One of our enduring favourites over here at Wakefield HQ is Dogs in Australian Art. Even the cat-lovers agree: it’s a brilliant book. From Ivor Hele’s sketch of a great dane to Lin Onus’s painting of a dingo surfing, there are some real Aussie icons in the mix, and a lot of them have a great sense of humour. The same could be said of Rodney Pople’s I feel so pretty, so witty (2004), and yet, it’s equally likely his painting of a Maltese Terrier will give you nightmares! Steven Miller delves deeper in this extract —
The influence which artists have had upon dog welfare, grooming and breeding is rarely acknowledged. In the nineteenth century Edwin Landseer changed the fashion in Newfoundlands with his painting Distinguished Member of the Humane Society. Before this, the Newfoundland had always been considered a black dog, but Landseer’s celebrated image brought dogs with black and white colouring into vogue, and even today Newfoundlands with this colouring are known as ‘Landseers’. More important were his efforts on behalf of the Maltese Terrier. This breed became so rare that Landseer painted a portrait of one entitled The Lion Dog from Malta – The Last of His Race. This had the effect of encouraging British breeders to import and promote the dog. It has not looked back since. One of the most influential dog books from the nineteenth century even proclaimed, ‘of all the canine pets this breed is the most lovable, being extremely animated and sagacious, full of natural tricks, and perfectly free from the defects of the spaniel, viz., snoring and an offensive breath’.
The Maltese Terrier included in these paintings by James Guppy belonged to his mother-in-law. She had three of them and they often featured in his work. He even used them as models for a fierce Cerberus, the threeheaded dog that guards Hades. Guppy’s art is rich with symbolism and this work is no exception. The narrative suggested in the work developed from a series of photographs taken by the artist of his wife, a friend and his mother-in-law’s dogs. It clearly deals with the difficult spaces between people and what binds them together. Many elements in the work signal separation and, between individuals, it seems to suggest, there exists a great divide. Even the canvas is divided into two panels. However, a painted horse in the background, which introduces an apocalyptic intensity to the painting, and a Maltese dog in the foreground manage to bridge both worlds. In art horses have traditionally been used to denote unbridled passion and dogs, fidelity. The red horse here contrasts with the detached and cool couple, but at the same time it also connects them. The dog also bridges both halves, but points in the opposite direction.
For more about Steven Miller’s Dogs in Australian Art, click here.
Do you eat your almonds raw or ‘activated’? Do you swear by them as a hangover cure? In her book Willunga Almonds Helen Bennetts discusses some of the real and imagined health benefits of almonds over the years. We’ve also included her delicious recipe for Smoked trout, almond and potato salad. Perfection!
Since ancient times various health benefits have been attributed to almonds. Greek physician Hippocrates and his followers used almonds to treat coughs, as an aphrodisiac and for weight gain.
Along with other medicinal uses of almonds inherited from the Greeks, the Romans believed that bitter almonds could counteract the effects of wine. Plutarch wrote of a well-known heavy drinker who would eat five or six bitter almonds and avoid drunkenness. This was attributed to the bitterness of the almonds that ‘dries the inside of the body and keeps the veins from being overcharged’.
An ancient Chinese medical text, Materia Dietetica, lists many uses for almonds including bringing down Qi, relieving coughing, reducing acute pain in the heart and lungs and removing intestinal blockages.
More recent studies claim that almonds help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes and to reduce cholesterol, facilitate weight loss and inhibit cancer cell growth – little wonder that they are promoted as a ‘superfood’.
Almonds contain protein, carbohydrate and concentrations of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as vitamins from groups B and E. They also have a high content of fat (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and the highest fibre content of any nut or seed. In the last decade the connection between almonds and health has been an important aspect of the promotion of almonds and has been linked to a dramatic increase in consumption, and plantings, of almonds.
Almonds are included in many specialised diets. They are a source of protein for vegetarians and vegans; almond meal and almond flour can replace wheat flour in gluten-free diets for coeliacs and people who wish to avoid gluten; and almond milk is a common substitute for cow’s milk for people who are lactose intolerant.
