On this day: the 1993 Big Bayou Canot train disaster


At 2:53am on the 22nd of September, 1993, the worst crash in Amtrak history happened on a bridge in Alabama.

Eight minutes earlier heavy barges had collided with the bridge, causing a deformation of the train tracks.

The wreck of the Sunset Limited after the crash

The train was running late, as it had been held in New Orleans for some repair work. Had it not been, it would have passed over the bridge twenty minutes before the damage occurred.

47 people were killed in the wreck, with another 103 injured.

On this day: Where’s Wally?

Where's wally Original Book Cover 1987

On the 21st of September 1987 Where’s Wally was published for the first time. A British creation, for some reason unknown to me they decided to rename Wally “Waldo” in America and Canada when the books were released there.

I didn’t know about the renaming until very recently, as Wally was always Wally here in Australia too! There have been some other regional variations, but he keeps his original name in Spanish, Catalan, Dutch, Italian, Polish and Portuguese.

Other versions include Holger (Danish), Hetti (Hindi), Fodhouli (فضولي) (Arabic) and Uoli (Уоли) (Bulgarian).

I know fads are strange, but I remember being just as obsessed with Wally as anyone else at the time. I have an excuse though: I was five in 1987!

On this day: George Davison is born, 1854.

George Davison c.1892


English photographer George Davison was born into a poor family in Lowestoft, Suffolk on the 19th of September, 1854.

He began work at Somerset House in 1874, and an early investment in Eastman Kodak (known today as Kodak) made him a millionaire.

Davison’s photography was innovative, and after an early interest in naturalistic photography he turned to impressionistic photography – as demonstrated in his famous photograph The Onion Field, taken in 1890.

George_Davison-The_Onion_FieldGeorge Davison – The Onion Field (1890)

A personal favourite of mine is Oxford Street – A Wet Day captured in 1897.

1897 Oxford St London

On this day: Tiffany Opens in 1837

On the 18th of September, 1837 Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young opened their “stationery and fancy goods emporium” in New York City. Originally called “Tiffany, Young and Ellis” the name was changed to Tiffany & Company when Tiffany took control in 1853.

From then on, the company’s emphasis was on jewellery.

In 1870 they made their move to number 15 Union Square West, the building that can be seen in the picture below:

Tiffany & Company, storage area, circa 1887


In the store circa 1887. On the left is Charles Lewis Tiffany.

(Notice how many women made it into the picture?!)

Charles Lewis Tiffany (left) in his store, about 1887

On this day: Jean Joseph Merlin was born in 1735

Belgian inventor and horologist Jean Joseph Merlin was born on the 17th of September, 1735.

An inventor of a wide range of things, one of his most unusual patents was for the world’s first pair of roller skates in 1760. Though they were little more than ice skates with wheels where the blades would usually go, it may well be one of his biggest contributions to society.

He also had an interest in automata, and his work took him to Paris and London.

Dying in 1803, here he is as painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1782.

Belgian inventor and horologist Jean Joseph Merlin was born on the 17th of September, 1735.

Bombing of Wall Street, 1920.

The Wall Street bombing occurred at 12:01 pm on Thursday the 16th of September, 1920 in the Financial District of New York City.

At noon, a horse-drawn wagon passed by lunchtime crowds on Wall Street in New York City and stopped across the street from the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street, on the Financial District’s busiest corner. Inside, 100 pounds (45 kg) of dynamite with 500 pounds (230 kg) of heavy, cast-iron sash weights exploded in a timer-set detonation sending the slugs tearing through the air.

Thirty-eight people were killed and one hundred and forty-three injured.

Though nobody was ever convicted of the crime, public sentiment at the time quickly led to people placing the blame on the Soviets or other Communists.

However, investigators and modern historians believe the attack was most likely carried out by Galleanists (Italian anarchists).

Damage from the bombing is still visible on 23 Wall Street.

The aftermath of the bombing.

The Wall Street bombing occurred at 1201 pm on Thursday, September 16, 1920, in the Financial District of New York City. The blast killed 38 and seriously injured 143.

The writing on the side of the picture reads: Dead in front of Morgan’s 1/16/20



On this day: Australia in 1870

On the fifteenth of September, 1870, people lined up to be photographed at the planting of the first telegraph pole near Palmerston in Australia.

The Australian Overland Telegraph was 3200 kilometres long and connected Darwin with Port Augusta in South Australia. It was completed in 1872, and meant that for the first time Australia could connect quickly with the rest of the world.

People in the photograph include: Mr Palmer, Mr Burton, Dr Furnell, Dr James Millner, D.D. Daly, Miss Douglas, Mr & Mrs W.T. Dallwood, Willie Douglas, A.T. Childs, Captain & Mrs Douglas.

On the fifteenth of September, 1870, people lined up to be photographed at the planting of the first telegraph pole near Palmerston in Australia.