15 April 1912 – The Day the “Titanic” Sank...

It was a disaster like no other at that time. The world’s biggest (and self-proclaimed ‘unsinkable’) ship set off from Southampton on 10 April 1912, bound for New York. It was her maiden voyage, and the crowd seeing it off was huge. Little did they know that just 5 days later all onboard would be fighting for their life, with the vast majority not making it. 2.20am, 15 April 1912, just a mere 2 hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable. The Titanic sank. total capacity: 3547 passengers and crew total onboard: 2206 passengers and crew total survived: 703 passengers and crew  That was 105 years ago, and it still has an impact. The movie below is from British Pathè’s collection, and is just one of the 85,000 old movies they have made freely available. Showing actual footage of the ship, the rescue ships, together with interviews of some survivors, it is chilling. There’s no doubt that the Titanic has become the stuff of legend. I remember asking my grandma about it though she wasn’t born at the time, but her older sisters were, and they remembered it, being aged 11 and 12. So I decided to see what the local South Australian newspapers wrote about it. The following was the first report of it in South Australia’s “The Advertiser”, was was dated 18 April 1912. Not too bad considering that communication back then wasn’t as instant as we have today. It didn’t make front page like it did in the US or England, but it did make a big article on page 9. The article blow is just a small portion of it. And as you would expect, every...

21 December 1860 – The Date Water Was Turned on in Adelaide...

The date 21 December 1860 was a Friday, and this was a big day for the city of Adelaide, as that is the day that the water from the pipeline in the Adelaide Hills was turned on, and water came through. The time was 3.00pm, and a small group of people surrounded the fire hydrant on the corner of Flinders and Pulteney Streets, and then it was time. They turned in on … and …  the water didn’t just come, it GUSHED! In fact it gushed 7o feet into the air!! It sounds spectacular doesn’t it. And in fact the water coming to Adelaide, changed Adelaide’s history. It was obviously mighty useful for the local fire service of the time. It meant the city could have drinking fountains, and water was also used to power the first non-passenger lift to be installed in Adelaide which allowed goods up and down several floors, which by the way was Harris Scarfes. And thanks to the vast reach and power of the water, it was used to clean multi-storey buildings in the city as well. I got all of these interesting, useful tid-bits of history from the South Australian Engineers Heritage Conference that I attended last week. Being an Engineering history conference, of course the history of water supply and pipelines fall into the category! Anyway back to Adelaide’s water … all didn’t go smoothly with the work on the pipeline and reservoir, but then again does anything? Here’s an article from the beginning of 1860 which mentions a few of the problems. This is just a portion of the article, so if you want to read the full entry just click on the hyperlink in the caption. Work obviously continued throughout...

28 December 1876, RIP William Beavis Randell...

Today is a special day. Maybe “special” isn’t the right word. Maybe “remembrance” would be more suitable. As it was on this day 138 years ago … (28 December 1876) that my great great grandpa William Beavis Randell passed away. He was not only my emigrating Randell ancestor, and the patriarch of the entire huge Randell clan in Australia, he was also an employee of the Adelaide Company, a miller, founder of the town of Gumeracha, JP, councillor and parliamentarian amongst other things … I’m going to share with you an entry from the diary of his second wife Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) about his passing, together with an obituary I found on Trove.                           I know Phebe’s handwriting is quite readable considering what some handwriting was like back then (and even many nowdays), but whatever she wrote this entry in, is really really faint, so I know you’ll have trouble reading it, even enlarged, so I’ll transcribe it for you … This entry is undated, but the entry prior to this was dated 2 July 1876, and she seemed to be writing details of a number of days or weeks happenings in one entry. Page 19 … What a changing world is this on the 17th of August 1876 I became a wife though in the Sight of God a wife before I fully believe we haveing Pledged ourselves each to other before God without the worldly form but the ceremony was by Mr Jacob Abbott on the day afore said and by my dear husband and I lived very happly together for four Short months after the ceremony and then failing health laid him aside. He...