In 1947, the councillors of Warringah Shire, Sydney, ordered Sydney Ancher 'in the public interest', to put a meaningless 60cm high parapet above a flat roof he had designed for a house at Curl Curl in their shire. Ancher's client appealed against this arbitrary direction in the Land and Valuation Court. The council's chief health and building inspector, described Ancher's design as 'more like a gun emplacement than a house' and mentioned proudly that in recent years the council had rejected some two dozen flat-roofed designs. But gun-emplacement or not, Mr Justice Sugerman upheld the appeal, declared in an historic judgement that the question was solely an aesthetic one and that the development of architecture must be impeded if a council closed 'its gates to the unfamiliar....'
Stage-struck from childhood, made her professional debut in 1915, playing Stephanie with Julius Knight in A Royal Divorce. At age 20 she sailed confidently for America. Success came in 1924 when she was acclaimed for her performance in Cobra and given the lead in David Belasco's Broadway production of The Dove.
John Antill began to learn to play piano when he was about six. At 10 he joined the boys' choir of St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney and ultimately became choir leader and soloist. His father seeing no future for a musician in Australia encourage him at 16 to become an apprentice mechanical draftsman. Each day travelling to work by train he wrote most of his opera Endymion. On completion of his 5 year apprenticeship he enrolled at the New South Wales Conservatorium of music and studied violin. In 1932 he joined the chorus of J C Williamson Imperial Opera Company as a tenor so he could learn stagecraft, and toured Australia and New Zealand for almost two years, singing, playing bass clarinet, prompting and doing the backstage conducting. He became assistant musical director at the ABC and soon after began work on his ballet Corroboree. He was awarded the OBE in 1971 for services to music.
On 31 January 1880 John Feltham (or as he preferred to be called, Jules Francois) Archibald founded The Bulletin with a fellow journalist, John Haynes. He edited the magazine until he sold it in 1914. He encouraged such authors as Henry Lawson and 'Banjo' Paterson, and black-and-white artists like Norman Lindsay and Will Dyson. He also founded The Lone Hand in 1907. From early 1919 until his death he was literary editor of Smith's Weekly.
A big, bluff, witty, untidy man with a protruding stomach and ill-fitting dentures, was born in Bendigo, Victoria and never left Australia. He ridiculed tradition, welcomed experiment, and wore a monacle, which in Australia at that time, showed his self-confident independence. He has been described as Australia's 'first functionalist architect'. He told his students that 'real architects have always been and must be inventors in mechanics, in form, in tone and colour'. In 1900 he built himself a novel house at Eaglemont, just out of Melbourne. It had no passages, a large living room with a sliding division, counter-balanced sliding windows that disappeared vertically into the cavity walls, and built-in wardrobes, dressing tables, buffet, bookshelves and cupboards - all features which adventurous architects were discovering more than half a century later. 'Simple buildings of true purpose' were Annear's goal, and he designed a number of them in and around Melbourne during the first two decades of the 20th century.
John Stanger Heiss Oscar Asche wrote, produced and acted in the famous musical Chu Chin Chow which ran in London for a record time - from August 1916 to July 1921. He left Australia to study theatre in Europe and became known in England as a Shakespearean actor and producer, and his company toured Australia in 1909-10 and again in 1911-12. He brought Chu Chin Chow out in 1921, but after this tour and several theatrical failures he became insolvent. A flamboyent, temperamental man, Asche, during the London run of Chu Chin Chow used to fortify himself nightly with a dinner of 2 or 3 kg of steak and a bottle of whisky.
James Bancks was the cartoonist who created Ginger Meggs. He worked for the Sydney Sunday Sun, and had been drawing the character for 31 years when he died in 1952.
On 31 December 1900, Edmund Barton, a Protectionist, became the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia. As a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly since 1970, he had been active in the campaign for Federation throughout the 1890's; leader of the Convention on Federation held in Adelaide in 1897; and chairman of the Constitutional Committee. Barton resigned as Prime Minister in September 1903 to take a seat on the Bench of the High Court. He was knighted in 1902.
Daisy Bates, whose maiden name was O'Dwyer Hunt, was a well-known wit and beauty in the salons of Dublin and London before she migrated to Australia in 1884, in the hope of curing a spot on her lung.
In New South Wales she married 'a man of the outback', John Bates, and bore him a son, but the marriage failed and in 1894 she returned to London, penniless. She managed to support herself by journalism, and in 1899, when reports of the ill-treatment of Aborigines reached England, The Times sent her on an assignment to investigate them.
This was the beginning of her dedicated work among aborigines. For two years she lived with an ancient tribe in the south-west of Western Australia and for a further two years, travelled with them. During World War I, she lived with the tribes near Fowler's Bay and from 1919 till 1935, she occupied a pitched tent at Ooldea, on the Nullarbor Plain, eating mainly native food. To passengers on the Trans-Continental train she was a familiar sight, an anachronistic figure in her Edwardian ankle-length skirts, high starched collar and voluminous fly-veil.
She believed that contact with Western civilisation was fatal to the Aborigines, that they needed their traditional environment. She looked after the very old, the very young, the very sick. Natives journeyed to her from long distances. She clothed them, nursed them and settled their disputes. A Western Australian tribe gave her the name of 'Kabbarli', the Grandmother. Her book, The Passing of the Aborigines, published in London in 1938 eared her an international reputation.
When she was more than 80 years of age she went back to live with tribal aborigines at Wynbring, 177 klms east of Ooldea but illness complled her to return to Adelaide where she died in 1951.
After forming a company to import sewing machines and pianos in 1879, in 1893 he established Australia's first piano factory in Sydney; it ceased production in 1975. In 1903 Beale was appointed one of 12 members of a Royal Commission into the decline of the birth rate in New South Wales (he had 12 children himself). He then asked to be appointed a one-man commission into drugs and patent medicines, and in 1907 he produced a huge two-volume critical report. His report was a horrifying record of the criminal unscrupulousness of manufacturers and advertisers and of the limitless gullibility of the public.
After touring Australia with Pavlova's company in 1926 and again in 1929, during a tour in 1938 with Colonel de Basil's Convent Garden Russian Ballet, he decided to stay in Australia. In 1939 he opened a ballet school in Melbourne; from it grew the Borovansky Ballet, whose dancers formed the nucleus of the Australian Ballet. He became an Australian citizen in 1944
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