EXPRESS DELIVERY If you are skinny, breath-takingly brave and able to ride a horse at breakneck speed, you may have had the right stuff to deliver mail during the days of the perilous Pony Express. If you can laugh in the face of danger and happen to be an orphan, you’d have the job in the bag for sure! In 1860 daring Pony Express riders thundered across treacherous trails from Missouri to California, riding rough day and night, rain or shine, to make sure the mail went through.
WANTED YOUNG, SKINNY, WIRY FELLOWS not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 per week. APPLY, PONY EXPRESS STABLE St Joseph, Missouri
Delivery boy Legend has it that the youngest rider of the Pony Express was a lad named ‘Bronco Charlie’ Miller. He was just 11 when he hit the mail trail.
Speed read It usually took ten days for riders to race the Pony Express route. But the mail sailed through at record speed when President Lincoln’s Inaugural Address was delivered in seven days, 13 hours. Those were some pooped ponies!
I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Mail to San Francisco in just ten days!
I wonder if they serve expressos on the Pony Express – I think I need one!
Getting licked The Pony Express was a fast and furious operation. The horseback relay mail service took off on 3 April 1860, but it came to a halt on 24 October 1861 when the nation got wired with telegraph technology.
ne w s o f bringing r e t t le A eli ve red lection, d e ’s ln o c Lin Ex p ress. by Pony Catch the spirit of the Pony Express
CANDY-BAR KING People say money melts away, but what if you were paid in chocolate? The Aztec Indians were first to twig to the treasures of the cacao tree. They bashed the beans to make a chocolate beverage fit for kings. Centuries later, a sweetie named Milton Hershey cracked the recipe to give Americans a chocolate bar so cheap they could afford the treat even if they barely had a bean!
I’m sweet on the outside, but inside I’m a bit nuts!
This is such a sweet business.
A nutter for peanut butter People thought that coating bite-size morsels of peanut butter in chocolate was an outof-this-world idea – even E.T. the adorable alien thought Reese’s Pieces® were a runaway success!
KISS AND TELL Milton Hershey built a town around his chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. In Hershey, the streets have names like Chocolate Avenue, and the lampost lights are shaped like kisses, but it all started with cacao beans in the jungle.
Look out, that’s not a chocolate pie, it’s a cow pie!
Chocolate drops Chocolate tastes heavenly, but can it fall from the sky? Yes! In 1948 in the aftermath of World War II, a US Air Force pilot nicknamed ‘The Chocolate Flyer’ parachuted chocolate bars from his C-54 plane to children in war-torn Berlin.
We’re feeling a bit shattered by now.
Bean there, done that.
But we’re totally wrapped to be here!
Find out about the first kiss
Tornado ALLEY There are many ups and downs in real estate, but nothing as shattering as having your house picked up by a monster storm that spins it around then drops it down the street! The twisters that tear through Tornado Alley are often deadly. Knowing theyâ€™ll face an arsenal of torrential rain, relentless hail and gale-force winds, most people shelter from the fury, but not storm chasers. Thatâ€™s when these mad scientists whirl in to work! Prime tornado
MEAN AND EXTREME
Is that a flying snake, for goodness sake?
time: March through August, afternoon to evening.
About 1000 tornadoes hit the United States every year, and most strike the central states of Oklahoma, Kansas, the Texas Panhandle, Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado. Tornadoes will sometimes lift and destroy houses, but leave light objects like paper and plates undisturbed. They have been known to toss trains, suck up snakes and even pluck the feathers from chickens!
This mattr ess s out o prung f bed when storm the struc k.
Sucked up During a tornado in Kansas, a woman took cover in her bathroom. She grabbed hold of the toilet, but was then sucked up by the twister and knocked out by flying debris (which hopefully did not come from the toilet)! She was rescued by two superhero storm chasers.
Holy cow. This is not the best way to make a milkshake!
TWIRLING TWISTERS Tornadoes are born inside a big thunderstorm and created by powerful, twisting winds that form a freaky looking funnel. From the outside, tornadoes can look like snaking ropes, cones or elephant trunks. Debris clouds show that a tornado has reached the ground.
What is this, the Tornado Tango?
Twist and shout rm chasers are You might think sto t most are scientists adrenalin junkies, bu rcell storms form. who study how supe equipment to y ut They use heavy-d ly conditions. gather data in dead
Meet the Cyclone Cowboy
Average tornado alert warning time: 13 minutes.
teeth of Terror There are fish-crunching, morsel-munching sharks bringing grief to the reefs all over Australia, and when their death-delivering dentures wear out or get lodged in a frightened fish, then there’s another row of teeth ready to reign terror!
