A Celebration of Australian Heritage and Food

by Travelbag on 26 January 2018, 17:01PM

Australia is renowned for its diversity and multiculturalism. Over the centuries many different influences have shaped Australia's culture, making it one of the world's most exciting places to step off a long-haul flight and explore. Focusing predominantly on food in this piece, we'll take you through some of Australia's defining moments, and if those long flights seem a bit daunting, just focus on all the wonderful sights and experiences that await.

A Brief Historical Overview of Some Key Components of Everyday Australian Life

In the days of early colonialism, cooking was used as an outlet for innovation and ingenuity. Cooks would experiment with the ingredients surrounding them, creating dishes using native game and vegetables, a wide variety of seafood and native nuts and fruits. Wild raspberries, currants and hibiscus were used domestically as well as being harvested to be sold for profit continuously from these early colonial days right through until the early 1930s.

The 1850s gold rushes saw an influx of American and European migrants, which resulted in the introduction of coffee and a substantial increase in the number of street vendors selling things such as Cornish pasties and meat pies. Coffee palaces were ornate and grand, designed to offer a markedly different atmosphere to pubs, where everything was rowdier and alcohol-fuelled. The popularity of coffee lounges endured, becoming an integral part of the jazz age and influencing the strong contemporary coffee culture of today.

The 1860s and 1870s saw many more new arrivals. New settlers, especially those making homes in port cities around Australia, developed a love for Asian flavours. New ingredients brought about consistent new innovations, with contemporary chefs today still striving to create new and exciting dishes using the ingredients and styles of cooking that were brought to Australian shores throughout history. The Australian desire to experiment is exciting and inspiring, and today you'll see a lot of Indian, Asian, African and Mediterranean influences throughout restaurants and cafémenus.

A Few Important Australian National Holidays

There are several key national holidays observed in Australia, with Anzac Day and Australia Day marked with a variety of remembrance events.

Anzac Day

Observed annually on 25 April, Anzac Day is a commemoration and day of remembrance for all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in conflict, war and peacekeeping operations. Widely regarded as one of the year's most solemn days, commemoration events are held across the county.

Anzac biscuits, which are made from simple ingredients, including rolled oats, golden syrup, butter and desiccated coconut, were originally made by women's groups and wives to send to soldiers abroad because they would keep and travel well. Anzac biscuits are still popular, with commercial production used to raise money for the Returned and Services League of Australia and the Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association.

Australia Day

Celebrated annually on 26 January, Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in New South Wales. Modern celebrations include family and community events, citizenship ceremonies and festivals. There are boat races in Sydney harbour, and a parade, concert and fireworks display held in Sydney's Elder Park. Other notable events include the annual cricket match at the Adelaide Oval and Perth skyworks.

Some of Australia's Most Famous Foods

Australia's diversity shines through in the variety of its cuisine.

The Lamington: National Cake of Australia

With the National Trust of Queensland listing Lamingtons as an Australian icon, it is impossible to overlook their popularity. The first published Lamington recipe dates to 1903, with the sweet treat featuring regularly in cookery competitions just three years later. It is believed that either the cook or maid of Lord Lamington, who was Queensland's governor between 1896 and 1901, developed the recipe.

Created by sandwiching two light, square-shaped sponges with jam or cream, and coated in a mixture of desiccated coconut and chocolate icing, they are the perfect treat to accompany a cup of afternoon tea.

The Pavlova

Although a bit of a contentious issue between Aussies and New Zealanders, the Pavlova is an institution in both countries, as both have laid claim to inventing the delicious dessert to honour Anna Pavlova's widely celebrated 1920s visit to Australasia. Whoever had the honour of creating the first Pavlova, one thing is certain: perfectly formed meringue decorated with fresh fruit and whipped cream makes an ideal, and very impressive, celebratory dessert.

Tim Tams

Every year 35 million packets of these deliciously chocolatey treats are sold around the world. Coming in at a whopping 400 million biscuits, it's safe to say that Tim Tams are a veritable success of Australian confectionery. Two malted chocolate biscuits are sandwiched together between a light chocolate filling before being coated in yet another layer of silky chocolate. You simply must try a Tim Tam slam on your holiday - we insist!

