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Australians Born In October

October Australian birthdays include the man whose ashes were scattered at the North Pole by US sailors and the man who played a fundamental role in developing the atomic bomb. You'll also find athletes, ARIA and Logie winners. For those no longer with us, it's a way to remember them too.

  • 10 Oct 1870 Louise Mack
    Australian writer, first female war correspondent
  • 15 Oct 1940 Peter Charles Doherty
    Australian researcher, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1996
  • 20 Oct 1971 Dannii Minogue
    Australian singer, actor (Home & Away), judge (X Factor)
  • 25 Oct 1941 Helen Reddy
    Australian singer (I Am Woman, Delta Dawn, Angie Baby)
  • 26 Oct 1967 Keith Urban
    Australian singer, ARIA music award (2001, 03, 05, 07)
  • 31 Oct 1888 Hubert Wilkins
    Australian polar explorer, aviator, first person to film combat
  • See all the October Birthdays


 Friendship Cards

When's the last time you told your friend they're special to you? Say it with humour with Good Friends Share or our You're Special sheep cards. Yes, we said sheep. (Bet they smile if you send it.) We've added a few more Friends cards you might enjoy sharing.

Share a smile and say hello with our free Greeting Cards today.


Editor's Blog

We Get Mail

Rats and Mice

Kim emailed me that I wrote in our Australian slang phrase area "Belt up! Meaning: you are asked stop talking, be quite in an angry way."

 Kim asked if I meant "be quiet" instead of "be quite"? You're right Kim. That typo really changed the meaning. I've corrected my error. Thank you for letting me know.

Kim also suggested an old slang expression "rats and mice" which she says means something is rundown. An example: "All those shops on Smith Street are rats and mice", meaning run-down in appearance. I confess I have not heard that one. Has anyone else?

Aussies Did It First

Just for fun ... how many of these Australian firsts did you know about?

  • Commercial Refrigeration
    Built in 1850 by Geelong, Victorian resident, James Harrison. He was awarded a gold medal at Melbourne Exhibition proving frozen meat was edible months later.
  • Electric Drill
    In 1889 Melbourne, Victoria Arthur James Arnot patented the first electric drill. It was designed to drill rock and coal. Same technology in modern drills.
  • The Notepad
    Invented in 1902 by Tasmanian J.A. Birchall. Before the notepad all paper was sold as single sheets.



Crisco or Copha

I get lots of emails offering helpful advice. I decided to answer this one here because it concerns confusion about recipe conversions.

Phoebe wrote in an email, "... Copha can be used in place of vegetable shortening in icing. You just need to melt it first then let it cool (not back to a solid just not warm) and then beat it into the butter until thick and creamy. Then you add the icing sugar mixture. I decorate cakes using the Wilton buttercream recipe using Copha in place of vegetable shortening."

I disagree
Sorry Phoebe, but I disagree. I did some research and found a lot of people reporting the  same experience I had.

Crisco is only melted when used for frying. For frosting or in cake or bickie batter, it's soft enough to mix just as it is in the can or cubes.

If you substitute Copha in an American recipe that calls for Crisco you would probably get more of a hard glossy icing and less fluffy volume.

If you need a substitue in American recipes for vegetable shortening use butter. It won't come out exactly the same, but you will get better results than if you used Copha or lard.

What is it?
Crisco is a brand of vegetable shortening produced in America since 1911. Today Crisco is 100% fat with 24% of it saturated fat. It is made from soybean and palm oils. Americans store it in their pantry

The vegetable shortening Copha is 100% fat with 98% of it saturated fat. Made from hydrogenated coconut oil, most Australians store Copha in the refrigerator. It is trademarked and only made in Australia. Coconut fat is made in other countries with a variety of manufacturers and names.
Read more from our blog

  • Automatic Vinyl Record Changer
    In 1925 Tasmanian Eric Waterworth designed the first record changer that permitted six records to be played automatically in sequence.
  • Pedal Wireless
    Invented in 1927 by Alfred Traeger, the pedal-operated generator was connected to a wireless opening up communication to people living in remote areas of Australia.
  • Utility Vehicle - the Ute
    Lewis Brandt at the Ford Motor Company in Geelong, Victoria designed the first Ute in 1934. The utility vehicle looks like a car in the front but has a rear like a truck.
  • Black Box Flight Recorder
    Used in airplanes worldwide, the Black Box voice and instrument data recorder provides essential information after a plane crashes. It was invented in 1958 by David Warren in Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Inflatable Aircraft Escape Slide
    The slide allows passengers to quickly and safely leave an aircraft after landing in an emergency. It can also be used as a raft for water landings. It was invented by Jack Grant of Qantas in 1965.
  • Bionic Ear
    In 1979 the cochlear implant was invented by Professor Graeme Clark of The University of Melbourne. It is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing
  • Frozen Embryo Baby
    The world's first baby from a frozen embryo was born in 1984 at the Queen Victoria Medical Centre in Melbourne.

This is just a very small sample of Australian inventions. Since our earliest days as a young country, Australians have been among the top inventors in agriculture, mining, maritime and aeronautical problems in need of solutions.

From the mechanical sheep shears to scramjets to polymer banknotes to gene silencing and the Jindalee Radar System, you'll find Australian researchers solving problems across a variety of fields. These are the people that make all our lives better.

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