Maim’s my middle name Good grief, look at those teeth. A great white shark is also nicknamed ‘the white death’. No wonder, really. It has about 240 razor-sharp teeth with jagged edges.
What a blast! Imagine dodging bombs and bullets while doing a spot of body surfing. In 1935 people were asked to suggest ways to help reduce shark attacks. Some of the more outlandish ideas were to use explosives to blow up the sharks or to mount machine guns up on the cliffs.
die More people from surfing than s. shark attack The cage of death All this steel stops shark cage divers from becoming a shark meal. This is not for the faint-hearted. There are no creature comforts in the cage and lunch is optional! Fancy some fish fingers?
What a tourist trap!
Teeth on the reef Different sharks have different kinds of teeth, depending on what they eat. Some teeth are designed to crush the shells of crabs and sea urchins. Some are smooth and rounded for grinding. Others just grab and stab!
TEETH OF TERROR
Marine park sharks What would you expect to see at Shark Bay? Sharks, of course. One kind of shark is called the nervous shark. What’s it got to be nervous about? Maybe the peculiar-looking sharks that it shares its home with.
Head like a hammer Hammerhead sharks really nail their victims! They use their flattened heads to hold down their prey before they take a bite.
Where’s the tooth fairy when you need her?
Dead on the seabed At Coogee Aquarium in 1935, a tiger shark vomited up an arm. Fingerprints and a tattoo on the arm led police to a small-time crook who had been dumped at sea.
A gruesome gobbler Goblin sharks are always gobblin’ up something, but luckily for swimmers, they usually sink their ferocious teeth into fish and crabs.
That trunk looks ’armless.
A cookie-cutter nutter This is one cookie you don’t want to eat. Cookie-cutter sharks inflict cookie-shaped wounds.
hullabaloo at the harbour Meet the radical and rule-breaking Sydney Opera House. You might not know it today, but when it was first designed, some people said that it couldn’t and shouldn’t be built – and it almost wasn’t. But the Sydney Opera House really has plenty to sing about and plenty to smile about, too. It is one of the most photographed buildings on the planet. Outside, it is a meeting place and a greeting place. Inside, the music venues host operas, ballets and dramas. There has even been a flea concert!
The master of the piece When Australia ran an international contest to find a design for an opera house, 233 entries from 32 countries flooded in. Jørn Utzon, an architect from Denmark, took out the top prize in 1957. A keen sailor, Utzon created a radical design that looked like a ship with billowing sails. But the project wasn’t always smooth sailing. It took Utzon a couple of years alone to work out how to build the roof ‘sails’.
At first, the winning design sat in the rejection pile.
That dog collar is nothing to sing about.
when does the flea concert start?
Concerts are part of daily life at the Sydney Opera House, but what about a canine concert? In 2010 the world’s first concert for dogs was 20 minutes of hound-howling and toe-tapping fun for about one thousand dogs and their owners. To the humans, it sounded like ear-piercing, highpitched whistles. To the hounds, it was heavenly harmony.
hullabaloo at the harboUr
Opera orange Like Isaac Newton with his falling apple, architect Jørn Utzon had a real Eureka moment when he peeled an orange and saw the three-dimensional segments. There are 14 roof segments on the Sydney Opera House, forming an ‘orange’ or a perfect sphere if they were all put together.
I look like an orangE.
The tile file At a quick count, there are more than one million tiles on the Opera House’s roof. Luckily, they are self-cleaning when it rains. The tiles look white from afar, but a closer look reveals they consist of cream matt tiles and white glazed tiles. Fancy a look-alike roof on your house? There’s nothing stopping you. They are still available. Just ask for the ‘Sydney tile’.
I hope it rains. There are miles of tiles!
In May and June, Vivid Sydney, a festival of light and music, sure paints the town red – and every other colour of the rainbow. At night, colourful creations are projected onto the sails of the Opera House. But when it is not being lit up with special effects, there’s no need to feel blue. The white and cream tiles change colour in the natural sunlight.
