ARE CURRAWONGS CUTE?

ARE CURRAWONGS CUTE?

I must admit that  Australia’s  pied currawongs do not have a great reputation. They are opportunists, preying on  unwary small birds and robbing the nests of others. I’ve never  forgiven a local gang of them for harassing our nesting tawny frogmouth and stealing the eggs. However,  apart

Read more

SNAP, CRACKLE, POP AT THE ‘COPHA’ CABANA

SNAP, CRACKLE, POP AT THE 'COPHA' CABANA

KEEP SOME COPHA IN THE CUPBOARD There is an Australian urban myth that Kellogs invented Copha for the express purpose of making chocolate crackles. Well let’s explode that for a start.   The advertisement  below appeared in the Women’s Weekly in December 1937.  It is the first known mention

Read more

WHISTLING AN ODE TO THE GUM LEAF

WHISTLING AN ODE TO THE GUM LEAF

We Australians love gum leaves.  Expat Aussies can be reduced to tears by a whiff of their aroma.  Campers in the bush  put them into billy tea……for the flavor, but even more for nostalgia.   Our  property in the Blue Mountains was named The Gums by a

Read more

MR WALL’S WHALE

MR WALL'S WHALE

Irish born Mr  William Sheridan Wall served as Curator of the Australian Museum in Sydney during  the 1840s and 50s.  He personally collected and preserved many native birds, but his greatest legacy to the institution was a creature from the deep. On December 5 1849 the schooner Thistle

Read more

THE KEY TO BREAKING A SYDNEY BANK

THE KEY TO BREAKING A SYDNEY BANK

Towards the end of  1912 a new Bank of New South Wales branch was nearing completion in Sydney’s Surry Hills. About six weeks before opening day the strong room was constructed and the heavy iron door fitted. It had been  designed with excellent security features. Two keys

Read more

THE LOVELY LAMINGTONS

THE  LOVELY LAMINGTONS

 MORE THAN JUST A CHOCOLATE CAKE, MATE! Ever heard of a lamington cocktail? Sounds good to me.                       If there is one culinary icon in Australia that ‘out-icons’ the pavlova it is  surely  the lamington.    We all know that

Read more

MR McGINTY’S GOLD

MR McGINTY'S GOLD

EUREKA—GOLD GOLD GOLD! In  1883, James McGinty and his  two  prospecting partners  found what is still the  largest gold nugget ever found in Tasmania.  It was discovered at Rocky River, near Corinna on the  wild west coast. It weighed 243ozs and was valued at £6,000. Below is an  image  of the

Read more

GUY MENZIES; A LARRIKIN HERO

FOLLOWING ON FROM GUY MENZIES; A LIFE LIVED AT FAST FORWARD. Guy Menzies, the dashing young airman who made the first solo crossing from Australia to New Zealand in 1931 had plans for even greater feats; perhaps a flight from England to Australia, which he estimated could

Read more

A WOMBAT IS WISE IN A WONDERFUL WAY

A WOMBAT IS WISE IN  A WONDERFUL WAY

The wombat has a reputation for being a bit, well…..not that bright. The wonderful Australian author Ruth Park wrote a series of  very popular children’s stories under the title. The Muddle-headed Wombat, Waddling this way! And what does he know?  Well, how to dig, for one thing. He

Read more

Dolly Pegs

Dolly Pegs

A SMALL PIECE OF WOOD Apparently wooden ‘dolly pegs’ were originally  hand made by Gypsies in the UK, who sold them door to door.  Sometimes they were carved from hedgerow wood, sometimes they were just a couple of sticks  bound together with strips of tin. In Tasmania 

Read more