April 21 - 27, 2024: Issue 622

Sunday Cartoons

Sunday cartoons and animations returns this year. This Issue: Minuscule - The Good Education

Autumn School Holidays Issue

We hope you're enjoying your Autumn break from school - not too big an Issue this week; just a few items that may be of interest. We'll be back to bigger pages for you Issue 623, out Sunday April 28.

cockatoo family doing some grooming - PON yard, April 2024

2024 Young Writers' Competition

Celebrating 15 years of the Young Writers' Competition, the 2024 theme word is 'crystal'. Council are looking for the next sparkling young creative writers on the Beaches.

Are you gazing into a crystal ball or standing under a sparkling crystal chandelier? Swimming through crystal blue waters or hunting for a magical crystal guarded by a monstrous beast? Is your story becoming crystal clear?

Write an original creative piece of work using this year's theme word 'crystal' for a chance to win prizes, meet our author judges and receive personalised feedback on your entry.

Open to students up to Year 12.

How to Enter

Visit the council webpage for more information and Conditions of Entry.

Enquiries: writers.comp@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au

This event is delivered by Council's Library Programs Team as part of NSW Youth Week.

Finalists will be celebrated in an awards event and their creative works published in a library eBook. Entries are judged according to characterisation, plot, originality, and use of language and arranged into six different age group categories.

Four finalists are chosen in each age category and invited to a presentation event where a winner, runner-up and two highly commended prizes are awarded. Finalists from each category will have their stories published in an eBook that will be added to our collection.

All finalists receive a prize bag. Top prizes per category:

  • Years K-2 - $70 voucher
  • Years 3-4 - $85 voucher
  • Years 5-6 - $100 voucher
  • Years 7-8 - $125 voucher
  • Years 9-10 - $150 voucher
  • Years 11-12 - $175 voucher

Entries close May 15, 2024 at 5pm

This is a Free event.


The 'Newport Loop': Some History

Some of the earlier streets in Pittwater we can see from sketches and photographs are those which leads down the top of the hill from where Bungan becomes Newport, past Newport Public school, and on to Newport Wharf. 

Named as part of a lithograph drawn in 1880 by George Bishop, Surveyor, for Charles Edward Jeanneret and George Pile, these two paid £732 [pounds sterling] for 118 acres on which to establish the ''New Marine Township of Newport'', and which included what we today call the 'Newport Loop'; named for the detour by the public buses off the main road and around where an original 'town centre' was envisioned.  This included setting aside land for the public as 'Trafalgar Square', today's Trafalgar Park - as this 1880 plan shows:

Newport - Marine Township, Image No.: c053460045, 1880, courtesy State Library of NSW Land Sales Maps.

The names stemmed from English people mostly - Victoria Wharf, for instance, was named to honour Queen Victoria as soon after two of her sons visited Australia and Pittwater itself, embarking on a steamer (old term for today's 'ferry') for a trip up the estuary and then up the Hawkesbury River. 

The newspapers of then tells us they visited our area on Monday August 1st, 1881. That bit from that report reads:

Yesterday morning a party from Government House and the Detached Squadron made an excursion up the Hawkesbury, and fortunately the weather was so fine that every lovely scene on the river appeared to the best advantage.

The Royal Princes were of the party. At an early hour those engaging in the excursion left Man-o'-war Stairs, and proceeded in the steam launch Nea to Manly, whence they were conveyed by Mr. Boulton's coaches to Newport. 

There they were received by Mr. Jeannerett on board the steam launch Pelican. Barrenjoey was passed about 11 o'clock. At Barrenjoey Mr. A. T. Black and friends were invited on board the Pelican and the boat then proceeded up the river.

The day being beautifully clear, the scenery of the Hawkesbury was, seen to the best advantage, and was very much admired. Wiseman's Ferry was reached about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The Pelican stopped at the wharf for a few minutes, and on the Princes appearing the residents assembled, and an address of royal welcome was read and presented to them by the master of the Public school, on behalf of the inhabitants of the village. The school children sang the " National Anthem," and those assembled then gave three hearty cheers for the Queen and the Princes. Prince Edward acknowledged the, compliment in a few appropriate words. The arrangements made by Mr. Jeannerett for the comfort and convenience of the party appeared to give great satisfaction. The Pelican resumed her journey, and we. up the river as far as Sackville Roach, at which spot the party disembarked, and drove thence to Windsor, returning from Windsor to Sydney by special train at night.

The Princes slept at Government House, and will probably remain guests of Lord Augustus Loftus for a few days, after which they will rejoin their old ship the Bacchante, which has now finished her coaling and provisioning. THE DETACHED SQUADRON. (1881, August 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13491533

HRH Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence, and HRH Prince George Frederick Ernest Albert of Wales as midshipmen in the Royal Navy, 1881 / photographer J. Hubert Newman, Sydney - photo courtesy of the State Library of NSW

The other names chosen for the 'streets' were: Queen Street and Queen Parade, named for Queen Victoria,, King Street, after King George III, Princes street would be possibly named to honour the soon to visit sons of Queen Victoria, Gladstone Street after William Ewart Gladstone, a British statesman and Liberal Party politician of that time, Beaconsfield Street, after Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield and another British politician, and Bishop Street after George Bishop, the Surveyor. Queen street was later renamed 'Kalinya' street. Kalinya is apparently of Aboriginal origin and means "good, beautiful and honest".

