Fun facts and history sent to me by Graham:
Australian fruiterers pose with mountains of produce
Australians have long been accustomed to floor-to-ceiling fruit and vegetable displays. But before the supermarket started its domination in the 1960s and '70s, Australians mostly bought their produce from specialised stores like the one in this picture. The store's unidentified owners, photographed in the 1930s, sold their goods somewhere in Victoria. Ripe bananas cost 9d per dozen, passionfruit 6d per dozen, and delicious-variety apples 4d for 16 — "d" being the symbol for penny, a holdover from the Roman Empire coin the denarius.
Girl dressed as nurse feeds medicine to kitten patient
Dress-ups have a long and illustrious history: in this photo taken around 1900, a young girl has donned a nurse costume to give medicine to her furry and adorable patient. The State Library of Victoria does not list many details about the photo, other than that the girl is a member of the Fraser family and the photographer was someone called C.J. Fraser. Charles John Fraser was the name of a very well-known social and political figure around Gundagai in the early 20th century, and he had two daughters named Isabel and Poppy — so one of them could be the girl in this photo.
Seven-metre floodwaters swamp Brisbane in 1893 disaster
In February 1893, Brisbane and its surrounds were hit by the worst flood since European settlement. After eight days of solid rain, the Brisbane River rose seven metres above its usual level and caused more than 2 million pounds worth of damage to the city. This photo was taken at the intersection of Market and Mary Streets. A similar but less destructive flood had struck three years before, so fortunately, many locals were prepared for the 1893 disaster. Unfortunately, many who escaped the earlier flood unscathed were complacent, "and watched in disbelief as the waters rose and engulfed their possessions". Almost three weeks later, the flood waters finally subsided.
Aussie daredevil plunges down waterfall in inflatable suit
Australia's daredevil aviator Vincent Patrick Taylor lived a remarkable life. He crossed Sydney Harbour in a balloon, rode over Melbourne in an airship and was renowned for "hair-raising acrobatics" — such as a parachute descent from a balloon high over London. Perhaps his most memorable achievement was an inflatable rubber suit which he tested in the United States by crossing San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate. Taylor later wore the suit while riding down the 5.5m-high Eagle Falls in Washington. "I will say I never have been frightened in my life but I'm willing to admit, for argument's sake, that I often have been anxious for my safety," he remarked of the stunt. Sadly, his chosen career was not lucrative enough to sustain him: he collapsed at a Florida police station in 1930, jobless, starving and ill, and died days later aged 56.
First to the South magnetic pole
The financing for Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition to Antarctica hinged on reaching the South magnetic pole. The Northern Sledging Party – Alistair Mackay, Tannatt Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson (left to right) – did exactly that on January 16, 1909. Their journey was half-complete. Battling frostbite and depleting food stores, they dragged their heavy sledges back for 2028km. Mawson assumed the leadership when David could no longer lead. In The Sydney Morning Herald, Mawson was later described as the "soul" of the expedition, "of infinite resource, splendid physique, astonishing indifference to frost". That said, it almost didn’t end well for him. On the way back, he fell into a crevasse and required rescuing.
A more well known image of Mawson
Runaway tram plunges into Sydney Harbour
On the morning of July 20, 1952, the wheels of a Mosman tram locked. Despite the best efforts of the driver, the tram skidded more than a kilometre and a half downhill – at an estimated speed of over 70km/h – until it crashed through the blocks at the end of the rails, tore up almost 10 metres of road, and shot off the embankment, hurtling 18 metres through the air, onto rocks, and then into the harbour. The driver and conductor both suffered head injuries when they abandoned the tram during its descent. The two passengers left on board were also injured.
Gold Coast girl competes in 1935 sandcastle competition
When the Jubilee Bridge opened in 1925, it was the first road connecting the town of Elston with the north. As cars became more reliable through the 1930s, Brisbane locals travelled down the coast for their holidays in increasing numbers. The coastal strip between Southport and the New South Wales border thrived, and come 1933, Jim Cavill successfully lobbied that Elston be renamed Surfers Paradise, after his popular hotel. The beaches of the Gold Coast attracted swimmers, surfers, sunbathers, and even sand decorators, who competed in a beachside contest around 1935.
Elizabeth tours Australia to celebrate a mere 25 years as queen
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the UK's longest serving monarch, racking up 63 years since her coronation. In 1977, she toured the Commonwealth for her silver jubilee, which celebrated her mere 25th year on the English throne. Her first stop: Australia, where she was joined by Prince Philip. In this photo she is greeted in Hobart by Tasmania's then-governor Sir Stanley Burbury and schoolchildren. Tens of thousands of admirers greeted her in Melbourne and Sydney — but so did hundreds of anti-royalists who booed at her and waved flags calling for the "Republic of Australia".
Girl poses for photographer father with cat and doll
Jans Handsen Lundager immigrated to Australia from Denmark to combat symptoms of tuberculosis in 1879. He took over a photography studio in Rockhampton and in 1884, began to make regular trips to nearby Mt Morgan to take portraits of the miners and their families. After his studio burned down in 1892, he and his family resettled in Mt Morgan. There, he was a pillar of the community, becoming, among other things, a bookseller, journalist and mayor. He still took photographs. Here, his second eldest daughter Hulda Lundager poses with her cat and her doll after their relocation to Mt Morgan. In 1939, 38-year-old Hulda was injured in an automobile accident when the tourist bus she was riding in crashed over an embankment near Cairns. She suffered a fractured collarbone in the accident, which killed three people
Dog enjoys ice-cream treat on summer's day
When Peters Ice Cream began in 1907, American migrant Fred Peters sold family bricks from a horse and cart in Manly, Sydney. The business quickly expanded. By the 1970s, Peters was sold in stores and on streets nationwide. Ice-cream trucks were a fixture of Australian summers. While Australians consume around 18 litres of ice-cream each per year, ice-cream trucks have all but disappeared. Councils have enforced strict regulations that prevent trucks from operating in certain neighbourhoods and near businesses that sell similar products. Those restrictions, combined with the wider availability of frozen products, have made ice-cream trucks less commercially viable than they once were, to the despair of Australia’s canines. This lucky labrador was photographed in Western Australia during the 1970s.