It’s bright sunshine again, although there may be a few clouds floating around. 54F and little wind. The computer says “partly cloudy” but I won’t know until I actually get out there. They’re still saying that this weather ought to hold until Sunday, have a chance of rain Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon and then have several more days of sun!
I’m not quite sure why, but I could not get all the way awake yesterday morning. I ended up curling up on the sofa at the shop and sleeping for several more hours. When I woke Tempus had offloaded the car and set up his paper route. He left me sewing at the shop and went up to the house. to work.
I managed to trip the breaker at the new place at somewhere around 10pm after doing a lot of unpacking, and that meant that I was working by candlelight and I finally gave up and just read until falling asleep. …and *that* meant that I didn’t get back to the newsletter last night, after all, only this morning.
Tempus’ new route didn’t go well last night. He didn’t get home until well past 6am. We’re moving slowly this morning. The battery on my mouse has quit and of course there are no new ones here, so Tempus had to track down the plug-in mouse. At least we have one here! …and the sink started to leak, suddenly…and half the things we need for breakfast aren’t to be found. Did we switch a couple of boxes at the shop? <sigh> Chaos….
We’re going to be taking turns being at the shop and packing. I’m still at the new place, have to unpack what I couldn’t manage last night and then start to pack for the weekend. I still have laundry at the house and bits and pieces for the weekend, then I need to put my class stuff together and costume things and so on.
So when we close today, Tempus is going to run me down to Florence to meet the folks I’m going to Bend with, then he’ll come home and hopefully get some sleep, or maybe work on setting up the room divider, and taking down the last large piece of furniture that’s in the way, I don’t know whether tomorrow’s and Sunday’s newsletters will be out on time or at all, since I don’t know what the wifi situation is where I’m going!
Today’s Plant is the Strawberry. We have two wild varieties out here, Wood’s Strawberry, Fragaria vesca, the Coastal Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, and of course the Garden Strawberry, Fragaria × ananassa, which is a hybrid.The leaves of vesca have been used to make a tea to help with diarrhea and the whole plant is used as an anti-depressant, from flowers to leaves to fruit. – Feminine, Venus, Water, Freya (and many other deities) – Carry the leaves for luck, use them in love spells and sachets, sleep on them to dream of your love. Pregnant women should carry a sachet of the leaves during the last few months of pregnancy to ease labor. The berries themselves are simply an aphrodisiac, often combined with chocolate for this purpose. Yum! Wood’s Strawberry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_vesca and Coastal Strawberry here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_chiloensis Garden Strawberry here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_strawberry
Today is April Fool’s Day. There are a lot of suggestions as to how this holiday came about, and I *still* don’t know what fish have to do with it, but it’s a fun one all the same, as long as the pranks stay harmless. I’m looking forward to what NPR puts in their “news” today! I still like the Scottish version, Hunt-the-Gowk.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day
The shop opens at 11am! Spring hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday, although the time that we’re there is drifting later with the longer days. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 4/7 at 4:24am. Waning Crescent Moon – Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 4/2 at 4:24pm.
Arcturus shines brightly in the east these evenings. The Big Dipper, high in the northeast, points its curving handle lower right down toward it. Arcturus forms the pointy end of a long, narrow kite asterism formed by the brightest stars of Bootes, the Cowherd. The kite is currently lying on its side to Arcturus’s left. The head of the kite, at the far left, is bent slightly upward. The kite is 23° long, about two fist-widths at arm’s length.
This evening, telescope users along a narrow path from the Seattle/Vancouver area to Arkansas can watch for a 9.5-magnitude star (located 10° northwest of the Pleiades) to disappear for up to 9 seconds behind the invisibly faint asteroid 2892 Filipenko. Track map and finder charts for the shadow path across the US, the star to be occulted, and the times.
Uranus and Neptune are hidden in the glare of the Sun.
Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14
Runic half-month of Ehwaz, 3/30-4/13 – Ehwaz, the horse; time of partnership between humans and Nature, as between rider and horse. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, p. 55
Planting 3-31 – 4/1
©2016 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder – The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is common along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protect sites they may grow to 20 m (65 feet) tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). This species is more common in the mountains of Europe, and is not restricted to moist soils. Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are. Alder wood is said to resist rotting when it is wet, and was the wood of choice for pilings in many regions. Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
F 1 Low 1:22 AM 3.5 6:56 AM Rise 3:17 AM 48
~ 1 High 7:15 AM 6.6 7:44 PM Set 1:18 PM
~ 1 Low 2:28 PM 1.0
~ 1 High 9:10 PM 5.8
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I believe that talking with the heart is a political act, rather than something just “artistic and/or juvenile”.
~ It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
~ Just because people can’t read your mind doesn’t mean they won’t eventually see what you are thinking. – Steve Keating CSE
~ I had rather do and not promise than promise and not do. – Arthur Warwick
~ When you’re lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is tabooed by anxiety, / I concede you may use any language you choose to indulge in without impropriety. – Sir William Gilbert (1836-1911) English Playwright and Poet.
Wherever I look,
Goddesses, young and old, tall and short
Thin and generously proportioned
Brighten, nurture, heal, bring forth,
Ease the pain of loss, cut the thread of life.
Walking the world in flesh
Goddesses shop, drive buses, ride tractors,
Fill the air with laughter and tears,
Sing their songs of love and power,
Creating and recreating the world.
Wonderful to behold,
Goddesses come in all shapes and sizes,
As the light shining within is perceived
The Goddess’ power increases tenfold
Filling the world and overflowing to the stars. – Written and Submitted By Tasha Halpert www.heartwingsandfriends.com
Let’s Celebrate! (edited from Pip Wilson’s Almanac, sadly defunct)
She who from April dates her years
Diamonds should wear lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone
As emblem of innocence is known. Traditional birthstone rhyme
April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 30 days. The month is traditionally personified in art as a girl clothed with green, with a garland of myrtle and hawthorn buds, holding in one hand primroses and violets, and in the other the sign of Taurus.
“The opening month (Lat. aperire, to open) when trees unfold and the womb of nature opens with young life. In the French Republican calendar of 1793 it was called Germinal, the time of budding (21 March to 19 April).”
Ivor H Evans, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell, London, 1988
Robert Chambers* doesn’t agree that the word comes from Latin aperio, ‘I open’. He suggests it comes from Aphrodite, the Greek version of Venus, as the Romans considered it Venus’s month. The first day was Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis. Others have it that a Roman goddess of love, Aprilis, was honoured when naming the month.
Anglo Saxon Oster-monath, probably meant east winds prevailed. The term Easter may have come from the same origin (Chambers 1881).
“It is the fourth month, in which thou art honoured above all others, and thou knowest, O Venus, that both the poet and the month are thine’.”
* Robert Chambers, (Ed.), The Book of Days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, etc, W & R Chambers, London, 1881 (1879 Edition is online and 1869 edition here with CD-ROM available; See also The English Year: A Personal Selection from Chambers’ Book of Days)
“April is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite – Venus to the Romans. Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She was known to the Phoenicians as Astarte and Ashtoreth to the Hebrews and King Solomon, who built a temple to her. On her birth the seas bubbled and turned rosy, and she arose, full grown and standing on a seashell, in all the surpassing glory of her loveliness and arrayed in the panoply of her irresistible charms. She floated to Cyprus, arriving in April, and as soon as her white feet touched the shore, grass and flowers sprang up at her feet and she was sweetly received by the Three Graces.” Source
The pentagram: origins in Venus
The pentagram is a fascinating arcane symbol and well known to Neopagans and occultists.
In my own view, the pentagram’s origins are in part associated with the passage of the planet Venus through the skies, a view propounded by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but don’t let that put you off. Others, such as this Freemasonry website, dispute it, and I would hazard a guess that’s because of the sacred feminine associations of Venus, as the Freemasons are a very masculine association.
I know there’s a lot of current interest in this question, and Dan Brown’s assertion that a four-year Venus cycle informs the Olympics periodicity seems wrong to me. As far as I know, the Venus path is on an eight-year cycle. After that period, Venus, the Sun, Earth and the stars are in the same relative positions
However, I certainly ain’t no astronomer and can only go by what I read. If you have any information at all associated with this matter, or anything to do with the pentacle and its origins, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.
April Fools’ Day (Noddy Day, Gowkie Day, Gowkin’ Day)
If this year’s first day of April is like any other, you’ll have to keep your guard against the practical jokes that others can play on you, much to your annoyance and their delight. But what are the origins of the strange cult of April Fools’ Day?
There are a couple of explanations put forward by scholars to account for the trickery that takes place throughout much of the Western world on April 1.
One theory suggests that, because of the tradition of sending someone on ‘a fool’s errand’, the practice might derive from the Biblical story in which Jesus Christ was sent uselessly back and forth between Annas, Caiphas, Pontius Pilate and King Herod, each of them not being able to resolve what to do with him.
Sending people on fools’ errands has a long history. These days a teacher might send an unruly pupil to another teacher with the message, “Please give this boy a long weight”. All that the lad gets, of course, is a long wait. Or else he might be sent to the Industrial Arts teacher for a “left-handed hammer”. Either way, the joke’s on the boy, who probably deserves it.
In merry olde England the errand was for a gullible person to be sent to the saddler’s for a ‘pen’orth (penny’s worth) of salad oil‘. In this ruse, the pun is between ‘salad oil’ and the French ‘avoir de la salade’, to be flogged. So the poor dupe got a beating for his innocent pains.
Other nasty people would send youths to a bookshop for the ‘History of Eve’s Grandmother’, or to a cobbler for a little strap oil (the butt of the joke would indeed get the strap).
The Scots have always loved April Fool’s jokes. They call an April Fool a gowk (or cuckoo; Anglo-Saxon geac, origin of the word geek), a name which even today sounds as descriptive of its meaning as it did in olden times. The trick was to send the dupe with an envelope containing a message to someone else’s house a long way off. The letter inside would only read
This is the first day of April:
Hunt the gowk another mile.
The wise fools of Gotham
In about the year 1540, during the reign of Henry VIII (1491 – 1547), an amusing collection of stories was published, by the name of The Merry Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham, by the mysterious ‘AB of Phisicke Doctor’ (actually, Pizisicke Doctour).
The tale has it that King John of England (1166 or 1167 – 1216) was marching towards Nottingham, intending to pass through Gotham meadow. Believing that any ground traversed by a king became forever after a public road, the citizens of Gotham decided to try to prevent John from passing.
Angered by them, the king sent messengers to find out the reason for their rudeness, and perhaps to impose a fine. Hearing of the messengers’ approach, they quickly decided to act as stupidly as they could, to avoid punishment. Some were trying to drown an eel in a pond; some dragging their carts and wagons to the top of a barn to shield a young tree from the sun’s rays; some tumbling cheeses downhill hoping they would find their way to Nottingham market; some trying to hedge in a cuckoo which had perched on a old bush …
It is said that the Gothamites say, “We ween there are more fools pass through Gotham than remain in it.” There is another Gotham, in Sussex, that lays claim to the tales, but it is generally accepted that Nottinghamshire’s village is the place that gained the reputation as the ‘town of fools’, an archetypal concept that is found in other cultures …
How New York City came to be called Gotham
In 1807, New York-born writer, Washington Irving (1783 – 1859), invented the name for New York in the humorous article, ‘Salmagundi‘. By Irving’s time, Gotham had long been associated with stupidity, even though we can see that the original story was actually about an ironic kind of cleverness. Washington Irving thought this just the name to give to a city that he believed to be inhabited by fools. He used the term of his fellow city people because it conveyed the sense of New Yorkers as know-it-alls and cunning fools – but they had method in their madness.
April Fool cartoon by Thomas Nast (1840 – 1902)
“Thomas Nast’s cartoon about All Fool’s Day actually appeared in the April 2, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly …
“Nast’s cartoon is a mosaic of several April Fool’s pranks. The inset pictures on the upper-left and upper-right depict Union soldiers and sailors, respectively, tricking their comrades about where the Confederate enemy lurks, and obscuring their vision. The small circles in the middle of each side show a phony newspaper headline announcing that the Union has captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. On the center-left, ‘Mr. Shoddy’ is upset because he will no longer be able to supply his inferior goods to the Union military at inflated prices. (See the archive for the cartoon of February 7, 1863, ‘One of the Effects of the War.’) On the center-right, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley (‘Mr. Fogey’) is surprised (and fooled) to see that his headlines continually urging ‘On to Richmond!’ have come true …” Robert C Kennedy
From Harper’s Weekly, March 30, 1861
“WE publish on the preceding page a picture of the morning of the 1st April, opposite the Astor House, on the Park, in New York City. Some of the personages in the picture are enjoying the usual frolics of the day.
