Australia’s early restaurant scene

Early references to restaurants in Australian newspapers were only included in reports from Europe.  The word restaurant was more than not accompanied by an explanatory (eating-house).

From the 1840s, city restaurants began to be advertised.  Taverns transformed into ‘restaurants’ or included them in their premises.  Mr Gill in The Australian (1845) offered exotic food prepared by an “East Indian Cook”.  Mr Gregory (1856) covered all bases in his Argus advertisement of the Melbourne Hall of Commerce restaurant – from recherche, refined taste to more simple fare.

In 1861, George Hart advertised his Brisbane restaurant as the first in Queensland, having been “induced by the rapidly increasing population of Queensland to introduce [his] novel house of refreshment”.




Cooked his goose

This incident reported in the Hobart Mercury of 8 October 1856 had feathers flying.

The phrase ‘cook his goose’ is explained thus in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.  “He’s cooked his goose.  He’s done for himself, he’s made a fatal mistake, ruined his chances, “DISHED” himself. “To cook someone’s goose” is to spoil his plans, to ‘fix’ him….. It is apparently 19th century in origin”

In the Brisbane Courier – 8 July 1864 – a correspondent to its Notes and Queries segment wrote that he had found a 17th century manuscript with a story about the King of Swedland (Sweden) “which he considers to explain the vulgar phrase of “Cooking his Goose”.  Vulgar?

Reginald … on the other hand, had a more literal meaning of cooking his goose in mind when he penned this cartoon.


The Queenslander 25 March 1937