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Path and explanation of the themes in the ‘CONNECTION’ painting
By Franco Giorgio Vendramini, 2017
CIRRUS CLOUDS are very high clouds that are thin and wispy. These types of clouds are made of ice because they are so high and the air is cold. Cirrus clouds appear in the sky on nice days!
The AUSTRALIAN FLAG has a blue background, the Union Jack, and six stars. Five stars are in the shape of the constellation the Southern Cross, the other is the Commonwealth Star. The flag has been used from 1903, but did not become the official flag of Australia until 1953.
The Southern Cross was simplified by using only seven-pointed stars for the four brightest stars and a five-pointed star for Epsilon Crucis. In 1908 the Australian Government decided to increase the number of points on the large Commonwealth Star to seven in order to represent the Australian territories collectively.
The AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FLAG Flag was designed by artist Harold Thomas and first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide, South Australia, on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. It became the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra after it was first flown there in 1972. The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) is: Black – represents the Aboriginal people of Australia. Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector. Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land.
The FLAG of SWITZERLAND consists of a red flag with a white cross (a bold, equilateral cross) in the centre. It is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of Vatican City. A ratio of 2:3 or 7:10 to the span of the flag is usual. The soldiers from all different cantons decided on unifying the crosses with a red background. In 1815, swiss battalions created flags with the white cross and the red background. As the sign on the clothings was square they took the square form to the flag. Honouring this, the swiss flag kept being square. The flag of a country is more than just a practical symbol for a country to be used in everyday life. It stands for the country and its people and is therefore of emotional importance – at least with people, for whom people and homeland represent important values.
The origin of AUSTRALIA’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE remains a matter of debate and conjecture. They are believed to be among the earliest human migrations out of Africa. Although they likely migrated to Australia through Southeast Asia they are not demonstrably related to any known Asian or Polynesian population. There is evidence of genetic and linguistic interchange between Australians in the far north and the Austronesian peoples of modern-day New Guinea and the islands, but this may be the result of recent trade and intermarriage.
It is believed that the first early human migration to Australia was achieved when this landmass formed part of the Sahul continent, connected to the island of New Guinea via a land bridge. It is also possible that people came by island hopping via an island chain between Sulawesi and New Guinea and the other reaches North Western Australia via Timor. The exact timing of the arrival of the ancestors of the Aboriginal Australians has been a matter of dispute among archaeologists. The most generally accepted date for first arrival is between 40,000–80,000 years BP. Near Penrith in New South Wales, since 1971 numerous Aboriginal stone tools have been found in Cranebrook Terraces gravel sediments having dates of 45,000 to 50,000 years BP. When these results were new they were controversial, but more recent dating of the same strata in 1987 and 2003 has corroborated these dates. A 48,000 BC date is based on a few sites in northern Australia dated using thermoluminescence. A large number of sites have been radiocarbon dated to around 38,000 BC, leading some researchers to doubt the accuracy of the thermoluminescence technique. Radiocarbon dating is limited to a maximum age of around 40,000 years. Some estimates have been given as widely as from 30,000 to 68,000 BC. Earlier dates are requiring new techniques such as optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), and the evidence for an earlier date of arrival is growing. Charles Dortch has dated recent finds on Rottnest Island, Western Australia at 70,000 years BP.[needs update] The rock shelters at Malakunanja II (a shallow rock-shelter about 50 kilometres inland from the present coast) and of Nauwalabila I (70 kilometres further south) show evidence of used pieces of ochre – evidence for paint used by artists 60,000 years ago. Using OSL Rhys Jones has obtained a date for stone tools in these horizons dating from 53,000–60,000 years ago.
Thermoluminescence dating of the Jinmium site in the Northern Territory suggested a date of 116,000 plus or minus 12,000 BCE. Although this result received wide press coverage, it is not accepted by most archaeologists. Only Africa has older physical evidence of habitation by modern humans. There is also evidence of a change in fire regimes in Australia, drawn from reef deposits in Queensland, between 70 and 100,000 years ago, and the integration of human genomic evidence from various parts of the world also supports a date of before 60,000 years for the arrival of Australian Aboriginal people in the continent.
Humans reached Tasmania approximately 40,000 years ago by migrating across a land bridge from the mainland that existed during the last ice age. After the seas rose about 12,000 years ago and covered the land bridge, the inhabitants there were isolated from the mainland until the arrival of European settlers.
Short statured aboriginal tribes inhabited the rainforests of North Queensland, of which the best known group is probably the Tjapukai of the Cairns area. These rainforest people, collectively referred to as Barrineans, were once considered to be a relic of an earlier wave of Negrito migration to the Australian continent, but this theory no longer finds much favour.