Almonds have a low glycaemic index (GI) and are often recommended for people with type 2 diabetes, or who want to control their weight. Studies have shown that snacking on raw almonds can help control blood sugar levels and moderate appetite. This may be because of their crunchiness and the need to chew them well but also because almonds are a rich source of magnesium, which is important for carbohydrate metabolism.
The so-called Paleolithic diet popularised the idea of ‘activated’ almonds – almonds soaked in water for at least 12 hours and then dehydrated. Proponents say this process removes phytates and allows nutrients to be absorbed. Others maintain there is no basis for this claim and that phytates have anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties that are lost in the process. Debate and research continues.
Despite their health benefits, some people are allergic to almonds. There has been an unexplained growth in the number of allergic reactions to different foods in the last 20 years. Allergic reactions to tree nuts (a group that includes almonds) are not as common as reactions to peanuts. However, care should be exercised when introducing almonds to young children and they should be avoided by people who have experienced severe reactions to peanuts and other tree nuts.
Smoked trout, almond and potato salad
Trout and almonds are a classic combination made famous through the French dish Trout Amandine: pan-fried trout garnished with flaked almonds browned in butter. This salad is a delicious combination for lunch when the weather warms up.
8 waxy potatoes (such as Bintje or Nicola), cut into chunks
1 smoked trout, skin and bones removed and flaked into pieces
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp capers
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 radishes, finely sliced
80 g chopped almonds
Place chopped potatoes in saucepan of boiling water and simmer until just cooked. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl place flaked pieces of trout, parsley, spring onions, garlic and capers. Mix through potatoes, oil and lemon zest and juice and season to taste.
Garnish with radish slices and chopped almonds.
For more about the health benefits of almonds and more delicious recipes, check out Willunga Almonds here.
It can be difficult finding recipes for friends or family with allergies, which is where Linda Bosnic’s wonderful One Bowl Allergy Free Baking is such a help. She explains the reasons for the book best – or just bake the chocolate cupcakes and see for yourself!
All of the recipes in this book are nut-free, dairy-free and egg-free and there are also many recipes suited to those with a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. I hope One Bowl Allergy-free Baking will encourage people (whether affected by allergies or not) back into the kitchen so no one need miss the delights of freshly baked treats warm from the oven.
This simple but decadent ‘wet and dry’ recipe is always a hit. The gluten-free version makes denser muffin-like cakes, best baked on the day of serving.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Servings: About 10–12 cupcakes
1 and a 1 ⁄4 cups SR flour (or gluten-free SR flour)
1 ⁄2 cup caster sugar
1 ⁄4 cup cocoa
1 ⁄2 cup dairy-free, nut-free chocolate chips
1 ⁄3 cup vegetable oil
2 ⁄3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 170ºC and grease and line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tray with paper cases.
1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.
3. Mix together until they form a batter (not too much mixing).
4. Spoon into prepared pan, filling close to the top of each case.
5. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
6. Cool in tray for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack.
7. Once cold, ice with chocolate icing (see below) and decorate as desired.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
1 and a 1 ⁄2 cups icing sugar (or gluten-free icing sugar)
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 to 2 and a 1 ⁄2 tablespoons boiling water
1. Place icing sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl and mix.
2. Add water and stir until smooth and well combined.
3. If icing is too watery, add more icing sugar. If icing is too firm, add more water.
For more recipes perfect for those with allergies (or anyone who likes baking), read more about One Bowl Allergy Free Baking here.
‘The Subway System’ is a poem from Bel Schenk’s groundbreaking verse novel Every Time You Close Your Eyes, which is set across two blackouts in New York. The first is the famous blackout of 1977, when this excerpt is set, and which was remembered for widespread looting and arson. The second blackout, in 2003, forms a counterpoint – but you’ll have to read the book to find out more!
The Subway System
People on the platform recall the location
of the exit light’s glow and follow the sound
and energy made by the movements of others.
If you’re a reliable sort you give directions
to anyone who will follow and anyone who will trust.
The rats are hushed.
There seems no need to scurry under the railings.
The A train is somewhere under the city.
There, deep beneath earth and concrete,
under grass and overhead footsteps,
people are stuck inside the carriage.
They hold things, feel their dirty way.
Shit, yes, it’s dark. No sir, you can’t see. You can’t see.
