Thursday, September 7, 2017

Oz Fun Facts and Pics, continued


When ice-cream was a health food

Peters Ice Cream began in 1907 with American migrant Fred Peters selling family bricks from a horse and cart in Manly, Sydney. Peters expanded operations rapidly: By 1911, he had gone from manufacturing ice-cream in his backyard to opening the world's largest ice-cream factory in Redfern. The following decade saw Peters move into Victoria and Queensland. The brand's slogan, "The health food of a nation", was coined in 1923. It lasted over 50 years, until regulations about health claims forced a change to "Peters keeps the good things coming". As that slogan suggests, the company — now owned by a European food giant — has endured. Over 73 million Peters Drumsticks (created in 1963) are eaten in Australia each year.


The walking club adventurers who mapped Tasmania

The Hobart Walking Club, pictured here atop Mount Arthur, is the oldest and largest bushwalking club in Tasmania. Founded by John "Jack" Thwaites and Evelyn Temple Emmett, the club had an initial membership of 70 bushwalking enthusiasts, and official walks were held once a fortnight. The club was an integral part of bushwalking exploration in the region, with members building and maintaining tracks, huts and safety shelters. They were the first to traverse the Western Arthur Range, naming its lakes and mountains, and they pioneered the route to Federation Peak, which the Geelong College Exploration Society first ascended in 1949. 

Extra comment:

Many years ago I was an active bushwalker and a member of Sydney Bushwalkers, the earliest NSW club, as I recall. Those interested in going bushwalking, or looking at some early Sydney Buishwalkers pics, can access their website by clicking on:

First SBW swimming carnival, 1928

Canyoning Blue Mountains

Canyoning Blue Mountains (follow the rope up to find the person)


Wild West-inspired poster warns of Australia's deadliest snakes

The rail lines that fanned out from Melbourne from the mid-1800s made it easier than ever for Victorians to travel to the Australian heartland. But it also exposed them to some deadly locals: snakes. To warn people what to look out for, Museum Victoria and the Education Department printed this eye-catching poster in 1877, to be hung in classrooms and railway stations. The heavily stylised, Wild West-inspired poster is lent credibility by the name Professor Frederick McCoy, an Irish-born, Melbourne-based zoologist who was fascinated by Australia's venomous natives. In 1879 he was the first to scientifically describe the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) — the most toxic snake in the world. 


Superstar police dog is the world's first radio-commanded canine

In her heyday, Zoe the police dog was one of the most famous canines in Australia — and when you read her resume, it's easy to see why. The pure white German shepherd knew 380 stunts, led numerous hunts for lost people and criminals, once piloted a tank through Sydney for charity, and was reportedly the first dog in the world to work under radio command, thanks to this backpack (advanced tech for the 1930s). Police dog trainer Constable Adam "Scotty" Denholm, who worked with Zoe her whole life, heralded her as the "Phar Lap of police dogs". When the legendary canine was found dead in her kennel at an Alexandria police garage in 1946, her death made headlines in newspapers around the nation. 


Parade float celebrates the wonder of radio

Few would marvel at radio now, but there was a time when it was as novel as smartphones. Despite broadcast radio's initial success in the United States, its local debut was less than stellar. Under a Sealed Set scheme in 1923, Australians could only purchase radio receivers that were fixed to one station. The scheme proved a failure – only 1400 listener licences were issued in the first six months, and listeners avoided the fee by building their own sets, or modifying them to receive other frequencies. This led to a two-tiered system: A-class radio stations were government subsidised, while B-class stations earned revenue by charging for advertising. This float, part of a parade down Sydney's Driver Avenue celebrating Australia's 150th anniversary, encouraged listeners to "Buy Radio Advertised Goods" to keep that second tier… afloat. 

Extra comment:

Back when I was a nipper, you had to have a radio and TV licence if you owned a radio or TV. The authorities sent cars around the suburbs with some sort of equipment to detect who had the sets, which had to be operating to be able to be detected. Who remembers that?

We had a TV set like this . . .

. . . and a radio like this . . .

. . . until we went upmarket and my folks purchased a “Three in One”, a radio, TV and record player combined . . .


Anzac military mastermind sits for his portrait

Lieutenant General John Monash is considered one of Australia's finest World War I commanders. Dux of Melbourne's Scotch College, Monash balanced military commitments with his tertiary studies and eventual career as an engineer. He landed at Gallipoli on April 26, 1915, commanding the Australian Imperial Force's 4th Infantry Brigade. He went on to become the Major General of the 3rd Division, and in May 1918, the corps commander of the Australian forces. After the war, Monash oversaw the repatriation of the AIF in London, during which time his portrait was painted by artist James Quinn, in 1919. He returned to Australia an icon, and it is after him that Monash University is named. 

Extra comment:

Oz residents will be more familiar with John Monash as one of the faces on the $100 bank note:

Pictured on the reverse side is Oz opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861 – 1931), who became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician and took the pseudonym "Melba" from Melbourne, her home town.

Speaking of money in Oz and remembering, who recalls the moneyboxes given at school when you opened a savings account and you banked money each week . . .

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