01-01-2015, 02:30 AM
#1
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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Of historic interest, particularly to fellow Australian wet shavers, these images from the State Library of NSW:

http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/album/albumVie...mID=866963

The dates place the items in the late Georgian/Regency period.

For those who don't know Matthew Flinders, he was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. He was the first to name Australia "Australia". From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Flinders

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 01-01-2015, 02:52 AM
#2
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love it shaun - what a great brush! - and amazing that the glass dish survived intact.

from wikipedia:
In his own words, he was "induced to go to sea against the wishes of my friends from reading robinson crusoe", and in 1789, at the age of fifteen, he joined the royal navy.

a true adventurer!

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 01-01-2015, 03:24 AM
#3
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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Together with George Bass, they were a formidable pioneer duo. They put out more than once in a small boat (the "Tom Thumb") to explore the coast and areas around Sydney, and were once hit by a large wave, wetting all their powder and provisions...and having put to shore found themselves surrounded by a large group of local Aboriginal men. Better to read the story by a hand other than mine (I would not have chosen some of the wording, i.e. 'aboriginals' for "Aboriginal people" or their own local name, more appropriately):

"The powder having become wet and the muskets rusty, Bass and Flinders decided to land in order that they might spread their ammunition in the sun to dry, and clean their weapons. The natives, who increased in number to about twenty, gathered round and watched with curiosity. Some of them assisted Bass in repairing a broken oar. They did not know what the powder was, but, when the muskets were handled, so much alarm was excited that it was necessary to desist. Some of them had doubtless learnt from aboriginals about Port Jackson of the thunder and lightning made by these mysterious pieces of wood and metal, and had had described to them how blackfellows dropped dead when such things pointed and smoked at them. Flinders, anxious to retain their confidence (because, had they assumed the offensive, they must speedily have annihilated the three whites), hit upon an amusing method of diverting them. The aboriginals were accustomed to wear their coarse black hair and beards hanging in long, shaggy, untrimmed locks, matted with accretions of oil and dirt. When the two Botany Bay blacks were taken on board the Tom Thumb as pilots, a pair of scissors was applied to their abundant and too emphatically odorous tresses. Flinders tells the rest of the story:

"We had clipped the hair and beards of the two Botany Bay natives at Red Point (near Port Kembla; named by Cook [note* "Kembla" is an Aboriginal word for "plenty of wild fowl"] and they were showing themselves to the others and persuading them to follow their example. Whilst therefore the powder was drying, I began with a large pair of scissors to execute my new office upon the eldest of four or five chins presented to me, and as great nicety was not required, the shaving of a dozen of them did not occupy me long. Some of the more timid were alarmed at a formidable instrument coming so near to their noses, and would scarcely be persuaded by their shaven friends to allow the operation to be finished. But when their chins were held up a second time, their fear of the instrument, the wild stare of their eyes, and the smile which they forced, formed a compound upon the rough savage countenance not unworthy the pencil of a Hogarth. I was almost tempted to try what effect a little snip would produce; but our situation was too critical to admit of such experiments."

Flinders treats the incident lightly, and as a means of creating a diversion while preparing a retreat it was useful; but it can hardly be supposed to have been an agreeable occupation to barber a group of aboriginals. What the heads were like that received Flinders' ministrations, may be gathered from the description by Clarke, the supercargo of the wrecked Sydney Cove, concerning the natives whom he encountered in the following year (March 1797): "Their hair is long and straight, but they are wholly inattentive to it, either as to cleanliness or in any other respect. It serves them in lieu of a towel to wipe their hands as often as they are daubed with blubber or shark oil, which is their principal article of food. This frequent application of rancid grease to their heads and bodies renders their approach exceedingly offensive."

But the adventure, by putting the blacks into a good humour, enabled Bass and Flinders to collect their dried powder, obtain fresh water, and get back to their boat. The natives became vociferous for them to go up to the lagoon, but the natives "dragged her along down the stream shouting and singing," until the depth of water placed them in safety. Flinders, in his Journal, expressed the view that "we were perhaps considerably indebted for the fear the natives entertained of us to an old red jacket which Mr. Bass wore, and from which they took us to be soldiers, whom they were particularly afraid of; and though we did not much admire our new name, Soja, we thought it best not to undeceive them."

Note: now we can't let them get away with this entirely Smile It is known that the ships that the whites sailed in stunk to high heaven (bilge, etc) and downwind they were reputed to be able to be smelled before they were seen. The Aboriginal people were reputed to use the oils as mentioned above as an effective mosquito repellant, so it served a useful and necessary purpose: it was not simply a matter of being 'dirty'. Secondly, the teeth of the white sailors were probably quite bad (read De Quincy on opium and the introduction of sugar into the European diet) ...and they also ate CHEESE. By local accounts, the breath (particularly) and general smell of the sailors was considered absolutely repugnant by Aboriginal people, who called the whites "corpses", not just because they had white skin, by and large, but because they smelled like rotting flesh Smile

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 01-01-2015, 03:34 AM
#4
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probably the first shave of australians Cool

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 01-01-2015, 03:51 AM
#5
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Great history. Flinders was a boar guy, then?

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 01-01-2015, 04:18 AM
#6
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(01-01-2015, 03:51 AM)Rory1262 Wrote: Great history. Flinders was a boar guy, then?

Ha ha, very good, yes. I wonder if he and Bass were members of a wet shaving community? Smile

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 01-01-2015, 05:32 AM
#7
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Interesting account and items.

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 01-01-2015, 11:58 AM
#8
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Thanks for sharing, Shaun!

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 01-01-2015, 04:39 PM
#9
  • refles
  • Senior Member
  • New York
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History lesson to start the year. Great post on the global aspect of our hobby!

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 01-02-2015, 12:19 AM
#10
  • mark1966
  • Member
  • Canberra [the capital city of] Australia
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Nice work mate!

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