Our family’s harvest of thistles. Photo by Alan Perkins.
Today I was inspired while weeding. This was not the dainty weeding that one does in a household garden bed. No, one afternoon on my Christmas holidays I spent the afternoon with the rest of our family pulling thistles out of an infested paddock on my brother’s farm. When I wasn’t pulling thistles I was chief thistle spotter and bag puller. As you can see from the photo we filled one ute tray with thistles and there’s still more to be done.
A photo of a thistle is better than the real thing – no prickles! Photo by Alan Perkins
So I suppose you are thinking that given we were weeding on such a large scale that my inspiration must be similarly large, maybe even momentous. You may be right. In fact my inspiration was so compelling that I have passed on a game of scrabble to share my inspiration with you.
It all started with a simple question. Why, oh why, did Tasmania’s early settlers feel so compelled to transport such a dastardly prickly plant thousands of kilometres from its home in Scotland and plant it in the antipodes? Continue reading →
One of Australia’s most extensive collections for the history of education – the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library at Deakin University, Geelong.
While working on the Teaching Reading in Australia project I had the opportunity to work in some of the best archives in Australia for the history of education. These archives are significant repositories of Australian history. Some don’t get the attention they deserve, others are well recognised but their education collections are little known. In this, the first of a series of occasional posts on education archives in Australia, I share with you the delights of one of the most extensive education collections that I know of in Australia. It is held by the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library at Deakin University in the city of Geelong, Victoria. Continue reading →
Over the last week I finally got a chance to try out the tools that Wragge (aka Tim Sherratt) has devised to mine digitised historic Australian newspapers accessed through Trove. This post is about the results of applying his tools. If you want to do this yourself check out Wragge’s posts, Mining the Treasures of Trove (Part 1) and (Part 2). Firstly let’s look at Wragge’s graph of a topic that I have been writing about this year – floods.
Wragge's graph of the occurrence of the word "flood" in Australian newspapers since the early 19th century.
Wragge has produced the graph above showing the occurrence of the word “floods” in Australian newspapers digitised and accessible on the Trove website. As we would expect the word is mentioned more in years when there was severe flooding such as 1893.