Sir Nils Olav

Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav is a king penguin who resides in Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. He is the mascot and Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Royal Guard. Nils was visited by soldiers from the Norwegian Royal Guard on 15 August 2008 and awarded knighthood. The honour was approved by King Harald V. During the ceremony a crowd of several hundred people joined the 130 guardsmen at the zoo to hear a citation from the King read out, which described Nils as a penguin “in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood”. The name ‘Nils Olav’ has also been given to two other king penguins who preceded the current Nils Olav as the King’s Guard’s mascot.

When the Norwegian King’s Guard visited the Edinburgh Military Tattoo of 1961 for a drill display, a lieutenant called Nils Egelien became interested in Edinburgh Zoo’s penguin colony. When the Guards once again returned to Edinburgh in 1972, he arranged for the unit to adopt a penguin. This penguin was named Nils Olav in honour of Nils Egelien, and King Olav V of Norway.

Sir Nils Olav was given the rank of visekorporal (lance corporal) and has been promoted each time the King’s Guard has returned to the zoo. In 1982 he was made corporal, and promoted to sergeant in 1987. Nils Olav died shortly after his promotion to sergeant, and his place of honour was taken by Nils Olav II, his two-year-old near-double. He was promoted in 1993 to the rank of regimental sergeant major. On 18 August 2005, he was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief and on 15 August 2008 he was awarded a knighthood. He is the first penguin to receive such an honour in the Norwegian Army. At the same time a 4-foot-high (1.2 m) bronze statue of Nils Olav was presented to Edinburgh Zoo. The statue’s inscription recognises the King’s Guard and the Military Tattoo. A statue also stands at the Royal Norwegian Guard compound at Huseby, Oslo.

In Norway he is consistently referred to only as the mascot of the King’s Guard, although the plaque on his statue refers to his appointment as Colonel-in-Chief.


The tradition of having goats in the military originated in 1775, when a wild goat walked onto the battlefield in Boston during the American Revolutionary War and led the Welsh regimental colours at the end of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another Welsh military goat, Taffy IV, served in the First World War. Taffy, of 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, is officially recorded as “The Regimental Goat”. He embarked for the war on 13 August 1914 and saw action in the Retreat from Mons, the First Battle of Ypres (including the Battle of Gheluvelt) and the Battles of Festubert and Givenchy, before dying on 20 January 1915. He was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

The royal goat herd was originally obtained from Mohammad Shah Qajar, Shah of Persia from 1834 to 1848, when he presented them to Queen Victoria as a gift in 1837 upon her accession to the throne.

The herd thrived on Llandudno’s Great Orme; by 2001 they reached a population of 250, and were in danger of running out of food. Following complaints about goats wandering into people’s gardens, the council rejected proposals for a cull, deciding to use a combination of rehoming and birth control. RSPCA marksmen tranquilised nannies and inserted contraceptive progesterone implants to control the numbers of the genetically unique breed. By 2007, 85 goats had been relocated to areas including Kent, Yorkshire, the Brecon Beacons and Somerset, but further efforts were interrupted by an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

William Windsor I

Billy, a Kashmir goat, is descended from the same royal bloodline as the original herd, but was not selected from the wild population; he was born in Whipsnade Zoo. He was presented to the regiment by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. The tradition is not new: since 1844, the British monarchy has presented an unbroken series of Kashmir goats to the Royal Welch Fusiliers from the Crown’s own royal herd.

Billy—Army number 25232301—is “not a mascot, but a ranking member of the regiment”, according to the BBC. Since joining in 2001, he has performed duties overseas, and has paraded before royalty. His primary duty was to march at the head of the battalion on all ceremonial duties. He was present for every parade in which the regiment participated. Billy’s full-time handler was Lance Corporal Ryan Arthur, who carried the title of “Goat Major”.
Another regimental goat: Taffy IV, of the 2nd Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, was on active duty in France during World War I, participating in the Retreat from Mons, the First Battle of Ypres and other famous battles. He was awarded the 1914 Star.

