Les Murray’s Gotcha Moment

Australia’s recent ‘Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry’ was particularly scathing of the conduct of Australia’s big four banks.
In the unseemly pursuit of ‘profits at any cost’ each bank had its own take on ‘world’s worst banking practices’ which were expertly designed to ‘swindle’ their customers and so protect their proud records of perpetual growth. Of course, the jockeying for position in a four-horse group one race was always bound to lead to unconscionable conduct when the announcement of each year’s record profits also fattened the pay-packets of senior bank management.

Innocent Days at the Beach

There is nothing that sings Australia more than the hot summer sun beating down on its people. Its why most of the country’s population clings to the seaboard to take weekend respite on its many sandy beaches, and why tragically it has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the World.
‘Beach Pattern’ by the contemporary artist Craig Parnaby perfectly captures the dichotomy of these two aspects of Australian life.

The Great Flood and the Pumpkin Tragedy!

The story of ‘Noah’s Ark and the Flood’ is one of the more evocative narratives in the ‘Book of Genesis.’ The story goes that a vengeful God, after warning the righteous Noah to build a huge Ark to save his close family and a breeding pair of each of the world’s creatures, unleashed 40 days and 40 nights of continual rain that flooded the earth and swept away its depravity.

Advance Australia at the World’s Fair

In 1893 the first ‘World’s Fair’ was held in Chicago to mark the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s ‘discovery’ of the New World. Also known as the ‘Columbian Exposition’ it was a showcase for American exceptionalism but, to round out ‘the world’ the organisers invited forty-six foreign governments to also display their wares in purpose built national pavilions.
Australia was not yet a country but was a continent comprised of five mainland British colonies and the island Colony of Tasmania. However, the New South Wales Government was invited to attend in its own right with displays of its agriculture and industry as well as cultural exhibits.

Sinatra’s Secret Society

There are only a few ‘stars’ who shine on through the generations and remain as recognisable today as when they were box office gold or topping the music charts. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis Presley and the Beatles are a few that have endured unlike most of the ‘shooting stars’ found on ‘Hollywood’s Walk of Fame’ whose light has dimmed through the years and bring blank stares from passing tourists.

In the case of Marilyn and James it probably helped that they died relatively young before they fell into a caricature of themselves

The Enigma of the British West Africa 1927 Penny

Have you ever looked at the mintage of a coin missing from a date run in your collection and questioned why you still had a hole to fill? This dilemma must have faced Jerome Remick constantly as he searched the globe looking for coins to complete his extensive collection.

Remick collected the whole ‘British Commonwealth’ series and, after his death in 2005, Spinks London sold off his vast collection across three exciting sales in 2006-7. Every corner of the Earth that had been touched by British colonisation had its coinage represented

The mystery of the Australian 1922 ‘English Obverse’ Penny – a Toss of the Coin.

Australia’s first locally minted pennies were struck by the Melbourne Mint in 1919 and bore no identifying mint mark. The London Mint had been supplying Melbourne with working-dies to strike silver coins since 1916 but being new to striking pennies on the much harder copper planchets it quickly went through its supply of reverse Penny […]

The Beatles – a Sign of the Times!

The original owner of this signed fan photograph was a waiter at the Lennon’s Hotel, Brisbane where the Beatles stayed during the Queensland part of their Australian Tour.
Over the period of their stay he approached each Beatle separately and providing three different coloured pens he was able to secure all four signatures.

The Siege of Amsterdam by the Prince of Orange – the Best Laid Plans Come Asunder!

On the 29th July 1650, William II the ambitious Prince of Orange conspired to seize control of the City of Amsterdam in Holland from the ruling Regency in a wider plan to consolidate his power across the Dutch Republic.

William was keen to launch a punitive attack on the English who in 1649 had beheaded his father-in-law King Charles I while establishing a Commonwealth. He was therefore steadfastly opposed to the reduction in the size of the Dutch Army which had already begun in 1649 with the disbanding of its paid mercenaries at the insistence of the penny-pinching Amsterdam.

The 1846 Census – The Making of Australia.

In 1828, forty years after the Colony of New South Wales was established it conducted its first full population census.

Critical information such as the number of male and female inhabitants, the circumstances of their arrival either as a convict or free settler, their original birthplace, occupation, stated religion as well as their place of residence gave a glimpse of how the make-up of Australia had grown from its roots as a penal colony.
Further censuses of the Colonial era were conducted regularly in 1833, 1836, 1841, 1846, 1851, 1856, and 1861 showing the nation’s steady progress.