Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Trivia

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Rudolf Hess (1894-1987) was Hitler’s Deputy Fuhrer and the last surviving member of Hitler’s inner circle. He served as Deputy until 1941 when he flew to Scotland in an attempt to make peace, was taken prisoner and eventually was convicted of crimes against peace, serving a life sentence. Hess was transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947, where repeated attempts by family members and prominent politicians to win him early release were blocked by the Soviet Union. Still in custody in Spandau, he died of an apparent suicide in 1987 at the age of 93 by hanging using an electrical cord from a lamp. After his death the prison was demolished to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine. Initially buried at a secret location to avoid media attention or demonstrations by Nazi sympathisers, Hess was re-interred in a family plot at Wunsiedel on 17 March 1988, and his wife was buried beside him when she died in 1995. The town of Wunsiedel became the scene of pilgrimages and neo-Nazi demonstrations every August on the date of Hess's death. As a result the parish council decided not to allow an extension on the grave site's lease when it expired in 2011. With the consent of his family, Hess's grave was re-opened on 20 July 2011 and his remains exhumed, then cremated. His ashes were scattered at sea by family members; the gravestone, which bore the epitaph "Ich hab's gewagt" ("I have dared"), was destroyed.

Hess in his cell at Landsberg Prison awaiting trial

Hess's grave marker in Wunsiedel, destroyed in 2011.

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The 1970’s band Spandau Ballet, which split up in 1990 and re-formed in 2009, went through a number of name changes before settling on Spandau Ballet: The Cut, The Makers, Gentry. The name was changed to Spandau Ballet after a friend of the band, journalist and DJ Robert Elms, saw the phrase 'Spandau Ballet' scrawled on the wall of a nightclub lavatory during a visit to Berlin. The expression "Spandau Ballet" was slang used by Allied troops in the trenches in the First World War to refer to the twitching of the corpses hanging on the barbed wire and repeatedly hit by Spandau machine gun fire from the German lines. The name also refers to Spandau Prison and the many hangings there, especially in 1945-46 of Nazi war criminals, when the victims would twitch and jump at the end of a rope. 

Spandau ballet’s tour of Australia (Soul Boys of the Western World tour) begins in Brisbane on 13 May 2015, hitting Sydney on 15 May.


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New South Wales’ coat of arms.
The motto "Orta recens quam pura nites" means "Newly risen, how brightly you shine".

Sydney, Australia’s current largest city, is named after Lord Sydney, the Secretary of State for the Home Office. Lord Sydney was the man in charge of deciding where to send the convicts from England and he decided upon Botany Bay. When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, they discovered that Botany Bay wasn’t suitable, so they explored a bit further up and found fresh water and a cove which was later named Sydney Cove after the lord. The city that was eventually built up around the cove was called Sydney by association with the cove.

Captain Cook, discoverer and claimer for England of Australia, never explained the name that he gave New South Wales in his journal. It is thought something about this state must have just reminded him of the coast of Wales. Up for debate is whether he meant it was similar to South Wales, or if he was reminded of Wales as a whole and named the area New South Wales because it was in the Southern Hemisphere.

Queensland’s coat of arms. 
The motto, "Audaxet Fidelis", means "Bold and Faithful."

Starting in the 1850s, the people living in Queensland—then part of the New South Wales colony—started petitioning for independence. The seat of the colony, Sydney, was too far away, and future Queenslanders wanted to govern themselves. They petitioned to separate, and in 1859 Queen Victoria granted them their own colony. They named it Queensland to honour her, as the colony of Victoria had already been established.

Queensland’s capital is named after Sir Thomas Brisbane. The city started being settled in 1824, when the penal colony at Redcliffe was established. Free individuals started arriving in the 1840s. Originally, the name was Edenglassie (a combination of Edinburgh and Glasgow), but residents started to favour the name Brisbane after Sir Brisbane, who happened to be the governor of New South Wales at the time.


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