july 16

Throwback Thursday: Duigan Biplane 1910

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Duigan Biplane Image One
Photo Credit: monash.edu CTIE
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

One-hundred, ten years ago, today…

The Duigan […] biplane was an early aircraft which made the first powered flight by an Australian-designed and built machine when it flew in Victoria in 1910. The aircraft was constructed by John Duigan, with help from his brother Reginald, on their family farm at Mia Mia. The effort was especially significant in that the brothers built the aircraft almost entirely by themselves and without input from the pioneering aviation community. [A] photo-postcard of the Wright Flyer inspired the design and Sir Hiram Maxim‘s book Artificial and Natural Flight provided the theoretical basis. The only components not built by the Duigans themselves were the engine, made by the J. E. Tilley Engineering Company of Melbourne and the propeller. However, both of these components were extensively modified by John before they could be used.

Mia Mia Memorial Image Two
Photo Credit: Memorial near Mia Mia
Dolphin 51
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

The aircraft flew for the first time on July 16, 1910, taking off under its own power and flying [24 feet] (7 meters). Within two months, this had been extended to [300 feet] (90 meters) and, soon thereafter, to [590 feet with an altitude of 12 feet] (180 meters [with] an altitude of 3.5 meters). By the end of the year, Duigan had made a flight of [nearly a mile] (1 km) at an altitude of [100 feet] (30 meters).

Duigan informed the Department of Defence of his achievements, hoping to claim a £5,000 prize that had been offered in September 1909 for the construction of an aircraft suitable for military purposes. Duigan was ineligible for the prize, which had expired at the end of March 1910 but, was asked to demonstrate his aircraft for the military anyway. He also flew it in a public demonstration in front of a crowd of 1,000 spectators at Bendigo Racecourse in January 1911. In 1920, Duigan donated the aircraft to the Industrial and Technological Museum of Victoria, which was later absorbed into Museum Victoria.

Museum Victoria also preserves a flying replica of the Duigan biplane built by Ronald Lewis and flown in 1990. It was donated to the museum in 2000.

Additional Reading & Sources:
John Duigan Truths Uncovered (Australian Flying)
A Flying Life (Museums Victoria)
Australian Aviator (Trove: National Library of Australia)
Duigan Biplane (Web Archive)
Duigan Centenary Of Flight (Web Archive)
Flight Global Archive (Web Archive)
Genesis of Military Aviation (Web Archive)
Duigan Pusher Biplane (Wikipedia)

Story Sunday: Vampire Slaying Kit Up For Auction

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Vampire Slaying Box Image One
Photo Credit: news.sky.com

Update:
“The hammer finally fell at £2,500 and the item was purchased by a private UK buyer.”

“The box has been valued at up to £3,000 and, includes a glass phial with unknown contents and a bottle of shark’s teeth.”

A “vampire-slaying kit”, containing a pocket-sized pistol and a 19th century copy of the New Testament, is going under the hammer. The gothic-looking container, worth between £2,000 and £3,000, also comes packed with pliers, [a] rosary and a bottle of shark’s teeth. Also inside the metal-bound box is an ivory-robed wolf carrying rosary beads, as well as a blue phial with mysterious contents, and a silver-bladed pocket knife. And inside the lid is an oval enamel painting that depicts the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There’s no record of the box’s origin but, the 1842 copy of the New Testament within does bear the inscription of an Isabella Swarbrick. The current owner from the West Midlands, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that they do not know very much about its history. “I have had it in my own collection for three years now,” they said. “I bought it from a large antiques fair in Newark-on-Trent. I loved the look of the Gothic box and, when I opened it, I just had to have it. I thought it was so interesting…a great conversation piece.”

Vampire Slaying Box Image Two
Photo Credit: news.sky.com

Charles Hanson, owner of the Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers, the firm selling the box, said: “People are fascinated by stories of vampires, hence their continued appearance in films and on TV today. They have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. The publication of John Polidori‘s The Vampyre in 1819 had a major impact and that was followed by Bram Stoker‘s 1897 classic Dracula.”

He added: “However, a belief in vampires and strange superstitions goes back even further and persists to this day. The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools. Items of religious significance, such as crucifixes and Bibles, were said to repel these monsters, hence their strong presence in the kit we have found.”

The box will be sold online on [July 16] as part of a five-day-long antiques and collector’s auction.

Sky News
July 9, 2020

POTD: Headstones

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Companion photo to my post on April 17. ~Vic

Headstone Wall Image
They don’t know where the graves are for these headstones and many records have been lost.
07-16-2018