In 1956, an Olympic year, the world was beset with Cold War anxieties. Tensions between East and West had been heightened less than a month before the Games when the USSR invaded Hungary to crush an uprising. Then Israeli, French and British armies invaded and occupied Egypt’s Sinai and Suez Canal Zone. Would the Melbourne Olympic Games be remembered as the “friendly” Games, a sea of tranquillity in a stormy world, or would they become a victim of the Cold War? Would our moment in the sun be blown away by revolutions and wars raging over 15,000 kilometres away?

Reporting on the Olympic Games for The New Yorker Magazine, sports writer John Lardner suggested that Melbourne had found the antidote for the tensions that plagued the rest of the world. “Australia is enjoying almost a world monopoly on peace, harmony, civility, understanding, and other such symptoms of civilization and good breeding, while Europe is behaving like someone you would think twice about introducing to your sister.”

Keeping Australia safe from the frigid winds of the Cold War was ASIO. However it had never faced a challenge like the one posed by the Olympic Games. Its forte was hunting down “reds under the beds”: local comrades in the universities, unions and the media who might be run as agents of influence by Soviet spies. In 1954, Australians discovered just how real the threat was when Vladimir Petrov defected, as did his wife. He was Third Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, as well as being a lieutenant colonel in the KGB.

I was only one year old for these Olympic Games, but I certainly remember while I was growing up, the dread of “reds under the beds”.


Sheena helping with set-up

People chatting at information stalls

Great day out yesterday at the Volunteer Expo, hosted by Swan Volunteers. Elizabeth and her enthusiastic team created a fantastic event with many stalls vying for their share of the volunteer pool. Well done Swan Volunteers for such a successful networking event. I hope this is the first of many more to come.


Mary Delaney

Mary Delaney was born on the 15th may 1700. Her stunning works are often mistaken for watercolours, but they are in fact delicate collages – each flower could be made of up to 200 tiny paper petals. She is worth a google to see her beautiful work. At first glance her pictures look like watercolours, but when viewed closely the viewer can see the intricate patterns of miniscule paper petals that make up the flower of choice.

One of Mary’s incredibly delicate works
Another beautiful piece


Hello readers! We had a great day out yesterday for our historic walk in Wooroloo.

Latitude 31° 48′ S Longitude 116° 19′ E

The townsite of Wooroloo is located in the Darling Range 60 km east north east of Perth and 26 km north east of Mundaring. Land was first set aside for a future townsite in this area in 1841, and was referred to as Worriloo, but the land was never used for a townsite. The area was first settled by the Byfield brothers in the 1870’s and in 1893 a railway stopping place named Byfield’s Mill was opened to service the sawmilling industry in the area. A school was established in 1896, and named Wooroloo, and in 1897 the railway station was renamed Wooroloo. Following the establishment of other community facilities in the area, and the opening of the Wooroloo Sanatorium in 1912, the government surveyed blocks and gazetted the townsite of Wooroloo in 1913.

Wooroloo derives its name from the nearby Wooroloo Brook, first discovered by explorers in 1830. The brook was at first recorded as the “Gatta” and then the “Goodmich River”, although some pools in were referred to as “Worrilow” in 1834. The current spelling was used from around 1896.

Walkers enjoying morning tea after their walk
Still enjoying morning tea while given some more local information by Vice President Jenny Johnson
Chatting about their walk
Loads of information files were placed on the trestle tables. Staff and volunteers milling around to top up the information.


Its May Day! What does the radio distress signal mean? Well technically it means HELP. The origins of the word are from the french vernacular “venez m’aider” which translates to “come help me”.

However, the international distress signal ‘Mayday’ is not the only meaning of Mayday, the international radiotelephone distress signal Mayday is also known as May Day which falls on the 1st day of the month of May.

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye.

There is a third meaning. Try this one:

The 1st May is an ancient Northern Hemisphere festival, now known as ‘May Day’, which traditionally marked the return of spring. It is believed that the celebrations originated in agricultural rituals intended to ensure fertility for crops, held by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Later developments included the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night.  Today, many customs still mark this ancient festival, including the gathering of wildflowers and the setting up of a decorated May tree or Maypole, around which people dance.

Just another snippet of trivia. Enjoy!

Dancing around the Maypole