International Controversy in Cooma – The Avenue of Flags

In 1949 Australia embarked on one of its biggest ever infrastructure construction projects, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme which between 1949 and 1974 saw the construction of sixteen major dams, seven power stations, a pumping station, and 225 kilometres (140 mi) of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts in the Snowy Mountains (New South Wales). Continue reading “International Controversy in Cooma – The Avenue of Flags”

Australia Proclaimed For Britain


On 26 January 1788 the First Fleet, a flotilla of eleven ships from Britain, anchored in Sydney Cove – named after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary (now called Circular Quay). Captain Arthur Phillip, in charge, stepped ashore and, in a simple ceremony, hoisted the Union Flag (Jack), saluted it, and proclaimed the settlement of the colony of New South Wales for His Majesty King George III. The remainder of the continent was subsequently settled and claimed for Britain and today the 26th January, Australia Day, is a public holiday across Australia, marking the birthday of modern Australia. Continue reading “Australia Proclaimed For Britain”

Little flags and naughty soldiers?


On your visit to the DMZ from either side of the border you cannot fail to notice two massive flagpoles and flags, one North Korean and the other South Korean. I have written a separate review on these flags –Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War . In that review I also mentioned how the Korean War, with the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953, in the main, converted from one of direct military combat to one of propaganda. In addition to direct propaganda, one-upmanship and brinkmanship have long (since 1953) been key components in gaining the upper hand and the minds of people on the Korean Peninsula and in the wider world. Every opportunity to provoke and antagonise the enemy is grabbed by both sides. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Continue reading “Little flags and naughty soldiers?”

Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War!

North Korea’s – Bigger than South Korea’s

The Korean War is now (in 2017) in its 64th year with no end in sight. Physical hostilities with a few very notable exceptions ceased on 28 July 1953, the day after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in the Peace Museum (see my separate review) here in what is now commonly referred to as Panmunjom. Continue reading “Mine is bigger than yours – The Flagpole War!”

Armistice Agreement Signing Hall – Peace Museum


After over 2 years of negotiations in the Armistice Talks Hall (see my separate review) and the death of nearly 3 million people the two combatants in the Korean War, North Korea/China and the United Nations Command or UNC (South Korea, the USA and about 10 other “minor” participants –importantly, under command of the US and not the UN) agreed on the terms of an armistice. In simple terms, the agreement to be signed would provide for an end to hostilities (a cease-fire), the creation of a demilitarised zone, the repatriation of prisoners and an agreement to continue peace negotiations. Continue reading “Armistice Agreement Signing Hall – Peace Museum”

Tiananmen Square – Lowering the Flag

Tiananmen Square – Flag Lowering Ceremony

I hadn’t planned on visiting the flag raising or lowering ceremony held daily in Tiananmen Square. I don’t like hanging around waiting for things to happen and as such don’t do it unless I think it’s going to be worth it.

We had spent a very long and tiring day sightseeing and, as chance would have it, were passing through Tiananmen Square en route to our hotel as sunset approached. As a bit of a crowd was gathering we decided to hang around for the daily flag lowering ceremony, not knowing how long we would have to wait. I didn’t realise until I was later writing this review that the actual flag raising and lowering time is published in advance. Continue reading “Tiananmen Square – Lowering the Flag”

Go Find a Wirebird

Rare Wirebird

Alas, unlike on my next stop on Ascension Island, time did not permit me to explore in any detail either the flora or fauna on St Helena other than admire from a distance which, of course, I did. I would love to have had the time to get out and take advantage of some of the great walks which are possible on the Island.

While not an avid birdwatcher, I did however determine that I wanted to see the only endemic bird on the island – the St Helena Plover, commonly referred to as the Wirebird due to its longish spindly legs. I figured (rather I was told!) that my best chance of a sighting was on Deadwood Plain or the St Helena Golf Club both close to Longwood. Continue reading “Go Find a Wirebird”