Mungo Man, whose remains were discovered in 1974 near Lake Mungo in New South Wales, is the oldest human yet found in Australia. Although the exact age of Mungo Man is in dispute, the best consensus is that he is at least 40,000 years old. Stone tools also found at Lake Mungo have been estimated, based on stratigraphic association, to be about 50,000 years old. Since Lake Mungo is in south-eastern Australia, many archaeologists have concluded that humans must have arrived in north-west Australia at least several thousand years earlier.
In 2012, the results of large-scale genotyping has indicated that Aboriginal Australians, the indigenous peoples of New Guinea and the Mamanwa, an indigenous people of the southern Philippines are closely related, having diverged from a common origin approximately 36,000 years ago. The same studies show that Aboriginal genomes consist of up to 11% Indian DNA which is uniformly spread through Northern Australia, indicating a substantial gene flow between Indian populations and Northern Australia occurred around 4,230 years ago. Changes in tool technology, food processing and the dingo appear in the archaeological record around this time, suggesting there may have been migration from India.
The HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA refers to the history of the area and people of the Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding Indigenous and colonial societies. Aboriginal Australians are believed to have first arrived on the Australian mainland by sea from Maritime Southeast Asia between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago. The artistic, musical and spiritual traditions they established are among the longest surviving such traditions in human history.
The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606. Twenty-nine other Dutch navigators explored the western and southern coasts in the 17th century, and dubbed the continent New Holland. Macassan trepangers visited Australia’s northern coasts after 1720, possibly earlier. Other European explorers followed until, in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook charted the east coast of Australia for Great Britain and returned with accounts favouring colonisation at Botany Bay (now in Sydney), New South Wales.
A First Fleet of British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 to establish a penal colony. In the century that followed, the British established other colonies on the continent, and European explorers ventured into its interior. Indigenous Australians were greatly weakened and their numbers diminished by introduced diseases and conflict with the colonists during this period.
Gold rushes and agricultural industries brought prosperity. Autonomous Parliamentary democracies began to be established throughout the six British colonies from the mid-19th century. The colonies voted by referendum to unite in a federation in 1901, and modern Australia came into being. Australia fought on the side of Britain in the two world wars and became a long-standing ally of the United States when threatened by Imperial Japan during World War II. Trade with Asia increased and a post-war immigration program received more than 6.5 million migrants from every continent. Supported by immigration of people from more than 200 countries since the end of World War II, the population increased to more than 23 million by 2014, and sustains the world’s 12th largest national economy.
The earliest known human remains were found at Lake Mungo, a dry lake in the southwest of New South Wales. Remains found at Mungo suggest one of the world’s oldest known cremations, thus indicating early evidence for religious ritual among humans. According to Australian Aboriginal mythology and the animist framework developed in Aboriginal Australia, the Dreaming is a sacred era in which ancestral totemic spirit beings formed The Creation. The Dreaming established the laws and structures of society and the ceremonies performed to ensure continuity of life and land. It remains a prominent feature of Australian Aboriginal art. Aboriginal art is believed to be the oldest continuing tradition of art in the world. Evidence of Aboriginal art can be traced back at least 30,000 years and is found throughout Australia (notably at Uluru and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory). In terms of age and abundance, cave art in Australia is comparable to that of Lascaux and Altamira in Europe.
SWITZERLAND is a federal republic situated in central Europe. Today it consists of 26 federal states called Cantons. Each canton has its own coat of arms or flag. The history of Switzerland as a nation began in 1291, when three cantons in central Switzerland decided to defend their rights against the counts of Habsburg and to help each other in doing so. This is the beginning of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
WILLIAM TELL (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell) is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss illustrated chronicle. It is set in the time of the original foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. According to the legend, Tell—an expert marksman with the crossbow—assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria positioned in Altdorf, Uri. Along with Arnold von Winkelried, Tell is a central figure in Swiss patriotism as it was constructed during the Restoration of the Confederacy after the Napoleonic era.
Several accounts of the Tell legend exist. The earliest sources give an account of the apple shot, Tell’s escape, and the ensuing rebellion. The assassination of Gessler is not mentioned in the Tellenlied but is already present in the White Book of Sarnen account.
The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) essentially follows the account in the White Book, but adds further detail, such as Tell’s given name Wilhelm, his being from Bürglen in the Schächental, and the precise date of the apple-shot of 18 November 1307.
William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri, and Tell became one of the conspirators of Werner Stauffacher, vowing to resist Habsburg rule. Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole under the village lindentree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.
