On this day: Ballet in 1956

The Borovansky Ballet, an Australian company that was a pioneer for major dance companies in the country today, as featured in the Australian Women’s Weekly on the 8th of February, 1956. The images are from their production of The Nutcracker.
Borovansky Ballet's Nutcracker published in The Australian Women_s Weekly 8th February 1956.
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On this day: the Black Thursday Bushfires

William Strutt, Black Thursday, February 6th (detail), 1864. Australian Art. Bushfires.

As depicted by English-born artist William Strutt in 1864.

One of the worst bushfire disasters in recorded Australian history, the Black Thursday fires took place on the 6th of February, 1851, in the colony of Victoria.

Severe drought in 1850 helped to create the conditions ideal for bushfires. An estimated maximum temperature of 47 °C and strong winds on the day of the disaster magnified the situation.

It is believed the fire started when two bullock drivers left burning logs unattended.

The disaster claimed the lives of twelve people and many animals, and caused significant damage to the countryside.

On this day: Australian Troops in Libya

Tobruk Libya 22 January 1941. Members of C Company Australian 2-11th Infantry Battalion having penetrated the outer defences of Tobruk, assemble on the south side of the harbour after at

Australian troops photographed by Frank Hurley in Tobruk on the 22nd of January, 1941.

The harbour town in Libya became the focus of a 241-day siege a few months later. 14 000 Australians – known as the Rats of Tobruk – fought a combined force of Nazis and Italians. Control of the town was crucial to Allied interests in North Africa.

Fifteen Years

I’ve mentioned this disaster before, but today is the fifteenth anniversary of the freakish firestorm that tore through Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Unlike other bushfires, this one burnt into the city itself, claiming lives and destroying many hundreds of buildings.

Watch from 1:08 in to see what the suburban streets looked like that afternoon.

The images below (from Wikimedia Commons) are from before the sky turned blacker than night, and then bright red. All the photos are of places I was on that day. When everything went black, it started raining embers, and the flames started rolling down the mountains that surround us, things got really scary in this part of town. (What looks like lights in the first picture is all fire.)

People I know lost everything, but we got lucky and the firebombing helicopters were just over us and stopped it before it jumped the road to our side.

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden Photo of Woden Town Centre during the height of the 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm- 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003 2003CanberraBushfires.

On this day: Australian Soldiers in Egypt

Group portrait of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force posing on the Great Pyramid of Giza on 10 January 1915, prior to the

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10th January 1915: Members of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force pose for a group photograph on the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Australians did a lot of their training in the country.

In April of the same year they would take part in the infamous landings at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). 378 men in this battalion were amongst the 26 111 Australian casualties, which included 8141 deaths.

On this day: Christmas Day in the Australian Women’s Army Service

Lae, New Guinea, 25 December 1945. The Right Honourable J.B. Chifley talking to Sergeant Pritchard, AWAS, the only woman interpreter of Japanese in the Australian Army.

25th December 1945: The Right Honourable J.B. Chifley is photographed talking to Sergeant Pritchard of the Australian Women’s Army Service in Lae, New Guinea.

Pritchard was the Australian Army’s only Japanese translator during the Second World War.

The AWAS saw tens of thousands of women serve in the army for the final four years of the war. The organisation was disbanded in 1947.

Merry Christmas!

Here in Australia (and I don’t care if it’s dorky – I still love it!) it is now officially Christmas. David Hobson has finished the carols with The Holy City, and until he does it, it’s not really Christmas here.

There’s not a 2017 video yet, but here he is last year: