11th April 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, in Paris, France – Oleg Cassini (Loiewski), fashion designer who dated Grace Kelly, Betty Grable, Lana Turner and Ursula Andress, and married Gene Tierney, but not necessarily in that order.

World Affairs: Nathaniel Griffith Lerotholi becomes paramount chief of Basutoland (a British Colony – Lesotho since independence in 1966).

Human Rights: The US Postmaster General proposes the segregation of black and white employees in the US postal service, and is unopposed, leading to active segregation of bathrooms and lunchrooms for employees later in the year.

The S.S Sutlej arrives in Fiji carrying 808 indentured Indian labourers destined to work in the plantations.

Women’s Suffrage: A cricket pavilion at the Tunbridge Wells cricket ground in England is burnt to the ground. The suffragettes leave their calling card – including a photograph of Mrs Pankhurst.


Society and Culture: In Marietta, Ohio, US, where martial law is still in place following the recent flooding, colonel John Patterson, President of the National Cash Register Company and a recent visitor as part of the Ohio (flood) relief commission, advocates diverting the Muskingum river to avoid Marietta and reduce the risk of future flooding.

At the old Parliament Building in Budapest, Abdu’l-Bahá, founder of the Baha’i faith, speaks to an audience of over 1000 listeners.

In Clanfield, Oxfordshire, UK, Frederick Whipp, 96 old former agricultural worker,  is buried in the local churchyard. He died recently in the Witney Union  workhouse in Curbridge.

Migration: At Mosman, in Sydney Australia, Gracius Joseph Broinowski dies, aged 76. Born in Poland in 1837 he studied at Munich University before leaving for Australia on a “windjammer” in 1857. He married the daughter of a whaling captain in 1863 and settled in Sydney around 1880, becoming famous for his illustrated works on Australian ornithology.

10th April 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan – Yoshio Fukui, ace fighter pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy who fought in both the second Sino-Japanese War and in the Pacific theatre in WW2.

Empire, Human Rights and Labour Relations: In Fiji, an incident (“Kunti’s cry”) between an indentured female Indian labourer and the plantation overseer sparks an intense campaign to stop the importation of indentured labourers and the degredation of Indian women on colonial plantations. Kunti becomes a national hero after her case is published in the Indian language Fijian press.

Shipping news: The S.S Katoomba is launched today by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has been built for passenger service around Australia, will be requisitioned as a troopship in May 1918 and again in February 1942, sold to a Greek shipping company and renamed “Columbia” in 1949, laid up in Piraeus in 1958 and scrapped in Nagasaki in 1959.

The “Butty” (narrow boat) “Kildare” is gauged at Smethwick, UK, for use on England’s industrial canals at a cost of 190  english pounds. She will carry timber, road-stones, coal, zinc, and occasionally foodstuffs (soy, dates), powered by horses on the tow path, and will serve both commercial and (later) recreational purposes until 1991 when she will be acquired by the Black Country Living Museum in the English Midlands at the heart of the industrial canal network.

28th February 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, in the Bronx, New York City – Victoria Hamilton Adair, American Poet.

DIED TODAY – shot in Possession Bay, South Georgia, Antartica – the largest ever recorded elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) measuring 6.85 meters (22.5 ft) long and estimated to weigh 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb).

Disasters & accidents: In Omaha, Nebraska, a fire a the Dewey Hotel kills 20 people.

Arms Race: At Portland Harbour in Dorset (UK) an airship is seen by a postman, a government official and a nurse. It is using a strong searchlight and clearly unconcerned about being observed by casual passers-by.

Science and technology: In Sydney, NSW, the “Royal Hall of Industries” opens with a range of modern and forward looking exhibits including motorbikes, insecticides and photographic equipment.

Empire, shipping, labour and migration: The SS Ganges – a 3475 ton steam ship launched in Glasgow in 1906 – leaves Fiji bound for India. On board are 807 Indian indentured laborers who have completed their contract in Fiji. 681 are heading home to Calcutta (modern Kolkata) and 126 to Madras (modern Chennai). Between 1879 and 1916 tens of thousands of Indians migrated to Fiji to find work – mostly on sugar plantations. Repatriation began in 1892 and will continue (eventually using aeroplanes) until 1956.