Edition:  Saturday, June 21st, 1919

The Atlantic is Crossed in 16 Hours

“At 1:45 p.m. we were airborne.” (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Long) after The inflight entertainment system malfunctioned and the beverage service was cancelled due to bad weather.

Transcript of articles from The Brisbane Courier published on Saturday, June 21, 1919.  The newsprint used for the publication was more absorbent than more modern newsprint and the ink ran, resulting in text which can be on occasion difficult to read as can been readily seen in above masthead.

The Brisbane Courier was formed from the change in ownership of several predecessor newspapers.  The Moreton Bay Courier established as a weekly in June 1846, become The Courier in 1859 and following the acquisition by Keith Murdoch’s Herald and Weekly Times in August 1933, changed its name to The Courier Mail.  This series of newspapers has for more than 170 years been the paper of record in Queensland, Australia.  This extract from the Saturday edition of the newspaper is being undertaken on a fortnightly basis.  The purpose of this publication is to examine in some detail the important events in the lives of the peoples of Brisbane and Queensland and offers an interesting insight into the often-forgotten events which dominated the social and political environment at the time.  The photos which appear herein were not re-produced from the Brisbane Courier but are kindly provided by the John Oxley Library.  All materials herein are believed to be out of Copyright.

The Conquest of the Atlantic
Allies Prepare to Invade Germany
Influenza Epidemic Eases
Bolshevik Concerns Linger
Javanese Volcanic Eruption

Domestic News

The Influenza Epidemic

The influenza patients in hospital last night numbered 183, as against 189 on Thursday. One death occurred yesterday.  At the Exhibition Isolation Hospital 106 patients were under treatment. Of this number four were dangerously ill, eight cases were serious, 86 mild, and eight convalescent. There were four admissions and 11 discharges.  Forty-three persons were in St.  Laurence’s Hospital yesterday suffering from influenza. Of these two were dangerously ill and six seriously ill. The rest of the cases were mild or convalescing. One death occurred.

The General Hospital’s report stated that six males and two females were in hospital, also one nurse from the Children’s Hospital. The report issued by the Children’s Hospital showed that the hospital contained eight patients, two of whom were serious. There had been one admission, and one discharge.

Two patients were discharged from the Mater Misericordia Public Hospital yesterday. The nine patients remaining are reported to be progressing. There was no change in the position at the Kangaroo Point Military Hospital last night. The eight patients there are doing well.


Four deaths have been registered at the Registrar-General’s office since last report. These include one male at the Exhibition Hospital and two females outside the isolation hospitals from influenza and pneumonia, and one male outside the hospitals from pneumonic influenza. This brings the registrations since May to 283.

Women wearing surgical masks during the influenza epidemic, Brisbane, 1919. Credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 1919
Women wearing surgical masks during the influenza epidemic, Brisbane, 1919. Credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 1919


Some figures are now available at the Home Secretary’s Office regarding the collection of accounts from persons who were compelled to use the quarantine camp at Wallangarra, Coolangatta, Tenterfield, Stanthorpe, Goondiwindi, and Mungindi during the earlier days of the epidemic, when State quarantine was in force. The total amount owing to the Government from these sources is given at £l6,625/17/10. The total amount collected to date is £9007/16/2, leaving a balance of £7018/1/8 to be recovered. Accounts are still being collected.


As a result of the decline in the number of cases of influenza the nurses at the Baby Clinics in Brisbane have resumed their usual duties.

Advertisement for G. R, Ryder, gentleman’s outfitter of Queen Street Brisbane.

Railway Mishaps

Railway workers and steam engine at Roma Street Station, 1919. John Oxley Library.

The engine of train 32, which left Brisbane at 4.40 p.m. yesterday for Ipswich, failed at Toowong, and another engine, P.B. 394, was sent from Brisbane to take the train to its destination, them train arriving at Ipswich about 6.25, or 25 minutes late. As a result, the employees who cease work at 6 o’clock and travel by train to the suburbs were unable to leave the city until 6.30. The engine of 32 up was to work a train back to Brisbane at 8.20, and it was taken over to the roundhouse at North Ipswich, and left standing on one of the roads clear of the turntable.  By some means, however, the engine moved forward and fell into the turntable pit, the tender remaining on the line. A breakdown gang, under the supervision of Messrs. C. F. Pemberton (Chief Mechanical Engineer), J. E. Robinson (works manager), W. Meyer, and G. Foreman, was despatched from Ipswich and immediately set to work to get the engine back on the rails. By means ot packing they built up the wheels until they were level with the rails, when another engine hauled it on to the road. The locomotive was found to be minus the leading bogey, while the cowcatcher was smashed, but otherwise very little damage was done to the engine. Only slight injury was caused to the turntable.

Bolshevik Agitation in Brisbane

Workers demonstration procession in Brisbane, 1919 Credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 26 January 1919

Immediately after the men generally known as “the red flag prisoners” had been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for defying a Commonwealth law, the Brisbane Industrial Council, and a
body known as “The Red Flag Prisoners’ Defence Committee,” commenced an agitation in favour of having the men treated as political prisoners. Despite the fact that the sentences were imposed for a breach of the Commonwealth Law, the State Government interfered, and decreed that the men should be treated as political prisoners. According to an article in yesterday’s issue of the official organ of the Government Party, “the prisoners now receive all their food from outside, this being provided by the Defence Committee. As already announced, the prisoners are wearing their own clothes, and they are not compelled to work, but spend their time in reading, writing, studying, and debating the issue of the day.”

In a report of a meeting of the Brisbane Industrial Council, it is stated that “a letter was received from G. Taylor, one of the red flag prisoners, on behalf of his fellow prisoners,” requesting that their case be further considered. In the course of discussion it was urged that the State Government should release the prisoners, and it was decided that a deputation from the council should wait on the Home Secretary as soon as possible to impress upon him the absolute necessity of having the evidence reviewed.

That the Government is expected to release the prisoners by defying the Federal Government is set forth in a paragraph in an editorial, reading as follows:-“The matter is plainly one in which the State Government should exert its powers to the utmost. The Federal Government may have the overlordship, but the prison in which the men are confined is State property and is State manned. “It is not very long since the Brisbane Industrial Council, and members of the Ryan Government, were declaiming in violent language against the Legislative Council because that Chamber refused to pass a Bill absolutely surrendering to the Commonwealth Government (then, a Labour Government) some of the sovereign rights of the State. Now this same party appears to be openly defying the Iegitimate powers of the Commonwealth”.

Minister Blasts Mt Morgan’s Mine

The Minister for Railways (Mr. J. A. Fiheldy) made the following statement yesterday regarding the Mount Morgan Mine, which ‘has been forced to close down owing to the shipping strike, which originated in Queensland and was encouraged by the Queensland Government:- “The closing down of the Mount Morgan mine opens up many curious issues.  This company has paid dividends amounting to millions of pounds sterling. The Queensland Government, by comparison in royalties, etc., has received a mere trifle in revenue. In these days it is recognised that the employer has responsibilities, and modern thought is not going to permit the big employer in a moment of caprice to sack great numbers of men, and disorganise a whole community, when so inclined.  That is not going to be tolerated by any Government. In future, companies of the magnitude of the Mount Morgan Company must be forced to disclose their hand to the public, and all their cards must be put on the table.  It is simply scandalous that the Mount Morgan Company, which has made millions in the past, can calmly give eight hours’ notice to a whole town. Yet this has happened.

Town of Mt Morgan’s circa 1920, Printed England : Lee & Humphreys ; 1900-1937 Courtesy John Oxley Library

If the Mount Morgan’s Company had not to close down through stress of circumstances, then one can only conclude that some gigantic conspiracy exists amongst the employing class to make the position of the worker as difficult as possible. The Government should at once institute inquiries to ascertain the real position, and in the meantime take over, without compensation, the whole concern, and keep the men employed. After full expert inquiry the public would be informed, so far as could be ascertained, how long the mine could be usefully worked. If the mine can still
be payably worked the Government should pay over to the shareholders any surplus while working it. If the mine is not a payable proposition the problem would be one for the Government to deal with.”

The Acting Premier stated yesterday that he had not yet received any reply from the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) to the representations that had been made to him about the closing down of the Mount Morgan mine, and to the request that the Federal Government should take some action. He had received a wire from Mr. Ryan stating that Mr. W. G. Higgs had called on him, and had subsequently gone to Melbourne to interview the directors of the company there.

International News

Conquest of the Atlantic


The Washington correspondent of the “New York Times” has learned in official circles that the British Government has made inquiries regarding the possibility of establishing hangars on the Atlantic coast of the United States for the use of commercial dirigibles.


Mr. J. Daniels (Secretary of the Navy) in commenting on the flight in a Vickers-Vimy machine across the Atlantic, said: “It is a wonderful feat.  I congratulate Captain Alcock and Lieutenant Brown on their flight, which is indicative of the great accomplishments in aviation in the future”. 

The London correspondent of the “New York Times” interviewed H. G. Walker, the Australian aviator, who said: “The success of the Vickers-Vimy machine was a very fine performance.  I heartily congratulate Captain Alcock and Lieutenant Brown. The time taken in the flight –  namely –  16 hours  – was very quick and it shows that they evidently met better weather conditions than Greive and I.  But under the best possible conditions such a flight was wonderful.  I note that their wireless failed like ours.  It seems to me that there must be something to learn about that yet”. 

New York Times June 16, 1919

Brown at the last moment took along a small pocket flash lamp to use in reading the instruments in the event of the cockpit lighting system failing.  Brown was to wireless the position every hour and receive an hourly weather report from Washington, which would be relayed by all Atlantic ships.  Both aviators rested well the night before the start.  Captain Alcock expressed the concern that if he was successful in crossing the Atlantic, he would make another flight from London to New York in a large specially built, Vickers machine. 

“At 1:45 p.m. we were airborne.” (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Long) after

The London correspondent of the “New York times” has cabled the “Daily Mail’s” interview with Captain Alcock, who said: “We had a terrible journey and it is a wonder we are here at all”. 

Indonesia – Volcano in Eruption

A passenger by the Mataram, who is interested in the country devastated by the volcanic eruption of Mount Kloet, Java, states that the tragedy was caused by a lake on the mountainside overflowing into the crater.  The eruption commenced at 1 a.m., and lasted 40 minutes.  Pitch darkness prevailed for 10 hours owing to the showers of volcanic ash. Three streams of mud, stones and boiling water, and sand tore down Mt Kloet, which is 5,000 ft. high.  One stream was three miles wide and in the centre 75ft. deep.  The other two were smaller. 

Mt Kelud, Java showing the lake which overflowed killing an estimated 50,000 person in 1919. Copied from Wikipedia, source Dan Dzurisin, the Global Volcanism Program, USGS, 1980


The flood struck the town of Bitta, 30 miles away, in an incredibly short time destroying the Chinese quarter and burying thousands of people.  One large estate lost 16,000 coolies, and sustained £400,000 damage.  Two storey reinforced houses was instantly battered to pieces by huge stones, and disappeared. Distracted people rushing to avoid the big stream were engulfed in others.  The flames from the crater were hundreds of feet high, presenting an awful aspect amid the Cimmerian darkness elsewhere.  Only bodies lying in shallow deposit of loamy black sand, which was deposited by the volcanic streams, are being recovered.  It is estimated that 40,000 bodies will not be recovered.  A rain of ash continued for two days and a light deposit fell in Surabaya, 80 miles distant.  Many young rubber trees were broken down with the weight of the ash.

It is estimated that 50,000 persons, including a few whites, perished in the streams which covered 40,000 acres of rich sugar, coffee and rubber land which will now be useless for cultivation on a large scale owing to the enormous quantity of stones, varying from 2lb to 20 tons each, which thickly cover the country.  Mt Kloet had twice erupted previously.  The government now intend to keep the lake drained to prevent a further catastrophe.

European Peace Treaty – Preparing for a German Refusal

The concentration of British and French troops ready to march into Germany has been completed.  Artillery sections have been moved across the Rhine.  The catholic Centre Party in Germany is prepared to sign the peace treaty.  The majority of the German Government are opposed to signing the treaty, and with Herr Ebert, the President, are expected to resign if the Assembly accepts the treaty.

Conflict Continues in Europe

The Australian Press Association learns that the struggle between the Czechoslovaks, assisted by the Roumanians and the Hungarian, has ended as a result of a note from the Council of Four, sent June 14, ordering hostilities to cease, and the armies to retire to the national boundaries.  The Hungarians accordingly stopped their offensive.  The Roumanian Army, on the left, assisted by Polish troops, have taken the offensive against the Bolsheviks in Galicia.  The Bolsheviks have retired for 50 miles.

The situation is still strained between Austria and the Jugo-Slavs.  The Italians apparently have undertaken a counter-move against the Jugo-Slavs’ advance in the Klagenfurt area, by occupying Villavs, but the Jugo-Slavs have now got all they want, and so it is hoped that there will be no further trouble between them.

Afghanistan Armistice

Afghan messengers who have brought the reply of the Amir of Afghanistan to the dispatch of the Viceroy of India (Lord Chelmsford) into the British lines report that a three month’s armistice is being arranged. 

Russian Revolution

General Denekin, leader of the Don Cossacks, has achieved further successes against the Bolsheviks.  He acknowledges General Koltchak as supreme leader of the Russian armies. 

Italian Chaos

The Italian cabinet is reported to have resigned.

Turkey – Australian War Graves

Lieutenant Keesing, of Sydney, who is now in London, denies the statement that the Turks desecrated the graves of Australians.  On the contrary, the Turks put the Beach and Shrapnel Valley cemeteries in order. 


Despatches from Peking show that the Cabinet has resigned on account of the popular movement against the alleged pro-Japanese members of the Cabinet.  The Japanese Government and officials are taking a grave view of the anti-Japanese demonstrations in Shanghai, and fear Bolshevik influences there. 

United States of America

The American Federation of Labour has rejected a proposal to form a political party, but has adopted a reconstruction programme, providing for a higher standard of living throughout the industry.  The Lower House of the Ohio Legislature has passed a resolution to stop the Willard-Dempsey boxing contest.

South Africa

The House of Assembly, South Africa, has ratified the free gift by the Government of 550 acres of Government lands near Capetown to a trust, for the purpose of establishing a garden city to relieve the house shortage.

Finance and Markets

Trade and Finance

In Melbourne the sugar position, according to the “Argus,” has become more acute than ever. It is added that consumers are apt to be discriminating in regards to colour and quality but they have been fortunate enough in most instances to get some supply. Recent arrivals of Mauritius sugar have been cleared but Queensland Yellow Crystal is available at the same price as 1A.

A new bank to operate in the Pacific Islands has been started by Japan and neighbouring Asiatic centres.  It is to be called the Kanan Kasho Ginko and will transact general banking business. 