“The origin of this fool-making custom, like that of may other of our oldest customs, is involved in considerable doubt and uncertainty. It prevails, besides in this country, in Scotland, Germany, Sweden, and France—in which latter place the victims of the jokes are styled poissons d’Avril, or April fishes. But in none of these countries is its origin reasonably explained. Some suppose it to be derived from the abduction of the Sabine women by the Romans under Romulus, at the feast in honor of Neptune, which occurred on the 1st of April; others trace it from the mockery of our Saviour by the Jews ; while still others ascribe it to the act of old father Noah, in sending out the dove from the ark before the waters of the deluge had subsided.
“The following extract from an old poem will certify to the antiquity of the custom:
“‘The first of April some do say
Is set apart for All-Fools’ Day;
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment;
And though the day is known before,
Yet frequently there is great store
Of these forgetfuls to be found,
Who’re sent to dance Moll Dixon’s round;
And having tried each shop and stall,
And disappointed at them all,
At last some tell them of the cheat,
And then they hurry from the street,
And straightway home with shame they run,
And others laugh at what is done.
But ’tis a tiling to be disputed,
Which is the greater fool reputed,
The man that innocently went,
Or he that him design’dly sent.’
“A city reporter says
“‘The number of tricks and hard practical jokes played upon unsophisticated persons, such as sending Jimmy for a bottle of “stirrup oil,” dispatching Betty in search of a pint and a half of ‘ pigeons milk,’ or requesting your illiterate friend to buy you a copy of the Life and Adventures of Eve’s Mother,’ in the Bowery, would require several volumes for their description. The most common methods of fooling people practiced in this city consist in pinning endless rag-tails to ladies’ dresses, fastening paper appendages to the men’s coat skirts, perpetrating cruel stories about the arrival of rich cousins from California with bags of the auriferous metal, and sending people extraordinary letters, containing extraordinary intelligence, and asking the most extraordinary things. Sometimes these nonsensical jokes result in the most serious consequences, and we have known “pistols and coffee” for two to be the not unfrequent denouement. Latterly the sport of fool making is confined principally to little boys and girls, who indulge in a regular carnival of merriment. Those whose mammas and papas allow them “the freedom of the city” kick up a most beautiful excitement among their grown-up superiors, while “—in-door young ones club their wicked wits, And almost frighten servants into fits.'” Source
This was a women’s festival, seeking good relations with men, ruled over by the goddess Venus Verticordia. She was the Roman goddess of beauty and sensual love, identified with Aphrodite. Some accounts say she sprang from the foam of the sea, others say she was the daughter of Jupiter and a nymph named Dione. Her husband was Vulcan, but she had affairs with Mars and many other gods and demigods. She and Mercury had a child, Cupid. By Anchises she had child Aeneas, through whom the Romans regarded her as the founder of their race.
In Rome, women removed jewellery from the statue of the goddess, washed her, and adorned her with flowers, and similarly bathed themselves in the public baths wearing wreaths of myrtle on their heads. It was generally a day for women to seek divine help in their relations with men.
The worship of the goddess Fortuna Virilis was also part of this festival.
This Roman festival was consecrated to Venus Verticordia (the Heart-turner), ‘Goddess of Beauty, Mother of Love, Queen of Laugher, Mistress of the Grapes.’ At the temple of Venus, women washed Her statue, replaced her golden necklace and other jewelry, and offered Her roses and other flowers. Women bathed in myrtle and scented water and wore crowns of myrtle. Ovid says Venus requested them to bathe beneath the green myrtle. English folklore says myrtle won’t grow unless planted by a woman.” Source
“The Kalends of April are sacred to Venus, as is the entire month, and this day has been called the Veneralia. Public games, ludi, would be held in honor of the deity.
“This day was also known as All Fools Day to the Romans, and they would spend the entire day celebrating with comic hilarity, doing things backwards, wearing women’s clothes, dancing in the streets, and generally carrying on in the most in the most foolish and congenial manner. This is one of the few Roman holidays that has preserved some of its original character, under the modern name April Fools Day.