On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell’s famed marksmanship but resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son were to be executed. However, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Robert in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow. Gessler then noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver. Before releasing him, he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but after Gessler promised he would not kill him, he replied that had he killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he had promised to spare his life, but instead would imprison him for the remainder of his life. Tell was brought to Gessler’s boat to be taken to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht. A storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged Gessler to remove Tell’s shackles so he could take the helm and save them. Gessler gave in, but once freed, Tell led the boat to a rocky place and leapt from the boat. The site is already known in the “White Book” as the “Tellsplatte” (“Tell’s slab”). Since the 16th century the site has been marked by a memorial chapel.
Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him, using the second crossbow bolt, along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse. Tell’s blow for liberty sparked a rebellion in which he played a leading part, leading to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
According to Tschudi, Tell fought again against Austria in the 1315 Battle of Morgarten. Tschudi also has an account of Tell’s death in 1354, according to which he was killed trying to save a child from drowning in the Schächenbach River in Uri.
The SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, Australia. It is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings. It is the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon’s 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government’s decision to build Utzon’s design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect’s ultimate resignation.
The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year. The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government.
On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; having been listed on the Register of the National Estate since 1980, the National Trust of Australia register since 1983, the City of Sydney Heritage Inventory since 2000, the New South Wales State Heritage Register since 2003, and the Australian National Heritage List since 2005.
The original estimate to build Sydney Opera House was $7 million. The final cost of Sydney Opera House was $102 million.
50 Fun Facts about Sydney Opera House
- The original indigenous people of the area were the Gadigal clan.
- The Aboriginal name for the Point was Tu-bow-gule meaning meeting of the waters.
- Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point. The Point was first developed as a fort, named after Governor Macquarie. It was later used as a tram shed.
- 233 designs were submitted for the Opera House design competition held in 1956.
- In January 1957, Jørn Utzon was announced the winner. He won ₤5000 for his design.
- The original estimate to build Sydney Opera House was $7 million.
- The final cost of Sydney Opera House was $102 million.
- Sydney Opera House was largely paid for by a State Lottery.
- It was originally estimated that building Sydney Opera House would take four years.
- Work commenced on Sydney Opera House in 1959 and 10,000 construction workers were engaged.
- Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20th October, 1973.
- Many of the world’s best known construction companies were involved in building Sydney Opera House including Arups Structural Engineering, Hornibrook and Rider Hunt.
- The Sydney Opera House sails were built using three tower cranes made in France for this job, costing $100,000 each. Sydney Opera House was one of the first buildings constructed in Australia using tower cranes.
- 6,223 sq metres of glass were used.
- The topaz coloured glass used in the building was made to order by Boussois- Souchon-Neuvesel in France in a shade unique to Sydney Opera House.
- 350 kilometres of tension cable was laid during construction of Sydney Opera House. If laid end-to-end this would stretch to Canberra.
- There are 1,056,006 roof tiles covering an area of approximately 1.62 hectares that sit over the structure. They were made by a Swedish tile company, Höganas.
- The concrete ceiling beams change shape as they rise from a T shape to a Y and then a U shape, depending on where the level of stress is greatest. These folded beams replace the need for columns to support the weight of the structure.
- The sails sit on top of a heavy podium, which is believed to be the biggest pillar or column free chamber in the world.
- The highest roof shell of Sydney Opera House is 67 metres above sea-level, the equivalent of a 22 storey building.
- The building is 187 metres in length
- The building is 115 metres wide.
- The entire site covers an area of 5.798 hectares.
- Eight Boeing 747s could sit wing to wing on the site.
- The building’s footprint is 1.75 hectares.
- There are 2,679 seats in the largest venue, the Concert Hall.
- The Concert Hall Grand Organ is the largest mechanical organ in the world, with 10,154 pipes.
- It took 10 years complete the Grand Organ.
- Two mechanical stage-lifts move scenery and props from the scenery dock to the Opera Theatre. Unlike most theatres, scenery is stored two floors below the stage.
- In one day, a stage hand working in the Opera Theatre walks an average of 18,681 steps or 13 kilometres.
- 15,500 light bulbs are changed annually.
- Sydney Opera House is open to the public 363 days a year – closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday. Staff work every day of the year, 24/7.
- There are seven performance venues at Sydney Opera House – the Concert Hall, the Opera Theatre, Playhouse, Drama Theatre, The Studio, the Forecourt and the Utzon Room.
- Since the building opened in 1973 until June 2005, 87,839 performances and events have been staged at Sydney Opera House.
- 57, 273,728 people have attended performances and events since Sydney Opera House opened in 1973 until June 2005.
- Paul Robeson was the first person to perform at Sydney Opera House. In 1960, he climbed the scaffolding and sang Ol’ Man River to the construction workers as they ate their lunch.
- The Playhouse was originally used as a cinema and in the late 1970s was a popular venue for surfing movies.
- In the Concert Hall, Arnold Schwarzenegger won his final Mr Olympia body building title in 1980.
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has visited Sydney Opera House five times.
- A net was installed above the orchestra pit in the Opera Theatre during the 1980s following an opera (Boris Godunov) featuring live chickens when one of the birds walked off the stage and landing on top of a cellist.
- The Studio is a licensed venue and patrons can take alcohol into the theatre.
- The biggest crowd to ever attend a performance at Sydney Opera House was in 1996 for the Farewell to the World concert of the band, Crowded House, which was televised around the world.
- The crime novel, Helga’s Web, by Jon Cleary, was set at Sydney Opera House with a body found in the building’s basement. In 1975, the book was made into a film called Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson.
- Sydney Opera House has its own opera written about it, called The Eighth Wonder.
- In May 2003, Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon was awarded the
prestigious Pritzker Prize – the Nobel Prize of the architectural community.
- In October 2003, Sydney Opera House celebrated its 30th Birthday.
- Four generations of the Utzon family have been architects – Aage (Jørn’s father), Jørn, his son Jan, plus Jan’s son Jeppe and daughter Kickan.
- The recently refurbished Utzon Room is the first Utzon-designed interior at Sydney Opera House. Due to changes made to the building after Utzon left the project in 1966, this will be the only ever 100% authentic Utzon interior.
- It took four weavers more than 8 months to create the new Utzon Room tapestry.
- If unravelled, the wool in the Utzon Room tapestry, Homage to CPE Bach, would stretch 4,500 kilometres.
The formation of the MATTERHORN (and the rest of the Alps) began some 50 to 60 million years ago when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided, and layers of sedimentary rock that had formed in the seas between them were thrust up above sea level.
The Matterhorn (in German; Italian: Cervino, French: Mont Cervin or Le Cervin) is perhaps the most familiar mountain in the European Alps. Its height is 4,478 metres. … The name of the mountain comes from the German words Matte, meaning valley or meadow, and Horn, which means peak.
The first ascent of the Matterhorn was made by Edward Whymper, Lord Francis Douglas, Charles Hudson, Douglas Hadow, Michel Croz, and two Zermatt guides, Peter Taugwalder and his son of the same name, on 14 July 1865. Since the first ascent, more than 500 people have died while climbing or descending the Matterhorn—an average of three to four per year. 7. About 3,000 people summit the Matterhorn annually.Jul 14, 2015
The highest summit in Switzerland is the Dufourspitze (4634M) – the highest summit of the huge Monte Rosa and the second highest of all the Alpine summits. But Monte Rosa is not recognized as Switzerland’s highest mountain: A mountain called the Dom has that honour.Jul 2, 2012
The Matterhorn has a pyramidal shape with four faces nearly facing the four compass points. Three of them (north, east and west) are on the Swiss side of the border and watershed (Mattertal valley) and one of them (south) is on the Italian side of the border (Valtournenche valley). The north face overlooks the Ober Gabelhorn (7 km away) across the Zmutt Glacier and valley (above Zermatt), the east face overlooks the Gorner Glacier system between the Gornergrat and Monte Rosa (respectively 10 and 17 km away) across the Theodul Pass, the west face overlooks the upper basin of the Zmutt Glacier between the Dent Blanche and the Dent d’Hérens (respectively 7 and 4 km away) and the south face fronts the resort town of Breuil-Cervinia and overlooks a good portion of the Valtournenche. The Matterhorn does not form a perfect square pyramid, as the north and south faces are wider than the west and east faces. Moreover, the latter faces do not actually meet on the summit but are connected by a 100-metre-long horizontal west–east ridge between the north and south faces.
The EDELWEISS FLOWER, or Leontopodium alpinum, is a cherished symbol in Austria and Switzerland, where it has long been prominent in folklore and popular sentiment. Edelweiss means “noble-white” in German. This wildflower is in the daisy family and grows high in the Alps.
The plant prefers rocky limestone places at about 1,800–3,000 metres (5,900–9,800 ft) altitude. It is non-toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold, aridity, and ultraviolet radiation. As a scarce, short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas, the plant has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps and Carpathians, and as a national symbol, especially of Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and Switzerland. According to folk tradition, giving this flower to a loved one is a promise of dedication.
