Black Thursday’s devastating bushfires

Victoria is often victim to a cruel summer bushfire season, with temperatures soaring and unpredictable in the southern state. The first European settlers faced the devastating impacts of Victoria’s bushfires in Black Thursday, when over a quarter of the colony was burnt. The lead-up to the deadly fires was plagued by several years of erratic … Read on

Holey moly: Australia’s first minted currency

No currency was supplied when settlers and convict fleets arrived in Australia from the United Kingdom, leading to an interesting mix of currencies making up the Australian financial system. Thanks to trade with merchant ships from across the globe, British, Portuguese, Dutch and Indian coins were commonly mixed; however, most would leave the colony through … Read on

Lost jobs: coal lumpers

Content provided by our friends at the Old Treasury Building, Melbourne. Pictured is a man wearing the distinctive cap of the ‘humper’ or ‘lumper’, which protected coal lumpers’ necks and shoulders from the heavy hessian bags they would carry as part of their trade. Until recently these strong men would carry up to 80 kilograms … Read on

Mary Ann and Captain Piper

By Jessica North A book preview from our friends at Allen & Unwin ‘An astonishing story of lust and love in early colonial Australia, shocking, entrancing and utterly enthralling.’ – Sue WilliamsBorn on Norfolk Island to First Fleet convicts, Mary Ann was destined to become a farmer’s wife. Instead, at the age of fourteen she entranced … Read on

Our grandparents’ footsteps in Ukraine

By Elisa and Anna Jakymin Several years ago, when we reached out to a Ukraine-based genealogist to track down our long-lost family, we could never have imagined where the journey would take us, and we wrote about it in an earlier blog post. To think that we would have the fortune of meeting relatives in … Read on

A short history of Ukraine

By Elisa and Anna Jakymin ‘It’s Ukraine, not The Ukraine.’ Following the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1991 marked a turning point in a centuries-long and turbulent history fought for by our forefathers. Given that the prefix was used by Soviet Russians to refer to Ukraine as one of its own, … Read on

The Ghost Tattoo

By Tony Bernard A book preview from our friends at Allen and Unwin. The profoundly moving story of a son’s quest to uncover his father’s Holocaust secret. To the outside world, Henry Bernard was a hard-working and beloved family doctor on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Yet he was also a Holocaust survivor whose life was profoundly … Read on

Nabbing Ned Kelly

By David Dufty A book preview from our friends at Allen and Unwin. ‘He lurched through the gun smoke, his head encased in an iron helmet, and started shooting. To the weary police in the cordon around the Glenrowan hotel, he appeared like a monster, or a creature from hell…’For over a century, the Ned … Read on

Australia’s most famous pets

It’s no secret that Australians love their pets, so it’s only natural that many dogs, cats and birds have made headlines for their quirky natures, intelligent ability and overarching loyalty to their owners. Here’s a deep dive into some of our nation’s most unique pets throughout history. Cocky Bennett One of Sydney’s most famous characters … Read on

Australia’s first Olympian

Despite running for Great Britain, Edwin Harold Flack is considered Australia’s first Olympian, and subsequent member of the Australian Olympic Committee, following Federation in 1901. The first Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in April 1896, and were pioneered by French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He had been fascinated by the integration of … Read on

Join our mailing list