- “In Egypt, this day was celebrated as the Birthday of the god Hathor.” Source
- Day of Hathor, ancient Egypt – Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
- Corn Planting Festival, Iroquois – Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
- Kalends of April, ancient Rome
- Expulsion of Demons of Bad Luck, Tibet – Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
- Birthday of Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus Christ (German traditional belief)
- Day of Loki, Norse trickster god, patron of April 1
- Feast day of St Caidoc
- Feast day of St Catherine of Palma
- Feast day of St Cellach
- Feast day of St Celsus of Armagh
- Feast day of St Fricor
- Feast day of St Gerard
- Feast day of St Gilbert de Moray, Bishop of Caithness, in Scotland
King Alexander II appointed him archdeacon of Moray. Enemies set his accounting ledgers ablaze, but miraculously, they survived. He killed a dragon with an arrow. Fierce proponent of Scottish independence, often opposing the archbishop of York. Died 1245.
- Feast day of St Hugh of Bonnevaux
- Feast day of St Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble – (Annual mercury; Mercurialis annua, is today’s plant, dedicated to this saint.)
- St Hugh of Grenoble (1052 – 1132) is a Christian saint who was bishop of Grenoble.
- Feast day of St Irenaeus
- Feast day of St Ludovico Pavoni
- Feast day of St Mary of Egypt
- Feast day of St Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in Libya
Sir,-Riding along the beach from Port Fairy to Warrnambool in the summer of 1846, my attention was attracted to the hull of a vessel embedded high and dry in the Hummocks, far above the reach of any tide. It appeared to have been that of a vessel about 100 tons burden, and from its bleached and weather-beaten appearance, must have remained there many years. The spars and deck were gone, and the hull was full of drift sand. The timber of which she was built had the appearance of cedar or mahogany. The fact of the vessel being in that position was well known to the whalers in 1846, when the first whaling station was formed in that neighbourhood, and the oldest natives, when questioned, stated their knowledge of it extended from their earliest recollection. My attention was again directed to this wreck during a conversation with Mr M’Gowan, the superintendent of the Post-office, in 1869, who, on making inquiries as to the exact locality, informed me that it was supposed to be one of a fleet of Portuguese or Spanish discovery ships, one of them having parted from the others during a storm, and was never again heard of. He referred me to a notice of a wreck having appeared in the novel Geoffrey Hamlyn, written by Henry Kingsley, in which it is set down as a Dutch or Spanish vessel, and forms the subject of a remark from one of the characters, a doctor, who said that the English should never sneer at those two nations – they were before you everywhere. The wreck lies about midway between Belfast and Warrnambool, and is probably by this time entirely covered with drift sand, as during a search made for it within the last few months it was not to be seen.
This is one early reference to the ‘Mahogany Ship’, which since the mid-19th Century many people have believed to lie in the sands between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, Victoria. In 1836, two survivors from a wrecked sealer at the Hopkins River mouth walked back along the coast to the whaling outpost at (now) Port Fairy and gave the first account of the wreck, describing an unusually designed vessel, already in an advanced state of disrepair.
It has been postulated it might be a 16th-Century Portuguese caravel lost in 1522 under the command of Cristovao de Mendonca (Cristóvão de Mendonça). (It has been claimed that the so-called ‘Dauphin Map’ (also known as the ‘Harleian Map‘, one of the Dieppe Maps) of Portuguese origin and dated 1532 depicts Australia’s north and east coast, including Port Phillip Bay, Victoria and the mouth of the Yarra River, also in the state of Victoria.)
Another theory has it that the Mahogany Ship is an ancient Chinese vessel; still others suggest a French whaler, a Dutch ship and many others. Another theory links the ship to Portuguese sea captain Gomes de Sequeira, lost in 1525.
It is conventionally believed that Captain James Cook (1728 – ‘79), the great English navigator, “discovered Australia” in 1770. However, it is probable that Malaccan traders (from what is now Indonesia) were frequent visitors for centuries before that. The pre-1770 Portuguese, Chinese, French, etc, connections are less certain but often conjectured. However, the first recorded landfall by a European was in 1606 when Willem Jansz sailed down the east coast in the Duyfken (or Duijfken, meaning ‘Little Dove’), part of a fleet of twelve ships.
Since the 1880s, the Mahogany Ship, if it ever existed, seems to have vanished, perhaps in the shifting sands. A reward of $250,000 posted by the Victorian Government in 1992 brought many searchers employing a variety of methods, but nothing was found. More recently (2000), a 3-metre-long plank of European white oak, the same timber used to build Portuguese caravels, was turned up in the sand, adding to the mystery as oak is not native to Australia.