Sydney Opera House – www.sydneyoperahouse.com
The Iron Outlaw In the late 1800s, the thought of having bushrangers roaming about made some folks jumpy. So much so that one man, upon hearing a loud bang, hid up in a tree all night, only to discover in the morning that a cook had dropped a pot! The police were jumpy, too. After all, Ned Kelly, the infamous outlaw, had robbed banks and murdered three policemen. But at Glenrowan in 1880, the police took on the armed and armoured Kelly Gang and won. Three of the gang lay dead, including Ned’s brother Dan. Ned Kelly was wounded but captured. When Ned was hung later that year, he is reported to have said, ‘Such is life!’
A long letter
In February 1879 the Kelly Gang headed to Jerilderie to rob a bank. The robbery took three days. On Friday night, they locked up the two policemen in their own jail and waited for the bank to open on Monday. On Sunday, Ned Kelly got out his now famous 8300word letter, which explained how he wanted justice for himself and his family.
Treasure or trash? The Kelly Gang’s armour and helmets went to four different locations, except three of them got muddled up. Not everyone thought Ned Kelly’s stuff was treasure. In the 1950s someone at a museum threw out his shotgun thinking it was junk!
I am not a letter box!
Farmer armour r The Kelly Gang’s armou the m fro was made curved blades of farm ploughs. Ned’s suit was ed the heaviest and weigh did ere Wh . 44kg (97lb) ugh they get hold of the plo e, som ht ug bo ey Th s? de bla rs me far d pinched some, an even gave them some.
THE IRON OUTLAW
‘E. Kelly'? 'ned' is short for EdwarD.
Ned was hanged in Melbourne Gaol (Jail) on 11 November 1880. During Ned’s autopsy, his head was cut off. In the 1920s, rumour has it that his skull was a paperweight on a policeman’s desk. Then in 1978 the skull was stolen from the Old Melbourne Gaol. Here’s the latest heads-up. In 2009 the skull, which had ‘E. Kelly’ written on the side, was handed in, but forensic scientists concluded that it wasn’t Ned’s head.
The reward for Ned Kelly’s capture was split among 67 people!
That stands for ‘Really important person’.
Bones and bullets At the autopsy people took parts of the body for souvenirs. What remained of it was buried in a mass grave in the prison grounds. In 2011 scientists tested the bones from 33 skeletons found in the grave. They identified Ned Kelly’s headless skeleton.
In 1869 Ned was arrested for the first time. He was just 14 years old.
Not-for-Parents GREAT BRITIAN
h s i t Bri
S g o d b u ll
Despite its sourpuss expression, pushed-in nose and one heck of an underbite, the British bulldog sums up the grit and determination of the British people. The bulldog is a battler, first used to guard and bait bulls and bears back in the 1200s until the sport of bull baiting was banned in 1835. Luckily, today bulldogs are more likely to guard their food bowls. Many of the bulldog’s British buddies are the cat’s whiskers, too. They were rat catchers, sheep herders and sometimes just a man’s best friend.
He would sa y that.
A miniature poodle
‘It is not the in the fight, of the fight Winston
size of the dog it is the size in the dog!’ – Churchill
The leader of the pack During World War II, the great British leader Winston Churchill was nicknamed ‘the British Bulldog’ by the Russians because of his fighting spirit. If only they’d known that Churchill’s own dog was a miniature poodle.
BRITISH BULLDOGS AND BUDDIES
a nd bu ddies No dogs allowed? King Charles II was besotted with his dogs to the point that he made a decree that the King Charles Spaniel could go in any public place and even in the Houses of Parliament. This law still stands today. Now that’s pet power!
I don’t th ink dogs look like their owners.
What a mascot Many sports clubs around the world have adopted the courageous, fearless British bulldog as their mascot. However, some clubs have gone for more unusual mascots, including weevils, aardvarks, armadillos, artichokes and even a pickle!
I look like the dog’s dinner in this scarf.
Welsh Corgi: The word ‘corgi’ in Welsh means ‘dwarf dog’. Short legs come in handy when you nip and snap at livestock’s feet while trying to avoid a swift kick. Border Collie: Its name comes from the fact that it was bred in the border areas between Scotland and England.
Roast beef and beer Some pubs serve dog-friendly pub grub. One establishment dishes up Sunday roast with cat-flavoured gravy made from beef stock and fish sauce! It can all be washed down with a cool dog beer. There’s not a dog’s chance of getting drunk though. The non-alcoholic drink is made from hops, malt and meat extract.
Some say Mary Queen of Scots’s dog hid under her dress when she was beheaded.