Temporary demotion

On 16 June 2006, a parade was held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday, at the Episkopi base near Limassol, Cyprus on the Mediterranean island’s south coast. Invited dignitaries included the ambassadors of Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden and the Argentine commander of United Nations’ forces on Cyprus.

The deployment to Cyprus with the 1st Battalion was Billy’s first overseas posting, and despite being ordered to keep in line, he refused to obey. He failed to keep in step, and tried to headbutt a drummer. The goat major, Lance Corporal Dai Davies, 22, from Neath, South Wales, was unable to keep him under control.

Billy was charged with “unacceptable behaviour”, “lack of decorum” and “disobeying a direct order”, and had to appear before his commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Huw James. Following a disciplinary hearing, he was demoted to fusilier. The change meant that other fusiliers in the regiment no longer had to stand to attention when Billy walked past, as they had to when he was a lance corporal.

A Canadian animal rights group protested to the British Army, stating that he was merely “acting the goat”, and should be reinstated. Three months later, on 20 September at the same parade ground, Billy regained his rank during the Alma Day parade which celebrates the Royal Welsh victory in the Crimean War. Captain Simon Clarke said, “Billy performed exceptionally well, he has had all summer to reflect on his behaviour at the Queen’s birthday and clearly earned the rank he deserves”.

Billy received his promotion from the colonel of the Royal Welsh Regiment, Brigadier Roderick Porter. As a result of regaining his rank, he also regained his membership of the corporals’ mess.

Billy is not the first goat in the army to have troubles. At one time a royal goat was “prostituted” by being offered for stud services by the regiment’s serving goat major to a Wrexham goat breeder. First charged with lèse majesté, the goat major was ultimately court-martialled under the lesser charge of “disrespect to an officer” and reduced in rank. The goat major claimed he did it out of compassion for the goat, but this failed to impress the court. Another royal fusilier goat earned the nickname “the rebel”, after he butted a colonel while he was stooped over fixing his uniform’s trouser-strap. The incident was described as a “disgraceful act of insubordination.”


On 20 May 2009, following eight years of distinguished service, Billy retired due to his age. Soldiers from the battalion lined the route from his pen to the trailer as he left the camp for the last time, in ceremonial dress that included a silver headdress which was a gift from the queen in 1955. Billy was taken to Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire where keepers say he had an easy life at the Children’s Farm.

William Windsor II

In order to replace Billy, thirty members of 1st Battalion set off to Great Orme in Llandudno on 15 June 2009 at 03:00, hoping to catch the feral goats in a docile state. A team led by Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Lock (Commanding Officer) included the goat major and several veterinarians. Army spokesman Gavin O’Connor said, “We are looking for a goat which is calm under pressure and a team player”. During the selection of a replacement goat, the battalion helped to start an alternative vaccine method of birth control among the herd, since hormone implants that were previously employed to control numbers are no longer available.

With some difficulty, a five-month-old was chosen, and assigned army number 25142301—which represents regiment number 2514, 23rd Regiment of Foot (the original name of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers), and 01 denoting the 1st Battalion. The new goat will also be called William Windsor, beginning as a fusilier while being trained for military life. He will receive a ration of two cigarettes per day, which he eats, but will not be permitted Guinness until he is older.


Presidential Burger


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground round
2 English muffins, split and toasted

Preheat grill.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Add mushrooms and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vinegar; remove mixture from pan. Set aside.

Combine the paprika and the next 4 ingredients (paprika through black pepper). Divide the ground round into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Coat patties with spice mixture. Grill patties 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place burgers on muffin halves, and top each burger with 1/4 cup onion mixture.

Chilled Tomato and Dill Mousse with Lobster Tail

Despite the title, the recipe really focuses on the tomato and dill mousse which, thanks to the use of molds, is turned into a conical shape and which is then served alongside a steamed lobster tail. The recipe makes 6 “ramekins” or miniature molds of mousse.

