Research Trip!

Sonya Heaney

This was my second visit to Monte Cristo in six months. It’s a Victorian homestead on the outskirts of Junee (NSW) and is said to be the most haunted house in Australia. And this time we had it all to ourselves!

So many horrible things have happened in its history (e.g. the hole in the wall in the last picture is where the housekeeper’s son was kept chained in the dairy).

My first home when I lived in London was at the top of a 17th century building that was built on top of a 13th century crypt. Being in that building alone at night is the sort of thing that might make you believe in ghosts!

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On this day: a Victorian School Opens

Harby_Primary_School_1895 The village school and pupils 1895 Leicestershire England Victorian Era Christian

Pupils of the school photographed in 1895.

The Church of England Primary School in the village of Harby in Leicestershire, England opened on the 25th of March, 1861.

Part of the National Society for Promoting Religious Education, an organisation formed to promote education in England and Wales before the government began to regulate the school system, the building was constructed in 1860. It had two classrooms, and living accommodations for the teacher.

$0.99 Sale!

Readers in the United States: The Landowner’s Secret, the first book in my Brindabella Secrets series, is on sale for $0.99 until the 29th of March!

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Bombed London Under Snow

January 1942: London stands in ruins and covered in snow after German bombing in the Second World War. A crane and truck can be seen clearing debris.

St Paul’s Cathedral – which survived the Blitz – is in the background.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

bombed-london-in-the-snowThe destruction around St Paul's Cathedral air raid on London is softened by a heavy dusting of snow. mobile crane and truck can be seen work to clear up some of

On this day: Australians off to War

Signallers from the Australian 2-15th Infantry Battalion at Pyrmont, Sydney, just before embarkation for the Middle East, 28th December 1940(AWM_photo_005560) Second World War Two

28th December 1940: Members of the Australian 2/15th Infantry Battalion wait to board the troop transport the Queen Mary at Pyrmont in Sydney. They were about to leave to fight in the Middle East.

Second World War.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

On this day: Christmas after the Korean War

23rd December 1953: Australian soldiers finish decorating a Christmas tree near the new border between North and South Korea. The tree is decorated with electric lights, to be powered by a generator.

The Korean War ended earlier that year, in July. 17 000 Australians served in Korea between 1950 and 1953.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Christmas_in_Korea,_1953_(3116644983) 23rd December 1953 Korean War The finishing touches are made to the Christmas tree at C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment electr

On this day: Genocide deniers in America in 1933

Communists_attacking_a_parade_of_Ukrainians_in_Chicago__17_12_1933American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago who were demonstrating to raise awareness of Stalin's genocide of the people of Ukraine.

In a photograph dated the 17th of December, 1933, American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago, USA. The Ukrainians were demonstrating to raise awareness of the Holodomor, Stalin’s genocide of millions of people in Ukraine.

Between 1932 and 1933 Soviet authorities confiscated the food and crops of millions of ethnic Ukrainians, deliberately starving them to death. A similar genocide was also committed in Kazakhstan, where 42% of the ethnic population was killed and replaced with Russian colonists.

Unlike the Holocaust, there was very limited Western media coverage of the Holodomor, despite conservative estimates putting Ukraine’s death toll on par with it, and other estimates putting it even higher. This was because prominent journalists were either friends of Stalin or communists themselves, and they refused to report on it.

Amongst these genocide deniers was The New York Times’ Walter Duranty, while Welsh reporter Gareth Jones risked his life to get the truth out.

On this day: the Publication of Thumbelina

Казки_Андерсена_(1873)__Стор__78-79An illustration from Казки Андерсена з короткою ёго життєписью (1873) —Thumbelina first Ukrain

1873 illustration from the first Ukrainian translation. X

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale Thumbelina was published for the first time on the 16th of December, 1835.

The story, about a “thumb-sized” girl who goes on an adventure involving toads, birds, and a mole, and who then meets a miniature prince, wasn’t well-received at the time because it didn’t teach any morals.

The first English translation of the book was completed by Mary Howitt in the 1840s.

Usually omitted from English versions of the story, Andersen’s original featured a bluebird telling the story to Andersen himself. The bird had been in love with Thumbelina, and was heartbroken when she married the prince.