Inside the people, blood rises and falls,
breathing grows faster. Shallow.
Deep inside is exactly what you are thinking right now.
In October 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Torrens Island off Port Adelaide was turned into an internment camp. It is a lesser known impact of war in Australia, but it is an ugly chapter in our history. Thanks to the diary kept by Frank Bungardy and the photos of Paul Dubotzky, historians Peter Monteath, Mandy Paul and Rebecca Martin have been able to recreate the conditions of the camp in Interned: Torrens Island 1914–1915. Here we learn about the beginnings of the camp.
Torrens Island is a low-lying island in the Port River estuary, isolated by its geography but within easy reach of Port Adelaide. Long and narrow, the island runs north–south, bordered with narrow beaches and mangroves. It had been the location of a quarantine station since the mid-1850s, and in October 1914 it became the site of Torrens Island internment camp. Initially located adjacent to the quarantine station on the north of the island, the camp was moved in early 1915 to the southern part of the island.
Life inside the camp was documented by two internees, photographer Paul Dubotzki and diarist Frank Bungardy, a boxer who was working in the mines at Broken Hill when he was arrested and interned. It also generated official records – notably, the evidence given in a series of enquiries into events on the island. While these accounts do not always agree, there is enough common ground to be able to draw a general outline of camp life.
Prisoners travelled by train to Port Adelaide, were taken under guard from the station to the wharves, and then by boat to the island. As Bungardy put it: ‘Ones the gate closed behind us, we wher inside of the barbwire fence, our future home’.
Prisoners and guards alike referred to the main compound as ‘the German lines’. This area housed most of those interned. Officers, including August Strycker, former captain of SS Scharzfels, were held in a separate part of the camp. Guards also lived on site, occupying available buildings or living under canvas.
‘The German lines’
In the main compound, seven or eight prisoners were allocated to each tent. Each prisoner was issued a waterproof sheet, two blankets and the makings of a mattress. Bungardy, who recorded that he was not issued with any straw to stuff his ‘sack’ and form a mattress, described how the men in his crowded tent ‘layd hudled together like Pigs in a stye during the nights’.
Days were punctuated by roll call and the distribution of rations at three o’clock each afternoon. Rations were distributed by tent, and consisted of meat, potatoes, coffee, sugar, bread, jam, salt, pepper, and some vegetables. Those who had the funds could order extra stores through the quartermaster, as well as tobacco and clothes. Prisoners were also issued a cooking pot, tin plate, tin mug, fork, spoon and knife. They used kerosene tins purchased from the quartermaster to fashion other items – Bungardy mentions a coffee kettle, frying pan, water bucket ‘and various other cooking utensils’.
The men in Bungardy’s tent took the role of cook by turns, for a week at a time. They rigged up both a ‘kitchen’ and ‘dining room’:
Owing our tent being small, and very inconvenient to use it as Bedroom, Kitchen and Dinning Room combined, we wher forced to procure bags at 4p a piece, old Potatoe Bags. Went out into the Bushe under guard, procured some sticks, and we soon had a rough and ready Bush Kitchen and dining room. Our Kitchen contained a fireplace, made out of a few stones and mudd, to which a few Iron Bars wher addet, for the Pots to stand on, a rough bench for the Pots to stand on when not in use. The Dining Room contained two rough Benches, around a ditto table, with a Butter-box in one corner as a safe. Our cooler, owing the hot season, being another box wich we procured through the officer in charge for wich we paid, sunk into the ground.
The sandy conditions made cooking difficult. Bungardy complained that ‘the Cook only had to lift the lid of the cooking pot, when a hand full of sand wher laying on top of the stew, instead of the necessary pepper’.
Sanitary provisions at the camp were rudimentary. The prisoners dug pits in the sand into which they emptied waste water. Urinals and latrines were also pits, screened on one side with corrugated iron sheet. Prisoners covered old pits and dug new ones each day. Soap for washing, including clothes, was issued every three weeks. Bungardy noted wryly that those who could not afford extra soap were prey to vermin, ‘in fact the quantity wher almost equall of Germanys fighting force’.
Those men who were not occupied doing tasks around the camp such as collecting wood, digging latrines and cooking, had empty days to fill in bleak surroundings.