The origin of GOLD NUGGETS is a matter of debate. Many gold nuggets formed as clusters of gold crystals from very hot water in cracks and fissures in hard-rocks, often with quartz. Later, weathering released the gold nuggets that end up in a stream due to gravity.
The Hand of Faith is a nugget of fine-quality gold that was found by Kevin Hillier using a metal detector near Kingower, Victoria, Australia on 26 September 1980. Weighing 875 troy ounces (27.21 kg, or 72 troy pounds and 11 troy ounces), the gold nugget was only 12 inches below the surface, resting in a vertical position. The announcement of the discovery occurred at a press conference, attended by the Premier of Victoria Dick Hamer, in Melbourne on 8 October 1980. Kovac’s Gems & Minerals were appointed agents for the sale of the huge nugget, by the gold nugget finder, Kevin Hillier. It was sold to the Golden Nugget Casino Chain for over a million dollars, and is currently on public display at their property Golden Nugget, Biloxi, Mississippi.
It was initially incorrectly stated as weighing only 720 ozt, but after correction, the new calculation was 874.82 ozt. This explains why some publications continue to give an incorrect weight. It is still regarded as the largest modern nugget found by a metal detector, anywhere in the world. Dimensions are 47 cm × 20 cm × 9 cm. The sale price was supposedly around $US1m.
The nugget was the second largest nugget found in Australia during the 20th century. There were numerous nuggets found during the Victorian gold rush era, commencing in the 1850s, that were far larger.
The first discovery of common OPALS in Australia was made near Angaston (SA) by the German geologist Johannes Menge in 1849. Both the Queensland Boulder Opal and Lightning Ridge fields attracted miners in the 1880’s. Most of the precious opal deposits that have been discovered are in Australia. The mines of Australia produce at least 90% of the world’s precious opal. Famous mining areas in Australia include: Coober Pedy, Mintabie, Andamooka, Lightning Ridge, Yowah, Koroit, Jundah and Quilpie. Generally opals with a black or dark body tone are more valuable than those with a white, light, or crystal body tone, because a stone with a darker body tone tends to display colours more vibrantly. Black opal is the most prized opal and may realise prices over AUD $15,000 a carat. Doublets consist of two layers adhered together with glue: A black backing which is made of either black industrial glass, black potch (colourless opal), hard plastic, brown ironstone or sometimes vitrolite. A thin slice of opal (normally crystal Opal is formed from a solution of silicon dioxide and water. As water runs down through the earth, it picks up silica from sandstone, and carries this silica-rich solution into cracks and voids , caused by natural faults or decomposing fossils. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind a silica deposit. or white opal).
AYERS ROCK: While exploring the area in 1872, Giles sighted Kata Tjuta from a location near Kings Canyon and called it Mount Olga, while the following year Gosse observed Uluru and named it Ayers Rock, in honour of the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. … The first tourists arrived in the Uluru area in 1936. Uluru is more than just a rock, it is a living cultural landscape that of which is considered sacred to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. … The spirits of the ancestral beings continue to reside in these sacred places making the land a deeply important part of Aboriginal cultural identity. In 1958 both Ayers Rock and Mt Olga (Kata Tjuta) were excised from an Aboriginal reserve to form the Ayers Rock Mt Olga National Park. It took more than 35 years campaigning for Anangu to be recognised as the park’s traditional owners and given the deeds back to their land. Uluru is estimated to be around 600 million years old. The greater Uluru area Uluru/Ayers Rock rises 1,142 feet (348 metres) above the surrounding desert plain and reaches a height 2,831 feet (863 metres) above sea level. The monolith is oval in shape, measuring 2.2 miles (3.6 km) long by 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, with a circumference of 5.8 miles (9.4 km). considered a sacred site by native Aborigines, particularly the local Anangu tribe who are considered its traditional land owners.
The DIDGERIDOO (also known as a didjeridu) is a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia potentially within the last 1,500 years and still in widespread use today both in Australia and around the world. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or “drone pipe”. Musicologists classify it as a brass aerophone.
There are no reliable sources stating the didgeridoo’s exact age. Archaeological studies of rock art in Northern Australia suggest that the people of the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory have been using the didgeridoo for less than 1,000 years, based on the dating of paintings on cave walls and shelters from this period. A clear rock painting in Ginga Wardelirrhmeng, on the northern edge of the Arnhem Land plateau, from the freshwater period (that had begun 1500 years ago) shows a didgeridoo player and two songmen participating in an Ubarr Ceremony. A modern didgeridoo is usually cylindrical or conical, and can measure anywhere from 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) long. Most are around 1.2 m (4 ft) long. Generally, the longer the instrument, the lower its pitch or key. However, flared instruments play a higher pitch than unflared instruments of the same length.
