Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thought for the Day

Sydney Suburbs continued: Birrong, Blackett, Blacktown



Located in the local government area of Canterbury-Bankstown and located 22 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD, Birrong shares its postcode of 2143 with neighbouring suburbs Regents Park and Potts Hill.

Name origin:
The word “birrong” is aboriginal for star and was adopted as the suburb’s name in 1927.

  • In 1835 Joseph Hyde Potts received a grant of 625 acres in the area, which became known as Potts Hill.
  • Potts, a foundation employee of the Bank of New South Wales, which opened in 1817, was also the security man who slept in the bank. When he sought to marry, his employers refused to allow his wife onto the premises on the basis that it would lessen his concentration on his duties.

Passing Birrong, date unknown

Birrong Swimming Centre, 1966

Birrong railway Station


Blackett is located 48 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD in the local government area of the City of Blacktown.

Name origin:
Blackett is named after George Forster Blackett, Superintendent of the Government Cattle Station at Rooty Hill 1820–1830. 

  • Blackett is a fairly new suburb, dating from the 1970’s.


Blacktown is a suburb in the City of Blacktown, located 34 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. 

Name origin:
From Wikipedia:
In 1819 Governor Lachlan Macquarie granted land to two indigenous men, Colebee and Nurragingy as payment their service to The Crown, for showing the passage over the Blue Mountains and for assisting in dealing with Aboriginal issues. 
A few years later in 1823, the Native Institution (a school for Aboriginal children) was moved from Parramatta to the site where Richmond Road meets Rooty Hill Road North (this intersection is now in the suburbs of Oakhurst and Glendenning) which was named "The Blacks Town". The institution was then known as Black Town Native Institute and it was synonymous with the stolen generation. Although the institution closed in 1833, the road heading out to the internment camp became known as the Black Town Road. In 1860 the Railway Department gave the name of Black Town Road Station to the railway station at the junction of the railway and the Black Town Road, with the name shortening to Blacktown by 1862.
There have been calls from time to time to change the name in that, being based on race, it is offensive.  These have not been successful, being resisted by most of the residents and by the indigenous groups, who see the name as a link to their history.

  • Blacktown is the largest of any suburb or township in New South Wales and is one of the most multicultural places in Sydney.
  • Here is something special about Blacktown: I grew up there. In 1956 my family moved to Australia from Holland, my mother, father, myself and my two younger brothers. Readers know that we initially stayed at Scheyville Migrant Hostel and that my father got us out of there as quick as he could. We settled in Blacktown where my parents bought an acre of land and built a house. My father lived there until his death in a car accident in 1978. My mother continued living there for another 30 years. My brothers and I attended Blacktown West Primary School in the year that it opened and then Doonside High School. Some pics below.

Blacktown Road before construction 21 October 1930.

Blacktown Station, 1954

The Robin Hood Hotel, early 1970’s. I recall that the milk bar next door, which made great hamburgers, was called the Maid Marian.

Blacktown Station 1955, electrification of the rail line 

Blacktown Station, 1955, electrification

Blacktown Westfield Plaza, 1966

Blacktown Station, 1885

Blacktown Post Office, 1901

Blacktown Public School, c 1890

Main street, Blacktown, 1910

Two future prime ministers: Gough Whitlam at Blacktown's Bowman Hall in 1972 after delivering his “It’s time” campaign launch speech. Bob Hawke is pictured at the front of the crowd.
Men and Women of Australia!

The decision we will make for our country on 2 December is a choice between the past and the future, between the habits and fears of the past, and the demands and opportunities of the future. There are moments in history when the whole fate and future of nations can be decided by a single decision. For Australia, this is such a time. It’s time for a new team, a new program, a new drive for equality of opportunities: it’s time to create new opportunities for Australians, time for a new vision of what we can achieve in this generation for our nation and the region in which we live. It’s time for a new government – a Labor Government.
Some (cringeworthy) family pics . . .                                                                                                                                                            
My brothers and I in De Hague,Holland, before we left for Asutralia. Me on the left, hans in the middle and Rudy (Rudolph) on the right.

1957, Blacktown.  Mum (Antoinette), Dad (Otto), Rudy, Hans and myself.

As the sign says, First Class, 1957.
That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight losing my relgion top left

Primary School sports team photo, me without the guernsey, they had run out.

