his daughters Diedre and Chloë  to play an  old video.  He could only gesture because he

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CURE IN THE CLOUDS; THE OLD SANATORIUM

CURE IN THE CLOUDS; THE OLD SANATORIUM

In 1903 tuberculosis was rife in Australia, as it was  in much of the world.  The Queen Victoria Sanatorium was established at a remote area near Wentworth Falls, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.   The property  on Burragarong Road  (now Tablelands Road) had been

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PROFESSOR CHAPMAN; HIS SHOCK DEATH AND THE REVELATIONS THAT FOLLOWED

PROFESSOR CHAPMAN; HIS  SHOCK DEATH AND THE REVELATIONS THAT FOLLOWED

FOR THE FIRST PART OF THIS STORY CLICK HERE.   On May 25, 1934, Professor Henry Chapman was suddenly taken ill while at work in the Physics Building at Sydney University. He  was rushed to hospital, but could not be revived. Initially it was assumed he had suffered a

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