Sunday, December 4, 2011

Remember This? Probably NOT!

Not many people were privileged enough to travel by Concorde, certainly not in the heady early days of the 1970's.  Two of my family members were lucky enough to do just that.

Here's a flavour of their experiences, as revealed by the in-flight brochures:

Travelling the northern Atlantic skies at ...

... the Concorde traveller could be (was) described thus ....
And the inflight food was certainly not what you get these days travelling cattle-class. Here is an extract from the menu:

 ... or, of course, you could choose the cold roast sirloin of beef and vegetable terrine ... mmm ... yummm ...

Yes, flying Concorde was an experience to savour ...

Ahh ... Concorde ... they don't make 'em like that anymore!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Curiosity Rover is on its Way (from this World to that World)!

NASA's Curiosity rover was launched without a hitch and is now in cruise mode .... on its way from this world to the next world, uh-huh .. it took a right ... from Earth orbit ...that'll lead it to Mars ... where it will .... do its best keep its feet ... and tell us if life is, or was ever, there.

Curiosity is on its way ..

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Air Force One Brings President Obama to Canberra

Today, on a cool breezy Spring afternoon, Air Force One flew into Canberra Airport. 

I thought it would be cool to photograph this plane, portrayed in the Harrison Ford action thriller Air Force One.  Of course, the movie took a few liberties, the plane is not quite the defensive fort portrayed on screen.
File:Air Force One.jpg

Enjoy the pics below:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Story of John Hornby - Part 4

Mary Hornby and the two children, Grace and Meg, sailed from London on a journey that took them firstly via a stopover at Plymouth, then on to Teneriffe (largest of the Canary Islands off the north-west coast of Africa), Cape Town and finally to Hobart.  On 23 May 1894, John left Zeehan for Strahan, where he then boarded the S.S. Banks Peninsula and sailed to Hobart to await the arrival of his family.

The S.S. Tainui arrived in Hobart on Thursday 31 May 1894. The weather in Hobart on that day was fine though overcast, with a light northerly breeze blowing and a maximum temperature of 55 degrees F (13 Celsius).

A joyful reunion no doubt played out at the wharf as Mary, Grace and Meg disembarked and made their way through the crowd to meet once more with John.

The family stayed overnight in Hobart, then boarded the S.S. Banks Peninsula on Friday 1 June 1894, which then departed for Strahan at 2.30pm. 

The little steamer arrived at Strahan at 5.00pm on Saturday 2 June 1894.

The family disembarked at Strahan.  Once their luggage was collected, they would have walked the few metres from the steamer across the wharf to either the railway station or to a hotel for lodgings for the night.  At Strahan, they would then have boarded the little train that took them the final leg of the journey to Zeehan.

Here's a picture taken soon after their reunion, approximately late 1894. John and Mary Hornby, with their two daughters Grace on the right and Margaret (Meg) on the left.

Go to Part 5
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Story of John Hornby - Part 3: 'Working'

Following his arrival in Zeehan, I can only presume John found work fairly quickly.  I know he worked in one of the mines - the Mount Zeehan (British) mine.  Work probably occupied much of his time, but as he became settled into his new life, he found some time for recreation.

Disused locomotive in West Coast Pioneers Muse...Image via Wikipedia
In January 1893, work in the mines was ‘partially suspended’ during the holiday season. Special trains between Zeehan and Strahan were put on over the holiday period for miners to enjoy a day hunting at Malana or picnicing at the Ocean Beach on the coast. A cricket match took place in West Strahan between the Queen Cricket Club of Zeehan and the Strahan Cricket Club. Queen C.C. won the day, winning by 43 runs.  Hornby top scored with 24 runs! But not without injury – he was struck by the ball on the tip of the first finger of his left hand, which was “... almost crushed. Nevertheless, he manfully played out his innings and his pluck in so doing was much admired”. The Strahan men admitted they were beaten by worthy opponents.  The train home to Zeehan that night was drawn by two engines, consisted of 15 coaches and held almost 400 people.  A good day out!

John worked and saved his pennies with the aim of bringing his family to Zeehan to join him.  Clearly, economic conditions in Tasmania were better than in Dalton-In-Furness. By the end of 1893, John had saved enough to pay for Mary and the two girls to sail out from England. So by April 1894, it was Mary, Grace and Meg saying their goodbyes to family, friends and to England.  At 2.30pm on the 19th of April 1894, aboard the S. S. Tainui, they departed London. Destination: Zeehan!

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Time for a Holiday

Holiday time has arrived!  No thought of work (well, just an occasional one now and then as I slip into relax mode).

Soon, I'll have a chance to return to my Jack Reacher read-a-thon!  Echo Burning is on the go currently and I've not yet read Worth Dying For.

Bring it on!

Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One Shot - Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

I just finished reading 'One Shot', another in the Jack Reacher series. Not a bad little yarn.

But now I've just discovered that Tom Cruise has signed on to play Jack Reacher in the movie version!

Oh C'MON!!!

Jack Reacher: 6 feet 5 inches tall, 220-250 lbs, 50-inch chest, straw coloured hair.  Lee Child wrote it thus; in every novel.

Expect us to believe Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher?  I think not!!