The London Times of April 24 says: “While the Australian States are delighted that Great Britain is prepared to finance the emigration of ex-soldier, no state is prepared to expedite immigration.  All are waiting to see if Great Britain will provide loans to build development railways, which will give employment” The Premier will probably be able to give particulars of any arrangement made with the British Government.

Mining, Stocks and Shares

Dow Jones Industrial Average, June 22, 1919

Yesterday was a busy day on the Brisbane Stock Exchange, the majority of the investment stocks being enquired for, but few of the resulting transactions were recorded on change. Adelaide Steam Ship Co shares were quoted at 45/45 and Howard Smith ordinary shares at 33/-35The advanced offer of 72/6 for Brisbane Tramways preference shares failed to produce a seller. City Electric Light new issue had a closer market at 8/-8/6 the shares paid for 12/ being quoted at 16/9-18/9 and the fully paids at 27/6-28/6. Finney, Isles & Co maintained their advance at 23/6-35 and Alan and Starks new shares were firm at 22/-24/6. Woollen advanced to 10/9 buyer, seller asking 11/6. International Boring Company shows a wide market, 22/-28/. Buyers of Queensland Deposit Bank shares advanced to 7/. The 1935 and 1927 War Bonds were slightly easier, but the 1923 War Bond shows a stronger tendency, as did the £10 bonds, a few sales were made on change. Mt Morgan’s were in request at 17/9 and Broken Hill Proprietary were offered at 40/..

Colossal Gold Mining Company

The Queensland Government Mining Journal contains particulars of the prospectus of the Colossal Gold Mining Company of Ravenswood. The capital is £17,000 in 340 shares of £50 each, 90 to go to the vendors as payment for their right, the balance being offered to the public. The leases cover what is known as the Far Fanning Diggings which from 1882 to 1909 has been worked spasmodically. The new company proposes to deal with the low-grade material on a big scale, bringing in water and erecting a mill. It is concluded that open cut work to a depth of 80 feet will allow the mining of 280,000 tons at an average grade of 24/6 per tonne with costs of 10/.

Central Queensland Coal Mining

During the past half year the sales of the Bluff Colliery Co., as disclosed at the company meeting at Rockhampton comprised, Bluff colliery 3720 ton, and Co-operative Colliery (Blair Athol) 4547 ton, against 4709 tons and 3602 tones respectively int eh previous year. According to the report published in the Queensland Government Mining Journal water has been causing troubles in the Co-operative Colliery, and the present pumping plan will have to be replaced by one more powerful.

Trade and Finance

In Melbourne the sugar position, according to the “Argus,” has become more acute than ever. It is added that consumers are apt to be discriminating in regards to colour and quality but they have been fortunate enough in most instances to get some supply. Recent arrivals of Mauritius sugar have been cleared but Queensland Yellow Crystal is available at the same price as 1A.

A new bank to operate in the Pacific Islands has been started by Japan and neighbouring Asiatic centres.  It is to be called the Kanan Kasho Ginko and will transact general banking business. 

The London Times of April 24 says:  “While the Australian States are delighted that Great Britain is prepared to finance the emigration of ex-soldier, no state is prepared to expedite immigration.  All are waiting to see if Great Britain will provide loans to build development railways, which will give employment” The Premier will probably be able to give particulars of any arrangement made with the British Government.

The Queensland Government Mining Journal contains particulars of the prospectus of the Colossal Gold Mining Company of Ravenswood.  The capital is £17,000 in 340 shares of £50 each, 90 to go to the vendors as payment for their right, the balance being offered to the public.  The leases cover what is known as the Far Fanning Diggings which from 1882 to 1909 has been worked spasmodically.  The new company proposes to deal with the low-grade material on a big scale, bringing in water and erecting a mill.  It is concluded that open cut work to a depth of 80 feet will allow the mining of 280,000 tons at an average grade of 24/6 per tonne with costs of 10/.

During the past half year the sales of the Bluff Colliery Co., as disclosed at the company meeting at Rockhampton comprised, Bluff colliery 3720 ton, and Co-operative Colliery (Blair Athol) 4547 ton, against 4709 tons and 3602 tons respectively int eh previous year.  According to the report published in the Queensland Government Mining Journal water has been causing troubles in the Co-operative Colliery, and the present pumping plan will have to be replaced by one more powerful. 

Weather Queensland

Meteorological map, June 21st, 1919

The maximum temperature in Brisbane yesterday was 67.4 deg:. Minimum 43 deg.  Forecast for Queensland for the 24 hours ending noon today: Fine: south-westerly winds in the south-east, otherwise south-easterly; many frosts over the interior and South Coast division.


A mail for the Expeditionary Force in Egypt, the United Kingdom, and France will close at the GPO next Tuesday, packets at 6.5 a.m., and letters at 7.5 a.m.

What was the first creature to be aware?

A new book from Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka addresses this very issue.  In a complex and challenging book, the authors discuss the origins of consciousness from an evolutionary perspective.  They postulate that capability to learn was the driving force in the evolutionary transition to basic consciousness and it occurred during the Cambrian. 