Prisoners were not allowed books or newspapers. Correspondence was permitted, and prisoners could send two letters each week. Letters in and out of the camp were censored, an exception to the general rule that the Commonwealth censor was not concerned with mail within Australia. Bungardy wrote that ‘anything written, stating of our ill treatment, or us asking for money, never wher passed, but went into the wastepaper basket’. Prisoners were required to pay for postage, which rankled, as they were aware that this contravened the Hague Convention. Prisoners were also permitted short visits from their families. The visits took place on the jetty, under guard, and lasted only as long as it took to unload from the motor launch whatever it was delivering to the camp.
Those interned on Torrens Island found ways to relieve the monotony. Bungardy wrote of gambling, cards and two-up being played from ‘morning until late at nights’, until a notice was issued banning gambling of any sort. After this, two-up ceased, but card-playing continued – including poker. Bungardy noted that although raids and arrests of tentfuls of men for gambling were frequent, the prisoners were permitted to purchase as many packs of cards as they could afford.
In June 1915 the prisoners produced three issues of a handwritten and illustrated newspaper. Der Kamerad included advertisements for businesses within the camp, including Electra tattoos and the Kaiser Café. Paul Dubotzki’s photographic studio offered portraits as well as photographs of the camp in cabinet or postcard format.
Music provided amusement and consolation. Prisoners organised a choir and more than one band. Bungardy wrote of a sailors’ band, with two accordions, several mouth organs, and improvised triangle, kettle drum and big drum. He also observed:
… later on we had also a Brass Band. Many a long weary hour during the hot evenings we amused ourself, laying in a circle in the soft sand enjoying German Ballats, dittis, Soldiers and National songs. If it hadnt been for this their would have been a few more driven mad.
Celebrating the Kaiser’s birthday
Kaiser Wilhelm II’s birthday, 27 January 1915, provided a distraction and outlet for ingenuity for weeks. Prisoners who were German reservists drilled for the parade march. Bungardy wrote of the uniforms:
The rifles used wher made out of sticks and broom handles. Every Soldiers wher dressed alike. Blue trousers, white shirt, white cap. The caps were made out of white handkerchiefs.
That only left the problem of how to outfit the prisoners who would play the emperor, the high officials, and the ladies.
We made the spiked Helmets out of kerosine tins, soldered together. Swallow tail coats and evening frocks cut off at the bottom part, with yellow painted buttones, suitable brocade and tin medals galore, substituted, the smart Officers jacket. White trousers made into Riding breeches, seaboots and spurs, borrowed from some civil interned boundary Riders, completed the Uniform.
Six prisoners were transformed into ‘nice and handsome’ ladies with dresses cut by an internee who was an ‘expert cutter’ from material purchased through the stores and hats made from fencing wire, cloth and paper flowers. The final touch was long hair, made out of dyed rope.
On the evening of 26 January, the German band led a procession ‘according to German custom’, through the camp, carrying torches fashioned out of broken bottles and candles. After breakfast the following morning was the parade. Then followed sporting competitions, with cash prizes, and, that night, singing and dancing.
We fancied ourself holding a curtlady in our arms and walzing around the emperors palace untill the haevy sandy ground remindet us, that we wher on Australian soil, the handsome lady, a fellow sufferer like ourself.
To read more about the Torrens Island internment camp, click here
One of the most familiar impacts of the voyages of Flindes and Baudin around Australia is the names that they gave to places. While many of Flinders names are still in use today, Baudin left very few place names in his wake. Jean Fornasiero, Peter Monteath and John West-Sooby explain why in Encountering Terra Australis.
One of the most distinctive and recognisable symbols of any nation is the outline of the country its citizens inhabit. Determining the shape of Terra Australis was a process in which mariners over many centuries played a role. Even after Flinders and Baudin, who in the end were unable to fulfil their respective goals, the map was not entirely complete – parts of the coastline had still been filled in with only a tremulous hand. But it was thanks to the joint efforts of Flinders and Baudin in 1802 that the one large piece then missing from the Australian puzzle was finally added – namely, the stretch of coastline that corresponds roughly to the coast of present-day South Australia. It was not merely a matter of filling in the details of an unknown stretch of coast; it was also a matter of confirming once and for all that they were dealing with a single, massive continent. Baudin and Flinders were among those who had speculated that there might be a strait running from the unknown coast in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, separating New Holland from New South Wales. Together, on 8 April 1802, they established from each other’s experience that no such strait was to be found.