THE £10 TICKET
Redback spider 28
spider man Where’s need him! when you
who were just £10, Brits e to In the 1960s, for of age could emigrat the under 45 years free. When kids went for Australia, and in 1947, scheme started Ten Pound Pom pavement pounded the 400,000 people The Brits the £10 tickets. and to register for behind the rain leave to land were eager a new life in the a rationing to start sun. Postwar Australi of sea, surf and perish’! to ‘populate or believed it had
WA lTziNg MAT ildA
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Dangerous dunnies found Poms The Ten Pound Australia some things in of them had foreign. Many back lovely flush toilets horror their home. Imagine the Australian when they saw was often a ‘dunny’, which the end of dry toilet down toilet was the garden. The ox’, and called the ‘thunderband snakes venomous spiders loo, too. the often went to
thE £10 tickET
MY BEARD LOOKS LIKE A BUSH!
Beating the heat Poms almost The Ten Pound were did perish! They huts in housed in steel got so hot hostels. The huts they had in summer that with water to to be sprayed Some Ten cool them down. it was like Pound Poms said ation living in a concentr hostel! hostile camp. What a
POTATOES PRISONERS, ATES ANd POMEGRAN ideas about
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Sailing to Australia,
Spell uote’. ‘Einwanderungsq
There and back comes boomerang, it who If you throw a Ten Pound Poms then back. For those and went back home given left Australia, , they were are returned to Australia ng Poms. There the name Boomera who go back and Poms, also Ping-Pong between Australia and forth many times they feel homesick! home. No wonder
test for Pass the s, to qualify me, In the 1950 d Pom sche ical Poun a med the Ten to pass , adults hadon. Back in 1901to examinati immigrant had that the ful a hope words correctly easy, Sounds write 50 se dictated. r could choo officer the office language! except any s from 50 word
called the British Australian soldiers War II ‘Poms’ World mash troops during ate an instant because the British How s’mashing! potato called Pom. When the Ten Pound Poms arrived, the hot sun made their pale round cheeks turn rosy red, so they looked like pomegranates.
Ten Pound Meet some famous
Once a jolly swa gman Under cam sang as the shade of ped by a bil lab ong a Coolib he wat , che You’ll ah tree come a- d and wai , ted Waltz ing Ma till his Billy tilda wit boi led, SONG wOrdS h me.
billabong – a stagnant part of a river billy – a tin can for making tea jumbuck – a sheep swag – personal belongings swagman – a traveller or a shearer trooper – a cavalry soldier waltzing matilda – to carry a swag
Singing like billy-oh Sometimes it’s change your good to tune, and that’s what happened to the song in tea compan 1903. A y used the song ‘Waltzin g to help promot Matilda’ product Billy e its Tea. It wrapped a copy the song around of each tea packet, although the song was slightly different from the original. Which word got more of a mention? Billy, of course!
‘Waltzing Matilda’ is the offic ial unoff icial national anthem.
A sculpture in Winton of the three troopers’ revolvers
Play it again In early 1895 Christina played from ear the tune of a Scottish march song, called Craigiel the zither. She ee, on room at Dagworplayed in the sitting family’s propert th Station, her Queensland. y near Winton in Banjo Paterso there, too (no, n was he wasn’t playing banjo) and the wrote first verse, turningthe words for the it from a Scottish song into a bush ballad. In 1903 Banjo Paterso n sold the rights to the song for five pounds !
home went rs If you two yea in within iving of arr you had lia, Austra £110. back to pay
A horse, of course The initials ‘ABP’ should really stand for ‘A Bush stand for Andrew Poet’. But they Barton Paterso The solicitor n. and under the pen poet wrote the name of name ‘The Banjo’, a horse his family owned. To the average bloke, the man is simply known as Banjo Paterso n.
That’s straight from horse’s the Mouth.
make These huts me hot under the collar!
Poms – tenpoun
It would be easy if you didn’t that ‘Waltzing know the song Matilda’ was to think about a girl who liked to named Matild waltz. But this a tragic tale of famous bush a swagman who, after beingballad tells a by three troope tracked down rs for stealin into a billabo g ng and drown a jumbuck, throws himse s. The story begins with lf behind the AB Paterson, song a bush poet his name ‘The who usually Banjo’. But a signed woman named Macpherson should also Christina take a spot in the limelig ht.
Listen to Waltzin
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Super Bowl the Sunday is y first Sunda ary. in Febru
When POP goes BANG Walter E Diemer was an accountant at a chewing gum factory, but one day he didn’t stick to his task. He experimented with gum recipes instead and made a batch of not-too-sticky, stretchy goop. Blowing bubbles became totally POPular!
