Sunday, January 20, 2008

Prince Regent Cake



250g (9oz) Butter or margarine
250g (9oz)Sugar
1 packet Vanilla-sugar (small packet, approx 10g?)
4 Eggs
A pinch of salt
200g (7oz) Plain flour
50g (1.75oz) Gustin (cornflour)
1 level teaspoon (3g) baking powder

1 packet Vanilla Custard (300g)
1 level teaspoon cocoa
100g (3.5oz ) sugar
5 tablespoons Cold milk
250g (9oz) Butter or margarine
1.75oz Coconut butter (optional)
425ml milk

150g (5.5oz) Icing sugar
3 level tablespoons Cocoa
2-3 tablespoons Hot water
20g (0.75oz) Butter or coconut butter, melted.


For the cake:
Cream the fat and add to it the sugar, vanilla, eggs and salt. Mix and sieve together the flour, cornflour and baking powder and then add to the creamed ingredients a tablespoon at a time. Bake 8 separate layers out of the mixture. Spread about 4 tablespoons of mixture each time on the base of a well greased, round cake tin (with removable rim and 10.5”/26cm diameter). Take care that the mixture is not too thin near the edge, as it might become brown. Bake each layer without the cake tin rim until golden. Cool each layer on a cake rack after baking.
Oven: Moderately hot (180C)
Baking time: 8-10 minutes.

For the filling:
Blend the vanilla, custard, cocoa and the sugar with the 5 tablespoons of milk. Bring the 425ml milk to the boil, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla custard mixture and bring to the boil once more, stirring all the time. If coconut butter is used, add this to the hot pudding. Set aside to cool, stirring frequently to prevent a skin forming. Cream the fat and beat into the cold pudding gradually. Take care that neither pudding nor fat are too cool or the cream may curdle. Spread each layer with the filling and place on top of one another to build the cake.

For the icing:
Sieve the icing sugar with the cocoa, add the hot water, to give a good coating consistency. Add the hot fat and ice the cake.

This recipe was bought to Australia by a German migrant, Annie Ringenberg, during the 1950's.
It was written down by Uschi's mum, as it was a family favourite. The "packet of vanilla sugar" is a bit of a mystery. We think it was a small sachet of vanilla used at the time. Maybe vanilla essence would do as a replacement. "Gustin" is a German brand name cornflour, any fine cornflour suitable for sponge cakes would be acceptable.
The cake is usually iced with a chocolate icing. Annie's special variation had a toffee covering on the top.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Story of Miller Maffaking Fergusson.

AWM Portrait of Miller Maffaking Fergusson .

Miller Fergusson enlisted in September 1916. When he presented for enlistment he stated that he was 18 but also provided a consent form from his parents. Other sources indicate it is likely that Miller was in fact only 16 at the time, judge for yourself from his portrait. The physical description of him on his attestation papers show he had a fair complexion and grey eyes. He stood 166cm tall (5 feet, 5.5 inches) and weighed 57 kg (126 pounds).
Miller embarked for overseas from Adelaide on the HMAT Afric in early November. He stepped off the ship in Plymouth on the 9th of January 1917. For the next three months he was based at the Australian Army training camp of Rolleston on the Salisbury plains. During his time there Miller got in trouble for “failing to carry out his duty as hut orderly” and was punished with 7 days confined to camp.
In early April Miller proceded to France where he was taken on strength by 27 Battalion in Etaples, one of 125 reinforcements for the battalion that month. On the 14th the Battalion marched for the from line
Twenty-four days after joining the unit Miller was wounded in action. Though evacuated to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, he died of his wounds on 5 May, the same day he received them. The 27th Battalion had been in the front lines for 19 days and withdrew the next day.
As with all soldiers, any personal items were repatriated home. In Miller’s case his items comprised of an identity disc, purse, souvenir locket, lucky bean, unit colours, photos, letters and part of his note book. The items were returned to Australia on HMAT Marathon and collected by Miller’s mother, Anne in Feb 1918.
Miller was buried in Grevillers British Cemetery near Bapaume. The cemetery had only been started in April 1917, Miller became one of the first soldiers of nearly 2000 who were interred there


Extract from 27th Battalion War Diary for May 1917.

At zero hour 3-45AM our barrage was put down 5th & 6th Aus. Infty Bdes attacked Hindenburg Line.
Enemy were shelling very heavily all over our sector our artillery also very active.
Lts Hunter and Gallasch with 6 others were lightly wounded. Lt Hunter remaining on duty.
Bn. Was withdrawn from front line after 19 days continuous duty in front line a& went into sunken road running from NOREUIL to MORCHIES.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Second Valley Diving

Me, kitted up for a dive.

A lovely blue sponge.

Bullseyes (Pempheris klunzingeri) under the jetty.

One of the boat sheds at Second Valley.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Story of Edward James Ellery

The original grave of Edward Ellery around 1919 (AWM)

Edward enlisted in Adelaide during February of 1916. At that time he was comparatively old at 34 years of age, he had been born in Richmans Valley and described himself as a farmer. He had brown hair, brown eyes, weighed 72kg (158 pounds) and was 178cm (5 foot 10 inches) tall.
Less than a month after his enlistment, Edward was aboard the HMAT Shropshire and sailing from Adelaide.
He reached Egypt with 32nd Battalion where he most likely carried out further training until he left Alexandria aboard HMAT Tunisian in late May. In Early June he stepped off that ship onto the soil of Europe in Marseille.
For the next two months he spent further time in and around Etaples until he was finally taken on strength as part of the 11th reinforcements for 27 Battalion on 11 August 1916. During August, mostly in the first few days before Edward joined them, 27 Battalion suffered 43 killed, 62 missing and 342 wounded (see the Story of Frederick Edwards for a description of the event). However, for the next two months the battalion was not called upon to carry out any further attacks. By mid October Edward was in hospital, no doubt embarrassed by the haemorrhoids he was suffering from. He spent some time in Number 3 Large Rest Camp at Wimereux and was transferred to the 26th General Hospital in Etaples. After a fortnight of medical care in France, Edward was sent to England for further attention, finally being discharged a few days before Christmas 1916. Edward was then given 14 days leave in the UK. Finally in mid February of 1917 Edward returned to France. After a further month Edward rejoined 27 Battalion and was also promoted to Lance Corporal.
Edwards record remains silent for the next seven months until early October when they note Edward suffered a gun shot wound to his right elbow.
However, for his actions that night Edward was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. His commendation reads:
“On the night of October 5/6th 1917 this soldier was driving a limber containing rations. On arrival at IDEAL HOUSE, WESTHOEK RIDGE, his limber became stuck in the mud. While trying to get his limber out the enemy opened up with a heavy barrage, and several shells dropped amongst the wagons, one hitting this driver’s limber. One of his horses was killed and he himself was wounded. Although the barrage still continued, Driver ELLERY remained at his post and succeeded in freeing his other horse. After shelling was over, owing to the casualties there were not sufficient Drivers to take wagons back to Camp, ELLERY, despite his wound, volunteered to drive a wagon. On arrival at Transport Lines he fainted through loss of blood.”
For the next month Edward was transferred around various hospitals in Belgium and France including those at Camiers, back to Etaples again, Cayeux and Le Havre. By mid November Edward was well enough to rejoin his unit.
In February 1918, he was granted another fortnight’s leave which he spent in England.
In August 1918 Edward was promoted to Corporal in the field to replace the Corporal Durbridge who had died of wounds on the ninth. Unfortunately, Edward was not to enjoy this increase in rank for very long as he too was killed 19 days later on the 2nd September during an attack by 27 Battalion on the village of Allienes.
Edward and another soldier, Private 2112 Beenham who was killed at the same time, were buried together where they fell by the rail line between Mont St Quentin (Perrone) and Allaines. A year later they were both “brought in” and now lie in the Perrone Communal Cemetery extension.
The cemetery extension was begun by the British in March 1917, then used by the Germans in 1918 after they captured Perrone. It changed hands again when the town was captured by Australian units in September 1918. After the war it was enlarged when graves were brought in from the battlefields near Peronne and from other small cemeteries in the area. There are now 1,579 graves/memorials for Commonwealth servicemen in the cemetery.
Edward was survived by his brother William, who was also serving, and his sister, Ada Rogers.
The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded for distinguished service, or for gallantry, principally by non-commissioned officers of all of the British armed forces. To be awarded the MSM today, an individual must have "good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service, with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout". During 1916-1919, army NCOs could be awarded the medal immediately for meritorious service in the field.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Port Noarlunga - A place to swim

A strangely high number of the hits on this blog are searching for info on snorkeling at Port Noarlunga. Consequently for this post I will describe the site a little.

It is one of the most popular SCUBA/snorkeling/swimming sites in South Australia.

From the aerial photo it can be seen that there is a jetty which runs out to a reef.


The jetty has two sets of steps. One at the very end, near the reef, and one about half way along. That is, about a third of the way between the mid tide mark and the reef.


The reef runs parallel to the shore about 400m out. It is a natural limestone feature in temperate waters (unlike the coral reefs generally associated with the tropics) and is more than 1500m long, but only a few metres wide. I think the natural reef has been supplemented by various debris over the years. There is a gap in the southern part of the reef which allows swimmers to pass through to the seaward side if they choose to. The reef gives shelter, from the open gulf, to swimmers (and fish!) on the shoreward side, particularly at low tide. However, care should always be taken as there can be strong drift (north or south) even inside the reef. It is best to swim into the current when beginning your swim, so that later when coming home you will be aided by the current rather than have to fight it when tired. While Port Noarlunga is a popular and relatively safe area, there are often no formal life saving or other services on hand, so assesing the suitability/safety of conditions is the responsibility of the swimmer.

At high tide the waves from the gulf pass over the reef. They carry particles and bubbles, so visibility is reduced. The seaward side of the reef carries a more luxuriant layer of sea vegetation, chiefly kelp. Between the reef and the low tide mark is a sandy floor with extensive areas of weeds and sometimes shell fish.


The whole area is a marine reserve which means that bait digging, spearfishing, line fishing within 25 metres of the reef or within 50 metres of the end of the jetty, collecting or removing anything (fish, shells etc) are all prohibited activities. There is a "marine trail" with 12 underwater markers (and one anchor!) which can be followed.

What you will see.

The usual way to enter the water is to walk to the extreme end of the jetty and use the steps there. Except for the last 50m of the jetty, line fishing is allowed and you will see what fish are biting at the time. Once in the water at the steps you will see thick schools of fish (Zebra Fish, Sweep, Leather Jackets, Whiting etc). They wait there to be fed by divers and others. The Jetty legs have metal bars attached for convenient handholds and the water is about 6-9m deep here. Swimming directly out from the jetty end puts you next to the reef within a few metres. Then travelling slowly north or south will give you the opportunity to see the various sea life along the reef. Most obvious will be Old Wives, Magpie Perch (feeding on the reef) Leather Jackets, Wrasse, Bryzoans, Starfish, SeaUrchins and Sponges. Reputedly there are over 200 species of marine life on the reef, including 38 species of fish.

Of course, the reef environment is fragile, with so many people visiting it, care should be taken to avoid touching anything if possible.

If you decide to swim back to the shore from the reef (or start by approaching the reef from the shore) either keep wholly underneath the jetty or swim many metres away from it in order to give the maximum clearance to the lines of people legitimately fishing from the jetty.

Trail Diagram taken from the PIRSA brochure regarding the Port Noarlunga trail.Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 04, 2008

Yet More Snorkeling - Port Noarlunga 1

Got up as the sun was rising and went for a swim at Seacliff. It was pretty cold and we spent an hour in the water. After that we decided to go to Port Noarlunga and got there mid morning with the tide very low. It was still a bit cool in the water but as the sun came up it became quite pleasant. I swam around the north end to the seaward side of the reef but the sun was on the other side side so it was pretty gloomy there and I went back to the sheltered side. Saw lots of things there, including these: Ceratosoma brevicaudatum, a short tailed nudibranch. One of three I saw on the day.

A lovely little Tasmanian Blenny hiding in a cleft in the reef, Parablennius tasmanius. There seem to be two colour variations in Tasmanian Blennies at Port Noarlunga. A bluish one and a mottled one.

The black fish took me ages to identify, I now think it is a "Scalyfin" Parma victoriae. In most fish books the Scalyfin is shown as a yellowish fish, but they can vary to dark grey/black like this one. The Blue fin margins were particularly striking.

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Yet More Snorkeling - Port Noarlunga 2

A shag on a rock!

A pink sponge.

Once I decided to get out of the water I swam back to shore under the jetty rather than get out and walk back along the jetty. In comparatively shallow water I saw this Eagle Ray Myliobatis australis. This was the fourth Eagle Ray I have seen recently, including one at marino and two off the beach at Seacliff.

Also an eleven armed sea star. This one was in a metre or so of water and walking toward some rocks. I think it may have wandered too far out from it's normal range the previous night.
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