Baudin seemed well placed to emerge the winner of the race to finish the map, having been the first to set out on his mission. But we now know only too well that his advantage was soon lost and that his lasting contribution to the definitive map was relatively small. Moreover, the tragic end to his life and the eventual settlement of Australia by the English ensured that he would not have the opportunity to compete with Flinders when it came to naming the continent whose shape he had helped to define. There have been so few opportunities in history to name a new land that Baudin and the French might be considered to have lost heavily on that score. Baudin’s death also cost him naming rights for the geographical features that he identified in the rough charts made during the voyage.
Many French names still survive in parts of Australia that the Baudin expedition charted. However, in most cases these are the names used by Péron and Louis Freycinet on the maps published in the official account of the voyage, and not those originally given by the commander himself. To make matters worse, Péron and Freycinet themselves featured prominently in the resulting nomenclature, while Baudin’s own name was as pointedly omitted from the map as it was from the written record of the voyage. Admittedly, Baudin might well have adopted a similar approach, had he been given the chance. There was little in the way of flattery or homage to his officers in his original nomenclature; one can therefore imagine that Baudin’s faithful companions, such as Riédlé or Maugé, would have received more recognition from him than the likes of Péron and Freycinet.
Be that as it may, circumstances would probably have forced Baudin, like Péron, to revise his nomenclature to account for other considerations than personal point-scoring. The same bureaucratic and political factors that influenced Péron’s choices would certainly have weighed heavily on the commander in his review of the names in his drafts. After all, the official cartographers at the Ministry of Marine would have had some say in the matter. It is also a constant fact of life that Ministers change and that the new incumbents require some form of flattery to ensure that funds continue to flow. Baudin did not have to face that particular dilemma; it was Péron, and later Freycinet after Péron’s death in 1810, who had to deal with the political obstacles that impeded publication of the voyage’s map and official account.
One of Péron’s strategies was to name a relatively large number of features after prominent political figures of Napoleon’s regime. Some of these were the cause of a certain amount of embarrassment even before the Freycinet map of Terra Australis appeared – particularly the twin gulfs of what is now South Australia, which were named after Napoleon and his by then repudiated spouse, Josephine. However, since it was Flinders who had first charted and named the two gulfs, he had every reason to object, as he later did, to the ill-inspired nomenclature of Péron and Freycinet.
Baudin was, of course, long gone before controversy erupted over the political ramifications of the French nomenclature. Péron had not just chosen to name the French expedition’s discoveries after political figures, but he had also assigned politically inspired names to Flinders’ section of the unknown coast. As if this were not bad enough, of these names Napoleon’s was the one that was guaranteed to cause the deepest offence to the English. When the first volume of Péron’s account appeared in 1807, the English reacted most angrily to the naming (and implied claiming) of the entire unknown south coast as Terre Napoléon.
It is hard to imagine that Baudin would have been party to this, even under pressure. From the conversations and exchanges of information between Flinders and Baudin, we know that both captains were scrupulous about noting what the other had done – and that this was to serve as the basis for their final maps. Flinders found it hard to believe that this etiquette had been breached and that his own discoveries on the south coast had deliberately been ignored by Péron, whom he would have known well from the stay in Port Jackson. The case against Péron was, in fact, so damning that Freycinet felt the need to remedy the situation in the second edition of the Voyage de découvertes aux Terres Australes, published in 1824 – although he took care to distance himself from the controversy, attributing the original nomenclature to Péron alone. In defence of his deceased colleague, however, Freycinet stated that Péron had not intended to claim as discoveries the features he wrongfully named; he had simply not known the names Flinders had given, since the English map was published much later, in 1814. Once Flinders’ names were known, the French accepted them without question.
