On this day …….. 22nd of August 1770

James Cook takes possession of the eastern coast of “New Holland”.

Captain James Cook was not the first to discover Australia, as he was preceded by numerous Portuguese and Dutch explorers. However, he was the first to sight and map the eastern coastline. Cook’s ship, the ‘Endeavour’, departed Plymouth, England, in August 1768. After completing the objective of his mission, which was to observe the transit of Venus from the vantage point of Tahiti, Cook continued on his mission to find out more about Terra Australis Incognita, the great unknown south land. He first came across New Zealand, which had already been discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642. He spent some months there, charting the coastline. Nearly a year later, he set sail east. In mid-April 1770, officer of the watch, Lieutenant Zachary Hicks, sighted land and alerted Captain Cook. Cook made out low sandhills which he named Point Hicks, although he did not yet know whether they formed part of an island or a continent. Point Hicks lies on the far southeastern corner of the Australian continent, and Cook chose to fly before unfavourable winds up the eastern coast. Cook went on to chart the east coast of what was then known as New Holland, mapping numerous inlets and bays as he headed north. On 22 August 1770, at Possession Island in Torres Strait, Cook claimed the eastern coast of the continent for Great Britain under the name of New South Wales. The territory he claimed included “the whole eastern coast, from latitude 38 degrees S to this place, latitude 10.5 degrees S, in right of His Majesty King George the Third”. This essentially meant just the eastern parts of what are now New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Cook recorded the following: “Notwithstand[ing] I had in the Name of His Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast, I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern Coast by the name New South Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the said coast, after which we fired three Volleys of small Arms which were Answered by the like number from the Ship.”


4th June 1946

State-wide search for four criminals who are missing from Beechworth gaol was renewed. One of the men disappeared late last year, two in April, and the fourth a week ago. The men sought are: George Albert Wilson, 36, 5ft 6in, auburn hair, brown eyes, fresh complexion, and stout build. He is a native of New Zealand, and an engineer by occupation. Russell Stanley Kirby, 36, 5ft 8in, dark hair, brown eyes, fresh complexion, medium build. He has a big scar on the back of his left hand. Albert Charles Han is. 27, 5ft 10in.l dark brown hair, brown eyes, fresh complexion, and slight build. He is William John Clarke, 42, 5ft 6in. dark hair, blue eyes, fresh complexion, and medium build. He is an Englishman. Wilson, who broke free on December 22, 1945, is believed to have left the country for New Zealand, but, the other three fugitives are considered likely, to be in Victoria still. Because of this there has been a renewal of police raids on houses where the men may be harboured. Police said that any report of the whereabouts or movements of any of the fugitives would be treated as confidential. Kirby and Harris, who escaped together on April 26, are expected to have separated. Clarke, the latest escapee, is believed to have now disappeared from the dense bush surrounding the gaol where he obviously hid immediately after getting clear of the prison.


On this day …….. 15th of August 1945

Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley announces the end of the war against Japan, on what is now known as VP Day (Victory in the Pacific) in Australia.

On 14 August 1945, Japan accepted the Allied demand for unconditional surrender following the devastating atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On this day, Emperor Hirohito accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, also known as the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender. On 15 August 1945, Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley officially announced the end of the war against Japan. August 15 has subsequently been commemorated as “Victory in the Pacific” or “VP Day” since then. Japan’s formal surrender took place two and a half weeks later, on 2 September, when Japanese envoys boarded the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay and officially signed the surrender document. Under the Potsdam Declaration, to this day Japan’s sovereignty remains confined to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, along with some minor islands determined by the allies. VP Day is also known as VJ (Victory over Japan) Day in other countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand. The day is still observed with respect by veterans and members of the Defence forces.


An Australian emu escaped from a farm in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand’s South Island in November 2010. The local cop was called and when he arrived on the scene he saw the emu chasing a group of kids down the street in Ocean Bay. With the help of a few locals the emu was herded into a paddock until he was taken back to the farm.


Plucka Duck is a character on the popular Australian television program Hey Hey It’s Saturday. The character “presented” a segment on the show, along with Daryl Somers, which was a self-titled segment of Plucka Duck. Plucka was on the show until the show ended in 1999. In 2009, Plucka returned to the show when it returned to the screens as “Reunion Specials”. In 2010, the show returned as a series, with Plucka appearing in every episode. According to an interview given by John Blackman in 2009, Plucka was originally played by Mark McGahan, but was replaced by “Sim” for the reunion specials. “Sim” appears to refer to Simon Lefebvre. Also, Plucka Duck had its own show, Plucka’s Place. This show aired in 1997, with Livinia Nixon and Daniel Kowalski as co-hosts. The show lasted one season. In 2005, Plucka appeared with Daryl Somers at Carols by Candlelight. In 2008, Plucka made a long awaited return to television. Plucka (along with Dickie Knee and Daryl Somers) did a skit at the Logies. In early 2016, Plucka Duck appeared in an ad campaign for KFC riding a skateboard down a mountainous road in New Zealand.