A returning BOOMERANG is designed to return to the thrower. It is well known as a weapon used by Indigenous Australians for hunting. Boomerangs have been historically used for hunting, as well as a sport, and entertainment. They are commonly thought of as an Australian icon, and come in various shapes and sizes. While it is commonly believed that the boomerang originated in Australia, it has actually been found to be a part of many ancient civilisations. Even King Tutankhamun of Egypt had an extensive collection of boomerangs!
WINDPUMPS were used to pump water since at least the 9th century in what is now Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The use of wind pumps became widespread across the Muslim world and later spread to China and India. Windmills were later used extensively in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and the East Anglia area of Great Britain, from the late Middle Ages onwards, to drain land for agricultural or building purposes.
As Australian as lamingtons, dirt roads and kangaroos, windmills have graced the Australian skyline for nearly a century. Before electricity was available to drive pumps, or large machines to build dams, the windmill had become a vital component of rural life, pulling water from bores and wells. They can be traced back to the year 644 in Persia. It was Persian millwrights taken prisoner by Genghis Khan who instructed the Chinese in their construction for irrigation, a use that lasts to this day. They became increasingly widespread in Europe from the 12th century to the 19th when steam power caused their slow demise, which was accelerated after World War One by the internal combustion engine. Australia and it’s vast rural areas was still a stronghold of this inexpensive low maintenance method of watering stock and moving water for irrigation. In 1871 George Griffiths set up a mechanical workshop in Toowoomba thus starting, what is now the Southern Cross Group of Engineering Companies. His first wooden framed windmills were built in 1876 and supplied to Jimbour Station at Dalby on the Darling Downs. Between1876 and1884 these simple direct acting windmills were made in several sizes up to 16ft in diameter.
THE ALPHORN A 17th–19th century collections of alpine myths and legends suggest that alphorn-like instruments had frequently been used as signal instruments in village communities since medieval times or earlier, sometimes substituting for the lack of church bells. Surviving artifacts, dating back to as far as ca. AD 1400, include wooden labrophones in their stretched form, like the alphorn, or coiled versions, such as the “Büchel” and the “Allgäuisches Waldhorn” or “Ackerhorn”. The alphorn’s exact origins remain indeterminate, and the ubiquity of horn-like signal instruments in valleys throughout Europe may indicate a long history of cross influences regarding their construction and usage.
The alphorn is carved from solid softwood, generally spruce but sometimes pine. In former times the alphorn maker would find a tree bent at the base in the shape of an alphorn, but modern makers piece the wood together at the base. A cup-shaped mouthpiece carved out of a block of hard wood is added and the instrument is complete. An alphorn made at Rigi-Kulm, Schwyz, and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, measures 8 feet (2.4 m) in length and has a straight tube. The Swiss alphorn varies in shape according to the locality, being curved near the bell in the Bernese Oberland. Michael Praetorius mentions an alphorn-like instrument under the name of Hölzern Trummet (wooden trumpet) in Syntagma Musicum (Wittenberg, 1615–1619; Pl. VIII).
The alphorn has no lateral openings and therefore gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe. The notes of the natural harmonic series overlap, but do not exactly correspond, to notes found in the familiar chromatic scale in standard Western equal temperament. Most prominently within the alphorn’s range, the 7th and 11th harmonics are particularly noticeable, because they fall between adjacent notes in the chromatic scale.
CABLECARS Just 3 of hundreds in Switzerland:
MATTERHORN GLACIER PARADISE network of mountain lifts connects the Valais resort Zermatt with the highest cable car station in Europe (3,883 metres above sea level).
TITLIS ROTAIR GONDOLA This is the world’s first fully rotating gondola, which slowly spins around 360 degrees during its five-minute trip towards the summit of Mount Titlis from the Engelberg resort.
STANSERHORN CABRIO Flying double decker bus meets convertible car? The so-called Cabrio is somewhere along those lines.
Saint Sylvester, or New Year’s Eve is commemorated twice, once according to the Gregorian calendar on 31 December and again according to the Julian calendar on 13 January. The «Silvesterkläuse» put on their strange costumes and, ringing huge bells and singing a very slow yodel, deambulate in small groups from house to house, to wish the people a happy new year. If 31 December or 13 January falls on a Sunday, the ceremony is celebrated on the preceding Saturday.
