Isabella Bird, Author: She spotted early surf boarding in 1870s!

WHAT THE LADY DID SEE?

THE LADY WAS A BRITISH AUTHOR WHO WAS WRITING ABOUT THE INGENUITY OF NEW IDEAS IN HER COUNTRY.

FRANK MORRIS

Isabella Bird’s book, The Hawaiian Archipelago, written after her tour of the Sandwich Islands in the 1870s, contains what is probably the first account of surfboarding long before it became a national sport.

On this particular day, Ms Bird gathered with “a large party of friends” on the beach to watch “a grand display of surf-bathing…a really most exciting pastime, and in rough sea requires immense nerve”.

She gives a colourful description of the surfboard: “(It) is a tough plank shaped like a coffin, about two feet broad, and from six to nine feet long, well oiled and cared for. It is usually made of the erythrina, or the breadfruit tree”.

The surf this day was very heavy, but favourable. The men, she writes, pushed their boards before them, swam out to the first line of breakers…and reappeared in smooth water half a mile from shore.

DEXTEROUS MOVEMENT

“What they seek is a very high roller, on the top of which they leap from behind, lying face downwards on their boards”, she wrote:

“As the wave speeds on…(they) appeared poising themselves on it highest edge by dexterous movements of their hand and feet, keeping just at the top of the curl, but always apparently coming downhill with a slanting motion. “They rode majestically, always just ahead of the breaker…the more daring riders knelt and even stood on their surfboards, waving their arms and uttering exultant cries.“The great art seems to be to mount the roller precisely at the right time, and to keep exactly on its curl just before it breaks”.

Below: Isabella Bird saw ‘early’ board-riders steal the show.


When you adopt or return a dog you’re in BIG trouble – BIG, BIG trouble!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

See!


ONE IN 8 PERSONS HAS PARKINSON’S

NEXT: Remember Shadow King the racehorse? He was a champion at running places in the august Melbourne Cup from 1929-1935 … FLASHBACK -- The third newspaper in Australia, the Geelong Advertiser, is still going strong! … Wireless at sea marks an epoch of safety … THE CAUSE: Parkinson’s is still unknown. But, warned the Parkinson’s officials, your medication must be taken on time every time. 1t’s estimated that approximately four per 1000 – roughly 80,000 – in Australia have Parkinson’s. COMING: Did you know? A column that puts you in the know.


ROOFTOP GARDENS: Final! The ‘father’ of hydroponic gardening dates from a century and a half ago

BACK IN 1980, THE CASTLE HILL RSL LEAD THE PACK. IT DISCOVERED A NEW ‘MARKETING PLOY’ – A GARDEN DESIGNED WITH A HYDROPONIC ASSORTMENT OF PLANTS.

HYDROPONICS BEGAN TO APPEAR PROMINTENTLY FROM OVERSEAS IN THE 1950s. WHICH, OF COURSE, WAS NOT THE CASE.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Sir -- I was an interested reader of your cover story, Hydroponics Hits the Club Scene, on growing plants.

I am quite sure that most people who read it would have gained the impression that your unnamed German horticulturist invented hydroponics in the late 1950s. Which, of course, was not the case. Nor would he have been the first to apply the technique to the growing of indoor plants.

Real water culture dates from 1860d when Knop, a German chemist, and Sachs, a botanist, first added chemicals to water and obtained a nutrient solution. In 1929, W.F. Gericke announced hydroponics, having developed the method along substantial lines in America.

A MERE AMATEUR

In fact, it would be safe to say that hydroponics, as we know it today (first called aquiculture, really had its beginning in that country and Gericke was the "father" of it.

W.F. Gericke wrote a book on the subject, The Complete Guide to Soiless Gardening, which was first published in 1940. As a mere amateur, I established two inground hydroponicums in my backyard in 1946. And, along with other enthusiasts ... experimented and had success with indoor plants.

So, in the light of the foregoing facts, you will forgive me for querying your assertion that a young German horticulturist "came up with the method" in the late 1950s. If he did, there is no way in the world that the gentleman could call it his own!

G.H. TUCKWELL

Secretary

Balgowlah Golf Club, Sydney.

Frank Morris comments: They did quote 1950s as when the young German horticultural wizard came up with a method of growing indoor plants without water, called in hydroponics. Said Club Management magazine: "It involved growing plants in water, impregnated with nutrients." The method was so successful in Europe that it spread to Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United States and, more recently, Australia. In the late 1970s, when I was editor of the same magazine, Club Management, I introduced an article on hydroponics by American writer David Devor. I angled the story towards clubs that wanted new marketing ideas for their establishment. Growing of hydroponic vegetables was the "in thing" then -- and still is.


THE QUEEN: Meeting 11 presidents of the United States!

THE QUEEN ON ENGLAND, INFORMALLY, MET THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MR RICHARD NIXON, AND THE FIRST LADY. BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, EDWARD HEATH HAD A CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT. THE YEAR WAS 1971.

SOURCE: “Isabella Bird” by Frank Morris … Adoption of a dog by Shaw Cross, 1960 … Rooftop Gardens by Frank Morris … The Queen from Google.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 12 April 19

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