History of New Year's Day; from the Remarkable to the Routine, from Ship to Shore, Paul Toohey Trawls the Records to Learn How We Spent New Year's Day in Years Gone By

The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia), January 2, 2019 | Go to article overview

History of New Year's Day; from the Remarkable to the Routine, from Ship to Shore, Paul Toohey Trawls the Records to Learn How We Spent New Year's Day in Years Gone By


1839. "After making a special distribution of pork, boiled peas and water for dinner on New Year's Day, Wickham ordered everyone on to half allowance." Sailor-historian Marsden Hordern on the struggles of HMS Beagle, off the coast of WA.

1860. "1st January - water." Relief is evident in the journal of Robert O'Hara Burke (pictured).

1881. "Perhaps the sun's rays were just a trifle too powerful, but, nevertheless, there was a nice cool breeze which pleasantly tempered the heat, and on the whole the meteorological arrangements for the day left little to be desired." Adelaide's Express and Telegraph.

1895. "The third day of the international cricket match found a splendid attendance on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. People poured in from the Richmond side ... and the crush there on the return journey especially has for the last two evenings been an exciting sequel to the big attendances on the ground, windows being broken in the carriages with the rush for trains on the Brighton and Caulfield lines ..." The Argus on the Second Test between Australia and England at the MCG (England won by 94 runs).

1901: "A glorious destiny awaits if their hearts are true and their hands strong and they do not suffer themselves to be betrayed by bribed leaders and corrupt statesmen." The Brisbane Worker sounds a warning as Australia becomes a nation.

1914. "The American baseballers who are engaged in showing the world how the game is played ... arrived in Brisbane by the steamer St. Albans this morning ... Teams representing the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants played a match on the Exhibition Grounds in the presence of some 5000 people." The Capricornian notes the Giants won.

1915. "On the morning of 1 January 1915 the two men raised the Turkish flag on the ice-cream cart and, using the cart to carry their weapons, set out on a terrorist-suicide mission: an attack on a train carrying holiday-makers ... Gool (fighting for the Turks against the British allies) and Abdullah (avenging his malice against the sanitary inspector and his honour as Islamic priest) opened fire on the open carriages. Four citizens were killed and seven others severely wounded." The Australian Dictionary of Biography recounts terror at Broken Hill.

1936. "Whatever the past year may have meant to you, make it dead history. But let the new year be a living issue. With a big fresh sponge, dripping with the clear water of forgiveness, wipe clean the slate of your heart." The Propeller, published in Hurstville, NSW.

1939. "Mrs William Morgan, 35, of Hammondville, presented her husband with twins on New Year's Day - her third set in five years. Each set has been a boy and a girl. The girl of the latest set died a few hours after birth." Liverpool News, NSW.

1945. "Charges of absenteeism against 105 miners and factory employees were heard by Mr B. Atkinson, SM, at a special court at West Maitland yesterday afternoon ... Those charged were for being absent on New Year's Day ..." Sydney Morning Herald.

1946. "Crash! went a couple of short rights from Taylor to the jaw and midriff of Hubon, who went down at the Unity Stadium on Tuesday morning. …

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