46 Great Opening Lines: 22

In Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’, which adorns numerous war memorials around Australia, there is a verse that every Australian knows: They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old… Opening line of the Author’s Note, Desert Boys, Peter Rees, 2012 * I’ve heard the line ‘They shall grow not old…’… Continue reading


WWII, Winter, Syria and Lebanon

Some years ago I scanned hundreds of photos from an album my father brought back from the Middle East in 1942.  The original snaps are small, about 2″ x 3″, so I’m fascinated by the detail I now see in these scanned and enlarged photos, such as the people on the right in the image… Continue reading


The Nile, 1941/42

A reader of this blog, a maritime archaeologist writing a PhD, expressed an interest in some of the photos I’ve posted here over the past five years, especially images of the Nile and its boats. So this post is about the Nile River, Egypt, in a particular period, 1941/42. The photos are from my father’s… Continue reading


Weekly photo challenge: Danger

My father captioned this photo in 1942 ‘Dud bombs’. But judging by the rubble almost covering the small building at the bottom right, some earlier bombs had done the job they were made for. It’s an odd photo that seems to have a part of another photo laid over it; the man looking at the… Continue reading


Weekly photo challenge: The Road Taken

This week’s WordPress photo challenge title is The Road Taken, which is not the road taken by the poet Robert Frost in his poem, The Road Not Taken. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and Frost made a decision to take the grassy road, the one that wanted wear, the one less travelled by.… Continue reading


Weekly photo challenge: Names

It is said that the department store Whiteaway Laidlaw & Co. was often nicknamed Right-away & Paid-for, since they accepted only cash and offered no credit. It was also known simply as Whiteaways and became a household name in India, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai during the first half of the 20th century, as well… Continue reading


Weekly photo challenge: Nostalgia

Any image of a tram makes me long for the past. When I was a child in Brisbane there were trams in the city, but by 1969 the use and support of trams had declined and the tramway was closed. It had been operating since 1885. (An aside: In case you’re wondering about Vincent’s, they… Continue reading


Weekly photo challenge: Opposites

A single frame, conflicting elements: small and large, short and tall, thin and fat, man and beast, free and bound… Voilà. Another photo from my father’s WWII album. This one taken at the Giza Zoo, Cairo (thanks for this info, M. Fakhry). Thanks, WordPress photo challenge. Save Save Save Save Save Save Save


Weekly photo challenge: Curve

This week’s photo prompt, Curve, immediately made me think of the semicircular arches on the Catholic Basilica in Heliopolis, Cairo, or Basilica of the Virgin Mary. I’ve written about it and posted a few photos in other posts, for example here and here and here, but I have a fourth one from a different angle.… Continue reading


Tobruk – 75th anniversary

The siege of Tobruk began 75 years ago on 10th April, 1941, and yesterday in Canberra the anniversary was marked at the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ memorial on Anzac Avenue. Tobruk is a small town on the Libyan coast with a deep water harbour, which Australian, British and Indian troops were charged with protecting in 1941… Continue reading