Topic: Australia

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Ben Carlin

Biography Australia Transport Transport/Maritime Australia/Australian maritime history Australia/Western Australia Australia/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history

Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Carlin (27 July 1912 – 7 March 1981) was an Australian adventurer who was the first person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. Born in Northam, Western Australia, Carlin attended Guildford Grammar School in Perth, and later studied mining engineering at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. After qualifying as an engineer, he worked on the Goldfields before in 1939 emigrating to China to work in a British coal mine. In the Second World War, Carlin was posted to the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, serving in India, Italy, and throughout the Middle East. After his discharge from service in 1946, he emigrated to the United States with his American wife, Elinore (née Arone).

Sparked by an idea he had had whilst in the military, Carlin proposed that the couple honeymoon by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a modified Ford GPA (an amphibious version of the Ford GPW Jeep), which they named the Half-Safe. Beginning their trip in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Carlins finally completed the transatlantic crossing in 1951, after unsuccessful attempts. From there, they travelled to Europe, temporarily settling in Birmingham to raise more money. They resumed their journey in 1954, travelling overland through the Middle East before arriving in Calcutta. After a short fundraising trip to Australia, Carlin's wife left to return to the United States. He resumed the journey with new partners, travelling through South-East Asia and the Far East to the northern tip of Japan, and then to Alaska. After an extended tour through the United States and Canada, he and Half-Safe finally returned to Montreal, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey. Following Carlin's death in 1981, Half-Safe was acquired by Guildford Grammar, his old school, where it remains on display.

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Bogle–Chandler Case

Australia Death Australia/Sydney Australia/Australian crime

The Bogle–Chandler case refers to the mysterious deaths of Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler on the banks of the Lane Cove River in Sydney, Australia on 1 January 1963. The case became famous because of the circumstances in which the bodies were found and because the cause of death could not be established. In 2006 a filmmaker discovered evidence to suggest the cause of death was hydrogen sulphide gas. In the early hours of 1 January an eruption of gas from the polluted river bed may have occurred, causing the noxious fumes to pool in deadly quantities in the grove.

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The Great Emu War

Australia Military history Australia/Western Australia Military history/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history Australia/Australian history

The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War, was a nuisance wildlife management military operation undertaken in Australia over the latter part of 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in the Campion district of Western Australia. The unsuccessful attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with Lewis guns—leading the media to adopt the name "Emu War" when referring to the incident. While a number of the birds were killed, the emu population persisted and continued to cause crop destruction.

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The Emu War

Australia Military history Australia/Western Australia Military history/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history Australia/Australian history

The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War, was a nuisance wildlife management military operation undertaken in Australia over the latter part of 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in the Campion district of Western Australia. The unsuccessful attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with Lewis guns—leading the media to adopt the name "Emu War" when referring to the incident. While a number of the birds were killed, the emu population persisted and continued to cause crop destruction.

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Marree Man

Australia Australia/South Australia

The Marree Man, or Stuart's Giant, is a modern geoglyph the circumstances of whose creation have not been ascertained. It appears to depict an indigenous Australian man hunting with a boomerang or stick. It lies on a plateau at Finnis Springs 60 km (37 mi) west of the township of Marree in central South Australia. It is just outside the 127,000-square-kilometre (49,000 sq mi) Woomera Prohibited Area. The figure is 2.7 km (1.7 mi) tall with a perimeter of 28 km (17 mi), extending over an area of about 2.5 km2 (620 acres). Although it is one of the largest geoglyphs in the world (arguably second to the Sajama Lines), its origin remains a mystery, with no one claiming responsibility for its creation nor any eye-witness having been found, notwithstanding the scale of the operation required to form the outline on the plateau floor. The description "Stuart's Giant" was used in anonymous faxes sent to media as "Press Releases" in July 1998, in a reference to the explorer John McDouall Stuart. It was discovered fortuitously by a charter pilot in an overflight on 26 June 1998.

Shortly after its discovery, the site was closed by the South Australian government following legal action taken in late July by native title claimants, but flights over the site were not forbidden as native title fell under federal government jurisdiction.

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O-bahn Busway

Australia Buses Australia/Adelaide

The O-Bahn Busway is a guided busway that is part of the bus rapid transit system servicing the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. The O-Bahn system was conceived by Daimler-Benz to enable buses to avoid traffic congestion by sharing tram tunnels in the German city of Essen.