Dagwood Dog

Typically associated with the Sydney Royal Easter Show but also popular at fairs, festivals, sporting events and the like, these battered and deep-fried frankfurters served on a stick. It's an Australian street food staple. Depending on the region, they might also be referred to as Pluto Pups or Dippy Dogs. Somewhat similarly, the sausage sizzle, a nod to Australians' British heritage, can also be widely found at events, markets and celebrations.

Vegemite

This world-famous creation was cleverly invented by Dr Cyril Callister, a scientist based in Melbourne, to utilise left-over yeast from the beer production process. Love it or hate it, Vegemite is an undeniable Australian icon.

Australia's Oldest Chocolate Bar: The Cherry Ripe

Consisting of cherries and coconut generously covered in dark chocolate, the Cherry Ripe was first created in 1924. Remaining popular and promising a 'big cherry taste', the Cherry Ripe has a lot of history and good memories for many Australians.

Fairy Bread

A staple of children's parties, fairy bread is an easy to make and widely popular treat. Sliced white bread is generously buttered before being covered in hundreds and thousands and cut into triangles. The best thing about fairy bread is that no one really knows where it originated, so it will remain as mysterious as the precise reason why bread tastes better when cut into triangles.

Chiko Roll

Inspired by Chinese spring rolls, the Chiko Roll was first sold in 1951, and although the name suggests otherwise, they don't contain any chicken. Instead, a combination of cabbage, barley, carrot, onion, celery and beef fills the inside of these battered tubes, which are then deep-fried. A staple on-the-go snack, Chiko Rolls are typically found in local fish and chip shops, sporting events and train station snack vendors.

Kangaroo

Demand for kangaroo meat soared when colonists discovered it was much tastier than the salted meat they had been eating. In Adelaide in 1845 the price of kangaroo meat rose to an unprecedented nine pence per pound. Low in fat and perfect for lovers of rare/medium meats, kangaroo works especially well with garlic, pepper and rosemary, as well as fruitier flavours like juniper, redcurrant, plum and orange.

Bush Tucker

Aboriginal peoples of Australia have hunted and gathered food in the Australian bush for centuries, and bush tucker, which includes emu, crocodile, yams, bush tomato, and witchetty grubs, is still eaten by Aboriginal peoples living in remote areas of the country. Like kangaroo, many of these native and traditional Australian ingredients have been incorporated into contemporary cuisine, with such dishes occasionally found on the menus of cafés and restaurants in Australian cities.

Coffee

Coffee plants came over with the First Fleet in 1788, but it wasn't long before the climate was deemed unsuitable and the regular importation of coffee began. We touched on the prevalence of coffee lounges and stalls earlier, especially during the gold rushes of the mid-1800s and the jazz age of the early 1900s. The Lincoln coffee lounge in Perth attracted writers, artists, libertarians, lecturers, university students and bohemians, and it is said to be the birthplace of the Sydney Push movement, a group that rejected authoritarianism and conventional morality.

Tea

The importation of tea began in the 1840s, and it was considered a necessity. As a cup of tea was discovered to perfectly accompany Lamingtons, ginger biscuits and a variety of new desserts, its popularity increased. In fact, some tea rooms in Adelaide could cater for hundreds of customers at a time.

There's even a traditional Australian folk song about tea, with a verse which goes:

'So fill up your tumblers as high as you can,

And don't you dare tell me it's not the best plan.

You can let all your beer and your spirits go free -

I'll stick to me darling old billy of tea.'

Picnics

Picnics aren't a concept unique to Australia, but it is one which is credited to providing Australians with an escape from domestic life and which could break down barriers and fuel egalitarianism. Quickly becoming as important as balls and dinners, stories of week-long picnic parties and boat picnics were not uncommon. Picnics were in fact such serious business that Picnic Point at Brighton Beach in Melbourne proudly announced in 1880 that it could cater for 100 picnickers. They even extended the rail service and opened a new station in 1887!

