Sunday, July 25, 2021





Bathing boxes at Coogee Beach c1880-1890.
Bathing boxes like these at Coogee Beach c1880-1890 
were designed to allow sea bathing 
while protecting the swimmer’s modesty.

From the Dictionary of Sydney:

By the late 19th century, Sydneysiders were increasingly turning to our coastal areas to cool down during the warmer months. While Manly offered sea-bathing in its harbour baths, the pools in Coogee, Bronte and Bondi beaches offered the safest sea-bathing option. In those days, few people wore bathing costumes and there was fierce debate about what constituted appropriate swimwear in the first place.

In order to safeguard the respectability of sea-bathers, councils provided gender-segregated sea baths which screened bathers from view during daylight hours. By 1886, Coogee Beach had a women’s only pool, today the only surviving single sex pool in the country. It also had a men’s only pool on the other side of the beach. Waverley Council decided to allocate separate hours for men’s bathing and women’s bathing at their supervised pay-to-use ocean pools at Bondi and Bronte beaches, and it required all bathers wear costumes.

But on 20 October 1907, Waverley, Manly and Randwick councils faced criticism when thousands of men dressed in ladies clothing gathered at Bondi, Manly and Coogee beaches. They were protesting against the councils’ proposal requiring men to wear a skirt-like tunic when swimming at all times. Newspapers called it ‘Burlesque at Bondi’, as ‘bathers in arms’ and ‘skirt brigades’ commandeered garments belonging to their sisters and wives, and made a mockery of the proposed dress code. In the end, the ‘salt water kilt’ was not enforced on the city’s bathers!

Men’s swimming clubs sprung up in the 1890s and Bondi and Bronte hosted swimming carnivals which included diving events and water polo matches. These events nurtured the development of the lifesaving movement, with Bronte and Bondi beaches both hosting Australia’s earliest lifesaving clubs.

From the early 1900s councils permitted daylight bathing in public view, provided swimmers wore approved costumes. This did not lessen the demand for ocean pools; as a safer swimming environment, it still appealed to beachgoers. Wylie’s Baths at Coogee Beach was its third pool, and opened in 1907 as a gender-segregated, pay-to-swim pool. While sunbathing in public view remained prohibited, the bath’s change sheds offered a venue for sunbathing. Gradually, Wylie’s Baths became one of the first ocean pools to offer mixed or family bathing.

From 1907, formally organised surf lifesaving clubs begun patrolling Sydney’s most popular surf beaches in daylight hours. But as they were operated by volunteers, their patrols were limited to weekends and public holidays, which meant ocean pools continued to provide beachgoers with the best protection against sharks and rips.

The popularity of ocean pools extended throughout the early 20th century, but from the 1970s, the pollution of Sydney’s eastern beaches by sewage and industrial waste decreased the support for the further development of these pools. Yet despite this, the demand for ocean pools remained quite high due to enthusiasm for fitness swimming and winter swimming clubs. Today, Sydney’s ocean pools remain a popular spot not only for swimmers, but for photographers, drawn by the prospect of that perfect sunrise capture.
Some pics, then:

Manly Baths, 1890

Manly Harbour Pool, 1930s

Coogee Beach with bathing floats, 1880-1890

Bondi Beach, 1889-1894

Manly Beach, 1900-1910

Bondi Beach, 1900

Bronte Baths, 1880-1890

Coogee Beach, c 1928

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visit a surf carnival held in their honour qat Bondi Beach, 1954 tour of Australia.

The Hereward, wrecked in the breakers of Maroubra Beach, 1898

Vast rolling sandhills up to 20 metres high once dominated the landscape around Bondi. Drifting sand covered roads and buildings, prompting the government in the early 1900s to try to combat the sand with fences, barriers and planting.

Shark Tower, Manly Beach, from 1939 onwards.

Some pics, now:

Clovelly Beach

Maroubra Beach

Bronte Beach

Coogee Beach

Manly Beach

Saturday, July 24, 2021






The prolific Mr Graham E has sent me another email (actually, he has sent me quite a few) with information and material for Bytes posts.

I will post G’s other material in future, even though I feel like the site name should be permanently changed to the G Spot.

There is a limerick which goes:

There once was a sad Maitre d'hotel
Who said, "They can all go to hell!
What they do to my wife --
Why it ruins my life;
And the worst is they all do it well."

To paraphrase that:

Mr G sends me stuff that is swell,
That clogs my emails and Bytes all to hell.
He should get a life.
To lessen emails so rife
But the worst is he does it so well.

