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THE NEWTOWN BANK BUST

THE NEWTOWN BANK BUST

On Sunday,  October 6 1929, the Commercial Bank of Australia in Enmore Road, Newtown was broken into and the contents of the safe stolen. The manager was away at the time, and the theft was reported by the caretaker, Bruce Bell. Mr Bell was required to sleep

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THE NEW IVANHOE HOTEL – A BLACKHEATH TIME-WARP

THE NEW IVANHOE HOTEL - A BLACKHEATH TIME-WARP

The name New Ivanhoe Hotel is a delightful contradiction in terms. Little has changed at this Blue Mountains pub in 70 years. It’s located at 231 Great Western Highway, Blackheath. I’ve been working on my new book here recently. The pub has just the right atmosphere for

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THE OLD SYDNEY AVIARY

THE OLD SYDNEY AVIARY

In 1860 Alfred Denison, brother of the then Governor-General, was leaving the colony and donated his collection of birds to the government. The only condition was that a suitable home be created for them. The site chosen was in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, on the eastern boundary of

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ODE TO GOLDEN SYRUP!

ODE TO GOLDEN SYRUP!

Peter Kotz, a fellow social history buff, took the photo below. The rusting, 70 lb golden syrup drum was found on a rough bush track near Alice Springs. Golden syrup was such an integral part of life in the parched Australian outback. It replaced butter on a

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EDITOR DES AT KAKADU AND BEYOND.

EDITOR DES AT KAKADU AND BEYOND.

Travel is not easy for someone like me. I never have a proper seat, so no life vest. Pathetic. What would happen if we crashed? Arrived in Darwin. They are obsessed with crocodiles up here. Do I really want to go to Kakadu? Pauline made me pose

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GHAN TRIP – THE DINGO PROOF FENCE

GHAN TRIP - THE DINGO PROOF FENCE

You wouldn’t think that a scruffy looking fence in the Australian outback would capture the imagination of so many people, myself included. Stretching for 5,614km it’s the longest continuous fence in the world. It was constructed to keep marauding dingoes out of the relatively better pastoral lands

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GHAN – DAY TWO….THE ALICE TO QUORN GOLD THEFT.

GHAN - DAY TWO....THE ALICE TO QUORN GOLD THEFT.

Early breakfast approaching Alice Springs. This was meant to be a travel piece, but I was side-tracked by the story of the gold. Now there has never been a murder aboard The Ghan (well not that we know of), but there was a heist of gold bullion

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GHAN – DAY ONE FROM DARWIN

GHAN - DAY ONE FROM DARWIN

My first trip on The Ghan was in 1966, from Port Pirie to Alice Springs. My friend Desma and I were 15, and on a school trip from Tasmania. What do I remember? Well our teachers caught the flu and some of us took full advantage of

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CATCHING THE GHAN AT ALL COST!

CATCHING THE GHAN AT ALL COST!

In days gone by you could turn up a week late to catch The Ghan and still be in plenty of time. The Aussie outback train was often delayed by wash-outs, sand-drifts or mechanical failures. I love this poem from 1952 about a car speeding along the

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A DISAPPEARING HOUSE AND WALKING TREES

A DISAPPEARING HOUSE AND WALKING TREES

This is a guest post from Warren Bishop, a direct descendant of James Smith, who built Tasmania’s famous ‘disappearing house.’ The Disappearing House at “The Corners” Conara Standing at the turnoff to St Marys at Conara, the so-called “Disappearing House” earned its name by the illusion of

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