This thought-provoking book has provided me with a new way to imagine the dynamics of the Cambrian Explosion and its impacts on life on this planet today.  A tour-de-force on consciousness study, recommended.

During the Cambrian, at the end of a protracted ice age when most of the earth was covered in ice sheets, the most remarkable period in the history of life on earth began.  Termed the Cambrian Explosion or Cambrian radiation it commended around 541 million years ago when most major animal phyla appeared in the fossil record and some which are no longer represented.  What has most fascinated geologists and evolutionary biologists is that Cambrian Explosion occurred in over a period of a mere 13 or million years.

Opabinia regalis is anextinct, stem group arthropod found in the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale Lagerstätte of British Columbia, Canada. Jose Manuel Canete / Wikimedia Commons

There is evidence of life on earth as far back as 3.6 billion years, but prior to the events commencing in 541 MA most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells and occasionally organized into colonies.  They were soft-bodied, and their poor preservation has been a major obstacle to understanding the evolution of plant and animals on earth prior to the Cambrian. 

The Anomalocaridid comprise a group of very early marine animals known primarily from fossils found in Cambrian deposits in China, United States, Canada, Poland and Australia. Nobu Tamura / Wikimedia Commons

The authors ask the question “What marked the evolutionary transition from organisms that lacked consciousness to those with consciousness—to minimal subjective experiencing, or, as Aristotle described it, “the sensitive soul”?

Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka postulate that learning was the driving force in the transition to basic consciousness. Using a methodology similar to that used by scientists when they identified the transition from non-life to life, Ginsburg and Jablonka suggest a set of criteria, identify a marker for the transition to minimal consciousness, and explore the far-reaching biological, psychological, and philosophical implications.

The book is divided into two parts.  Chapters 1 through 5 provides an historical, biological and conceptual foundation for a discussion of consciousness.  Their point of departure for their discussion is Aristotle’s “soul” the dynamics of living beings, and its different manifestation in different types of organisms; the “nutritive and reproductive soul” which involved self-maintenance and reproduction and is present in all living beings; the “sensitive soul” which is equated with the living organization of sentiment, subjectively experiencing beings; and the “rational soul” which is special to reasoning humans.  This section offers and outstanding summary of the state of knowledge and research on consciousness. 

Chapters 6 through 10 develop their evolutionary arguments.  They propose that the evolutionary marker of basic or minimal consciousness is a complex form of associative learning, which they term “unlimited associative learning” (UAL). UAL enables an organism to ascribe motivational value to a novel, compound, non-reflex-inducing stimulus or action, and use it as the basis for future learning. Associative learning, Ginsburg and Jablonka argue, drove the Cambrian explosion and its massive diversification of organisms. Finally, Ginsburg and Jablonka propose symbolic language as a similar type of marker for the evolutionary transition to human rationality—to Aristotle’s “rational soul.”

This book is a tour-de-force of the study of consciousness, a notoriously difficult topic, for it requires the study of the conscious by the conscious.  The question of consciousness and its origins in the Cambrian Explosion has allowed me to think about our origins in a different manner. 

I suspect that there were definite advantages for early Cambrian life to have been sensitive to light.  This would have allowed life to find the most productive niche with the greatest resources.  This likely rather quickly became a biological arms-race with better “sight” producing a competitive reproductive advantage.  Predation would have simply accelerated the evolution of sight and that requires increased processing capability and a larger collection of neurons.  With predation came awareness almost as a necessity to find a meal and with increased mobility, reproduction.  Sight then would seem to be the most significant evolutionary event which drove the early stages of the Cambrian Explosion however subsequently, increased processing capability over time would have played a pivotal role in the evolution of predation and earliest awareness.

Interesting Outcomes

“In 1923, seven men who had made it to the top of the finan­cial success pyramid met together at the Edgewater Hotel in Chicago. Collectively, they controlled more wealth than the en­tire United States Treasury, and for years the media had held them up as examples of success.

Who were they? Charles Schwab, president of the world’s largest steel company, Arthur Cutten, the greatest wheat spec­ulator of his day, Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange, Albert Fall, a member of the President’s Cabinet, Jesse Livermore, the greatest bear on Wall Street, Leon Fraser, president of the International Bank of Settlement, and Ivan Kruegger, the head of the world’s largest monopoly.

What happened to them? Schwab and Cutten both died broke; Whitney spent years of his life in Sing Sing peni­tentiary; Fall also spent years in prison, but was released so he could die at home; and the others Livermore, Fraser, and Kruegger, committed suicide”.                                       

Donald McCullogh,  Waking from the American Dream

Charles Schwab

Charles Michael Schwab (February 18, 1862 – September 18, 1939)

Charles Michael Schwab (February 18, 1862 – September 18, 1939) was an American steel magnate. Under his leadership, Bethlehem Steel became the second largest steel maker in the United States, and one of the most important heavy manufacturers in the world.  A fortune of $500 million prior to 1929 was all but wiped out in the October collapse and he spent his final years in a small apartment.  Shortly after his death, World War 2 restored the fortunes of his steel company, Bethlehem Steel.

