110 Years Ago

Lewis_Hine,_Newsgirl_and_boy_selling_around_saloon_entrances,_Bowery,_New_York,_1910 Newsgirl & Boy Selling around saloon entrances. Bowery. Location New York, New York. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine, July 1910. Newsboy N

July 1910: A newsboy and newsgirl sell papers around saloon entrances in Bowery, Manhattan, New York City.

1910 in New York saw the first public radio broadcast – live performances of the operas Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci from the Metropolitan Opera House, and the second ever NAACP meeting.

The photograph was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine.

On this day: 4th of July in NYC

4th July 1918: The Untied States’ Independence Day is celebrated with a parade on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

Behind the man marching is Cornelius Vanderbilt II House, on the corner of 57th Street, which was demolished in 1927 to build the Bergdorf Goodman department store

From the collection of the Library of Congress.

July_4th_parade_LOC_28705978521Fourth of July parade Fifth Avenue New York City 1918 background Cornelius Vanderbilt II House occupying northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street d

On this day: A Bushranger in Glenrowan

For a fairly morbid post: here is an image of a member of Australian bushranger (highwayman) Ned Kelly’s gang being photographed on the 29th of June, 1880.

This is Joe Byrne, who was killed the day before in the infamous siege in Glenrowan, in the colony of Victoria.

Source: the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

Byrne_480w Joe Byrne’s body being photographed after the siege at Glenrowan, 29 June 1880. Ned Kelly Australian Bushranger.

The image is recognised as the first press photograph in Australian history.

Byrne was twenty-three when he died.

Joseph Byrne 21 November 1856–28 June 1880 was an Australian bushranger born in Victoria to an Irish immigrant. A friend of Ned Kelly he was a member of the Kelly Gang who were declared outlaws the murder of three police

Bushrangers terrorised the Australian colonies for much of the nineteenth century, but Glenrowan was something of a turning point. The improvements in communication technology and the arrival of the railway meant bushrangers found it harder to commit their crimes.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place shortly after these events, and deals with the threat of bushrangers.

On this day: the beginning of World War One

Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria, and his wife Sophie riding in an open carriage at Sarajevo shortly before their assassination. First World War ONe 28th June 1914

Source

Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie ride in an open carriage in Sarajevo on the 28th of June, 1914. Soon afterwards, while on this carriage journey, they were assassinated by Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip.

The assassinations sparked the First World War.

On this day: the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force is Formed

Waaf Australian Auxiliary Air Force REcruitment Poster Second World War Two 1940s

Second World War recruitment poster.

Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, whose members were known as WAAFs, was formed on the 28th of June, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Conscription of women began in 1941.

Women in the organisation worked in many fields, from parachute packing to meteorology, aircraft maintenance, and work with codes, in addition to catering and nursing.

Two WAAF cooks at an Royal Air Force aerodrome, following recipes for a hundred pies and a hundred scones. September 1940.

Two WAAF cooks at an Royal Air Force aerodrome, following recipes for a hundred pies and a hundred scones. September 1940. X

By 1943 over 2000 women were enlisting a week, bringing the force’s numbers to a peak of over 180 000.

At the end of the war numbers reduced significantly, and the WAAF was turned into the  Women’s Royal Air Force in 1949.

Florence Foster Jenkins

I randomly came across this movie when it was on free to air TV a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Based on the life of a real person – and I actually looked up the real woman and was happy to see how historically accurate the movie is – Florence Foster Jenkins tells the story of a Gilded Age New York socialite who, near the end of her life, decides she has what it takes to become a famous opera singer.

The problem? She can’t sing to save herself. She becomes infamous rather than famous.

This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. You laugh and laugh … and then suddenly you’re crying because it really is a tragic story.

Meryl Streep actually trained as an opera singer (something I just learnt), and – much like the character of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera – in order to sing badly, you first have to learn to sing properly.

The real woman really was an appalling singer, and because she paid to have records of her voice made, you can listen to her even now. She’s even worse than in the movie.

The costumes in this movie are worth your time alone.

Streep was ROBBED of the Oscar for this performance (it went to La La Land that year), and both Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg (who is most famous as a sitcom actor, but who is actually a trained concert pianist) were nominated for Golden Globes for their parts. They’re both brilliant, too.

I’m so glad I stumbled across this.

How not to offend millions of people.

In things I can’t believe I’m typing this morning …

A reminder: the hammer and sickle/the Soviet Union represents evil.

After a “cutesy” episode of Australian Story on the ABC, in which a bunch of Anglo Australians waved a communist flag around and did a “retro kitsch” tribute to Stalinist Russia, in which modern-day Russia was discussed as if it – and Putin memes = cute …

The hammer and sickle flag is illegal in much of the former USSR, right alongside the swastika. It’s illegal because it represents the genocides of the Ukrainian and Kazakh people, the total ethnic cleansing of the native people of Crimea, the deportation of the people of western Ukraine (including everyone in my family’s villages) to Siberian gulags, the deportation of tens of thousands of people from the Baltics, too.

It’s illegal because it represents Russian colonialism and the suppression or elimination of other racial and ethnic groups’ languages and cultures. Because it represents a century of mass murder and horror.

It is now an ideology Putin is using in his invasions of Georgia (which began in 2008, and is ongoing) and Ukraine (started in 2014, and ongoing).

I can’t believe this is something I have to explain, but – to my own horror – Australian author after Australian author shared the story yesterday, all with a comment to the effect of “look at this happy, good news story!”.

To wave that flag around without a care in the world is hurtful and harmful to the non-Russian people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is something we just went through with My Kitchen Rules, when they pulled their “cutesy Stalin and Putin” retro communist ad.

Do better, people. There’s no excuse to not know that Soviet Russia was as evil and genocidal as Nazi Germany was.

May 1940

May 1940 General Maurice Gamelin, Commander in Chief of the French Army, reviews Canadian troops at Aldershot, England shortly before the Dunkirk evacuation. Second world War Two

May 1940: General Maurice Gamelin, Commander in Chief of the French Army, reviews Canadian troops at Aldershot, England shortly before the Dunkirk evacuation.

Second World War.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museum.

The Landowner’s Secret is still only $1.99!

Just a reminder that readers in Australia and New Zealand can buy The Landowner’s Secret (Brindabella Secrets book #1) for only $1.99 on Kindle and Kobo (AU/NZ) until the end of the month!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Read the first two chapters.

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.

On this day…

Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, Leader of the Women’s Suffragette movement, is arrested outside Buckingham Palace while trying to present a petition to King George V.

The Imperial War Museum dates this photograph as the 21st of May, 1914.

Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, Leader of the Women's Suffragette movement, is arrested outside Buckingham Palace while trying to present a petition to King George V in May 1914. 21 May 1914