1 pound tomatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 sachets of gelatine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 small bunch dill
3 tablespoon onion
1 lemon
6 steamed lobster tails (about 7 oz. each)
3 bunches watercress
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small bunch chopped chives
salt and pepper

1. Blend the tomatoes with 1/4 of the peeled onion until you have a fine pulp. Strain the pulp through a conical strainer and into a large bowl. Lightly fold in the mayonnaise, sour cream, heavy cream and tomato puree into the sieved tomato pulp. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper and the finely chopped dill and fold into the mix.

2. Add the gelatine to a small pan and “sponge” with the juice from half of the lemon. Melt the gelatine over a low heat until it dissolves and then pour it onto the tomato mix, stirring it into the mix as you pour.
Test the mix for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins, molds or mini-savarin rings and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, run a small knife around the edge of the mold and turn out the mousse onto a plate. Decorate the mousse with the split lobster tails tossed in the olive oil, remaining lemon juice and chopped chives on a bed of watercress.


Simple Clam Chowder Recipe


2 bacon slices
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained
5 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 1 pound)
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 bay leaf
3 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion, celery, salt, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add clam liquid, potato, clam juice, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard bay leaf.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add clams; cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon.

On This Day ……. 30th May 1954

Sir Arthur Faddan (13th Prime Minister of Australia) was injured in a car accident at Grantham, about 80 miles from Brisbane on the eve of the Federal election on this day in 1954. He under when a minor operation for the removal of congealed blood. Because of the election on the Saturday after the accident, Prime Minister Menzies had not been able to visit Sir Arthur sooner. The Prime Minister was “deeply shocked” when he first heard of the accident and made arrangements to have half-hour telephone reports on Sir Arthur’s condition.

On This Day……… 9th April 1867

John Christian Watson, 3rd Prime Minister of Australia was born on this day. He was the first prime minister from the Australian Labour Party, and the first prime minister from the labour movement in the world. He was of Chilean birth, with German and New Zealand ancestry.

Previously serving in state parliament for seven years, Watson was elected to federal parliament at the inaugural 1901 election, where the state Labour parties received a combined 15.8 percent of the first past the post primary vote against two more dominant parties. The Caucus chose Watson as the inaugural parliamentary leader of the Labour Party on the 8th of May 1901, just in time for the first meeting of parliament. Labour led by Watson increased their vote to 31 percent at the 1903 election and 36.6 percent at the 1906 election. From the first election, Labour held the balance of power, giving support to Protectionist Party legislation in exchange for concessions to enact the Labour Party policy platform. Watson’s term as Prime Minister was brief only four months, between the 27th of April and the 18th of August 1904. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and retired from Parliament in 1910. Labour, led by Andrew Fisher would go on to win the 1910 election with 50 percent of the primary vote, ushering in Australia’s first elected majority government, and also the first elected Senate majority. Watson with others were later expelled from the party he helped found over the issue of conscription for World War I.

According to Percival Serle, Watson “left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader”. Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: “The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes”.



On this day ……… 31st of March 1897

Rutherglen in North East Victoria played host to the Victorian Governor Lord Brassey, who opened the district’s new Viticulture Collage. The college had been the dream of the. Rutherglen vigneron a since the 1880s. They proposed the building of an institution which could carry out practical experiments for vine culture and wine making, and also train skilled staff for the industry. Rutherglen at the time was the centre of the wine growing industry. There was 350 vigneron’s within a 35 mile radius of the town.



Well we might be a little bit late to the new year this year!!  But nevertheless Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

In our defence we have been busy in the background finding and securing some new adventures for the Twisted History for this year, some we will be letting you know about very soon!  As well as busily providing ghost tours and paranormal investigations at Geelong Gaol and murder tours in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Back to our blog!!  This year we will be doing things a little differently.  For the past couple of years we have been blogging snippets from history that happened “On This Day.  This year we will be doing “Sunday Spotlights” instead.  This will allow us to provide more details (where we can!) on some of the events we will be writing about.

But we would like your input!

As some of you would know we have a few different categories that we blog about – these include Murders, Goals, Hotels, Pop Culture and of course Twisted History.