Arthur William Cutten (July 6, 1870 – June 24, 1936)

Arthur Cutten

Arthur William Cutten (July 6, 1870 – June 24, 1936) was a Canadian-born businessman who gained great wealth and prominence as a commodity speculator in the United States. He was all but wiped out in the 1907 collapse of the cotton markets.

He appeared before the Banking and Currency Committee during its investigation of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The government issued indictments against him for tax evasion.  He died of a heart attack a few weeks short of his sixty-sixth birthday. The tax suit was settled by the executors of his estate as his fortune was vastly depleted by the stock market crash and the cost of lawyers to defend him from the government lawsuits.

Richard Whitney (August 1, 1888 – December 5, 1974)

Richard Whitney

Richard Whitney (August 1, 1888 – December 5, 1974) was an American financier and president of the New York Stock Exchange from 1930 to 1935. Having retired as president of the New York Stock Exchange in 1935, Whitney remained on the board of governors, but in early March 1938, his past began to catch up with him when the financial controller of the exchange reported to that Richard Whitney was an embezzler and that his company was insolvent. Within days, events snowballed, and Whitney and his company would both declare bankruptcy. He was convicted of embezzlement and imprisoned.  On April 12, 1938, six thousand people turned up at Grand Central Terminal to watch as Whitney was escorted in handcuffs by armed guards onto a train that delivered him to prison.

Jesse Lauriston Livermore (July 26, 1877 – November 28, 1940)

Jesse Livermore

Jesse Lauriston Livermore (July 26, 1877 – November 28, 1940) was an American investor.  A legendary trader who worked alone without partners and in isolation from others in an office of advanced technology for the time, receiving price data directly from the floor of the NYSE.  He made and lost his fortune on numerous occasions.  His skill was market timing combined with considerable mathematical skills and a clear trading strategy. He would invest a small portion of his planned amount and see how the market reacted.  If the price continued to increase, he would invest yet more until he was convinced of the general trend of the market before securing his ultimate position.  He would not tolerate a fall in price of more than 10% and would sell his position quickly, thereby not endangering his capital.

On November 28, 1940, Livermore fatally shot himself in the cloakroom of the Sherry Netherland Hotel in Manhattan. Police found a suicide note of eight small handwritten pages in Livermore’s personal, leather bound notebook. The note addressed to Livermore’s wife Harriet (whom Livermore nicknamed “Nina”) read, “My dear Nina: Can’t help it. Things have been bad with me. I am tired of fighting. Can’t carry on any longer. This is the only way out. I am unworthy of your love. I am a failure. I am truly sorry, but this is the only way out for me. Love Laurie”

Leon Fraser

Leon Fraser (born November 27, 1889 in Boston, April 8, 1945) was an American manager. 

Fraser graduated from Columbia University and from Colgate University Law School. He worked as a reporter for New York World until he was admitted to the bar in 1914. He enlisted in the US Army and fought in WW1 leaving with the rank of officer.  From 1922 to 1924 he practiced international law in Paris. He was a consultant for the Dawes Plan and from 1924 to 1927 was the Paris representative for reparations payments.

In 1930 he became president of the newly established Bank for International Settlements.  In 1937 he became president of the First National Bank of New York. He also held senior positions with General Electric, US Steel and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  In the courtyard of his Granville home, Fraser shot himself in the head. His farewell letter pointed to depression.

Ivan Kruegger

Ivar Kreuger (2 March 1880 – 12 March 1932)

Ivar Kreuger (2 March 1880 – 12 March 1932) was a Swedish civil engineer, financier, entrepreneur and industrialist. In 1908, he co-founded the construction company Kreuger & Toll Byggnads AB, which specialized in new building techniques. By aggressive investments and innovative financial instruments, he built a global match and financial empire. He ultimately controlled between two thirds and three quarters of worldwide match production, becoming known as the “Match King”.

Kreuger’s financial empire collapsed during the Great Depression. A subsequent audit of his more than 400 companies concluded that “The manipulations were so childish that anyone with, but a rudimentary knowledge of bookkeeping could see the books were falsified.”  In March 1932, he was found dead in the bedroom of his flat in Paris. The police concluded that he had committed suicide although his family believed he had been murdered.

Albert Fall

Albert Bacon Fall (November 26, 1861 – November 30, 1944)

Albert Bacon Fall (November 26, 1861 – November 30, 1944) was a United States Senator from New Mexico and the Secretary of the Interior under President Warren G. Harding, infamous for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal. Fall was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Interior by President Warren G. Harding in March 1921. Soon after his appointment, Harding convinced Edwin Denby, the Secretary of the Navy, that Fall’s department should take over responsibility for the Naval Reserves including the Teapot Dome Naval Reserve in Wyoming.

In April 1922 Wall Street Journal reported that Secretary Fall had issued oil drilling permits within the Teapot Dome Naval Reserve in Wyoming to two of his friends, oilmen Harry F. Sinclair (Mammoth Oil Corporation) and Edward L. Doheny (Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company) after receiving a bribe of $385,000. 

