My grandmother’s diary for 1914
which she inscribes in pencil
Lola Cameron, I did not keep my diary up to the finish
is more than just a calendar.
In 1914 she recorded the names of many young men,
including her fiancé,
described by their enlistment number and
their address Australian Imperial Force (AIF) abroad.
This diary provides the population of Australasia
(including New Zealand but excluding Maoris and residents
of Cook and other Pacific Islands,
with no mention of indigenous Australians)
as 5 million, 787 thousand, 4 hundred and 32.
In this diary, there is a page which lists forty-five Fixed and Movable Feasts 1914, including:
January 1, Commonwealth Day
January 26, Foundation of Australia 1788 (celebration of foundation of Australia)
November 2, Melbourne Cup
and helpfully, but unexpectedly, proffers
The year 5675 of the Jewish Era begins September 21 1914
The year 1333 of the Mohammedan Era begins November 19 1914
Ramadan (month of abstinence observed by the Turks) begins July 24 1914.
In 1914, our measurement of the earth we stand on
is nationalistic and problematic,
The English mile is 1760 yards
The Scottish mile is 1984 yards
The Irish mile is 2240 yards
In the year of 1914, as we subdued and shaped
the newly colonised continent with steam and machines,
it was important to know that
a standard horsepower could be calculated as
the evaporation of 30 pounds of water per hour
from a feed water temperature
of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, into steam
at 70 pounds gauge pressure,
and that the average steaming time along the coast
from Sydney to Brisbane was 36 to 44 hours,
and on from Brisbane to Townsville 77 to 80 hours.
In that year, when we went to war in Europe,
in principle, for the defence of the mother country,
those things we thought it important to measure
could be described from the Apothecaries Table
20 grains equals one scruple
three scruples equals one drachm
8 drachms equals one ounce
In that diary in 1914, war-related scruples were not obviously in evidence,
but my grandmother left evidence of the genesis of a new world.
Contributor: Sandra Renew
Source: 1914 Diary of Lola Cameron, my grandmother. Australia