The year before, in August, another visiting the area reported:

Lane Cove and Pittwater. 


Another trip I took very recently, via Manly to Pittwater, or rather Newport, as I suppose it will in future be known by. I was fortunate enough to be included in a party of four, and, like the previous one, found this journey an extremely pleasant one. Taking a couple of conveyances from Manly, we drove on a very well made road 'some 14 miles or so, passing enroute through a very large shallow lagoon, connected with the ocean by a narrow outlet. I was informed that it was the duty of some official to so " manipulate" the sandbank at the latter place as to keep the crossing place as safe as possible, by allowing free outlet for the water. It is to be hoped that this gentle-'man does not neglect his work, as I understand it is a matter that requires constant attention. 

Arrived at the embryo township of Newport, we had just time to give a passing glance around before our brief sojourn was over.

 There is already a small quay where the American pine is landed that the one house-an hotel-is being partly constructed of. The place is very beautiful, and the gentlemen interested therein, Messrs. Mills, Pile, and Jeannerett, deserve well of the Sydney people for their enterprise in making another "extra desirable" resort of the metropolitan citizens. I may mention, concerning the lagoon we had to got through, that a bridge thereon is already on the tapis, that will place Newport within three hours of the General Post-office. And thus, so far; ends, my suburban pilgrimage, which I have as heartily enjoyed as anything of the sort it has been my good fortune to experience. Lane Cove and Pittwater. (1880, August 28). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70947110

Newport Hotel, from album Pittwater scenes1880 / by Harold Brees courtesy State Library of NSW - note the Telegraph wires. The drawings appear to be the originals for six of the lithographs illustrating 'The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes album'. [Sydney] : Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, 1880. (Lithographed by S.T. Leigh & Co.)courtesy State Library of NSW

Newport Hotel, circa 1884, a Robert Hunt photograph, courtesy State Library of NSW

Beaconsfield street and then Queen Street of that 'Newport Loop' were then still all bush as that part of Newport had not been cleared to grow grain or graze cattle as the land near the beach was.

Some sketches, painted and draw for that 1880 sales:

Campbell Avenue (main view) Newport, from the corner of Beaconsfield Street, from album Pittwater scenes, 1880 / Harold Brees courtesy State Library of NSW - note the Telegraph wires. The drawings appear to be the originals for six of the lithographs illustrating 'The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes album'. [Sydney] : Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, 1880. (Lithographed by S.T. Leigh & Co.), courtesy State Library of NSW

Newport Hotel, from album Pittwater scenes, 1880 / Harold Brees courtesy State Library of NSW - note the Telegraph wires. The drawings appear to be the originals for six of the lithographs illustrating 'The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes album'. [Sydney] : Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, 1880. (Lithographed by S.T. Leigh & Co.)courtesy State Library of NSW


Pittwater scenes, 1880 / Harold Brees, Lord Loftus Point and Scotland Island from the hotel (Newport), Image No.: c13730_0009_c, courtesy State Library of New South Wales.


‘Lord Loftus Pt, Newport NSW’. circa 1880 and 1900 - part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection - the steamer may be the Florrie - launched 1879, or the Illawarra

Lord Loftus Point is what we today call 'Green Point' in Newport and where you will find the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Lord Augustus William Frederick Spencer Loftus, GCB, PC, was a British diplomat and colonial administrator. He was Ambassador to Prussia from 1865 to 1868, to the North German Confederation from 1868 to 1871 and to the Russian Empire from 1871 to 1879 and Governor of New South Wales from 1879 to 1885.

Newport hill was also called 'Loftus Hill' during this era.

Green Point, circa 1890

A newspaper report of those times tells us:

Opposite the hotel is Lord Loftus Point, which in the olden days was evidently a favorite spot for aboriginal encampments. From here you have a splendid view of Pittwater, which is the widest arm of the Hawkesbury, being over a mile wide. There is also Scotland Island, which is celebrated for its fine fish. A Christmas Holiday Trip. (1893, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63104125

Newport hotel circa 1890

Those 1879-1880 sketches for the first sales included some near the beach:

P.33 'The Green Hill, Newport Road' -  from Brees, Harold & S.T. Leigh & Co & Mills, Pile & Gilchrist. (1880). The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes album Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-460123425

The advertisements for the land sales:

FOR SALE AT THE ROOM'S, 114, PITT-STREET, some FINE BUSINESS SITES in the TOWNSHIP OF NEWPORT, suitable for Hotels and Shops. A good business will be done there before long, Newport being the true PORT OF THE HAWKESBURY. The terms will be £5 deposit on each lot, and the balance 20s per month. Advertising. (1880, November 24). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1348357190

Messrs. Mills. Pile, and Gilchrist held a sale of land, in the new marine township of Newport, at their rooms, to-day, and report having sold 46 allotments at prices ranging from £8 to £42 per lot. MONETARY AND COMMERCIAL. (1880, November 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13478101 

Advertising (1880, December 18). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133486754

Some photos:

Corner of Beaconsfield street Newport and Barrenjoey Road, Sunday May 11th 1913. That is Boulton's cow shed and cows to the right of picture and looking down hill towards Newport Hotel. From 'Album 62: Photographs of the Allen family, 11 May 1913 - 15 October 1913' Item: SLNSW_FL137438 -courtesy State Library of NSW:

A foot or two further back - same angle:

At the Avalon Beach Historical Society Exhibition held in June 2018, Geoff Searl OAM had included in the Newport section a great photograph of a cow peeking out from bush halfway down the hill towards the beach - possibly another Boulton cow?; although most residents had a cow for their own fresh milk. This great photograph also shows how much bush was still intact on either side of Barrenjoey road and how much land had been cleared by the Farrells beside the beach and up to Bilgola Plateau. 

Geoff dates the image as circa 1915:

Going down the hill along Beaconsfield street:

Beaconsfield Street, Newport, circa 1907 - 'Newport Road', ca. 1900-1910, courtesy State Library of NSW. Image No.: a116490h - to the right the fence is where the Newport school was built - this same image appears in a 1907 sales brochure for Brocks' Estate at Mona Vale:

Further down the hill with a report to go with these images:

By " Phren."
As you pass the public school at Newport you see ahead of you the attractive façade and grounds of the Newport Hotel. 

There are lawns in front, shaded by widely branching trees, under which there are usually some children playing in care of their nurses. The view from the back is exceedingly fine, taking in the romantic Pittwater, with its surrounding heights mirrored in the glassy surface. Boats are kept for hire, and there are other fishing facilities, and a hall for dancing and concerts. 

This was then called 'Queen Street'

The road branches to the right at the hotel, and passing the post office (nearly opposite) takes you first to the boarding house called "The Bungalow," a fine stately place, reached by broad steps and beautified' by gardens. 

Nearly opposite " The Bungalow " is Mr. J. F. Barrett's stores. Mr. Barrett is also THE NEWSAGENT, and takes an active interest in everything that concerns the district. Orders left with him for the Mosman Mail will receive prompt attention. 

Farther on you come to the stylish boarding house kept by Miss Scott. This has been a well known establishment and popular for many years. There is everything here to make the summer visitor happy—as far as he can be made happy by fine Scenery, grand lawns, with shade, good cooking, and good society. 

Looking from Green Point across Crystal Bay to 'Scotts', circa 1900-1912

Newport gives something to think about to a PROGRESS ASSOCIATION, of which Mr. MacGregor is honorary secretary, and it is expected that in a few years the unique claims of the place as a holiday resort will be more generally known and appreciated. A great many go there now on Saturdays and Sundays, cyclists by the hundred fly up and down the road from Manly, and the boat " Woy Woy " visits it once a month on a tour of those magnificent and most romantic inlets of the Pacific called Pittwater and Brisbane Water. But there is a desire and every reason for further progress. 

From Manly to Newport and back on the EXCELLENT LINE OF COACHES, run by C. H. Massey and Co., of Manly, can be done nicely in a day from the city. The first coach leaves Manly at 9.45 or 10 a.m. If you stop at Narrabeen you will have there live hours for dinner, shooting, fishing, bathing, and seeing the sights. 

Image No.: c071420012 from Album: Glass negatives of Sydney regions, including Clovelly, Coogee, and Manly ca 1890-1910 by William Joseph Macpherson Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales - and enlargement from. Above these View of Newport, and Barretts' launch at Newport, both circa 1908, courtesy NSW State Archives and records 

At every point almost a grand vista is presented. Just this side of Newport and to the left on coining back you witness a vast expanse of THE PACIFIC OCEAN, which comes up nearly to your feet. The horizon is generally clear, but occasionally wears a lengthy fringe of clouds. Away off to the north as I looked there was a little wing of white, which might have belonged to a seagull, but presently a ripple of smoke appeared trailing from it, and I knew it was a small steamer. Just in front a larger one was plainly visible, ploughing its way steadily up the coast. Farther off towards the meeting line of sea and sky were a number of tiny jets and clouds of smoke from invisible ocean travellers. To the southwards a great corrugated point of rocky land juts out into the sea, the rocks rising bluff and steep out of the boisterous and high flashing surf, which surges around, looking at an instant's glance like a huge and spotless sheet just thrown off stupendous bed. High on this land rises a flagstaff, and behind the staff are some trees and a tine paddock. This is a beautiful scene, and I pity those who cannot see it as I did. 

Coming still further on the return journey we arrive again at MONA VALE. A notice in the fine shops there informs us that there is to be a display by the local athletic club, of which Mr. James Booth is honorary secretary, Mr. Paul, honorary treasurer, Mr. S. A. Hewett, captain, and Mr. Bradburn, president. 

THE PARK at Mona Vale is opposite the Mona Vale Stores. The athletic club has leased a portion of it for a tennis court and cricket pitch, and on Saturday afternoons there is generally a good game or two. 

The park is invested in trustees, for whom Mr. Stringer is secretary. Our parliamentary representative for Warringah, Mr. E. W. Quirk, is working to get a grant of money to fence it in completely. I have now introduced to the readers of the Mosman Mail most of the interesting features of the coach route from Manly to Narrabeen and Newport. Next week I purpose describing a trip up the coast to Gosford on the S.S. "Woy Woy," which I trust will prove equally interesting.
MOSMAN TO NEWPORT. (1903, December 5). The Mosman Mail (NSW : 1898 - 1906), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article247006740 

Newport, circa 1880-1890, by Charles Bayliss or Robert Hunt. Part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection  - the steamer may be the Florrie - launched 1879 - or the Illawarra, which also brought excursionists to the Newport wharf, then named 'Victoria Wharf' and part of the Newport Hotel grounds.

Greig's Hotel circa 1905, image a106123h, courtesy State Library of NSW from Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card 'Scenes of Newport' Album. Sign out the Front reads 'Green Point' - farm blocks and 1/2 acre blocks - this was the David Scott owned lands at Bay View Hotel, Crystal Bay. 

From The Brock Estate Brochure - to be sold October 7th Newport 1907. Item No.: c046820076   from Mona Vale Subdivisions, courtesy State Library of New South Wales - this may be at the back of the then premises as it differs from what was on the Queen Street side

Newport's Queen street and hotel circa 1925 queens street Item: FL3838861, courtesy NSW Records and Archives - note the flagpole and Honour Roll at side. 

From album 'Samuel Wood - postcard photonegatives of Avalon, Bilgola and Newport, ca. 1928', Hotel - Newport. Item No.: a1470006h, courtesy State Library of New South Wales - an enlarged section shows the name of licensee - A. W. Newbery - Captain Alfred William Newbery was not at Newport Hotel until at least 1930. This photo shows flagpole still in place that was used as an Anzac Day gathering place and would later be moved to Trafalgar Park when a Memorial was built there to honour those who had served Australia in conflicts.

Warringah Shire Council records show: Pittwater Sub-Branch R.S.&.S.I.L. 18/4/1935, (a) requesting to be given control of the Mona Vale War memorial, forwarding copies of letters from present trustees agreeing to Sub-Branch taking control; (h) requesting control of Newport Flagpole Memorial as well; and (c) requesting supply of material for repair of Flagpole memorial before Anzac Day: resolved.;- That all the requests be granted. (Crs. Hewitt, Hughes

At the January 23rd, 1940 Council Meeting Pittwater Sub-Branch R.S.S.I.L.A. had written (letter dated 13/1/40), drawing attention to the state of the flag-pole at Newport War Memorial, stating if Council will supply a new Flagpole the Sub-Branch will paint and erect it to the Council's satisfaction. The Council Resolved;- That a new flag-pole, shaped, cut and pulleyed, be supplied at an estimated cost of £3.10.0. 

In April 1961 the Warringah Shire Council received a letter dated 17/4/1961 inquiring 'Would the Council consider granting permission to the Newport R.S.L. to resite the Honour Roll-War Memorial from outside the Newport Hotel, to-a suitable site, say "Trafalgar-Park", under direction from the Parks and Reserves Engineer, and all costs and labour, to be borne ,by the Newport R.S.L.?' The then President replied that the Council would be happy to do so and subsequently stated that he would refer the matter to the Park and Reserves; - 

Another letter was read at the Council Meeting held on August 18th 1961 from the Newport Sub-Branch, R.S.S. & A.I.L.A., (dated14/9/61,addressed to the President),- re Newport District War Memorial - Special meeting between the President, Councillors and Members of the Sub Branch, proposed siting of War Memorial at Trafalgar Park'- submitting a plan which has been approved by Members. Adding that should Council favour the plan, work could commence within 4 weeks. Council Resolved; That the plan be approved and that the Sub-Branch be notified forthwith and that the work can be commenced. 

Maj.-Gen. Cullen at ceremony

Major-General Paul Cullen will unveil an  R.S.L. war memorial at Newport next Sunday. The dedication service of the war memorial will commence at 3 p.m. Major-General Cullen, a member of the Jewish community, was promoted to his high rank recently.  Maj.-Gen. Cullen at ceremony (1962, February 23). The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1990), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article263147210

This can still be seen on the site: 'Dedicated to the fallen. Unveiled by Major General Cullen DSO., ED 25th February, 1962.'

Major General Paul Alfred Cullen, AC, CBE, DSO & Bar, ED (13 February 1909 – 7 October 2007) was a senior officer in the Australian Army. He joined the Militia in 1927 and saw active service throughout the Second World War, distinguishing himself as a fighting battalion commander on the Kokoda Track. Post war, he continued to serve in the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) and rose to the rank of major general as the CMF Member of the Military Board. In civil life , and having formed Australia's first unit trust before the war, in 1950 he formed Australia's first merchant bank, Mainguard (Australia) Ltd. Over time he became the first national president of Austcare, the first president of the Refugee Council of Australia, the president of the Australian Jewish Welfare Society for Refugees and the president of the Royal Blind Society of New South Wales. In 1981 he received the Nansen Medal from the United Nations, in recognition of his work on behalf of refugees.

Promoted major general commanding Communications Zone on December 1st 1961, Cullen transferred to the Unattached List on 1 December 1963 before serving as the Citizen Military Force member of the Military Board. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 1 January 1965. He was also awarded the Efficiency Decoration (ED) for efficient service as an officer in the Citizen Military Forces.

Major General Cullen transferred to the Retired List on 2 December 1966 but remained an outspoken champion of the part-time soldier. Cullen was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "In recognition of service to the community of ex-service personnel and their dependents" in the Queen's Birthday list on 6 June 1978. He was raised to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), "In recognition of service to the community, particularly to the welfare of the blind and visually impaired" on Australia Day, 26 January 1988.

The Newport Memorial was restored and sponsored under the new Work Opportunities Scheme and Pittwater Council "Australia Remembers" 1945 – 1995. It was re-dedicated on April 21st, 1996. Donors Pittwater R.S.L. Sub-branch. Pittwater R.S.L. Club Ltd. Pittwater Rotary. L.L. Coppin President Newport R.S.L. Sub-branch. Two plaques were installed at this time, along with the original:

Disembarking at Newport Public Wharf for a picnic, circa 1900 (Ferry is the SS Phoenix), 'Newport Wharf '- by Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers from album: Scenes of Newport, N.S.W,  courtesy State Library of NSW

'Walking towards Newport Beach' Pic No: 18526_a024_000069, dated 31/12/1908, courtesy the NSW State Records of NSW

Valley Of The Lanterns: Full Movie

more full length family movies available for free from Family Central HERE

Could a telescope ever see the beginning of time? An astronomer explains

Thousands of galaxies, each containing billions of stars, are in this 2022 photo taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI
Adi Foord, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

If the James Webb telescope was 10 times more powerful, could we see the beginning of time? - Sam H., age 12, Prosper, Texas

The James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST for short, is one of the most advanced telescopes ever built. Planning for JWST began over 25 years ago, and construction efforts spanned over a decade. It was launched into space on Dec. 25, 2021, and within a month arrived at its final destination: 930,000 miles away from Earth. Its location in space allows it a relatively unobstructed view of the universe.

The telescope design was a global effort, led by NASA, and intended to push the boundaries of astronomical observation with revolutionary engineering. Its mirror is massive – about 21 feet (6.5 meters) in diameter. That’s nearly three times the size of the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990 and is still working today.

It’s a telescope’s mirror that allows it to collect light. JWST’s is so big that it can “see” the faintest and farthest galaxies and stars in the universe. Its state-of-the-art instruments can reveal information about the composition, temperature and motion of these distant cosmic objects.

As an astrophysicist, I’m continually looking back in time to see what stars, galaxies and supermassive black holes looked like when their light began its journey toward Earth, and I’m using that information to better understand their growth and evolution. For me, and for thousands of space scientists, the James Webb Space Telescope is a window to that unknown universe.

Just how far back can JWST peer into the cosmos and into the past? About 13.5 billion years.

Against the blackness of space, the golden mirrors of the telescope are prominent.
This illustration of the front view of the James Webb Space Telescope shows its sun shield and golden mirrors. NASA/ESA/CSA/Northrop Grumman

Time travel

A telescope does not show stars, galaxies and exoplanets as they are right now. Instead, astronomers are catching a glimpse of how they were in the past. It takes time for light to travel across space and reach our telescopes. In essence, that means a look into space is also a trip back in time.

This is even true for objects that are quite close to us. The light you see from the Sun left it about 8 minutes, 20 seconds earlier. That’s how long it takes for the Sun’s light to travel to Earth.

You can easily do the math on this. All light – whether sunlight, a flashlight or a light bulb in your house – travels at 186,000 miles (almost 300,000 kilometers) per second. That’s just over 11 million miles (about 18 million kilometers) per minute. The Sun is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth. That comes out to about 8 minutes, 20 seconds.

But the farther away something is, the longer its light takes to reach us. That’s why the light we see from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to us aside from our Sun, is 4 years old; that is, it’s about 25 trillion miles (approximately 40 trillion kilometers) away from Earth, so that light takes just over four years to reach us. Or, as scientists like to say, four light years.

Most recently, JWST observed Earendel, one of the farthest stars ever detected. The light that JWST sees from Earendel is about 12.9 billion years old.

The James Webb Space Telescope is looking much farther back in time than previously possible with other telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. For example, although Hubble can see objects 60,000 times fainter than the human eye is able, the JWST can see objects almost nine times fainter than even Hubble can.

A diagram that shows how far back the James Webb Space Telescope can see.
The James Webb Space Telescope can see back 13.5 billion years – back to when the first stars and galaxies began to form. STScI

The Big Bang

But is it possible to see back to the beginning of time?

The Big Bang is a term used to define the beginning of our universe as we know it. Scientists believe it occurred about 13.8 billion years ago. It is the most widely accepted theory among physicists to explain the history of our universe.