And that’s the truth of it!

(By the way, I am always grateful for reader contributions, although not everything will necessarily be posted, or it may be posted at later dates).


G’s email:

Hi Mr O,

Glad you enjoyed the snippets of scintillating scuttlebutt, and here are some more.


Mr G

Before posting Graham’s material, the following may be of interest:

Meaning a tiny piece, it dates from the 1660s and comes from snip, with its Low German and Dutch root snippen, "to snip or shred." Linguists believe its origin is imitative of the sound made by a quick cut.

Meaning animated; vivacious; effervescent (as in a scintillating personality), and witty; brilliantly clever (as in scintillating dialogue in a play), it dates from the 1620s from the Latin scintllationem, "the emitting of sparks or spark-like flashes," specifically the twinkling of stars in the night sky.

And in case you’re wondering . . .

Titillate means to excite someone's imagination, especially in a sexual way. Titillate comes from a Latin verb that means "tickle," and that's what something that titillates does to the imagination.

Meaning rumour or gossip, it comes from the nautical term for a cask for storing water on board ship. It was scuttled by making a hole in it to enable water to be withdrawn. When sailors gathered at the scuttlebutt for a drink they exchanged gossip and rumours, eventually giving rise to the name of scuttlebutt for the rumours and information itself.


Some comparisons in time, from Graham . . . 

Chinese guns and the Battle of Crecy

We tend to think of weapons development as fairly linear, but history shows that is anything but the case.

The earliest known bronze gun, one that employed gunpowder, was from the Yuan dynasty, in China in 1332.

14 years later the Battle of Crecy, fought by the French and English in 1346, was revolutionary for its use of the crossbow, a brand-new weapon at the time.


Death by firing squad and 'Toy Story 3'

In 2004, Utah became the last American state to change its death sentencing laws by outlawing death by firing squad.

Ronnie Lee Gardner, found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death in 1985, was prior to the law change and still had death by firing squad as an option for his execution.

He chose this route and died on 18th June, 2010, the same day that “Toy Story 3” premiered in theatres across the U.S.


British Colonization of America and Shakespeare

Widely regarded as the greatest English-language writer of all time, William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, in Stratford-upon-Avon.

This means that the poet and playwright was still alive when England began colonizing America at Jamestown in 1607.

The colonists landed in Massachusetts on 26th April, 3 days after Shakespeare’s 43rd birthday, and named Jamestown after King James I of England, a year after “Macbeth” was first staged and three years before “The Tempest”, a play inspired by the loss of the “Sea Venture” (a ship of the colonising fleet) in Bermuda.

The Tempest is a social commentary on the effects of colonialism, not only on the native people, who were invaded and forced to convert to Christianity, but also the effects it had on the conquerors themselves.


Black lives matter and 1927

1927 has turned out to be a very important year for African-American equality, as many of their leading and most vocal leaders were born. They included
  • Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader and wife of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr;
  • Harry Belafonte, Jamaican born musician, actor, and civil rights activist;
  • Sidney Poitier, Bahamian born actor, film director and first black male to receive a “Best Actor” Academy Award;
  • Leontyne Price the first African American soprano to receive international acclaim;
  • George Taliaferro the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team; and
  • Eartha Kitt, singer, actress, comedienne, dancer, and activist.

Starry, Starry Nights and the Eiffel Tower

On May 6th 1889, the World Fair opened in Paris featuring the Eiffel Tower which was built as the entrance archway to the exhibits.

On 18th June, Vincent van Gogh painted “The Starry Night” at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and, like the tower, they have become some of the most recognized images in the world. The painting has also inspired other artists, like Don McLean who composed his 1971 hit "Vincent" as a tribute to the artist. The imagery was also used as the theme for the 2011 Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris”.

Additionally in 1889 the Savoy Hotel opened in London ,the Nintendo Company founded in Japan and the Moulin Rouge cabaret opened in Paris.


Dr Who and John F Kennedy’s assassination

The 22nd November 1963 will always be remembered as the day the American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

However, the following night saw the debut of the Time Lord played by William Hartnell, in the first episode of “Dr. Who” on the BBC. The episode was repeated the following week as the media coverage surrounding JFK's death largely overshadowed the 25-minute episode, titled “An Unearthly Child”. Also overshadowed by the President’s death were the deaths on the same day of British author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) and Irish author C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia).

It was also the day that The Beatles released their second album, “With the Beatles”.


Thanks Mr G.

More G Spot moments in the future.


