Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin August 2016 Contents REGULAR | CLINICAL
Vic Bird (Bowraville 2449) is a dentist
and farmer (Baringhup Stud) whose
communications are always most welcome.
On 21 June he e-mailed a report, probably
from the internet, about US citizen Allen
Swift, which said (in synopsis): born
1908; died 2010; owned a Rolls-Royce
for 82 years; a graduation gift from his
father; drove it until his death, aged 102;
1,070,000 miles on the speedo; donated to
a Springfield Museum after his death.
This report has quite a few errors, as did the
many others about him on the internet. The
facts: He was born in 1903; it was a gift for
working in the family business so his brothers
could go to universities; he stopped driving it
several years before his death; he said he had
driven it about 172,000 miles; two months
before he died, he donated one million dollars
to build the Wood Museum of Springfield
History and gifted his car to it. He owned the
car for 76 years, possibly longer than anyone,
anywhere but stopped driving it in his nineties.
I emailed Vic that his 21 June email was a
happy coincidence. On the previous night,
100+ members of the Rolls-Royce Owners’
Club of Australia held a cocktail party to
celebrate their club’s 60th anniversary, on
the very same day it was founded, and
in a venue directly opposite the room in
which the 19 founding members gathered.
There were two screens showing pictures
from club events of the past 60 years, and
two founding members were given 60
year membership badges. They were your
Narrator and his wife, Margaret. Four of the
original 19 are still alive, but the other two
were unable to attend the celebration.
Like Allen Swift, several Rolls-Royce
owners have owned their cars for quite
long periods. Adrian Garrett, from the UK,
Australia and now New Zealand, has owned
his 1907 Silver Ghost for about 64 years.
Bob Johnson, from the R-R Club in South
Africa, owned his Silver Ghost R-R for about
62 years. The Gillings family owned their
1910 Silver Ghost for 59 years. Silver Ghosts
(1906-1925) just go on and on.
A LITTLE-KNOWN FACT
The previous information did not mention
that Allen Swift’s car was a Rolls-Royce
Phantom I with the chassis number
S273FP. The S indicates that it was made
in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Very
few people will be aware that in 1920 the
corporation Rolls-Royce of America Inc
was formed, and an extensive factory was
organised to make Rolls-Royce motor cars
almost identical to those made in the UK,
using American staff supported by some
British engineers and workers. It was a
success, and it takes an expert to identify a
Springfield car from a UK one.
From 1921 to 1926, 1,755 Silver Ghosts and
2,014 Phantom Is, plus a few PIIs and PIIIs
were made there. They sold well, and many
are still running.
BIRKENHEAD PARK (UK)
According to Bill Bryson, this is the
world’s oldest City Park. It was laid out to
resemble the grounds of a stately home,
and was opened in 1847 on 125 acres of
former wasteland. Other parks had access
restricted to the upper classes, but this park
was purpose-built for the amusement of all
people, and was an immediate success.
Four years after it was opened, American
journalist, Frederick Law Olmstead visited
the park, and when he returned to the USA
he became a landscape architect. He then
designed Central Park in New York City
and then went on to build more than 100
parks all over North America. How’s that for
Not many readers will suffer from these,
but those who do are certain to find them
discommoding. A sufferer’s husband, an
independent game-developer, decided
to program a Smartwatch to detect
movement characteristic of a seizure
and text him a warning. He and she have
created software that does just that, and
made it available on-line.
The two, Ryan and Kathryn Clarke, use a
$100 Pebble watch, one of the cheapest
smartwatches on the market. The program,
which is called Pebble Seizure Detect, is
instantly available to Pebble-owners with
epilepsy. When motions occur that go above
a certain threshold, the wearer’s ‘phone is
alerted. The wearer has 15 seconds to turn
off the alarm if they are not having a seizure.
If the alarm is not cancelled, the app sends
a text to predetermined numbers. The text
also includes the e-wearer’s last known
GPS location, so the called recipient can
come and help. The app also has a ‘panic’
button. If the wearer feels a seizure coming
on, they can press it to warn their contacts.
This is an ingenious way for epilepsy
sufferers to balance freedom with safety
and independence with responsibility. And
it is inexpensive!
This is the world’s largest parrot, and is
a native of New Zealand. Predation by
introduced animals has reduced their
population to 123 adult birds, now living
on sheltered islands. All adults have been
fitted with tracking devices, monitored by
rangers, aeroplanes and satellites, and their
nesting and mating habits are recorded in
They are night birds, and not surprisingly
often have a vitamin D deficiency. They and
their chicks can get their vitamin D from
the berries of the rimu tree, but it fruits only
every two or three years, and only in those
years can they breed. Every year the rangers
attempt to artificially inseminate every
female to boost the chances of successfully
hatching chicks. The males make a loud
booming noise when calling for a mate.
One male, Gulliver, is an ideal father, and
has a very favourable DNA pattern, but at
18 years, he has yet to father a single chick.
Lots of luck, Kiwis! The rangers say the
kakapo’s sex life is the most closely
monitored of any species, and say they will
do just about anything to ensure the future
of the world’s weirdest parrot.
38 | ADA NEWS BULLETIN | AUGUST 2016
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