The name is a bit misleading, however, because it suggests that some sort of explosion, like fireworks, created the universe. The Big Bang more closely represents the appearance of rapidly expanding space everywhere in the universe. The environment immediately after the Big Bang was similar to a cosmic fog that covered the universe, making it hard for light to travel beyond it. Eventually, galaxies, stars and planets started to grow.

That’s why this era in the universe is called the “cosmic dark ages.” As the universe continued to expand, the cosmic fog began to rise, and light was eventually able to travel freely through space. In fact, a few satellites have observed the light left by the Big Bang, about 380,000 years after it occurred. These telescopes were built to detect the splotchy leftover glow from the Big Bang, whose light can be tracked in the microwave band.

However, even 380,000 years after the Big Bang, there were no stars and galaxies. The universe was still a very dark place. The cosmic dark ages wouldn’t end until a few hundred million years later, when the first stars and galaxies began to form.

Clouds of red, pink and white gas and dust highlight this starscape.
This is a JWST image of NGC 604, a star-forming region about 2.7 million light years from Earth. NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

The James Webb Space Telescope was not designed to observe as far back as the Big Bang, but instead to see the period when the first objects in the universe began to form and emit light. Before this time period, there is little light for the James Webb Space Telescope to observe, given the conditions of the early universe and the lack of galaxies and stars.

Peering back to the time period close to the Big Bang is not simply a matter of having a larger mirror – astronomers have already done it using other satellites that observe microwave emission from very soon after the Big Bang. So, the James Webb Space Telescope observing the universe a few hundred million years after the Big Bang isn’t a limitation of the telescope. Rather, that’s actually the telescope’s mission. It’s a reflection of where in the universe we expect the first light from stars and galaxies to emerge.

By studying ancient galaxies, scientists hope to understand the unique conditions of the early universe and gain insight into the processes that helped them flourish. That includes the evolution of supermassive black holes, the life cycle of stars, and what exoplanets – worlds beyond our solar system – are made of.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Adi Foord, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation’s Curious Kids – new podcast where kids get answers direct from experts

Gemma Ware, The Conversation

Kids ask the coolest questions! And on The Conversation’s Curious Kids podcast we get the brainiest people we can to answer them!

Every week, a curious kid joins host Eloise to ask the world’s top researchers their burning question, whether it’s about space, dinosaurs, trees or even why their dog is just sooooo cute.

Episode 1 of our first season lands on 21 April. Listen to a taste of what’s in store in our trailer and subscribe so you don’t miss out!

The Conversation’s Curious Kids podcast is published in partnership with FunKids, the UK’s children’s radio station.

Email your question to curiouskids@theconversation.com or record it and send your question to us directly at https://funkidslive.com/curious.

And explore more articles from our Curious Kids series on The Conversation.The Conversation

Gemma Ware, Head of Audio, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

From thousands to millions to billions to trillions to quadrillions and beyond: Do numbers ever end?

The number zero was a relatively recent and crucial addition − it allows numbers to extend in both directions forever. pixel_dreams/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Manil Suri, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

Why don’t numbers end? – Reyhane, age 7, Tehran, Iran

Here’s a game: Ask a friend to give you any number and you’ll return one that’s bigger. Just add “1” to whatever number they come up with and you’re sure to win.

The reason is that numbers go on forever. There is no highest number. But why? As a professor of mathematics, I can help you find an answer.

First, you need to understand what numbers are and where they come from. You learned about numbers because they enabled you to count. Early humans had similar needs – whether to count animals killed in a hunt or keep track of how many days had passed. That’s why they invented numbers.

But back then, numbers were quite limited and had a very simple form. Often, the “numbers” were just notches on a bone, going up to a couple hundred at most.

How numbers evolved throughout the centuries.

When numbers got bigger

As time went on, people’s needs grew. Herds of livestock had to be counted, goods and services traded, and measurements made for buildings and navigation. This led to the invention of larger numbers and better ways of representing them.

About 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians began using symbols for various numbers, with a final symbol for one million. Since they didn’t usually encounter bigger quantities, they also used this same final symbol to depict “many.”

The Greeks, starting with Pythagoras, were the first to study numbers for their own sake, rather than viewing them as just counting tools. As someone who’s written a book on the importance of numbers, I can’t emphasize enough how crucial this step was for humanity.

By 500 BCE, Pythagoras and his disciples had not only realized that the counting numbers – 1, 2, 3 and so on – were endless, but also that they could be used to explain cool stuff like the sounds made when you pluck a taut string.

Zero is a critical number

But there was a problem. Although the Greeks could mentally think of very large numbers, they had difficulty writing them down. This was because they did not know about the number 0.

Think of how important zero is in expressing big numbers. You can start with 1, then add more and more zeroes at the end to quickly get numbers like a million – 1,000,000, or 1 followed by six zeros – or a billion, with nine zeros, or a trillion, 12 zeros.

It was only around 1200 CE that zero, invented centuries earlier in India, came to Europe. This led to the way we write numbers today.