Doonside High School, Year 4 (today Year 10) - me front row, 2nd from left

Year 6 (now Year 12), me in the rear row, fourth from right

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thought for the Day

Bonus Spongebob thought . . .

Some Unusual Graves

Following on from the earlier post about statues of naked women on graves, here are some other unusal last resting places . . .

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband in Roermond, Holland. The husband, J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg, is buried in the Protestant part of the cemetery. He died in 1880 after 38 years of marriage. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden, died in 1888 and was buried in the Catholic part of the cemetery on the other side of the separating wall. Their tombstones clasp hands.   Awwww.

Located at the Recoleta Cemetery in Argentina, the grave of the husband has the figure of a man looking at the horizon whilst sitting on a sofa. The grave of the wife is also marked by a sculpture but hers is looking in the opposite direction. They have their backs to each other. The backstory is that the husband died first and asked for the grave statue. She died some years later and asked for hers to have her back to him, as representing their marriage: they spent their last 30 years without speaking a word. 

Little is known about Fernand Arbelot (1880-1942) and even less is known of his wife, not her name or where she is buried. Fernand, a musician and actor, remains known because of his one desire in death: to forever gaze on the face of his wife. Arbelot died in Paris, France, during the German Nazi occupation and it is there that he is buried, gazing at his wife’s face for eternity (or as long as the sculpture lasts). There is a story that he murdered his wife and committed suicide, but this is not confirmed. The disembodied head sure looks creepy, though. Fernand Fuckedintheheadelot.

Mary Reed died in New York in 1893. Hubby Jonathan, 68 at the time, loved her greatly and constructed a mausoleum to house her remains. He visited her tomb daily and began placing her favourite things in there: paintings, photos, red curtains, silverware, yarn, old gloves, their pet parrot. . .  even a rocking chair, which he began to use. And a stove. It was but a small step to move in and live there, which he did. For ten years. In an interview with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1895, he stated: "My wife was a remarkable woman and our lives were blended into one. When she died, I had no ambition but to cherish her memory. My only pleasure is to sit here with all that is left of her." The fact of a man residing in his wife’s tomb became a tourist attraction, even a group of Tibetan monks visited, assuming he had some insight on life after death. He died in 1905 and his remains were placed next to his wife. There is no word on what happened to the parrot. 

John Milburn Davis of Hiawatha, Kansas, was sad when Sarah, his wife of over 50 years, passed away in 1930. After a few years he decided that private mourning was not enough, he would go public and, what is more, he had the money to do so. In 1932 construction began of an elaborate grave monument, which took 8 years to complete. Ten life-size Italian marble statues depict John and Sarah as they age. The 11th statue is of John alone, missing his left hand, lost it in a farming accident, sitting next to "The Vacant Chair" where Sarah would have sat. There are also numerous marble urns and a heavy canopy. Davis once he saw a visitor sitting in "The Vacant Chair". Angered by this, he had a wall erected around the gravesite The last statue and chair are made of granite, Davis’s life savings having been exhausted on the project. Davis died in 1947 aged 92, but few of the townspeople attended the funeral. They disliked Davis for having spent a fortune, estimated between $100,000 and several times that amount, on a memorial to a dead woman when it had hoped he might instead construct a hospital for the town. Remember too that this was during the years of the Great Depression. Still, for many years the good citizens of Hiawatha have had the benefit of tourist dollars as a result of the graves. 

Jack Crowell (1924 – 1996) owned the National Clothespin Company, the last wooden clothespin manufacturer in the United States. Today it produces plastic clothespins and barrettes, what the Seppos call hairclips. Jack Crow, as he was known, marked his grave (located in Middlesex, Washington County, Vermont, USA) with a wooden clothes peg, but they didn’t grant him his complete last wish: that the clothes peg be made of wood with a metal spring in the middle so that children could use it as a seesaw.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thought for the Day

Funny Friday


The weeks seem to be flying by as we get closer to Christmas, or is that just a characteristic of getting older?

Flying is also a segue for the theme of today's Funny Friday: aeroplanes and flying. Enjoy.

By the way, who recalls the name of the autopilot in Flying High?

A stats professor plans to travel to a conference by plane. When he passes the security check, they discover a bomb in his carry-on-baggage. Of course, he is hauled off immediately for interrogation.