… It is thus unlikely that the two captains [Flinders and Baudin] would have fallen into disagreement over the delicate issue of prior rights. In fact, in naming generally, they adopted similar practices. Their charts bore homage to celebrities, often maritime figures, as in the case of Cape Borda on Kangaroo Island, named by Baudin after the eighteenth-century French naval officer and mathematician. The French expedition’s major discoveries were also commemorated in other ways. The captain’s ship, for instance, provided the inspiration for the naming of Geographe Bay in Western Australia. To prominent landmarks Baudin often gave names that corresponded to their physical appearance. This was also a conventional category, in that it signalled recognisable features to future explorers – a practice illustrated by Baudin’s ‘Ile du dragon’ (Dragon Island) off the Victorian coast, now known more prosaically as Lawrence Rock.
Baudin’s names sometimes went a little further than mere appearance. The steep columns he saw at Cape Hauy in Tasmania led him to adopt the name ‘Cap des Organistes’ (Organists’ Cape) in an attempt to describe the grandiose nature of the spectacle, with its tall columns reminiscent of organ pipes, rather than just evoke the sheerness of the cliffs. In another category, Baudin also conformed to conventional usage by conferring names that reflected incidents on board ship. Of course, he could not refrain from adding the occasional dash of his characteristic humour and sarcasm – though, not surprisingly, the humorous names disappeared entirely from the list of Péron’s names, which overwhelmingly favoured the use of clusters of philosophers and scientists. While the commemoration of such celebrated figures is an interesting heritage that reminds us of the scientific nature of the Baudin expedition, it does not entirely compensate for the loss of such colourful names as those that Baudin gave to parts of Geographe Bay: ‘Anse des Maladroits’ (Cove of the Clumsy – today Wonnerup Inlet – where Baudin’s longboat was grounded) or ‘Cap des Mécontents’ (Cape of Discontent – now Cape Naturaliste – where Baudin reprimanded Sub-Lieutenant Picquet for his failure to land).
While there is no definitive record of place-names comparing the names conferred by Baudin with those that finally appeared on Freycinet’s charts, it is clear that both lists draw to a similar extent on the conventional categories. The differences are to be found in the relative frequencies of certain categories, but these can be telling. Péron and Freycinet used more proper names, whereas Baudin’s nomenclature reflects a more evenly balanced use of the various naming principles. On the other hand, his use of descriptive names was no more conventional than the man himself. This fact alone may have caused him later problems with the official cartographers, had he lived to supervise his map.
Click here to read more about the fascinating voyages of Flinders and Baudin, and the legacy they left behind.
We had so many wonderful entries for our January newsletter’s Summer Rose Giveaway, thank you all for taking the time to send us your beautiful roses.
We all agreed, however, that the $250 Wakefield Press voucher should go to Ray Tyndale who sent in this lyrical, floral poem:
scant apologies to Tennyson!
Come my poppy
Fling open your flaming petals
Give to me your black heart.
Come my pansy
Toss back your knowing head
Share with me your secret thoughts.
Come my rose
Fill the air with your pungency
I will swim in your scented sea.
Come into the garden
My poppy, my pansy, my darling rose
Entwine with me.
The sun shall succour your black heart
The moon will keep your secret thoughts
And I will drown.
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Think you know all there is to know about the Adelaide Park Lands? Think again! Here are five fun facts from The Adelaide Park Lands by Patricia Sumerling.
- The Elder Rotunda comes from Scotland – Patricia says: While the Torrens Lake was fringed with promenades and walkways, there were few grassy places to have picnics, listen to bands or linger and chat. Sir Thomas Elder, sojourning in Scotland, read about the forthcoming opening of the lake in his most recent batch of Adelaide newspapers and noted that the corporation intended to beautify the banks of the river by laying out several acres of ground for a place of recreation and a promenade. He saw it as an opportunity to donate something worthy for the site and informed them of a ‘trifling gift’ of a rotunda bandstand, which he had shipped to Adelaide. The rotunda duly arrived from MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow and was erected; its columns were painted in bronze, with the remainder picked out in grey and blue. The rotunda was officially opened on 28 November 1882, more than a year after the lake. A piece of music, the ‘Rotunda March’, composed for the event, was played by the Adelaide City Council Brass Band.