Adelaide's O-Bahn was introduced in 1986 to service the city's rapidly expanding north-eastern suburbs, replacing an earlier plan for a tramway extension. The O-Bahn provides specially built track, combining elements of both bus and rail systems. Adelaide's track is 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) long and includes three interchanges at Klemzig, Paradise and Tea Tree Plaza. Interchanges allow buses to enter and exit the busway and to continue on suburban routes, avoiding the need for passengers to transfer to another bus to continue their journey. Buses can travel at a maximum speed of 100 km/h (60 mph), but are now restricted to 85 km/h (53 mph). As of 2015, the busway carries approximately 31,000 people per weekday. An additional section including a 670-metre (2,200 ft) tunnel opened in 2017 at the city end to reduce the number of congested intersections buses must traverse to enter the Adelaide city centre.

The development of the O-Bahn busway led to the development of the Torrens Linear Park from a run-down urban drain into an attractive public open space. It has also triggered urban development around the north-eastern terminus at Modbury.

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Pine Gap, Australia

Australia Military history Military history/North American military history Military history/United States military history Military history/Intelligence Australia/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history Military history/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history Australia/Northern Territory

Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a US satellite surveillance base and Australian Earth station approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory in the centre of Australia which is jointly operated by Australia and the United States. Since 1988, it has been officially called the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap (JDFPG); previously, it was misleadingly known as Joint Defence Space Research Facility.

The station is partly run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), US National Security Agency (NSA), and US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and is a key contributor to the NSA's global interception effort, which included the ECHELON program. The classified NRO name of the Pine Gap base is Australian Mission Ground Station (AMGS), while the unclassified cover term for the NSA function of the facility is RAINFALL.

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Principality of Hutt River

Australia Numismatics Australia/Western Australia Micronations

The Principality of Hutt River, often referred to by its former name, the Hutt River Province, is an unrecognized micronation in Australia. The principality claims to be an independent sovereign state founded on 21 April 1970. The territory is located 517 km (354 mi) north of Perth, near the town of Northampton in the state of Western Australia. It has an area of 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi), making it larger than several independent countries. It is not recognized as a country by the Australian Government or any other national government, and the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Western Australia have rejected submissions arguing that it is not subject to Australian laws.

The principality was a regional tourist attraction until it announced it was closed to tourists after 31 January 2020. It issues its own currency, stamps and passports (which are not recognised by the Australian government or any other government). The micronation was founded on 21 April 1970 when Leonard Casley declared his farm to be an independent country, the Hutt River Province. He attempted to secede from Australia over a dispute concerning wheat production quotas. A few years later, Casley began styling himself as "Prince Leonard" and granting family members royal titles, although he did not include the word "principality" in the official name until 2006.

In February 2017, at the age of 91 and after ruling for 45 years, Casley abdicated the throne in favour of his youngest son, Prince Graeme. Leonard Casley died on 13 February 2019.

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Rabbit-proof fence

Australia Australia/Western Australia

The State Barrier Fence of Western Australia, formerly known as the Rabbit Proof Fence, the State Vermin Fence, and the Emu Fence, is a pest-exclusion fence constructed between 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests, from the east, out of Western Australian pastoral areas.

There are three fences in Western Australia: the original No. 1 Fence crosses the state from north to south, No. 2 Fence is smaller and further west, and No. 3 Fence is smaller still and runs east–west. The fences took six years to build. When completed in 1907, the rabbit-proof fence (including all three fences) stretched 2,023 miles (3,256 km). The cost to build the fences at the time was about £168 per mile ($250/km).

When it was completed in 1907, the 1,139-mile (1,833 km) No. 1 Fence was the longest unbroken fence in the world.

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Rain Follows the Plow

Australia United States History Australia/Australian history Australia/South Australia

Rain follows the plow is the conventional name for a now-discredited theory of climatology that was popular throughout the American West and Australia during the late 19th century. The phrase was employed as a summation of the theory by Charles Dana Wilber:

God speed the plow. ... By this wonderful provision, which is only man's mastery over nature, the clouds are dispensing copious rains ... [the plow] is the instrument which separates civilization from savagery; and converts a desert into a farm or garden. ... To be more concise, Rain follows the plow.

The basic premise of the theory was that human habitation and agriculture through homesteading effected a permanent change in the climate of arid and semi-arid regions, making these regions more humid. The theory was widely promoted in the 1870s as a justification for the settlement of the Great Plains, a region previously known as the "Great American Desert". It was also used to justify the expansion of wheat growing on marginal land in South Australia during the same period.

According to the theory, increased human settlement in the region and cultivation of soil would result in an increased rainfall over time, rendering the land more fertile and lush as the population increased. As later historical records of rainfall indicated, the theory was based on faulty evidence arising from brief climatological fluctuations that happened to coincide with settlement, an example of the logical fallacy that correlation means causation. The theory was later refuted by climatologists and is now definitively regarded as pure superstition.

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