It’s DOCTOR Pemberton, but don’t try my medicine if you’ve got a sore tooth!
Is it the real thing?
THE DOC StartED a fire, addED one iron tub, chuckED in some cola nuts, coco leaves, caffeine and more. DipPED in a woodenTHEN HE boat oar and stirRED!
tactics gh Hair-raising lu of the Pittsbur Troy Polama outstanding Steelers is an hair. outstanding player with could so full they His locks are fields Let’s span 100 football hair today, not hope they’re w! gone tomorro
Cookie time In 1930 an innkeeper named Ruth Wakefield ran out of baking chocolate while cookies. So she choppedmaking up a chocolate bar and added it to the dough, expecting the chunks to melt. They didn’t, and her gooey chocolate chip cookies have been munched and crunched ever since.
Waffling around Ice creams were such a at the St Louis World’s hot item Fair in 1904 that the seller ran out of dishes. Quick as a lick, a nearby pastry maker rolled his waffles into a cone shape to hold the treat. He was no drip, was he?
wear a Linemen called face mask a bird cage.
The gear masks and pads Helmets, face ion for players. provide protect padded to the Linemen are they do the max because and tackling. g most blockin
In 1905, 11-year-old Frankie Epperson was making soft drink, but he left his mixing bucket out overnight and the drink froze with the wooden stick standing up. Did forgetful Frankie get a licking? No. He sold his amazing icicles! It was a magical
mix from the start!
Not-for-Parents GREAT BRITIAN ODD BODS AND ODD BALLS
All goo d spies are ground to avoid meant to blen d into detectio said of James Bon n. This cann the backhas bee n eliminat d, a fictional Briti ot always be more than ing evil sh MI6 age on the silver scre nt who toothpa 50 years. With ste, shoo en for spy gad launche ting ski gets like rs, James poles and explodi quietly. ng The villa Bond doesn’t go cars with rock ins et as visib unnotic and thei le, ed – or glasses especially if Bon r deadly wea pon designe d d for serio is wearing his s are just us spying! X-ray eyeThis Bond stunt a rec ord for set the wor longes ld’s t boa t jum p.
odd Bods and odd Balls!
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The Yell Squad No big game is complete without cheerful chants and pom poms. The first cheerleading team was started in 1903 by a bunch of men who called themselves ‘The Yell Squad’.
s i can snag perhap with my the ball locks! legendary
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SIDE ON THE WILDthe animal
A cheese roll Break a leg! The crazy contestants need luckas they race down a steep grassy hill after an eight-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese. The cheese bounces and rolls at breakneck speed – and so do the contestants. People don’t break their necks, but some sure break their arms and legs.
If “eccentric” is your middle name, then how about these peculiar pastimes. You could snorkel in a bog (that’s a wetland not a toilet), chase after a runaway cheese or pull an ugly face without getting told off. These and other peculiar pastimes in Great Britain can make you laugh until you cry, or sometimes just make you cry. 77
may The first ball severed have been the execution head from an into that was thrown the crowd. I’d rather be goalie!
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The Royal Strovetide Football Match is a peculiar pastime in the English town of Ashbourne. The match goes on for two days and hundreds of people join in. The teams have to chase the ball over fields, through streets and across water. That’s because the goals are about five kilometres apart.
Good Grief, where’s
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What a sour face! Ever eaten a sour apple and pulled a funny face? The sport of face-pulling, or gurning, started at the Egremont Crab Fair, which was first held in 1267. Legend has it that when the Lord of Egremont gave away sour crab apples, people contorted their faces, and so the pastime began.
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As hard as nails Shin-kicking is peculiar – and painful. Long ago, some shin-kickers used to toughen up their shins by banging them with coal hammers. People have been getting their kicks out of this pastime for more than 400 years.
Trouser trouble One peculiar pastime has now been banned. Ferret leggers used to tie their trouser legs tightly at the ankles and then put two ferrets down their trousers. This pastime had some very peculiar rules. Ferret leggers couldn’t be drunk and couldn’t wear underwear!
Competition was cancelled due to drought!
Is that man legless?
Odd bods in odd bogs The small town of Llanwrtyd Wells in Walesis proud of their peculiar pastime – bog snorkelling. Contestants can’t use swimming strokes as they race through the bog. The contest does not always go swimmingly though. In 1995, the World Bog Snorkelling
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New titles in the award-winning Not For Parents series!