"I don't understand it!" the interrogating officer exclaims. "You're an accomplished professional, a caring family man, a pillar of your parish - and now you want to destroy that all by blowing up an airplane!"

"Sorry", the professor interrupts him. "I had never intended to blow up the plane."

"So, for what reason else did you try to bring a bomb on board?!"

"Let me explain. Statistics shows that the probability of a bomb being on an airplane is one in one thousand.. That's quite high if you think about it - so high that I wouldn't have any peace of mind on a flight."

"And what does this have to do with you bringing a bomb on board of a plane?"

"You see, since the probability of one bomb being on my plane is one in one thousand, the chance that there are two bombs is one in one million. If I already bring one, the chance of another bomb being around is actually one in one million, and I am much safer... “

A very distinguished lady was on a plane arriving from Switzerland.
She found herself seated next to a nice priest whom she asked:
"Excuse me Father, could I ask a favour?"
"Of course my child. What can I do for you?"
"Here is the problem. I bought myself a new sophisticated hair remover gadget for which I paid an enormous sum of money. I have really gone over the declaration limits and I am worried that they will confiscate it at customs. Do you think you could hide it under your cassock?"
"Of course I could, my child, but you must realize that I cannot lie."
"You have such an honest face Father, I am sure they will not ask you any questions", and she gave him the hair remover device.
The aircraft arrived at its destination. When the priest presented himself to customs he was asked, "Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head to my sash, I have nothing to declare, my son,” he replied.
Finding this reply strange, the customs officer asked, "And from the sash down, what do you have?"
The priest replied, "I have there a marvelous little instrument designed for use by women, but which has never been used."
Breaking out in laughter, the customs officer said, "Go ahead Father. Next!"

An elderly Canadian gentleman of 93 arrived in Paris by plane.
At the French customs desk, the man took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on bag.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked, sarcastically.
The elderly gentleman admitted he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The Canadian said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible, Canadians always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"
The Canadian senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look, then he quietly explained, "Well, when I came ashore at Juno Beach on D Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to."

Two Arabs boarded a flight from Washington to New York. One sat in the window seat, the other in the middle seat.

Just before take-off a little Israeli guy got on and took the aisle seat next to the Arabs.

He kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes and was just settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, “I think I’ll go up and get a Coke.”

“No problem,” said the Israeli, “Stay there, I’ll get it for you.” While he was gone, the Arab picked up the Israeli’s shoe and spat in it.

When the Israeli returned with the Coke, the other Arab said, “That looks good. I think I’ll have one too.”

Again, the Israeli obligingly went to fetch it, and while he was gone the Arab picked up the other shoe and spat in it too.

The Israeli returned with the coke, and they all sat back and enjoyed the short flight to New York.

As the plane was landing the Israeli slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.

“How long must this go on?” he asked. “This enmity between our people…this hatred…this animosity…this spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?”

A purser on a flight from Cairns to Brisbane asked a passenger in Business Class what he had in his bag.  

“ Crabs,  Caught them  this morning.  They’re still alive and kicking.  I’ll cook them tonight.”  

The purser, a charming young woman, volunteered to keep them in the kitchen until the flight was over.  The flight was full and she was pretty busy.  As the plane was circling Brisbane she realized that she wasn’t quite sure which passenger the parcel belonging to.  So she called over the intercom “Would the man who gave me the crabs in Cairns come forward so that I can give them back to him.”


Corn Corner:

A blonde gets to fly in an airplane for the first time. She has never been on an airplane anywhere and was very excited and tense. As soon as she boarded the plane, a Boeing 747, she started jumping in excitement, running over seat to seat and starts shouting, "BOEING! BOEING!! BOEING!!! BO....." She sort of forgets where she is, even the pilot in the cock-pit hears the noise. Annoyed by the goings on, the Pilot comes out and shouts "Be silent!" There was pin-drop silence everywhere and everybody is looking at the blonde and the angry Pilot. She stared at the pilot in silence for a moment, concentrated really hard, and all of a sudden started shouting, "OEING! OEING! OEING! OE...." 

The answer to the question raised at the beginning of this post . . .

(Otto Pilot.  Autopilot.  Get it? . . .  at least, that is what I assume.)