Sunday, February 21, 2010

Japanese submarine raiders 1942: a maritime mystery

On the night of 31 May /1 June four midget submarines attempted entry to Sydney Harbour. The entry of unidentified objects was detected at the Loop Station but unreported. It is possible that one submarine that may have entered at the same time as a ferry. During the evening a number of torpedoes were fired resulting in the sinking of the Kuttabul. A week later on the 8th of June a submarine off the coast fired shells into Sydney Harbour many exploding in the streets of Rose Bay and Bellevue Hills with minimal damage though one left a crater in Manion Avenue, Rose Bay. Due to censorship restrictions little was known about these attacks until many years after the war.

The story of the Japanese submarines patrolling the New South Wales coast in 1942 is recorded by Stephen L Carruthers after researching records from Australian and Japanese resources and provides information about what was happening on the submarines as well as the effects of the attacks on Sydney.

Another book on this topic is Battle surface: Japan's submarine war against Australia 1942-44 by David Jenkins.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Australians volume 1 Origins to Eureka

The first volume of Thomas Keneally's history of Australia provides the stories of European settlement of the country until the 1850s. Well known for his novels Thomas Keneally has written other works of non-fiction relating to Australia including The Commonwealth of Thieves, an exploration of the settlement of Sydney as a convict colony.

Keneally is interested in characters so he tells his story by interleaving events as they affected the lives of a selection of participants. A detailed time line to 1860 is provided along with extensive notes and an index.

The Commonwealth of Thieves dwelt on the transportation system, conditions on the transport ships and the initial establishment of Sydney. Like Australians the story is character driven and provides a readable insight into what conditions may have been like in the 1770s and 1780s. The notes and bibliography provide guides for future research for those interested in this period of history.

The early sections of Australians also provides information about the transportation system but concentrates on the development of the colonies that later became Australia, although the emphasis is on Sydney. Telling the story through events in the lives of the convicts and other settlers provides graphic images of life including challenges and achievements at the time.

Having 12 convicts in my family who had arrived in Sydney by 1808, both these books are valuable source books providing background information for family history research, especially as one of the convicts who features as a character in both books is Simeon Lord.

75 years of the Australian Women's Weekly: memories and great moments from Australia's most loved magazine

I have memories, when a child, of being asked to go to the newsagent to purchase a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly for my mother. I think the prince was 9d at the time. It was the one magazine she had to have each week.

The first issue of the Australian Women's Weekly was published in June 1933. The aim of the publication, published in black and white, was to provide articles covering the latest news, fashion, fiction, social issues and food. At the end of 1935 my grandfather, R J H Moses, left Smith's Weekly to join the editorial staff of the Australian Women's Weekly before becoming consultant editor of the new newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, in 1936.

Since December 1982 the Australian Women's Weekly has been issued as a monthly but continues as one of the most popular publications for women in Australia. This 75 year tribute to the Weekly provides an overview on the the themes that have been a major part of the publication but concentrates on events and people of more recent years. Themes include people, beautiful Australia, news stories, war, the Royals, women, fashion, the family, travel, food, the home and Christmas. There are also chapters on some of the former staff of the Weekly.

Flicking through the pages of this book provides a glimpse into the recent (non- teenage) popular culture of Australia including photographs and articles about people involved in sport, television, film and fashion. Fortunately examples of articles from earlier editions of the magazine can be found in the side bar of some pages.