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The first newspaper ever published in Australia was the Sydney Gazette. Just like the papers of today, unusual advertisements and human interest stories captured the public’s imagination.

john wilson webb

“As a reward for the Encouragement of growing Peaches for the purpose of making Cider, it is His Excellency’s pleasure to announce, that the person who will produce, in the next Peach Season, Two Hogsheads of Peach Cider, which when One Year old is judged by him to be the best, shall receive a Cow from Government as a Reward.

14 December 1806

Three corn porters were drinking together on Wednesday, when one of them, for the trifling wager of 5 shillings, undertook to eat the worsted stockings which the other two then had on, fried in oil, and half a pound of yellow soap, by way of bread to the delectable ragout. The fellow once before undertook to eat as much tripe as would make him a jacket; he was accordingly measured by a tailor, and the material cut out, when, to the great surprise of everyone, he ate up the whole in less than 20 minutes.


25 November 1804

On Thursday night last a Settler at Kissing Point attempted to put a period to his worldly difficulties by applying a noose to his neck. The noise occasioned by this alarmed a young girl in an adjoining room, who, with remarkable presence of mind, severed the suspending cord, and thus restored the care-devoted victim to a current of anxiety. This attempt upon his own existence had been occasioned  by a superabundance of sensibility, and an insupportable vexation, occasioned by the elopement of an amiable partner, whose paramour, to add to his mortification, wore a wooden leg.

outdoor sports

17 April 1803

A few days ago a fine young boy hung himself on a farm at Hawkesbury, and was found lifeless, though his feet were on the ground, his knees half bent. He had fastened the rope to the rafter of an outhouse, placed a looking glass before him and thrown himself from a height of two feet.

old age

3 July 1808 *

* Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like a case of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong?

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 5:49 am  Comments (37)  
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37 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ‘an insupportable vexation’

    I love that phrase – I’m going to find an excuse to use it somewhere !!!

    • Go for it Duncan

    • If I find that bastard with the wooden leg, I’ll buy him a pint. Without his womanising exploits, that fantastic article would never have been written.

      I wonder if anything else was made of wood?

  2. The mind boggles, but as usual I am ever fascinated by these myriads of strangeness that you display for us.

    Great wee post.

    • There’s a wee something in it for everyone 😉

  3. Seems like newspapers around the world and throughout the ages are the same.

  4. Peach Cider sounds yummy.

    Long Overdue

  5. The phrase for me was “…attempted to put a period to his worldly difficulties.” That there is some kind of evocative wordsmithing. Plus, I actually have a card of Tip Top Bachelor Buttons in my old stock pile. What a hoot-now I feel special. I may have to lie down as I feel a case of the vapors coming on.

    Delbert E. Cates

  6. Nursemyra can push my bachelor buttons any time.

  7. Whoever wrote the article on 25 November 1804 had some serious style.

    • I believe they were all written by the first editor, George Howe, who was transported from England to Australia for shoplifting

  8. My mind has now wandered to the conclusion that young lady who cut down the abundantly sensitivite chap married him and gave him something to be vexed about

  9. Busted…fat boy is from “pittsburg”

    • Hey Bearman – NONE of the images are from the Sydney Gazette, they are just there to illustrate a point and to add piquancy to the post. I’m well aware that the fat baby was from Pittsburgh – it’s just an example of a human interest story

      • I know. I just want the pittsburgh fans to know they have fat babies.

      • ok, so it’s a football rivalry thing?

  10. A myriad of majestic mayhem, myra. ANd speaking of unsupportable vexations, I took one of your inspirations from yesterday and ran with it/her. stop by when you’re able.

    • so glad you like Uschi – she was one hot babe

  11. definitely auto-erotic asphyxiation…. trippy stuff.

  12. That’s it, I am moving to Australia!

    • for the free cow?

  13. I’ll tell you, if your amiable partner runs off with a guy with a wooden leg, there’s nothing left to do but put an end to your miserable existence.

  14. I’m going to have to agree with you on that final question. It does sound like that.

  15. Its either auto-erotic asphyxiation or Hung Fu.

    • I’m sure David Carradine would appreciate the pun 😉

      • I’m putting my money on Hung-Fu…

  16. Rupert Murdoch hasn’t changed his style since 1806 it appears.

    • Rupert doesn’t have George Howe’s impeccable credentials

  17. “They told me, Francis Hinsley, they told me you were hung With red protruding eyeballs and black protruding tongue. . .” From The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh, one of my favourite books.

    • I love it when you quote Waugh to me 😉

  18. I love old newspapers. While perfectly illustrating that people don’t change much over the decades, they offer fascinating glimpses into the vocabulary and writing styles of the day.

  19. I wonder why the looking glass 😦

    • That’s the giveaway for the auto-asphyxiation…..

  20. that corn porter from the 14 December article obviously needed more fiber in his diet.

  21. Curiouser and curiouser! I love Evelyn Waugh, Spinach Pie, and I must get round to loving The Loved One. I had the wit kicked out of me over the weekend so I will merely bask in the parry and thrust of others.

  22. erotic encounters in the outhouse? say again?

    • It’s an Aussie thing 😉

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