Fall was found guilty of conspiracy and bribery and was jailed for one year as a result—the first former cabinet officer sentenced to prison as a result of misconduct in office.

The Brisbane Courier – 7th June 1919

Aerial view of Brisbane, 1919Thiel, F. W. ( John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland ) Looking down on central Brisbane where the Treasury Building can be seen at the end of Queen Street. The second permanent Victoria Bridge spans the Brisbane River and the Roma Street rail yards are in the left centre. Link to high resolution image.

Why read today’s news on Saturday morning?  Chances are you already know the news in large part.  What is vastly more interesting is to read the news from 99 years ago.  In this regular Saturday morning post we will extract the news from the Saturday morning edition of The Brisbane Courier which in one form or another has been the newspaper of record in Queensland, Australia for more than 150 years.  You can down load the edition of the newspaper below or read it in full at the end of this blog. Italics: Unedited text, Normal: Edited or additions

Versailles Treaty Negotiations

The final German reply regards the Peace Treaty maintains that the allies terms will put Germany for ages beyond the pale of the white races.  The reply does not demand the restoration of any special colony, though it maintains that Germany has colonial rights.  If the negotiations fail, the German government that resistance to allied action will be purely passive.  Mr Lloyd George is reported to have been impressed by the appeals to modify the treaty in order to avoid Germany’s passive resistance.  Signor Orlando is willing to compromise, but President Wilson is unwilling, and Mr Clemenceau absolutely opposes the proposal.  The German Press is sounding the retreat, and this is taken as an indication that Germany will sign the treaty under protest. 

 It is reported that nine-tenths of the Cameroons will go to France without a mandate, and that Britain and France will divide Togoland.   The council of four has agreed to eliminate the limitation of armaments in the cases of small nations formerly under the rule of Austria-Hungary.  The demand of the Independent Socialists of Wurttemberg that the ex-Kaiser should be delivered up and brought to trial is rejected. 

The Treaty of Versailles, peace document signed at the end of World War I by the Allied and associated powers and by Germany in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, France, on June 28, 1919; it took force on January 10, 1920.

Indonesia – Volcanic eruption

It is officially reported that the victims from the recent volcanic eruption in Java number 5,350.

On May 1, 1919, the volcano Kelud, on the island of Java in Indonesia, erupted. The eruption resulted in the collapse of the crater lake and large mud and pyroclastic flow destroying 200 km2 of farmland within 25 kilometres of the volcano.  It is reported that more than 100 villages were destroyed.  This volcano is amongst the most dangerous in Indonesia. 

Czech Republic – Riots

Riots are taking place in Prague and shops are being raided and goods taken without payment, so that all shops are closed until the restoration of order.

Germany – Hoffman Resigns

General Hoffman’s cabinet at Munich has resigned and a coalition cabinet is being formed.

Egypt – Political Unrest

Unrest is still prevalent in Egypt.  Several raids have been made on cafes in Cairo, seditious literature seized, and some arrests made.

United States – Poision Gas

The chemical division of the United States Army, before the armistice, had planned to send aeroplanes to Germany for the purpose of pouring “Lewisite”, the deadliest poison known, which would have wiped out every vestige of vegetable and animal life.  Some 3,000 tonnes of Lewisite would have been ready for use by March.

United Kingdom – Captain Fryatt Burial

The British Government is arranging for the burial in England of the remains of Captain Fryatt.

Charles Algernon Fryatt was a British mariner who was executed by the Germans for attempting to ram a U-boat in 1915. When his ship, the SS Brussels, was captured off the Netherlands in 1916, he was court-martialled and sentenced to death although he was a civilian non-combatant.

Greece – Invasion of Turkey

The Greeks have occupied Aivali and Adramyti, two port cities of turkey in Asia.

China – Japanese Boycott

The boycott of Japanese good is spreading to the interior cities of China

 Afghanistan – Afghans Seek Peace

A letter dated May 28, from Amir Amanullah of Afghanistan, addressed to the Viceroy of India (Lord Chelmsford) asking for a cessation of hostilities, has been received at Peshawar, and its arrival in Simla, India is awaited.  It is officially announced that armistice terms have been offered to the Afghans, who recently appealed for a cessation of hostilities.  At first the officials considered the appeal made by the Afghans was merely a scheme designed for the purpose of gaining time. 

Russia  – The Revolution

Typhus is raging in Moscow.  Prominent Bolsheviks are selling their property and departing for the south.  The Bolsheviks fear that their power is drawing to a close. Newspapers at Helsingfore state that Mr. Lenin has offered General Koltchak an armistice, but the General has not replied.  It is reported that Finnish action against Russia is considered certain.  The Finns will attack on three sides.  The greatest force will be directed against Kem, with a view to cutting communications between Murmansk and Petrograd. 

Lenin before a crowd in 1919

Influenza in Brisbane, Queensland

Three deaths from Influenza occurred in Brisbane hospitals yesterday, and 427 cases were under treatment last night – 10 fewer than the previous day.