It is assumed that the «Chlausen» festival does not have pagan origins, but goes back to a late medieval Advent tradition involving students of a monastic school. In the 15th Century, with the celebrations becoming increasingly wild and carnival-like, the Catholic Church must have found that such behaviour hardly befitted the Advent season, which in turn may explain why the «Chlausen» custom was transferred from the Advent season to New Year’s Eve.
The tradition is first mentioned in 1663, when church authorities objected to such a noisy behaviour. In the catholic half-canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI), according to some 18th-century records, taking part in the «Chlausen» tradition was punished with a heavy fine of five thalers. Nevertheless, the tradition survived in the catholic half-canton on a small scale up to 1900, more or less tacitly tolerated by the local district authorities. This happened especially in the border areas near to reformed Appenzell Ausserrhoden, for example in Haslen, which is surrounded on three sides by the Ausserrhoden communities Hundwil, Stein, Teufen, and Buehler, or in Gonten, close to Urnäsch and Hundwil. There were also mixed groups, uniting members from Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden (this still happens occasionally), and there were sometimes isolated characters too. Nowadays, the tradition is kept alive in the Protestant half-canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden (AR).
Three different types of Silvesterchläuse can be distinguished. The «Schöne» (Beautiful), the «Schö-Wüeschte» (Pretty-Ugly) and the «Wüeschte» (Ugly).
- The «Beautiful» have very ornate embroidered headgear with scenes of peasant life, domestic customs and crafts, special buildings, sports, or family life, which take hundreds of hours of intensive work. Their dress resembles a local traditional costume.
- The «Pretty-Ugly» wear a costume made of fir twigs, ivy, moss and other natural materials, and a headgear similar in shape to those of the Beautiful, but also decorated with natural materials.
- The «Ugly» wear a costume made from the same materials as the «Pretty-Ugly», but coarser and more massive in appearance. On their head, they wear a hat or a helmet, artfully crafted but having a wild appearance.
All characters hide their faces behind a mask, which is either sweet, and doll-like (Beautiful), finely covered with natural materials («Pretty-Ugly»), or scary looking («Ugly»). The young people, in «Children’s groups», are usually without a mask. A fourth variant exists as Spasschläuse (Jokers), now getting rare. They represent a somewhat freer form of the tradition, and are usually dressed in a lighter costume, illustrating professional people (for instance farmers, forestry workers or cooks). They walk in smaller groups of 4 men and do not carry proper head gear, but only masks, kerchiefs or black pointed caps. These are former members, or yodelers, who want to keep up the tradition without the huge investment of time and energy needed for the production of the detailed costumes belonging to the main figures. The characters represent either men or women, but in fact only men take part in the groups, due to the heavy costumes, the weight of the very large bells or the many jingle bells. Every group plans its tour carefully in advance. A group consists of six people: two wear women’s clothes and carry numerous jingle bells. The leading Klaus has a white flower in his mouth, his follower, a blue one. All the male figures carry one or two jingle bells on their chests and backs.
EDWARD ”NED” KELLY (December 1854 – 11 November 1880) was an Australian bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police murderer. Recognised as the last and most famous of the bushrangers, he is best-known for wearing a self-made suit of bulletproof armour during his final shootout with the police.
Kelly was born in the British colony of Victoria as the third of eight children to an Irish convict from County Tipperary and an Australian mother with Irish parentage. His father died shortly after serving a six-month prison sentence, leaving Kelly, then aged 12, as the eldest male of the household. The Kellys were a poor selector family who saw themselves as downtrodden by the Squattocracy and as victims of police persecution. While still a teenager, Kelly was arrested for associating with bushranger Harry Power, and had numerous run-ins with the law as a member of the “Greta mob”, a group of bush larrikins known for stock theft. He was convicted of receiving a stolen horse in 1871 and sentenced to three years imprisonment. A violent confrontation with a policeman occurred at the Kelly family’s home in 1878, and Kelly was indicted for his attempted murder. Fleeing to the bush, Kelly vowed to avenge his mother, who was imprisoned for her role in the incident. After he, his brother Dan, and two associates—Joe Byrne and Steve Hart—fatally shot three policemen, the Government of Victoria proclaimed them outlaws.
Kelly and his gang eluded the police for two years, thanks in part to the support of an extensive network of sympathisers. The gang’s crime spree included armed bank robberies at Euroa and Jerilderie, and the killing of Aaron Sherritt, a sympathiser turned police informer. In a manifesto letter, Kelly—denouncing the police, the Victorian government and the British Empire—set down his own account of the events leading up to his outlawry. Demanding justice for his family and the rural poor, he threatened dire consequences against those who defied him. In 1880, when Kelly’s attempt to derail and ambush a police train failed, he and his gang, dressed in armour they had crafted from plough mouldboards, engaged in a final gun battle with the police at Glenrowan. Kelly, the only survivor, was severely wounded by police fire and captured. Despite thousands of supporters attending rallies and signing a petition for his reprieve, Kelly was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out at the Old Melbourne Gaol. His last words are famously reported to have been “such is life“.
