On 12 February 2018 I spoke to a group from the University of the Third Age, Deepdene. The talk was billed as a decade by decade stroll through 150 years of Australian food history. In an hour or so. Hence, it ended up as more of a gallop.
By Tre, Ros, Car, Lan, Pol and Pen
Ye may know most Cornishmen.
I was born a Trezise – a Cornish name through and through, and one that seems to have cropped up regularly in the history of Victoria’s licensed premises.
At the opposite end of Flinders Street Station from the famous clocks and dome, you’ll find evidence of the station’s commercial past. Including the Milk Dock – the distribution point for much of our milk supply in the early 20th century.
Opened in 1890 in Phillip Street, The Paris House was the premier restaurant of Sydney’s ‘Belle Epoque’. Later run by Gaston Lievain, from Lille, it offered a ground-floor bistro, a top floor sponsored by the Moet champagne house and private dining rooms where lovers could meet, The expression “As dumb as a Paris House waiter” was testament to the staff’s discretion.
In 1982, when the French were still testing atomic bombs in the Pacific, launching a product with a French name could have been problematic. But research groups gave the go-ahead, so we were off to Paris to shoot the commercial that changed the Australian yoghurt market forever.
How Australia’s first Prime Minister missed his train after stopping for a tot of whisky; how the mobile catering unit nearly caused a train wreck; and other stories from the history of Australia’s Railway Refreshment Rooms.
The menu for New Year’s Eve 1962 at the Rex Hotel offered Oysters Naturelle or Fruit Cocktail, Sole Bonne Femme, half a Spring Roast Chicken with vegetables in season, followed by Tropical Fruit Salad and Ice Cream.
Even the winemakers at La Gravera can’t name all the grape varieties that make up this mysterious white wine. What they can say is that the vines are more than 125 years old and that they come from a mere 0.95 hectare plot, 400 metres above sea level in northern Catalonia.
Is Camp Pie truly Australian? The Oxford dictionary says so, defining it as: (Australian, history) tinned meat. And it certainly has a long (if not glorious) history in this country. But its origins probably lie in the Old Country.