“The shipwreck of a whaleboat at the mouth of the Hopkins river in 1836 remains Warrnambool’s earliest recorded shipping disaster.
“It was this event, which may well have gone unnoticed, which caused the three survivors to walk back to the whaling station on Griffith Island, at Port Fairy, along the shore line.
“It was during this return journey that they discovered an old shipwreck at the mouth of the Merri River, just south of Tower Hill. This shipwreck has since become internationally famous as The Mahogany Ship, believed to be a Portuguese caravel lost in 1522. The Portuguese, under the command of Cristovao de Mendonca, had sent and [sic] exploratory expedition down the east coast of Australia.”
“[Richard] Osburne recorded that he had seen the old wreck on several occasions when riding from Warrnambool to Port Fairy in the late 1840’s. Osburne first wrote of the ‘Mahogany Ship’ in his ‘HISTORY OF WARRNAMBOOL’ (published 1887).
“In his publication Osburne copied the 1876 ‘Mason Account’ (by John Mason, his confirmed sighting of the wreck in 1846). Osburne then wrote that he remembered the wreck
“‘…high in the hummocks between Belfast and Warrnambool in 1847 or 1848, but it was much nearer Warrnambool than Belfast – in fact only two or three miles from the former place – to the west of the big hummock which was supposed to fill Warrnambool Bay with drift sand washed by the Merri River, until the cutting was made’.
“Osburne went on to say that the wreck may have been one of the early Spanish or Portugese explorers, and a thorough search should be organised.” Richard Osburne and the ‘Mahogany Ship’
“In Europe, in 1519, learning of the voyage that Magellan was about to undertake – to map the Spice Islands into the Spanish sphere of influence – King Manuel of Portugal sent a fleet under the command of Albuquerque to Goa, and thence on to ‘find the Islands of Gold’. One of the ship’s captains was Cristoval de Mendonça. By all accounts Mendonça arrived, with another ship captained by Pedro Eanes, at Cape York (the tip of Queensland, Australia) which was the outer limit of Portugese sea-knowledge in January of 1522.
“By the end of 1524, Mendonça was to sail down the coasts of Australia and NZ, out into the Pacific, and finally to report back to King João III. If we allow him 5 months returning to Portugal from Goa, and 2 months returning from cape York, then his round-the-Pacific expedition would have taken 2 & 1/2 years. He described his encounters inside the Great Barrier Reef as ‘The Dangerous Coast’ and clearly marked the coastline as he travelled south, including the reef now known as Cook reef where Cook ran aground. Great Sandy Island is marked on the map, and he seems to have continued south as far as Botany Bay. What happened then ?
“One hypothesis is that Mendonça and Eanes opted to sail NE rather than SE to climb away from the onset of winter. If that’s what happened, then their course would have found Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, and finally Fiji – and all three islands are clearly marked on the map. Arriving in Fiji, it is likely that the two ships would have split up, now that they knew they were in a vast ocean, and while Eanes was to sail back west to the Australian continent and then south, Mendonça would sail to the south.
“Eanes reached Cape Howe. In 1963, in 250 feet of water, a local fisherman, Olav Mannes, trawled a vase to the surface. It was thermolinescence dated as 16th century, of Portugese origin. If Eanes had been in trouble with his ship, he may have been able to reach a safe harbour at Warrnambool. The ship was beached and abandoned. In 1991 the Victorian Government offered a 1/4 million dollar reward for the discovery of the sailing ship, known as the ‘mahogany wreck’; it is still buried in the dunes, but relics have been found. They include sword, rapier hilt, pewter jug, soike, and a galley latch. Eanes and his crew would not have survived long on the continent.”
One day in court, the prosecuting lawyer asked the farmer on the witness stand, “At the scene of the accident, did you tell the policeman you had never felt better in your life?”
“That’s right.” The farmer replied.
“Well, then, how is it that you are now claiming you were seriously injured when my client’s auto hit your wagon?”
The farmer explained. “When the policeman arrived, he went over to my horse, who had a broken leg, and shot him. Then he went over to Rover, my dog, who was all banged up, and shot him.
“When he asked me how I felt, I just thought, under the circumstances, it was a wise choice of words to say ‘I’ve never felt better in my life.'”