On this day: Australian sport’s first international tour

Aboriginal_cricket_team_Tom_Wills_1866 Photograph of the first Aboriginal cricket team with coach and captain Tom Wills outside the MCC pavilion of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. December

The team photographed in December of 1866.

The first Australian sporting team to ever tour internationally was a cricket team from the colony of Victoria.

Tom_Wills_1857The team was made up of Aboriginal stockmen (people who work with livestock on Australian farms), and overseen by Tom Wills from the British colony of New South Wales. Cric

Tom Wills in 1857

The team was made up of Aboriginal stockmen (people who work with livestock on Australian farms), and overseen by Tom Wills from the British colony of New South Wales.

The team toured England between May and October in 1868. This newspaper article is from the 16th of May edition of The Sporting Life.

Sporting_Life,_London__16May1868The Sporting Life, London. 16 May 1868. The arrival of the Australian Aboriginal cricket team in England.

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: the 1868 Arica earthquake

On the 13th of August, 1868, a magnitude 8.5 or 9 earthquake near Arica, Peru (now Chile) killed more than 25 000 people and destroyed much of the southern part of the country.

Arica after the earthquake (1868)

Damage in Arica in 1868

The tsunami(s) that followed crossed the Pacific Ocean and had effects as far away as Australia and Japan.

USS Wateree (1863) beached at Arica after she was deposited there by a tidal wave on 13 August 1868. Her iron hull was reasonably intact but salvage was not economical and she was sold where she lay.

USS Wateree beached in Arica

The tsunami drove three ships, two of them US ships, 800 metres inland, and did significant damage both in New Zealand (where it also killed one person) and Hawaii.

Australian convict, 1880s.

A studio photograph, dated 1880s, of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, in convict uniform and leg irons.

By the time this photograph was taken, Britain had already stopped transporting convicts (in 1868).

Visiting Port Arthur really drives home how horrific the conditions for convicts were. I still can’t understand the mentality of Georgian (and later Victorian) England where crimes that were often not very severe resulted in people not only being shipped to the other side of the world, but being treated far worse than animals.

Considering the crimes those with money managed to get away with, the hypocrisy is infuriating! I mean, kill someone in a duel and you’re a hero. Steal a loaf of bread for your family, and get shipped off to New South Wales or Van Diemen’s Land! Strange.

A studio photograph of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, showing the convict uniform and the use of leg irons. Dated 1880s.