My suggestion: Daniel Craig.  Craig would make a much more credible Reacher.

Daniel Craig on a yacht in Venice during a bre...

My wife, who's never read a Jack Reacher novel, reckons even Brad Pitt would be better for the role than Tom Cruise!

Anyway, Robert Duvall is apparently also in the cast (presumably as the Zec), as is Rosamund Pike (to play Helen Rodin), so it could be O.K. I wonder who they'll choose to play Ann Yanni?
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A future township of the past  ...

On the outskirts of Canberra and just over the ACT border, in NSW, lies the site of a proposed town.  This town was named Environa, but it never materialised; it remained just a plan on the drawing boards.

Environa was planned by an opportunistic individual - Henry Ferdinand Halloran - to accommodate people not wishing to lease a block of land in the newly selected site for Australia’s capital city. In Environa, purchasers would gain freehold title to their block of land (ie. ownership in perpetuity). In addition to full ownership, purchasers would be on the very doorstep of the planned city of Canberra. “Everybody should have at least one block” proclaimed Halloran’s Environa promotional poster:

While not a bad idea, no blocks were ever sold and the Great Depression cruelled his plan.

Interestingly, Halloran built some structures at key points on the site – a rock pillar, capped with a bust of Henry Parkes (I think).
Sir Henry ParkesImage via Wikipedia

A number of other rock and timber structures were also built, to help prospective buyers visualize his grand plans for the town.

I first visited Environa in 1979.  This is how Halloran’s rock pillar appeared then (looking northwards).

I returned to Environa last weekend for the first time in 32 years.  Here’s how the rock pillar looks now.  The bust of Henry Parkes was vandalised several years ago – a bit of a shame.

Other structures at Environa:

(looking southward)

(looking eastward)

Now, the site for Environa sits smack under the flight path into Canberra Airport, so perhaps it's just as well the land remained farmland!

(looking upward!)
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Monday, September 12, 2011

St Kilda Have Done Their Dash in 2011

A loss to the Swannies.  I have to say not a huge surprise, but always a disappointment. That's the lot of a St Kilda fan.

As usual, fans were left wondering where will St Kilda's goals come from? At the end of the first quarter, it looked like there was no hope. But the goals did come - just not quite enough in the end. And some serious mistakes (yep - Raph Clarke again, but also Brendon Goddard and Justin Kosi).

The Saints provided hope to their fans during the third term and for most of that term were playing all over the Swans.  But after 3 quarter time, that dominant style of play had vanished and the Swans just picked up where they left off earlier and finished the game strongly.

Well - St Kilda played finals at least.  Many of doubted that would happen a couple of months back. So ... happy with that - thanks guys.  Next year will be interesting - will there be enough depth to reach the finals again? Will Ross stay on as coach or will he move to another team?

Time will tell. For now, put away the dreams ...

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Time Again ... 2011 Finals!

We're about to embark on a 4 week journey.  The 8 teams in the finals series this year are:
  1. ... last years victor (won't mention their name in public);
  2. Geelong;
  3. Hawthorn;
  4. West Coast;
  5. Carlton;
  6. St Kilda (last years runner-up);
  7. Sydney;
  8. Essendon.
Here's how they'll line up:

Saints play the Swannies on Saturday night.  Live telecast into Canberra!!!

I didn't think they'd make the finals this year, but they have plenty left and are a real threat again this year.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Hands of Time

My previous post motivated me to record the effects of time.

The photo below shows my hand print and that of my younger son. We created this record in leftover wet concrete in mid-2003. The hands sit, silent sentinels, in a far-flung corner of our sprawling estate. Adam was 6 years old at the time.

Now in his teens, he graciously tolerated my request to take a snap of the casts last weekend - in mid-2011 - just to illustrate the change:

Lying hidden in some other remote territory of our sprawling estate lies a similar, but older, record. That of my elder son's handprint.  I must mount an archaeological expedition soon to see if I can rediscover that little time capsule.  Indiana ... I have a job for you ...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1980s - John Travolta and The Reels

Random recollections of the 1980s:

John Travolta had just passed this way when I breezed through Hollywood:

and The Reels came out with this rendition of some obscure (to me anyway) country & western song.  Dave Mason on vocals and Karen Ansel on keyboard (holding gun).  A fun vid to watch on account of it being so  ... well, amateur! Check out the droppings in the opening scenes ... really sets the tone LOL! An 80s classic.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Good Journalist Gone

Journalist Paul Lockyer was killed in a helicopter crash near Lake Eyre on Thursday 18 August 2011. Also killed in the crash were pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean.

Paul presented the excellent serial coverage on our televisions (on the ABC news) of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 floodings of Lake Eyre and surrounds.  With quality camerawork from John Bean, their coverage inspired awe in the viewer about the central Australian landscape and its climate.

Paul covered many international stories over his 40 year career and recently covered the devasting Grantham floods in Queensland (the so-called ''inland tsunami'') in early 2011.

In an industry burdened by cheap sensationalists, Paul Lockyer stood well above the pack in terms of the quality of his work, his choice of topics and his attention to the things that really mattered.

The trio's high regard across the community, especially that for Paul Lockyer, is reflected in the tributes to him following his passing, including that of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Parliament.

A tragic loss.


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