An Unseasonal Christmas – Rain, Wind and Snow in 1878

In less than one hundred years of British settlement in Australia, settlers had developed certain expectations of Christmas -- the weather would be warm, dinner could be taken al fresco, the afternoon would be spent in outdoor activities. But 1878 was a year when the 'clerk of the weather' decided to show that he had … Continue reading An Unseasonal Christmas – Rain, Wind and Snow in 1878

Christmas in Australia

For many people Christmas brings to mind images of snow covered trees, robins hopping on branches, holly and ivy. Here at ‘the top of the world (or the bottom according to your point of view)’* Christmas occurs in summer. While weather can be variable (it has been known to rain at Christmas), the perfect Christmas … Continue reading Christmas in Australia

Book Review – The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

The Women in Black is a delightful book set at the end of the 1950s in the Ladies Cocktail Frocks section on the second floor of F G Goode’s Department Store in Sydney (loosely based on David Jones). The story centres around the lives of the black-frocked sales assistants working there – Patty, Mrs Williams, … Continue reading Book Review – The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

We Will Remember Them

We are now over two years into our commemoration of the centenary of the Great War. Overwhelmingly people have approached these commemorations with an attitude of solemnity. Whether for wreath laying ceremonies or visits to war memorials or to museums, thoughts are primarily on those who were lost. Going through newspapers over the 50 years … Continue reading We Will Remember Them

One Minute Book review – The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe

This collection of short stories by Robert Drewe is set mainly in coastal Australia. The stories are interlinked and follow the lives of various members of the Lang family and capture both the light and darkness of the sea and the bush, places where appearances often belie what is happening beneath the surface. Drewe's prose … Continue reading One Minute Book review – The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe

One Minute Book Review – Australia’s Birthstain : The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era by Babette Smith

This book deals with Australia’s convict beginnings and the attempt, in the century following the ending of transportation, by both families and society, to cover up the past. Smith focuses on the convicts of six ships who are representative of the range of convict experiences and traces their lives from their conviction to freedom. Their … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Australia’s Birthstain : The Startling Legacy of the Convict Era by Babette Smith