Friday, July 23, 2021





There is a saying, often misattributed as being of ancient Chinese origin, “May you live in interesting times.” There are various explanations as to its possible origins in England in the 1920s and 1930s but what is of greater interest is that whilst the adage sounds like a blessing, it is in fact a curse. The implication is that life is better in "uninteresting times" of peace and tranquility than in "interesting" ones, which are usually times of trouble.

It was in this context that Joseph Chamberlain, father of Brit PM Neville Chamberlain, used the expression in an 1898 speech (a possible origin for the later adage):
I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. (Hear, hear.) I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety. (Hear, hear.)
We are living in interesting times: politics, COVID, lockdowns and restrictions, job losses and personal tragedies, an Olympics without spectators that is in danger of being cancelled . . .

If there was ever a time that we needed some humour and brightness, it is now.

Enjoy for a few minutes and take your mind off interesting times.



On a weather forecast in Russia reporter said it was -50C in Yakutsk.

A guy from Moscow says to his wife: "They are overreacting, I'll call my cousin who lives there, and he'll tell me the truth."

He calls his cousin and asks, "What's the weather like where you are?"

Cousin: "It's around -20C I would say."

Guy: "I knew the news was lying, they said it was -50C."

Cousin: "Oh, well, it might be outside."

I asked my girlfriend to dress up as my favourite Star Wars character for some sexy roleplaying fun.

I walked into the bedroom that night and I was shocked.

"Love, Jabba the Hut is not my favourite Star Wars character" I exclaimed.

"Fuck off" she shouted, "I haven't got dressed yet."

Wind is blowing, rain is pouring, streets are flooding. Everyone's sure, this is the end times. But you know it's just a very bad tropical storm.

You grab your camera to take a career-defining photo. A picture that will elevate you in the world of journalism and get you a Pulitzer prize.

You turn to the corner of the 725th avenue and see Donald Trump struggling for his life in the ruins of what used to be Trump Tower. You have two option. Be the first to catch this, or save Donald Trump from sure death.

Now, answer me this. What would you do?

Will you choose a wide lens, or a telephoto lens?

(I have previously heard this put as a question for entry to news photographer school: If you have the choice between saving women and children from a sinking ferry or to take a Pulitzer prize winning photograph of it, what lens would you use?)

An engineer and an anti-vaxxer walk up to a bridge.

Seeing as the bridge is the only crossing over a notoriously crocodile-infested river, the two prepare to cross. Just before they set foot on the bridge the anti-vaxxer halts the engineer. "How safe is it to cross this bridge exactly?" he asks. "99.97%," the engineer replies confidently.

The anti-vaxxer thinks for a moment before turning around. "Guess I'm swimming then."


A guy is delighted when he hears the carnival is in town. He heads over, and is having the time of his life on the hoop toss, on hook-a-duck, on the shooting range, you name it.

At one of the games he starts flirting with the pretty girl behind the counter, she flirts back a little, and before you know it, she’s inviting him back to her caravan.

He eagerly follows, and as he walks into her caravan, stripping his clothes off as he goes, he’s slightly concerned to see her bedroom is full of fluffy toys.

Fluffy bunnies on the bed, bears on the shelves, fluffy chickens on the windowsills, fluffy snakes on the dresser. Fluffy toys EVERYWHERE.

Still, she’s hot, so he carries on. After an hour of passionate and vigorous lovemaking, they both throw themselves onto the bed, exhausted.

“So”, he says, “how was it for you?”

She glances over and says…. “You can pick any one from the middle shelf.”


A lawyer dies and ends up in Hell.

“There must be some mistake,” the lawyer argues. “I’m too young to die. I’m only 42 years old!”

“Just 42? That doesn't sound right.” says Satan.

The lawyer says, "Thank you so much, this must be some kind of mix up."

"Ah, here we have it," says Satan. "According to our calculations you're 97 years old."

"Where did you get that number from?" asks the lawyer.

Satan says, "We added up your time sheets."



There once was a girl quite cherubic
Who had a large area pubic.
When asked its size,
She replied, in surprise,
“Are we talking in square feet or cubic?”





I don't understand why Marvel hasn't put any advertisements on the Hulk

The guy is essentially a giant banner.

If Watson isn't the most famous doctor...

...Then Who is.

What's the difference between Captain Picard, a scared female pig, a loose thread, and the likelihood this joke is terrible?

One likes to make it so, one is an afraid sow, one is a frayed sew, and sorry, but I'm afraid so!