Two origins have been suggested for the name of New Zealand’s rugby team, the All Blacks. One theory is based on the fact that Maoris have been included in the team since the first overseas tour in the late 1880s. The other suggestion origin goes back to 1905 when an English journalist cabled that the team played like “All Backs” and a transmission error resulted in the letter L being inserted.


Maori chief Hone Heke made a small fortune in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands before William Hobson’s appointment as Lieutenant Governor in 1840. For every whaling ship or trading ship entering a particular bay, Hone Heke levied a tax £10. He also lease wives for sailors during their stay.


When a flock of 565 pure white sheep, loaded on to a train at Taihape, New Zealand were brought out at their destination they had all turned black. When the train entered a tunnel thick fumes had brought about the amazing transformation.


A drunken gang of seamen were locked in the tiny colonial gaol at Lyttleton, New Zealand, but a few hours latter the gaoler, visiting the town centre, saw the prison walking down the street. The crew had punched holes in the floor for their legs, picked up the whole building and were making for their ship.


ON THIS DAY – June 19, 1894

The trial of Cecilia Anderson for the murder of John Fraser at the Southern Cross Hotel, Bourke-street, on 19th June, was held on Thursday at the Criminal Court, Melbourne, before the Chief Justice. Mr. Walsh, QC., stated the case for the Crown. He said that on Mrs. Anderson’s last trip from Sydney, she met Mrs. Healey, of New Zealand, and told her she meant to shoot Fraser in Melbourne. She procured a revolver, and made a pocket to carry it about in. On one occasion, Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Healey met Fraser, and Mrs. Anderson took him away. Accused afterwards told Mrs. Healey it was a pity that she had not had the revolver with her when she was with Fraser, as she could have of done the trick nicely. The counsel described the scene at the Southern Cross Hotel, and said that accused had apparently been driven almost mad with jealousy, because a man who had promised to marry her three years before had married another woman. The taking of evidence having been concluded, the counsel addressed the jury, and his Honor summed up. The jury, after a short retirement, found the prisoner guilty of the murder of Fraser. The chief Justice in passing sentence of death, said there was no doubt that Mrs. Anderson had suffered severe wrongs at Fraser’s hands through his not paying her what he owed, and perhaps in other ways, but wrongs like these were no reasons for taking human life. The ultimate penalty for the crime did not rest with the Court. She might escape the sentence of death, but he did not wish to hold out any expectations in that direction. In the meantime he begged of her to make preparations for another world. Anderson revived 2 month gaol time.


On this day …….. 15th of June 1839

The first Englishman to explore New Zealand was James Cook, who charted and circumnavigated the North and South Islands late in 1769. In November, Cook claimed New Zealand for Great Britain, raising the British flag at Mercury Bay, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. This signalled the start of British occupation of the islands which had previously been occupied by the Maori. On 15 June 1839, letters patent were issued in London extending the boundaries of New South Wales to include “any territory which is or may be acquired in sovereignty by Her Majesty … within that group of Islands in the Pacific Ocean, commonly called New Zealand”. Also in 1839, the British government appointed William Hobson as consul to New Zealand. Prior to Hobson leaving Sydney for New Zealand, Sir George Gipps, then Governor of New South Wales, issued a proclamation declaring that the boundaries of New South Wales were extended to include “such territory in New Zealand as might be acquired in sovereignty”. New Zealand officially became a dependency of New South Wales when the Legislative Council passed an Act extending to New Zealand the laws of New South Wales, on 16 June 1840. The Council also established customs duties and courts of justice for New Zealand. This arrangement, intended as a temporary measure, lasted just a few months. In November 1840, New Zealand became a separate colony.

On this day …….. 27th of April 1806

Moehanga Ngāpuhi, became the first recorded Māori visitor to England when the Ferret berthed in London on the 27th of April 1806. Moehanga had boarded the Ferret when it visited the Bay of Islands late in 1805. While Māori had travelled as far as Tahiti and Australia in the late 18th century, Moehanga was the first to make it to the other side of the globe. While in England he met King George III and Queen Charlotte. He sailed with the Ferret when it left for Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales, in June. After spending the summer in Port Jackson he returned to his home in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in March 1807.