This brief history makes clear that numbers were developed over thousands of years. And though the Egyptians didn’t have much use for a million, we certainly do. Economists will tell you that government expenditures are commonly measured in millions of dollars.

Also, science has taken us to a point where we need even larger numbers. For instance, there are about 100 billion stars in our galaxy – or 100,000,000,000 – and the number of atoms in our universe may be as high as 1 followed by 82 zeros.

Don’t worry if you find it hard to picture such big numbers. It’s fine to just think of them as “many,” much like the Egyptians treated numbers over a million. These examples point to one reason why numbers must continue endlessly. If we had a maximum, some new use or discovery would surely make us exceed it.

The symbols of math include +, -, x and =.

Exceptions to the rule

But under certain circumstances, sometimes numbers do have a maximum because people design them that way for a practical purpose.

A good example is a clock – or clock arithmetic, where we use only the numbers 1 through 12. There is no 13 o’clock, because after 12 o’clock we just go back to 1 o’clock again. If you played the “bigger number” game with a friend in clock arithmetic, you’d lose if they chose the number 12.

Since numbers are a human invention, how do we construct them so they continue without end? Mathematicians started looking at this question starting in the early 1900s. What they came up with was based on two assumptions: that 0 is the starting number, and when you add 1 to any number you always get a new number.

These assumptions immediately give us the list of counting numbers: 0 + 1 = 1, 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 1 = 3, and so on, a progression that continues without end.

You might wonder why these two rules are assumptions. The reason for the first one is that we don’t really know how to define the number 0. For example: Is “0” the same as “nothing,” and if so, what exactly is meant by “nothing”?

The second might seem even more strange. After all, we can easily show that adding 1 to 2 gives us the new number 3, just like adding 1 to 2002 gives us the new number 2003.

But notice that we’re saying this has to hold for any number. We can’t very well verify this for every single case, since there are going to be an endless number of cases. As humans who can perform only a limited number of steps, we have to be careful anytime we make claims about an endless process. And mathematicians, in particular, refuse to take anything for granted.

Here, then, is the answer to why numbers don’t end: It’s because of the way in which we define them.

Now, the negative numbers

How do the negative numbers -1, -2, -3 and more fit into all this? Historically, people were very suspicious about such numbers, since it’s hard to picture a “minus one” apple or orange. As late as 1796, math textbooks warned against using negatives.

The negatives were created to address a calculation issue. The positive numbers are fine when you’re adding them together. But when you get to subtraction, they can’t handle differences like 1 minus 2, or 2 minus 4. If you want to be able to subtract numbers at will, you need negative numbers too.

A simple way to create negatives is to imagine all the numbers – 0, 1, 2, 3 and the rest – drawn equally spaced on a straight line. Now imagine a mirror placed at 0. Then define -1 to be the reflection of +1 on the line, -2 to be the reflection of +2, and so on. You’ll end up with all the negative numbers this way.

As a bonus, you’ll also know that since there are just as many negatives as there are positives, the negative numbers must also go on without end!

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Manil Suri, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Curious Kids: how is eye colour made? And why are they different colours?

Pexels/Nóra Zahradník
Michele Madigan, University of Sydney

“How is eye colour made? And why are they different colours?” – Jane, age 12, from Pascoe Vale South

Hi Jane,

Eyes are so fascinating and I’m glad you asked this question!

When we talk about eye colour, we’re talking about the iris or coloured area around the dark dot (pupil) in the centre of the eye. Like our fingerprints, iris colours are unique to each person.

The most common eye colour is brown, then blue, and less often green or hazel. Pigment means a substance that adds colour. The amazing thing is the human body only makes brown iris pigment (melanin) but not blue, green or hazel iris pigments. So how come everyone doesn’t have brown irises?

‘What colour are your eyes?’

Iris colours can be brown, blue or green, or mixtures such as brown-yellow, greenish brown or blue-brown. The word “iris” comes from the Greek word meaning “rainbow”. In ancient Greek stories, a goddess called Iris carries messages across a rainbow bridge between Earth and the supernatural world.

Genetics – how physical traits and characteristics pass from one generation to the next – play a part in determining eye colour. In many cases, the genes that produce brown eyes are dominant, but how eye colour genes are passed on is complex. This can mean if one biological parent has brown eyes and another has blue eyes, their child is more likely to have brown eyes. But not always.

But what about all the other colours?

So what is the iris made of? Our iris is inside the eye, behind a clear layer called the cornea. It’s circular and very thin (less than half a millimetre) and shaped like a donut with a hole in the middle for our pupil. The iris contains many cells, special muscles, blood vessels and nerves, surrounded by a gel material with millions of tiny crisscrossed fibres.

Iris pigment cells – melanocytes – contain pigment particles (melanosomes). Pigment cell numbers for all iris colours are about the same. But pigment particles inside the cells are different. For example, a blue iris does not have as many pigment particles as a brown iris.

The other iris cells make the tiny fibres and gel material in the iris, and other cells help protect the iris from damage. Special iris muscles with thin stretchy fibres can bunch up or relax the iris to control our pupil size in bright or dim light.

