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.

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On this day: the death of a soldier

Light_horse_walersAustralian Imperial Force prior to their departure from Australia in November 1914. right is Trooper William Harry Rankin Woods, 1st Light Horse Regiment, who died of w

Trooper William Harry Rankin

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The Australian Imperial Force, the Australian Army’s expeditionary force in the First World War, was formed in August of 1914. The mounted Australian Light Horse made up part of this force.

This photograph was taken in November, 1914. The troops – both lighthorsemen – would soon leave Australia to fight.

Trooper William Harry Rankin is pictured on the right. He would go on to fight at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire, where he was killed on the 15th of May, 1915.

Rankin, from the New South Wales town of Mudgee, was thirty-nine at the time of his death.

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: the Battle of Castlebar

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On the 27th of August, 1798, a rebellion took place in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland.

In what would come to be known either as the Battle of Castlebar or the Castlebar Races, a force of two-thousand Irish rebels and French troops defeated six-thousand British troops.

This event was part of the larger failed Irish Rebellion of that year.

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.”

On this day: the opening of the Queen Victoria Building

Designed as a marketplace, the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia opened on the 21st of July, 1898.

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The building was designed in Victorian Romanesque style by Scottish-born architect George McRae, and constructed between 1893 and 1898.

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Invitation to the opening. X

More than a thousand guests attended a ball on the night of the building’s opening, where Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Matthew Harris, gave a speech.

The Sydney icon survived twentieth-century discussions of remodelling and even demolition, and today is a popular tourist attraction and shopping destination.

On this day: the St-Hilaire train disaster

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On the 29th of June, 1864, a train in Quebec, Canada fell through an open swing bridge and into the Richelieu River.

The worst train disaster in Canadian history, it is thought ninety-nine people died in the crash. The majority of people on board were European immigrants.

The investigation placed the blame for the disaster on Grand Trunk Railway, as the train failed to acknowledge stop signals that would have prevented it from falling through the bridge.