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.

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Thomas Hardy’s Early Career

Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, influenced both in his novels and in his poetry

Today marks ninety years since the death of Thomas Hardy, famed English novelist of the Victorian era.

His famous works include Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).

However, when Dorset-born Hardy first came to London, he was not making money as a writer.

St Pancras Railway Station London Victorian Era the year it opened 1868

In 1868

One of his jobs was to clear graves to make way for the massive new St Pancras railway station, which opened in 1868.

The Hardy Tree in the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church, growing up between gravestones moved there while Thomas Hardy was working here. London Victorian Era.

Headstones were moved for the build, and stacked together. Today, there is a famous spot called the “Hardy Tree“, where – for the past 1.5 centuries – a tree has grown around them.

On this day: a Communist takeover in China

The Chinese city of Guangzhou fell to the Communists on the 14th of October, 1949. In the image below, the so-called People’s Liberation Army can be seen entering the streets.

PLA_Troops_entered_to_Guangzhou Communist People's Liberation Army troops entered to Guangzhou on October 14, 1949. China 14th October 1949.

Prior to the takeover, for a few months the city served as the capital of the Republic of China as other parts of the country fell to communism.

Street_view_of_Canton_(Guangzhou) Canton (Guangzhou), China in the 1860s.

Guangzhou (Canton) in the 1860s.

After the Communist occupation, much of the city’s heritage and cultural icons were destroyed.

On this day: American Civil War Propaganda

This poster was printed in Lexington, Kentucky on the 9th of October, 1862. Issued by Confederate supporter and politician Lt. James B. Clay, son of prominent politician Henry Clay, the poster urges the people of the state to resist the Union forces.

Source

Printed broadside issued by Henry Clay's son, Lt. James B. Clay, in which he makes a plea for Southern sympathizers to defend their homes from Yankee invasion. Lexington, Kentucky. 9 Oct

 

On this day: the Bray Head railway accident

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On the 9th of August, 1867 sudden subsidence at Brandy Hole Viaduct caused a train to derail.

The location of the disaster was Bray Head, County Wicklow, Ireland. Four people died and twenty-five were injured.

The report into the disaster was published a few weeks later, and can be found in full HERE.

“The train to which this accident happened was the up train leaving Enniscorthy for Dublin, at 6.30 a.m. It consisted of an engine and tender, six carriages, of which the first was fitted with a break, and a guard’s break van. A porter acting as guard rode in this van at the rear of the train. It left Delgany about its proper time, 9.5 a.m., and was travelling slowly round Bray Head in obedience to orders which had been given to all drivers, and had nearly reached this wooden viaduct (called Brabazon corner in the details supplied by the engineer (the late Mr. Brunel), previous to the opening of the line in October 1855), when the acting guard says he got a knock in his van, looked out of the window, and saw the carriages hopping on the rails, and then he put on his break.”