Category Archives: On This Day…

On This Day…1788

On This Day... 26 January 1788

On this day in 1788 European settlement of Australia commenced

When Governor Arthur Phillip raised the Union Flag at Port Jackson it marked the commencement of European colonisation of Australia.

 Happy Australia Day and remember – for the overwhelming majority of Australians – we all come from somewhere else in the very recent past.

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On This Day…1306

On This Day... 25 March 1306

On this day in 1306 Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland

In August 1296, Robert the Bruce and his father swore fealty to Edward I of England at Berwick-upon-Tweed, but in breach of this oath, which had been renewed at Carlisle, the younger Robert supported the Scottish revolt against King Edward in the following year. On 7 July, Bruce and his followers made terms with Edward by a treaty called the Capitulation of Irvine. The Scottish lords were not to serve beyond the sea against their will, and were pardoned for their recent violence in return for swearing allegiance to King Edward. The Bishop of Glasgow, James the Steward, and Sir Alexander Lindsay became sureties for Bruce until he delivered his infant daughter Marjorie as a hostage. This he never did, and he was soon actively fighting for the Scots again.

Shortly after the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Bruce again defected to the Scots; he laid waste to Annandale and burned the English-held castle of Ayr. Yet, when King Edward returned to England after his victory at the Battle of Falkirk, Annandale and Carrick were excepted from the Lordships and lands which he assigned to his followers.

William Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland after the Battle of Falkirk. He was succeeded by Robert Bruce and John Comyn as joint Guardians, but they could not see past their personal differences. As a nephew and supporter of King John, and as someone with a serious claim to the Scottish throne, Comyn was Bruce’s enemy.
In the late summer of 1305 in a secret agreement sworn, signed and sealed, John Comyn agreed to forfeit his claim to the Scottish throne in favour of Robert Bruce upon receipt of the Bruce lands in Scotland should an uprising occur led by Bruce.

Comyn betrayed his agreement with Bruce to King Edward I, and when Bruce arranged a meeting for February 10, 1306 with Comyn in the Church of Greyfriars in Dumfries and accused him of treachery, they came to blows. Bruce killed Comyn in Dumfries before the high altar of the church of the monastery. Bruce was subsequently excommunicated as a result, less for the murder than for its location. From that moment on Robert the Bruce had no option but to become King or become a fugitive. Against that backdrop he asserted his claim to the Scottish throne.

Six weeks after Comyn was killed in Dumfries, Bruce was crowned King of Scots by Bishop William de Lamberton at Scone, the traditional seat of the Kings of Scotland. The royal robes and vestments which Robert Wishart had hidden from the English were brought out by the Bishop and set upon King Robert. The bishops of Moray and Glasgow were in attendance as well as the earls of Atholl, Menteith, Lennox, and Mar. The great banner of the kings of Scotland was planted behind his throne.

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan and wife of John Comyn, Earl of Buchan (a cousin of the murdered John Comyn) arrived the next day, too late for the coronation, so a second coronation was held and once more the crown was placed on the brow of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, Lord of Annandale, King of the Scots.


On This Day…1603

On This Day... 24 March 1603

On this day in 1603 Queen Elizabeth I died drawing the Tudor Dynasty to an end.

Elizabeth was the only child of the marriage between Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn.  She was born on 7 September 1533.  Her mother was beheaded having been found guilty of High Treason two and a half years later.

Elizabeth became Queen, on the death of her half-sister Queen Mary I, on 17 November 1558 and reigned for 44 years, the longest reign of any Tudor monarch.

Queen Elizabeth’s health remained fair until the autumn of 1602, when a series of deaths among her friends plunged her into a severe depression. In February 1603, the death of Catherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham, the niece of her cousin and close friend Catherine, Lady Knollys, came as a particular blow and in March, Elizabeth fell sick and remained in a “settled and unremovable melancholy” from which she never recovered.

Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudor monarchs, died on at between 2 and 3 am on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace. A few hours later King James VI of Scotland was proclaimed King James I of England and the Stuart dynasty in England was established.


On This Day…1933

On This Day...
23 March 1933

On this day in 1933 Adolph Hitler becomes Führer of Germany with the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933 by the Reichstag.

Under the Act, Hitler’s government acquired the authority to pass laws without either parliamentary consent or control. These laws could even deviate from the Constitution.

The Act eliminated the Reichstag as active players in German politics. Together with the Reichstag Fire Decree, which curtailed basic civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government, the Act transformed Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship.

The Act also effectively removed Presidential oversight, as President Hindenburg’s representative had stated that the aged president was withdrawing from day-to-day affairs of government and that presidential collaboration on the laws decreed as a result of the Enabling Act would not be required.


On This Day…1931

On This Day... 22 March 1931

On this day in 1931 Canadian Actor/Director/Recording Artist, William Shatner was born.

William Shatner is, of course, most famous for his role a James T. Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, tasked with its five-year mission, which later became an ongoing mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

He also played TJ Hooker and more recently Danny Crane in Boston Legal.  He has also directed, and performed musically although to call his performances singing is a stretch as we have said before here on Category Zero his musical offerings are more like crimes against humanity.