- Botanic Park had its own Speakers’ Corner – Patricia says: Speakers’ Corner in Botanic Park became one of Adelaide’s most popular attractions, particularly for the ‘sensation loving public’ on Sunday afternoons. The only rule was to abstain from making personal attacks. In February 1895 a variety of speakers were on offer. Three or four individuals who had ‘the call’ took it in turns to promote the scriptures, while regulars were ‘for the most part gathered around the soldiers of the Salvation Army, who worked with unflagging energy despite the heat’. The Army was conspicuous for ‘blaring trumpets and the thumping of the drum’. Nearby speakers Stewart and Osborn ‘fired off’ slanderous statements about employers and capitalists. By 1912, Barney, a celebrated veteran preacher, had braved winter rain and summer heat for nearly 30 years to convert in a ‘divine sense’, mostly ‘young men and maidens’. Sometimes he was dressed in a long sheet decorated with antediluvian drawings.
- The Park Lands had their own morality police (well, in a sense) –Patricia says: During the First World War the police force appointed its first two policewomen, Kate Cocks and Annie Ross, who began work on 1 December 1915 in time for the forthcoming summer. Kate Cocks was famous for her vigilance on the Park Lands, using her cane to separate lovers, who were often unaware of her approach. Finding lovers locked together she used her catchphrase ‘Three feet apart!’ In March 1916 courting couples came under the spotlight of the Advertiser again: ‘During the last few years it has become the fashion among people to do their courting lying down. It is now the practice for them to lie down so closely together as to appear immodest but many of them are respectable.’ Kate Cocks was not amused, commenting that the ‘police were powerless to advise couples to sit up’.
- The Park Lands had their own air raid shelters during World War II – Patricia says: It is not generally known that several miles of pipe were laid and trench air raid shelters built in the city’s squares, in children’s playgrounds and on the fringes of the Park Lands and along North Terrace during the Second World War. Generally not used for the purposes for which they were intended, they existed from January 1942 to around August 1944, when they were filled in by a bulldozer from the Highways Department. The Hume cement pipes, which had been used for shelters, had a second life in drainage works and in the children’s playgrounds.
- Large sections of the Park Lands were for many years ‘Cows Only’! – Patricia says: One of the most enduring images of the Park Lands until the end of the 1960s was that of the signs dotted around bearing the words ‘Cows Only’. In 1963 there were well over a thousand livestock grazing on the Park Lands. However, in 1972 the last two dozen cows in Park 27B, next to the North Adelaide Railway Station, were banished, while 60 odd horses still grazing in several parks were brought together in Park 6 off Lefevre Terrace in North Adelaide. Today the long tradition of horse agistment, begun in the 1850s, continues, creating a delightful rural character in a capital city.
To learn more about the Park Lands, click here and take a look at Patricia’s well-loved history of this area.
Robert Dickson remembers the opening of the Little Theatre at Adelaide University in Addicted to Architecture. It was obviously a ‘suitably anarchic’ affair involving a hefty number of streakers …
The Little Theatre
The Little Theatre was the great gain. It was a 120-seat thrust-stage theatre with sophisticated control facilities and a small theatre bar. Students and other University users could use the theatre and operate all the sound and lighting equipment without any paid staff being there. The theatre consultant was none other than its promoter and the Union redevelopment client representative, Ralph Middenway.
It is difficult to recall now which of us designed which part. The Little Bar, fitted in partly under the main western staircase, was nicely intimate, a tiny version of the Union Hall Cellar. With 120 patrons, it was a bit crowded, but they could always spill out into the Cloisters. The Little Theatre was to be finished early for the 1974 Adelaide Festival, twelve months before completion of the remainder of the complex.
The opening by the Vice-Chancellor was a suitably anarchic theatrical occasion. ‘Streakers’ punctuated his opening address. But the Vice-Chancellor took it in his stride. Cued by audience reaction as each bare figure raced across the stage behind his back, he paused a little, awaiting audience response to fade, then continued, as though the interruptions were scheduled to accentuate his message. It was an appropriately professional performance.
A newspaper review of Adelaide theatres by Shirley Stott Despoja featured a photograph of the Little Theatre, with the comments, ‘Only the Elder Hall lower level, and the Little Theatre combine a naturally comfortable seating position with excellent visibility and acoustics wherever you may sit’.
Read more about the Little Theatre and Dickson’s other famous buildings here.