Historian Geoffrey Serle called Kelly and his gang “the last expression of the lawless frontier in what was becoming a highly organised and educated society, the last protest of the mighty bush now tethered with iron rails to Melbourne and the world.” Despite the passage of more than a century, he remains a cultural icon, inspiring countless works in the arts, and is the subject of more biographies than any other Australian. Kelly continues to cause division in his homeland: some celebrate him as Australia’s equivalent of Robin Hood, while others regard him as a murderous villain undeserving of his folk hero status. Journalist Martin Flanagan wrote: “What makes Ned a legend is not that everyone sees him the same—it’s that everyone sees him. Like a bushfire on the horizon casting its red glow into the night.”
The INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
The movement consists of several distinct organizations that are legally independent from each other, but are united within the movement through common basic principles, objectives, symbols, statutes and governing organisations. The movement’s parts are:
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Henry Dunant and Gustave Moynier. Its 25-member committee has a unique authority under international humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. The ICRC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions (in 1917, 1944 and 1963).
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 and today it coordinates activities between the 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies within the Movement. On an international level, the Federation leads and organizes, in close cooperation with the National Societies, relief assistance missions responding to large-scale emergencies. The International Federation Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1963, the Federation (then known as the League of Red Cross Societies) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the ICRC.
- National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in nearly every country in the world. Currently 190 National Societies are recognized by the ICRC and admitted as full members of the Federation. Each entity works in its home country according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement. Depending on their specific circumstances and capacities, National Societies can take on additional humanitarian tasks that are not directly defined by international humanitarian law or the mandates of the international Movement. In many countries, they are tightly linked to the respective national health care system by providing emergency medical services.
STURT’S DESERT PEA, Swainsona formosa is an Australian plant in the genus Swainsona, named after English botanist Isaac Swainson, famous for its distinctive blood-red leaf-like flowers, each with a bulbous black centre, or “boss”. It is one of Australia’s best known wildflowers. It is native to the arid regions of central and north-western Australia, and its range extends into all mainland Australian states with the exception of Victoria.[
The LANDWASSER VIADUCT (German: Landwasserviadukt) is a single track six-arched curved limestone railway viaduct. It spans the Landwasser between Schmitten and Filisur, in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.
Designed by Alexander Acatos, it was built between 1901 and 1902 by Müller & Zeerleder for the Rhaetian Railway, which still owns and uses it today. A signature structure of the World Heritage-listed Albula Railway, it is 65 metres (213 ft) high, 136 metres (446 ft) long, and one of its ramps exits straight into the Landwasser Tunnel.
The Landwasser Viaduct has six arch spans 20 metres (66 ft) in width, resting on five high pillars. The railway line near the viaduct has a slope of 2 percent, and in plan a circular arc with a radius of 100 metres (330 ft).
The southeastern abutment of the viaduct is located on a high cliff, and at that point, the tracks lead directly into the 216 metres (709 ft) long Landwasser Tunnel.
The viaduct’s masonry is approximately 9,200 cubic metres (320,000 cu ft) in volume and is jointed with dolomitic limestone.
The Glacier Express is an express train connecting railway stations of the two major mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. The train is operated jointly by the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and Rhaetian Railway (RhB). For much of its journey, it also passes along and through the World Heritage Site known as the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes.
The train is not an “express” in the sense of being a high-speed train, but rather, in the sense that it provides a one-seat ride for a long duration travel. In fact it has the reputation of being the slowest express train in the world. As St. Moritz and Zermatt are home to two well-known mountains, the Glacier Express is also said to travel from Piz Bernina to Matterhorn.
The Glacier Express first ran in 1930. Initially, it was operated by three railway companies: the Brig–Visp–Zermatt Bahn (BVZ), the Furka Oberalp Bahn, and the RhB. Since 2003, the train has been operated by RhB and a newly established company, the MGB, which arose from a merger between the BVZ and the FO.
The trip on the Glacier Express is a 7½ hour railway journey across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass on the highest point at 2,033 m (6,670 ft) in altitude. The entire line is metre gauge (narrow gauge railway), and large portions of it use a rack-and-pinion system both for ascending steep grades and to control the descent of the train on the back side of those grades.
INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM WIKIPEDIA AND OTHER SOURCES