The BBQ

As the picnic demonstrated an Australian love for dining outdoors, the prevalence of the barbecue should come as no surprise. One of the biggest barbecues in the early 1930s took place at RAAF Base Laverton to celebrate the centenary of the lands of Melbourne treaty. The barbecue had become a staple domestic event by the 1940s, and just two decades later they were a feature of every home. Although 'throw the shrimp on the barbie' came from a 1980s advert by the Australian Tourism Commission, it is a phrase that has endured and continues to perfectly illustrate the Australian love for a great outdoor celebration.


Architectural Wonders of the Middle East

Read More

Travelbag Checklist: What to Pack and how to Pack

Read More

Luxury Holidays: The best places to go

Read More

The Happy Campaign

Read More
Post of the month
by Tourism Australia More

Email sign up

Register to receive holiday offers, cheap flights deals, hotel offers and more.

Travelbag Travel/Leisure London

01 Jan 00:00 Read More
Travelbag's Twitter
Common Tags
3 days in 48 hours in 5 Reasons abseiling Abu Dhabi UAE Activities adrenalin Adventure Holiday Africa Alamo Alaska Alec Stewart America Antigua Architecture Argentina art arts asia Atlantis The Palm Auckland Australasia Australia Backpacking bahamas Bali Bangkok Barbados Beach Holidays Beaches beer Birdwatching Bora Bora Brazil Building bungee jumping Byron Bay Caibbean California Cambodia Canada Cancun Cape Town Caribbean celebrity Celebrity Holidays Chicago Chile China City Breaks cocktails Coffee Competition Corfu cowboys cricket Cruise Holidays Cruises Cuba culinary holidays culture cycling Darwin Days Out Dining Dining Abroad Dominican Republic Drinks Driving Dubai Dubai Hotels east coast eating EdgeWalk England Europe Events Exotic Holidays Explorers Way Family Holidays Festivals Fiji Fishing Flights Florida food Free gastronomy Girlie holidays Gold Coast Great Walks Greece Hanoi Hawaii helicopter Ho Chi Minh City Hobbit holiday reading holidays Honeymoon Hong Kong Hua Hin India Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Luxury Holidays Indonesia Ireland Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Journey Jumeriah Beach Kenya Khao Lak kids holidays Kiwi Koh Samui Krabi kuala lumpur Langkawi asia Laos las vegas last minute Legendary Pacific Coast Literature los angeles Luang Prabang Luxury Holidays Macau Majorca Malaysia Malaysia Airlines Maldives Map Mauritius Mauritius Hotels Melbourne Mexico Miami Middle East Middle East UAE money Montreal motorhome holidays Movie museums music Myanmar Nature New York New Zealand nightlife Norfolk North America North New Zealand Northen Territory Northern Ireland Oman Oregon Orlando Patong Pattaya Perth Perth Beaches Philadelphia Phuket Portland Quebec Queensland Queenstown quiz Rail Rail Travel Reading on holiday Relaxing holiday Relaxing on holiday religion rollercoaster Romance Royal Jubilee Safari Samoa Samoa Hotels scenic Scotland Scuba Diving Self-Drive Seychelles Shopping Sightseeing Trip snorkelling South Africa South America South Australia South New Zealand Southern Spirit Spain Sports Sri Lanka St Lucia sun city Surfing survey Sydney Tahiti Tasmania temples Texas Thailand theater theme parks Things To Do Tips Tokyo Top 10 Top 5 Things to Do Toronto Toronto Dining tour Train Travel Travelbag Trip of a lifetime Tthailand TV TV Advert UAE UK United States USA USA Roadtrip Vancouver Vietnam Vietnam Beaches Vineyards Virginia Wales Wedding Wellington west coast Western Australia whale watching whales What to see Wildlife Win Wine Wineries Winnipeg Winter Sun With you all the way Yucatan Caribbean
Archive
  • 2018
  • 2017
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • March
    • February
  • 2016
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2015
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2014
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
  • 2013
    • December
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • June
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
  • 2012
    • November
    • October
    • September
    • August
    • July
    • May
    • April
    • March
    • February
    • January
Please Wait...