This year we want to hear from you! Which Australian murder cases fascinate you?  Is there a particular Australian movie or TV show you want to know more about?  Is there an urban legend that gives you a chuckle?  Or even a good ghost story we haven’t heard?  Is your local hotel haunted?  Is there something paranormal you want to discuss?  We want to hear it all!

If you have some ideas for blog articles – get in touch!  You can email us at, you can inbox us on any of our facebook pages or give us a call on 1300865800.

We do have some stories going up starting tonight and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Welcome to 2018!!



ON THIS DAY…… 30th November 1878

Australia’s National Anthem performed for the first time in public

Australia’s national anthem, ‘Advance Australia Fair was composed by Scottish-born composer Peter Dodds McCormick, who arrived in Sydney in 1855, taking up a position as a public school teacher in New South Wales. McCormick was heavily involved in the community as well as the Scottish Presbyterian church, and he developed a reputation for both his singing voice and his compositions. He composed around 30 patriotic songs, one of which was ‘Advance Australia Fair’. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was first performed in public on 30 November 1878. The occasion was the St Andrew’s Day concert of the Highland Society. Initially, the song was published under the pseudonym of “Amicus”, which is Latin for ‘friend. In line with its nationalistic flavour, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was performed by a 10,000-voice choir at the inauguration Federation ceremony for the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia, on 1 January 1901. McCormick was subsequently paid one hundred pounds for his composition in 1907, and he registered it for copyright in 1915. Early in the twentieth century, the song was proposed as a possible national anthem for Australia, to replace the Royal anthem ‘God Save the King’ (later ‘Queen’), but no official decision was made. The first of many competitions to find a new national anthem was held in 1840, with subsequent quests and competitions in ensuing years, including the lead-up to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Another Australia-wide national anthem quest was held in 1972-3. Following this, in 1977, the government held a referendum and attached a national plebiscite to choose a new anthem. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ won with 43% against Banjo Paterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’ with 28% and Carl Linger’s ‘Song of Australia’ with 10%. In favour of keeping ‘God Save the Queen were 19%. In 1984, the Australian government made the final decision to change the national anthem as it sought to reinforce its independence from England. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was adopted as the National anthem of Australia on 19 April 1984.

ON THIS DAY…… 29th November 1917

Australian Prime hit by Egg – starts Commonwealth Police force

Arrest those men, constable! – Prime Minister William Morris Hughes, was in Warwick, Queensland on this day in 1917, when he was hit by an egg. When the policemen refused to arrest him on the grounds that he was bound the enforce only State laws, Hughes decided to form the Commonwealth Police.

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1917

A raid on the Queensland Government Printing Office is carried out, under the orders of Prime Minister Billy Hughes

Conscription, or compulsory military service, has always been a highly controversial issue in Australia. At the outbreak of World War I, Australians were keen to go to war. Many sought to serve their newly federated country as patriotic Australians, while others hoped to serve on behalf of “Mother England”. Prime Minister William ‘Billy’ Hughes was Australia’s second wartime Prime Minister, being appointed after the resignation of Andrew Fisher in October 1915. Hughes sought to introduce conscription during World War I via a referendum. The 1916 referendum failed when 51% voted against the introduction of conscription. Although Hughes won a clear majority at the Federal election in 1917, he did not bring in legislation for compulsory overseas service, but sought a second referendum in December 1917. To that end, he tried to direct public opinion in favour of conscription, and this included the removal of dissenting material which might sway public opinion against the introduction of conscription. On 26 November 1917, Hughes ordered Jeremiah Joseph Stable, an officer with the Australian Field Artillery, to conduct a raid on the Queensland Government Printing Office. Stable, along with Federal Police, was instructed to enter the printing office and seize all copies of no. 37 Queensland Parliamentary Debates, as they contained an anti-conscription speech by Premier T J Ryan. Stable had already previously censored parts of the speech from the press, but the printing office held the original copies of the parliamentary debates, and Hughes feared the speech might be circulated.