The back of the iris has a dark brown surface because of cells filled with brown pigment. This back surface pigment helps our vision as it stops light scattering through the iris.

close ups of four eye irises, showing different colours and patterns
Iris colours and patterns are unique to each person, like fingerprints. Shutterstock

White or visible light contains a rainbow spectrum of colours from blue to red. As light passes through the iris, the blue light scatters much more than other colours. So blue light bounces back, and this means that if there are fewer pigment particles, we see a blue iris.

Other colours in light, especially red, scatter less and get into the iris between the tiny fibres, gel and cells. Green, hazel or brown irises have more pigment particles that soak up this light.

So the eye colours we see are a result of the scattering of some light colours more or less than others, brown pigment particles soaking up more of some colours, and the number of pigment particles a person has in their iris.

young woman smiles and has two different coloured eyes
Some people are born with two different coloured eyes and these don’t change over time. Shutterstock

Can eye colours change?

Iris colours can seem to change if different colours are near the eye. For example, different-coloured eye makeup can “trick” us as to the iris colour we see.

People with little or no iris pigment often have very pale blue irises. These can look reddish without the iris pigment to soak up the red light from inside the eye, which then passes through the iris.

Iris colour does not always stay the same during life. Babies born with blue eyes can have brown or hazel eyes by their second birthday because more dark pigment is made in iris cells after birth.

Iris colour can also change because of rare diseases or injuries.

Some eye drops to treat eye pressure make more brown pigment in iris cells, and make eyes appear browner. Some people are born with one brown eye and one blue eye, but these stay the same with age – although we’re not sure why.

There’s still so much to discover about irises and eye colour!The Conversation

Michele Madigan, Associate Professor, Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney and Clinical Associate Professor, Save Sight Institute, Clinical Ophthalmology, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

would it be weird?

Published by Toadstools and Fairy Dust - more stories at the link

'The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf' read by Kaia Gerber

by Storyline online


books of the month - april 2024: The adventures of Antony Ant and the earwig pirates, Gregory Grasshopper, and the cruise of the Saucy Walnut

Written and illustrated by David Hunter Gilmore, in 1942

The magic faraway tree

by Enid Blyton, first published in 1943

Archive of millions of Historical Children’s Books All Digitised: Free to download or Read Online

Enter the 1: Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature here, where you can browse several categories, search for subjects, authors, titles, etc, see full-screen, zoomable images of book covers, download XML versions, and read all of the 2: over 6,000 books in the collection with comfortable reader views. 

Find 3: more classics in the collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

WilderQuest online fun

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is pleased to present the WilderQuest program for teachers, students and children.

The WilderQuest program includes a website and apps with game and video content, Ranger led tours and activities in national parks across NSW. It provides opportunities for families to experience nature, science and Aboriginal culture in classrooms, online, at events and in national parks. The Teacher portal and free primary school resources have been produced with support from our Environmental Trust partners.

Profile: Ingleside Riders Group

Ingleside Riders Group Inc. (IRG) is a not for profit incorporated association and is run solely by volunteers. It was formed in 2003 and provides a facility known as “Ingleside Equestrian Park” which is approximately 9 acres of land between Wattle St and McLean St, Ingleside. 
IRG has a licence agreement with the Minister of Education to use this land. This facility is very valuable as it is the only designated area solely for equestrian use in the Pittwater District.  IRG promotes equal rights and the respect of one another and our list of rules that all members must sign reflect this.
Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

Their Mission: Share a community spirit through the joy of our children engaging in baseball.

National Geographic for Australian Kids

Find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games and more. Visit National Geographic Kids today!

This week the National Geographic for Kids has launched a new free digital resource platform called NatGeo@Home to entertain and educate children affected by school closures.

The three main categories of content on the NatGeo@Home site aim to educate, inspire and entertain. For parents and teachers, there are also separate resources and lesson plans covering everything from getting to grips with Google Earth to learning to label the geological features of the ocean.

For the main Australian National Geographic for Kids, visit: www.natgeokids.com/au

For the National Geographic at Home site, visit:


Mona Vale Library runs a Lego club on the first Sunday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. The club is open to children aged between seven and twelve years of age, with younger children welcome with parental supervision. If you are interested in attending a Lego at the Library session contact the library on 9970 1622 or book in person at the library, 1 Park Street, Mona Vale.

Children's Storytime at Mona Vale LibraryMona Vale Library offers storytime for pre-school children every week during school terms. Children and their carers come and participate in a fun sing-a-long with our story teller as well as listen to several stories in each session, followed by some craft.  

Storytime is held in the Pelican Room of the library in front of the service desk. Storytime is free and no bookings are required. 

Storytime Sessions: Tuesdays  10.00am - 11.00am - Wednesdays  10.00am - 11.00am  - Thursdays  10.00am - 11.00am

Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5  who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 
Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Profile

We swim at Bilgola rock pool on Saturday mornings (8:45am till 11:30am). Our season runs between October and March

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)

Website: www.byra.org.au

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

 Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts

Find out more about all the fun you can have at Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts Profile

our Profile pages aren’t just about those who can tell you about Pittwater before you were born, they’re also about great clubs and activities that you too can get involved in!