His influence and the 50 year show business career he has thus far carved out for himself are undeniable testament to his charisma, popularity and talents. 


On This Day…1960

On This Day... 21 March 1960

On this day in 1960 Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One world championship three times, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers to have raced.

Senna died on lap 7 of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after slamming into the wall after his Williams-Renault left the track under braking on the high-speed Tamburello corner.

The race weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, Italy had already claimed the life of Austrian rookie driver Roland Ratzenberger who died after crashing in qualifying and Senna’s compatriot, Rubens Barrichello, was seriously injured sufferring a broken nose and arm when his Jordan became airborne at the Variante Bassa chicane violently slamming into the tyres and fence also during the qualifying session.

Within two minutes of crashing, Senna was extracted from his race car. Initial treatment took place by the side of the car, with Senna having a weak heartbeat and significant blood loss. Because of Senna’s poor neurological conditionan on site tracheotomy was performed Senna was airlifted to Bologna’s Maggiore Hospital, where he was declared dead hours later.

It is believed that the right suspension frame of Senna’s Williams-Renault was sent stabbing back into the cockpit, striking Senna on the right side of his helmet, forcing his head back against the headrest and causing fatal skull fractures and brain injury. A piece of the upright attached to the wheel partially penetrated his helmet causing trauma to his forehead. In addition, it appeared that a jagged piece of the upright assembly, most likely a tie rod, penetrated the Bell helmet visor, which was a new, thinner version, above his right eye. Senna also suffered a burst temporal artery.


On This Day…1916

On This Day... 20 March 1916

On this day in 1916 Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity.

According to general relativity, the observed gravitational attraction between masses results from their warping of space and time.  Experiments and observations show that Einstein’s description of gravitation accounts for several effects that are unexplained by Newton’s law, such as minute anomalies in the orbits of Mercury and other planets. General relativity also predicts novel effects of gravity, such as gravitational waves, gravitational lensing and an effect of gravity on time known as gravitational time dilation. Many of these predictions have been confirmed by experiment.

General relativity has developed into an essential tool in modern astrophysics. It provides the foundation for the current understanding of black holes.

General relativity is also part of the framework of the standard Big Bang model of cosmology.


On This Day…1932

On This Day... 19 March 1932

On this day in 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge connecting  Millers Point in The Rocks and Milsons Point in the lower North Shore was oficially opened.

The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932. Amongst those who attended and gave speeches were the state Governor, Sir Philip Game, the Minister for Public Works, and  Lawrence Ennis the engineer in charge and main construction site supervisor. The Labor Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, was to open the bridge by cutting a ribbon at its southern end. 

However, just as Lang was about to cut the ribbon, a man in military uniform rode in on a horse, slashing the ribbon with his sword and opening the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the name of the people of New South Wales before the official ceremony began. He was promptly arrested.  The ribbon was hurriedly retied and Lang performed the official opening ceremony. After he did so, there was a 21-gun salute and an RAAF flypast. The intruder was identified as Francis de Groot. He was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined £5 after a psychiatric test proved he was sane. He was a member of a right-wing paramilitary group called the New Guard, opposed to Lang’s leftist policies and resentful of the fact that a member of the Royal Family had not been asked to open the bridge.


On This Day…1956

On This Day... 18 March 1956

On this day in 1956 Deborah Jeane Palfrey, DC Madam, and founder of Pamela Martin and Associates escort agency was born.

Palfrey was a cocktail waitress turned escort agency madam who had several brushes with authorities before being convicted of pandering, pimping and extortion in 192 she spent 18 months in prison before establishing Pamela Martin and Associates upon her release from jail.

She was dubbed DC Madam by the news media during her racketeering and mail fraud trial in 2008.  Palfrey always protested the legitimacy of her business which is said to have provided companionship services for many of Washington DC’s movers, shakers and money makers including, reputedly, Vice President Dick Chaney and other political and diplomatic heavyweights.

Notwithstanding her protestations of legitimacy and legality Palfrey was found guilty as charged on 15 April 2008.

Her lifeless body was found hanging in a barn just over 2 weeks later Palfrey having committed suicide rather than face the prospect of returning to prison.


On This Day…461AD

On This Day...17 March 461AD

On this day in 461AD Patrick, later patron saint of Ireland, died and upon his canonisation 17 March was celebrated as his feast day.

St. Patrick was a 5th century Roman nobleman’s son born in Cumbria in what is now England.  At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders and lived thereafter in Ireland.  His father and grandfather both were clerics and Patrick was by the time of his abduction educated in the scriptures.

Following a vision Patrick set out upon his mission to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.

He is credited with succeeding in doing just that as well as driving the snakes from Ireland, elevating the humble shamrock to a metaphor for the Holy Trinity, having his dead ashwood staff take root and sprout into a living tree and with speaking to long dead ancestors who lived long before his time.

In modern culture he and St Nicholas are perhaps the two most popularly and enthusiastically celebrated Saints in all of Christendom.

Today is Saint Patrick’s day.  Slainte!


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