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The Suburban Ghost – ep. 7 (season finale)

Wherein we encounter a ‘phosphorescent charmer’ in fin de siècle Melbourne . Herald (Melbourne), 8 August 1892, p. 2, col. 8 See it on the page, here. Did you know that The day the ghost walks is slang for pay-day? Originally theatrical slang, it supposedly originated among the cast of an early production of Hamlet. Much later, it would come into more general use, though mainly in the US. And speaking of the theatre, Melbourne's suburban ghost went on to share a bill with a lady...


The Hatpin Menace – ep. 6

Wherein we consider the point of hatpins. Argus (Melbourne), 9 August 1911, p. 14, col. 4 Or read the whole page here A comic postcard from 1907. I found it at Here's some hats, at the opening of the new nurses' quarter, Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne - from the Weekly Times, 15 April 1911, p. 27 Take a look here at other photos from this terrific illustrated newspaper. The World’s News (Sydney), 11 May 1907, p. 1 Read the story...


Deadwood Dick & the Picture Show Panic – ep. 5

Wherein we learn who to blame for the perennial naughtiness of boys. Argus (Melbourne), 10 November 1914, p. 8, col. 2 Read it in full here Titles in the Deadwood Dick Library – ‘Issued Every Wednesday. Price 5 cents’ From the ‘Nickels and Dimes’ collection of Northern Illinois University Libraries – click here to access the whole collection. Here we see Deadwood Dick’s distinctive ‘vail’, ‘through the eye-holes of which there gleamed a pair of orbs of piercing intensity’. This cover...


Champagne & Anarchy – ep. 4

Wherein we have our cockles warmed by Lord Hopetoun’s liquid largesse, as dispensed by an anarchist on the mean streets of Melbourne in 1902. Argus (Melbourne), 26 June 1902, p. 5, column 3 Read the whole of the report, plus all that day’s news (including the king’s illness) here. Critic (Adelaide), 5 January 1901, p. 3 Australasian, 12 January 1901, p. 29 (Left) An official 1901 portrait of the G-G. Note the stamp, defective original, at the foot of the page. This seems to refer to the...


Have you seen my poncho cloak? – ep. 3

Wherein we plunder drapers' shops, cloakrooms, and the Lost & Found column in search of the poncho cloak and its shoddy brethren. Argus (Melbourne), 23 June 1855, p. 1, column 6 Or take a look here at what else was lost and found that day The full poncho range of Benjamin Lazarus & Co., Sydney drapers – Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 1855, p. 8, column 6 Click here to compare Lazarus's stock with that of his competitors, or here to read what his persuasive rival, Mr Marks, had to offer Argus...


The Marble Man – ep. 2 (part 1)

Wherein we trace the curious career and prehistory of a ‘petrified man’ dug out of a New South Wales marble quarry. See post for The Marble Man part 2 for further reading and links for this two-part episode.


The Marble Man – ep. 2 (part 2)

Wherein we continue to trace the curious career and prehistory of a ‘petrified man’ dug out of a New South Wales marble quarry. Further reading and links for this episode: Bathurst Free Press & Mining Journal, 21 May 1889, p. 2, columns 4-5 Read the full article in situ and see what else was happening in district news that week. from The Legend of the Petrified or Marble Man by Harry Stockdale, F. Cunninghame & Co., Sydney, 1889 Read the book online The Cardiff Giant, on display at the...


Enter the Elephant – ep. 1

Wherein we chart the declining fortunes of a performing elephant in goldrush-era Victoria. Further reading and links for this episode: Age (Melbourne), 7 November 1854, p. 5 - or read it in situ (look at the top of column 5), to see what else was happening in the news that day. Argus (Melbourne), 16 October 1854, p. 8 - or read it in situ (column 5), to discover what else was on in Melbourne that week. Click here to read an article looking back at the Cremorne Gardens of the 1850s & '60s,...