the annual lumper’s picnic

Got to love this picture in The Sunday Times (Perth) – 17 March 1929.  The annual union picnic was a big deal in years gone by.  These waterside workers and their families often held their picnic at the zoo.  Wonder if any of the ginger beer went off like the home-made variety brewed in family sheds and laundries often did.

Gallons of ginger beer

donning a beer bottle costume to advertise the product

In 1890, lithographers Troedel & Co produced what was, for its time, a traditional illustration to advertise beer – via the State Library of Victoria.


The State Library of Queensland’s collection holds this digital version of an advertisement that appeared in The Queenslander on 29 September 1900.  Is this the first example of using a woman to advertise an alcoholic beverage?  Perhaps not.

I’m not sure this costume was as the Bulimba Beer was purported to be – specially suitable for tropical climates.

Advertisement for Bulimba Beer brewed in Brisbane 1900

when apricots were aprecocks

From 1635, A Book of Fruits & Flowers Shewing the Nature and Use of them either for Meat or Medicine.

aprecocksNot only is this e-book via Project Gutenberg of interest for the recipes and concoctions therein, it also provides some insight into the way the English language was spoken and written nearly 400 years ago.

Here are a few ‘translations’ of words appearing on the pictured title page via Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (second revised Centenary edition, 1981 – Cassell Ltd) and a recipe from the book for creating craknels of ‘whatever forme you will’.

caudel / caudle

Any sloppy mess, especially that sweet mixture of gruel and wine or spirits once given by nurses to recently confined women and their “gossips” who called to see the baby in the first month. The word means “something warm” (Lat. calidus)


The old name for the confection of almonds, sugar, etc., that we call marzipan, this being the German form of the original Ital. marzapane, which was adopted in the 19th century in preference to our well-established word because this confection was largely imported from Germany.

serecloath / cerecloth (via

waxed waterproof cloth of a kind previously used as a shroud

To make Craknels.

Take five or six pints of the finest Wheat flower you can get, to which you must put in a spoonfull (and not above) of good Yest, then mingle it well with Butter, cream, Rose-water, and sugar, finely beaten, and working it well into paste, make it after what forme you will, and bake it.

A book of fruits and flowers

The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Book of Fruits and Flowers, by Anonymous

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large teapotChronicle – 23 January 1936

wireless in a teapotThe West Australian – 20 August 1929

self-pouring teapotAustralian Town and Country Journal – 25 May 1889

David Webster’s Tea Rooms

David Websters Tea Rooms in Brisbane 1900

David Webster’s Tea Rooms in Brisbane, 1900, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This image by an unidentified photographer was taken in 1900.  It illustrates the attention to detail and marketing skills of a man called David Webster, creator of Webster’s cakes and biscuits.  Originally a baker of bread, he introduced machinery to make his product and soon held a large share of the market in and around Brisbane.

Articles and advertising (it is sometimes hard to tell the difference) in Brisbane newspapers of the time showed Webster as the consummate networker. The company catered at many sporting and large social events including tea rooms at the races and community picnics.  Many organisations held their evening meetings in his tea rooms. In their early days, Webster and Company won government tenders to supply bread to public institutions.  David Webster had the odd skirmish or two in the industrial commission and the courts, and in 1898 was fined 2/6 an ounce for short-weighting his bread by 15 ounces after the original hearing was deferred when it was pointed out that he was a supplier of bread to the judge.  (Brisbane Courier – 4 October 1898).

bread case DW

The series of articles below gives an indication of the range of products and services the company provided.

The Brisbane Courier – 22 December 1900

DW - 1900 item part 1DW - 1900 item part 2

The Brisbane Courier – 6 December 1912

David Webster's Dainties - 1912

Cairns Post 28 October 1930

Webster's biscuits

The Courier Mail – 4 February 1936

The Webster family company also instigated the historic and much loved Shingle Inn recently resurrected in the newly renovated Brisbane City Hall.

Shingle Inn plans

On the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, an article about Mr and Mrs David Webster appeared in the Courier Mail – 11 December 1936.  Six months later, David Webster died.

Mr and Mrs David Webster - golden anniversary

DW commenced business

from mangolds to whisky – Nant Estate

Via The Mercury (Hobart) – 6 August 1889, a story of a large mangold (root vegetable) which had apparently taken the form of a human hand.  The mangold photo here is from an English website dedicated to the fine sport of mangold hurling.  Keep your tongue firmly in your cheek as you read!

mangold - Nant distillery

mangoldThe Nant Estate (where the disfigured mangold was discovered) is now home to the Nant Distilleryhome of the only commercially operating water-powered flour mill in Australia.  This now heritage site, an hour north of Hobart, produces single malt whisky.

Probably not a mangold in sight these days!

green beer on St Patrick’s Day

green beerThe year – 1946.

The response from the Antipodes to English breweries blending green beer for St Patrick’s Day?


Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) – 30 Nov 1946