Fifty years ago, I was a young child and Australia did not have television. The only way to obtain news was through the news broadcasts, newspapers or by visiting the newsreels which ran on a continuous loop. Even though I was young then, I can still remember the drama of the Petrov affair which took place on April 4th, 1954. This was just ten years after the end of World War II and the big bogey of the day was Communism. Inquisitions in the USA for suspected sympathisers were common and here the talk was of "Reds under the beds."

The Petrovs were supposedly middle ranking members of the Russian embassy. In reality they were KGB spies. He was over many months seduced (literally and figuratively) into defecting. Finally he accepted an offer of what was then a small fortune of about $10,000, worth much more then than now. Two Russian couriers moved into her home to prevent her from defecting too.

An enormous crowd gathered at Sydney airport as she was dragged across the tarmac by her escorts and onto a plane, losing one shoe in the process. It was apparent that she did not want to go, although later reports said that she was worried about the fate of her family back in Russia if she defected. The plane stopped to refuel in Darwin. Her guards were overpowered and she remained behind when the plane left.

The Petrovs were given a safe house and support for the rest of their lives.

This was not the end however. Federal elections were due the next month and the coalition of Liberal and National Parties was returned by the very conservative electorate. Clive Evatt, the Labor leader, threw wild accusations around. A Royal Commission into the Petrov affair was held and handed down its findings in October 1955. Menzies, the Prime Minister capitaslised on the public feeling after this and called another election. The Coalition was resoundingly returned and stayed in power for very many years after that. Australian politics was changed.

In the conservative small backwater that we were in the 1950s, this affair was very dramatic.

More can be read here.


Here's a survey which my fellow Aussies can do. It is a link from the ABC and looks at wildlife in the backyard. They are interested in all locations and sizes of yards. It is quite short and doesn't take long to do.


Luna Park reopens this week. It's been one of Sydney's landmarks since the 1930s, although it has not been open continuously. My grandmother took me there once for New year's Eve when I was about eleven. I can remember feeling very grown up being out that late. I had a wonderful time on many of the rides. Perhaps my memories are tinged with nostalgia, because for almost as long as I can remember, I have not been someone who enjoys being in large "organised" groups. I avoided Sunday School picnics etc, even as a child. I'm straying from my topic, however.

The park occupies a prime piece of harbourside land. Diagonally opposite from the Opera House, its distinctive gates beam a toothy grin to passengers on our ferries. Its opening was opposed by churchmen in the 1930s who believed it would lead to "orgies which could not be checked." It has been closed several times because its operators lost money on it and was also closed after a dreadful fire on the Ghost Train in which seven people were killed. I hope it does well this time. It's a piece of our history.



I've had possums making a racket as they used our sloping tin roof as a playground slide and we've had to remove one from inside the house. It bit through a welder's heavy gloves. I've listened to koalas fighting in the bush near me. I've had a large goanna, about 7' long, rush twelve feet straight up our wall. However, we don't have raccooons here and I've been enjoying reading Real Live Preacher's account of his battle with a family of them which live in his chimney. Scroll down to the first account.


So, are you an April Fool? An interesting link which includes a list of 100 top ten jokes, including the BBC's spaghetti growing trees and the iceberg under Sydney Harbour Bridge.



All will be revealed! I found a paragraph about this in the February edition of the Australian War Cry of the Salvation Army.



More This and That
1. Are you organized or disorganized?
More organised than disorganised, but I'm also fairly good at procrastinating.
2. How well can you swim?
Swim? ?? I'm an Aussie, come on... I can swim fairly well but don't actually swim much these days. More cooling off in the surf. However, the local pool, two minutes away has just been renovated and will be open, heated all year round. I'm going to start again.
3. How often do you fill your gas tank?
Once weekly and we don't use "gas" but petrol. Gas here means LPG and the cars with that capacity are in a minority here.
4. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I can't decide. Beach or Blue Mountains.
5. What is you favourite animal to have as a pet?
I'm a dog person although we currently have three cats. Where we are is not really suitable for a dog. What I do know for sure is that I am NOT a person who would keep birds.

From Jeanne