There’s been a lot of talk about cycling in Adelaide recently. The Tour Down Under opens tomorrow, and recently the City Council has devoted a lot of time to installing and ripping up bike pathways all over the city! But it’s not like this is a new thing for us. Adelaidians have been mad-keen cyclists for yonks, as Denis Molyneux investigates in Time for Play, his history of recreation and leisure in SA. Check out the pics —
The bicycle evolved through three phases – the Velocipede, the high wheel Ordinary and finally, the Safety bicycle. The velocipede, or ‘boneshaker’, accommodated a rider sitting astride two wheels, who propelled the machine first with one foot and then the other. The later versions of the machine had pedals on the front wheel. There do not appear to have been many owners of the velocipede in South Australia, although there were enthusiasts riding the machine in the Kapunda area in the early 1870s.
The heavy and cumbersome velocipede was replaced in the late 1870s by the high wheel, or ordinary. Its design, with the big wheel standing 52–54 inches (130–135 cm) high and pedalled from a central position immediately above the wheel, was a challenge to the strength, balance and athleticism of a male rider. For those who met these requirements and could afford the cost of the machines, the ordinary became a vehicle for racing or touring, but of limited use in daily transportation, not least because of its size. Its cost meant that owners were drawn predominantly from the middle classes.
The touring side of cycling clubs carried a strong middle class social element. ‘Handle Bar’, the cycling correspondent of the Register, writing in his weekly column – Wheelmarks – in May 1892 observed:
Six to thirteen miles generally constitute the distance of Club runs on Saturday afternoons in this colony, and within that area some very pretty places can be visited. What is more enjoyable than a spin before tea to Tea Tree Gully, Thorndon Park, or Belair? Should hill climbing be objected to, Glenelg or Brighton are pleasant places to visit on the wheel. Not only is the exercise healthful and enjoyable, but the scenery is beautiful, and an appetite is generally secured which only cyclists can boast of possessing. I advise all unattached wheelmen to accompany the clubs to some of their favourite rendezvous, and it need scarcely be added an advantageous afternoon will result.
Reports of individual club runs generally included some reference to the state of the road surfaces for the benefit of other cyclists, although as one columnist observed:
when the pneumatic tire [sic] comes into general use, and it is rapidly replacing others, rough roads will have little effect …
The year’s runs for the South Australian and North Adelaide Clubs reporting in 1892 were for the former, 37 excursions totalling 688 miles and the latter, 34 at 802 miles.
The Clubs that emerged in the late 1870s and through the 1880s, with their emphasis on touring rides, where members often wore uniforms, and gathered to socialise in club rooms, would have proved exclusive to those few working class cyclists who were able to purchase the ordinary machine.
The bicycle continued to evolve through the 1880s, with experimentation in mechanical design, culminating in the Safety version. The safety model included several innovative features, notably a diamond shaped tubular steel frame linking two similar size wheels, the ball bearing, a chain driving the rear wheel and tangentially-spoked wheels. All added safety for the rider – hence the name; moreover, it was lighter in weight and proved to be strong, durable, reliable and capable of operating with minimum maintenance.
The invention of the pneumatic tyre proved to be a further significant milestone. Patented in Britain in 1888, the inflated tyre, after initial suspicion among many hardened cyclists, was the major feature that led to the safety bicycle developing a market that swept the world, including the Australian colonies. The safety bicycle, equipped with pneumatic tyres, was particularly well-suited to Australian conditions ‘where the terrain and long distances and climate seemed to be waiting for the Dunlop invention.’ It was faster, more comfortable and easier to propel. In addition:
Australian men were more likely to buy a bicycle, partly because they earned higher wages. Furthermore, they could ride a bicycle the whole year round in most climatic regions of their land.
The Safety bicycle’s potential was soon noted in South Australia. The cyclist on the energy efficient machine proved to be two or three times as fast as a pedestrian or horse or camel. One did not have to be young and athletic to ride the safety bicycle; the model was attractive to young and old riders alike. With the arrival of the ‘step through’ version, the safety model rapidly became popular with women and softened some of the criticism directed against their cycling. It was to prove highly significant in women’s social liberation in the closing years of the century.
To read more of this fascinating history, please click here.