KING ALFRED AND A WHIFF OF BURNT CAKES.

KING ALFRED AND A WHIFF OF BURNT CAKES.

King Alfred’s legendary burning of the cakes was the subject of my first history lesson, delivered by my mother as she popped a tray of rock cakes in the oven. Her notion of where the incident took place was vague; ‘In the woods  somewhere’, she said…handing me

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THE ENIGMATIC JOHN RUTHERFORD AND THE PUZZLE OF THE DROMEDARY SCRIMSHAW

THE ENIGMATIC JOHN RUTHERFORD AND THE PUZZLE OF THE  DROMEDARY SCRIMSHAW

In 1809 Lachlan Macquarie sailed for New South Wales aboard the stores ship Dromedary, to begin his term as Governor of the colony.  In 1821 the Dromedary sailed from  Sydney back  to England, carrying Commissioner John Bigge.  Ironically, Bigge was carrying his famously  adverse report on  Macquarie’s

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THE TROUBLED LIFE OF CHARLES MACQUARIE

THE TROUBLED LIFE OF CHARLES MACQUARIE

In July 1818 Governor Lachlan Macquarie made an inspection tour of the Paterson River in the Lower Hunter region of New South Wales.  On July 30 his diary records, ‘We then proceeded to view the rest of the Farms on both sides of the River—finding the soil

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THE TRUTH ABOUT ISABELLA BEETON

THE TRUTH ABOUT ISABELLA BEETON

 Misconception! ‘A stout Victorian matron in black bombazine, her huge upper arms developed by years of beating outrageous quantities of eggs into churn-loads of butter’.  This description fits a widely held view of Mrs Beeton, author of the culinary bible Household Management, but it could not be

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BOXING DAY AT ULVERSTONE BEACH

BOXING DAY AT ULVERSTONE BEACH

OH I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEA! I grew up  near Ulverstone, a seaside town on the north west coast of Tasmania. Boxing Day was traditionally beach day. During the nineteen fifties we were still without a car, and  travelled the four miles (8km) from

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DEATH AT CHRISTMAS; THE POISONING OF ROSA MARSDEN

DEATH AT CHRISTMAS; THE POISONING  OF ROSA MARSDEN

        CHRISTMAS 1877.  At  St-Leonards-on-Sea,  in the English county of Sussex, a Christmas market was being held in the ‘old town’.  The shops and churches were decorated with laurel, holly and ivy. Nevertheless, perhaps due to the unseasonable mild  weather, the jollity of the

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MURDER OR MALADY? INTRIGUE BY THE THAMES.

MURDER OR MALADY? INTRIGUE BY THE THAMES.

DEATH BY  THE RIVER THAMES Walkers along the Thames Path  should take a break at the village of Cumnor, otherwise reached by car via the A420 from Oxford. In the 14th century the monks of Abingdon Abbey built Cumnor Hall, scene of a mysterious death in the

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THE ULVERSTONE SHOW

THE ULVERSTONE SHOW

OH, THE ULVERSTONE SHOW! For a Tasmanian  farm kid in the 1950’s and early 60’s, there was nothing to equal the excitement of the first Saturday in November…. ULVERSTONE SHOW DAY! Glimpsed from  Mr Bowden’s  old school bus, the tents and caravans of the sideshow operators  seemed 

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WALTZING MATILDA DOWN THE RIVER THAMES

WALTZING MATILDA DOWN THE RIVER THAMES

AUSSIE  HISTORY ALONG THE  THAMES For Australians exploring the  Thames Path there are  places of particular interest.  On the upper reaches of the  river  is the village of Buscot, and the National Trust owned  Buscot Park. The house was built in the 1770’s by Edward Loveden Townsend. In 1859,

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CRICKET’S STICKY WICKET

CRICKET'S STICKY WICKET

LET THE BATTLE BEGIN! ‘The ground…was suffering from the effects of recent rain, and once more the Australians found themselves on a sticky wicket. Bells Life in London. July 1882 Cricket has a rich and colourful history, to which  modern  era players still contribute. Many cricket ‘tragics’ will

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