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people around the world, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.  A summary for the Week of Jun 7, 2019 is provided below:

  • Barcaldine: 50 patients in the shire Hall isolation hospital.  Practically all of the local railway staff was affected.
  • Blackall: 48 cases reported.  The first death occurred yesterday being that of Mr. William Howard who drove the local coach. 
  • Tambo: News was alarming with 350 cases and four deaths.  The patients have the services of the local nurse and women from the surrounding stations.
  • Murwillumbah: A Large number of cases “But the visitation is very mild”
  • Roma: The number of cases of influenza is showing a considerable decrease.  To deaths occurred yesterday being Mrs. D Cooper and Mrs. W Williams.  Nurse Hodgson became infected a week ago and died yesterday. 
  • Charleville: The influenza epidemic is abating with 13 patients remaining in the Pariah Hospital. 
  • Chinchilla: Two death from influenza have been reported including the superintendent of the Aboriginal settlement, Mr. william Dodd. 
  • Cairns: Eight cases reported with the last having arrived from Wodonga.  Four nurses at the local hospital have influenza. 
  • Gympie: One death overnight.
  • Nambour: The ladies of Nambour have arrangements well in hand for combating the epidemic.  A central kitchen is being established at the rural school which will in all probability be turned into an emergency hospital should the need arise. 
  • Toowoomba: A 29-year-old railway worker died yesterday of influenza.
  • Bald Hills: All local gathering have been postponed on account of the influenza, which is very prevalent.
  • Gatton: Influenza is rampant in the outlying districts and a large number of families are down with the trouble….
  • Rockhampton: To-day the town clerk received notification of 116 cases of influenza bringing the total to date to 740.  Today was by far the worst day which has been experienced in Rockhampton since the epidemic broke out. There were no fewer than 9 deaths, six in hospitals and 3 in private residences
  • Townsville. 220 men were absent at the local abattoir due to influenza. 
  • Clifton: The number of influenza cases is increasing but so far only on case of pneumonia with influenza has been reported.

The Rescue of Hawker, From Gloom to Joy, Experiences of the aviators

Delayed cables give particulars concerning the rescue of Mr H. G. Hawker the Australian Aviator, and Lieutenant Commander M. Greive.  They state that the public was overjoyed at the news of their safety.  It seemed almost hopeless when the King’s message of sympathy was received on Saturday night, and 12 British warships abandoned the search after a fruitless search of all of the likely routes.  The news of the rescue was quickly conveyed to Buckingham Palace.  The King and Queen quickly sent telegrams to Mrs. Hawker and Grieves mother and father.  Mrs. Hawker in an interview, said she knew her husband would return all right.  She believed he would try the Atlantic flight again. 

Harry Hawker was one of the worlds pioneering aviators. In 1913 he set an endurance record of 8 hours and 20 minutes, set a new height record of 11,700 feet and then later an air speed record of 92 miles per hour. Courtsey Monash University

Strike in Melbourne, Victoria

The official statement issued at the place of the compulsory conference with regard to the shipping strike, held in Melbourne, yesterday, contained the bare announcement that Mr. Justice Higgins should review the position the position from the Bench this morning.  It is understood however that his Honour castigated the advocates of direct action.

Flight Over the Atlantic

The St John’s correspondent of the “New York times” says that the Handley-Page bombing Biplane which is being assembled will be the largest aeroplane to attempt the Transatlantic flight.  Fully loaded the machine will carry 29,943 lb.  It is equipped with four Rolls-Royce eight-cylinder engine, generating a total of 1,500 horsepower.  It is estimated that the engines will consume 108 gallons of petrol per hour, at a speed of 90 miller per hour.  The machine will carry 2376 gallons of petrol and be equipped with a wireless plant of 25-mile receiving radius.  It can continue to fly even if two engines are not working.  The estimated cost of the biplane is £24,000.  It is expected that the machine will be ready for a test flight within a fortnight.  

The Handley Page V/1500 was a British night-flying heavy bomber built by Handley Page towards the end of the First World War. It was a large four-engined biplane, which resembled a larger version of Handley Page’s earlier O/100 and O/400 bombers, intended to bomb Berlin from East Anglian airfields. Wikipedia

Mining, Stocks and Shares

The stock and share market are still firm, prices being well maintained and where altered on the Brisbane Stock Exchange, the change was generally in an upward direction.  In War Loans this was noticeable, each class of Bonds showing a slight improvement. 

The DJIA for the date of this edition of The Brisbane Courier

Weather Queensland

The maximum temperature in Brisbane yesterday was 68.3 deg.; minimum 53 deg.; Forecast for Queensland issued at noon yesterday for the ensuing 24 hours.  Cloudy at times along entire coastline, with occasional showers, but generally fine; otherwise fine, but some probability for thunderstorms between Gulf and Darling Downs.  Rather cold by night in the SE interior; otherwise mild. South-easterly to easterly winds along the Pacific slope; easterly to north-easterly inland.