Monday, September 26, 2016

Oz (and some NZ) facts continued


The commentary and pics are from the above site, the additional items are from me.

Prospector poses with unbelievably huge gold nugget

German-born Bernhardt Otto Holtermann immigrated to Australia to avoid three years’ military service in 1858. After years of prospecting on Hawkins Hill with little to no luck, in 1871, he and his partners discovered the world’s largest agglomeration of gold, weighing 286kg. This photograph is a composite of two pictures, one when he was originally photographed in Hill End with the gold, and one when he was later photographed in the same pose, only better dressed, on the verandah of his new mansion at North Sydney. Holtermann went on to become a member of state parliament, and his mansion is now the site of Shore Grammar School

Additional items:

The Holtermann Nugget was not, strictly speaking, a nugget, it was a gold specimen, a mass of gold embedded in rock, in this case quartz. Holtermann attempted to buy the 3,000 troy ounces (93 kilograms) specimen from the company, offering ₤1000 over its estimated value of ₤12,000, (about $1.9 million in 2016 currency), but was turned down, and it was sent away to have the gold extracted. Disheartened, he resigned from the company in February 1873.

Holtermann had the photograph of him posing with the nugget turned into a stained-glass window in the tower of his house.

Holtermann House at North Sydney

Bernard Holtermann was a keen photographer and took this photo of gold miner's cottage at Hill End.

Australia’s first police dogs, Fritz and Olga

In 1912, Queensland introduced police dogs in an experimental trial. Two Doberman pinschers, Fritz and Olga, were imported from Germany and housed at the police depot. Despite being described as incorruptible, affectionate and fearless to attack, there were reportedly no calls for their service, and no case on record where they were actually used to track down or capture a criminal. That said, they proved to be invaluable companions for constables on lonely beats. Fritz and Olga actively served until the trial was discontinued in 1917 for not meeting expectations, after which they were cared for by a private owner.

Additional item:


Mrs Chippy with Endurance crew member Perce Blackborow

Carpenter Harry McNish was accompanied by his tiger-striped tabby cat Mrs Chippy on Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914 Antarctic expedition. One month into the voyage, it was discovered that Mrs Chippy was actually male, but by then, the name had stuck. Mrs Chippy was regarded with affection, and could balance on the side of the ship in even the roughest conditions, but when the Endurance became irreparably stuck in the polar ice pack, Shackleton ordered that Mrs Chippy and five sled dogs be shot as they would hinder the return journey. For this, McNish never forgave Shackleton. In 2004, the New Zealand Antarctic Society added a bronze statue of Mrs Chippy to McNish’s grave, sculpted lounging, as he often would on McNish’s bed.

Additional items:

Some pics of the Mrs Chippy statue on Harry McNish’s grave:

Henry McNish (1874— 1930), often referred to as Harry McNeish or by the nickname Chippy, was the carpenter on Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917. He was responsible for much of the work that ensured the crew's survival after their ship, the Endurance, was destroyed when it became trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea. He modified the small boat, James Caird, that allowed Shackleton and five men (including McNish) to make a voyage of hundreds of miles to fetch help for the rest of the crew.

After the expedition he returned to work in the Merchant Navy and eventually emigrated to New Zealand, where he worked on the docks in Wellington until poor health forced his retirement. He died destitute in the Ohiro Benevolent Home in Wellington.

The Endurance, stuck in the ice . . .

. . .  and crushed by the ice.

The crew, hauling the James Caird behind them, after their ship the Endurance was broken up. Shackleton and five of his men made the 800-mile open boat journey to South Georgia Island in the tiny James Caird

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