Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Australia

Australian officers, blown into the air by an accidental explosion, fall in the river amid the splinters of their wrecked boat; ca. 1942


From LIFE (June 15th, 1942):

During night maneuvers in New South Wales a few weeks ago, Australian soldiers were landing at the edge of a dam when a charge of gelignite, employed to lend realism to their operation, unexpectedly exploded beneath their boat. Amid splinters and spray the Aussies were hurled into the night. As they fell, a photographer 20 feet away snapped his shutter and caught the remarkable picture opposite. The soldiers suffered only bruises and shock.

Motorcycle Chariot, New South Wales, Australia; ca.1936

How were there three Mad Max movies without one of these making an appearance in any of them?

More Info:

  • Original footage of an Australian police chariot race 1941, in single chariot driver style as the photo (at 0:27): 

First original publications I can find are in the 1920’s, though the motorcycles had a rider and a passenger in the chariot.

  • Motorcycle Chariot Racing, August 7, 1925 (London, England, UK):

    Original caption: A new and novel sport in the form of chariot racing has been introduced in England by F. Mockford of the Sydenham and District Motorcycle Gymkhana at the Crystal Palace, London. The right side of the picture looks right enough, and so does the left, when each is considered separately, but the two together is enough to make the ancient Romans turn in their graves. Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

  • Here is a short clip of original footage from the above race at Crystal Palace, 1925; (the chariots are first seen at 0:28): 

[…] The program of police events include chariot races, motorcycle football, mass physical drills, exhibitions by the mounted squad, and “Fighting Crime,” which will be presented by the detective bureau.

  • Chariot of 1938 Ben Hur Drawn by Four Motorcycles: 6Qa3Vrt


Wilf Batty with the last thylacine that was killed in the wild; ca. 1930


A British soldier gives a “two-fingered salute” to German POWs captured at the Second Battle of El Alamein, Egypt; ca. 1942

The German POW on the left has a pretty clean haircut.

The German POW on the left has a pretty clean haircut.

The “two-fingered salute”, is commonly performed by flicking the V upwards from wrist or elbow. The V sign, when the palm is facing toward the person giving the sign, has long been an insulting gesture in England, and later in the rest of the United Kingdom; though the use of the V sign as an insulting gesture is largely restricted to the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. It is frequently used to signify defiance (especially to authority), contempt, or derision. The gesture is not used in the United States, and archaic in Australia and New Zealand, where the finger tends to be used in such situations instead.


Here’s a report on the behavior of British POWs during the war, hopefully making it the Britishest thing you’ve read today.


An Aboriginal woman carrying a pet possom, Northern Territory, Australia; ca.1922


The Parkes Radio Telescope, built in the middle of an Australian sheep paddock, towers over a rancher and his flock; ca.1960.


It was later used to transmit the majority of the first television broadcasts from the surface of the Moon. 

(More Information)

Benjamin, the last Tasmanian Tiger, at Beaumaris Zoo in 1933.



The Tasmanian tiger (aka Thylacine/ aka Tasmanian wolf) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times.


[ There have been sightings of Thylacines after the death of the last one in captivity. I’ve been upset about their demise since I was a small child. I hope there are some still alive roaming freely on their native land. I also mourn the loss of the passenger pigeon and hope that a few survive. It’s hard to believe that all of them are gone. Their flocks used to be so huge that it could take a full day or more for the flock to pass overhead. 😦 ]

They’ve been able to successfully complete sequences of mitochondrial thylacine genome. It’s not enough for cloning (you need nuclear DNA, mitochondrial isn’t enough) but it’s a step in the “right” direction.


Okay scientists. I am willing to pay up to $1000 for a pet Thylacine! Get to work!

Video of Benjamin (1933):

(Update: Is the Tasmanian Tiger Alive?)