What to do with a kangaroo…and a pot!

Many a new bride coming to what must have felt like the ‘exile’ of the new Colony would have despaired over the most fundamental of issues – what to cook for Dinner!

Mrs Lance Rawson and friend on the verandah at The Hollow, near Mackay, Queensland about 1875 ‘Despair of ye cook’ Demolition of the old stove at The Hollow, Mackay, Queensland, 1877 ‘Delight of ye cook at ye oven!’ The new stove at The Hollow, Mackay, Queensland, 1877

Coming to their aid were the inventive (and courageous) women pioneers, not only to this landscape but to the strange new animal life around them.  The John Oxley Library’s collection of early cookery books is a joy to look through.  One such treasure is a copy of the earliest cook books to feature Queensland ingredients, namely Mrs Lance Rawson’s The Queensland Cookery and Poultry Book.  I’m not quite sure that the RSPCA would allow one to boil a bandicoot in our own kitchens but if we ever need to there is a recipe for us!

Oh – and by the way Kangaroo meat can be quite dry – no doubt the colonial housewife cum Jill-of-All-Trades can find a way around this in the helpful hints found in another of the cookbooks here.

Cathy Blanchfield

Librarian, Published Materials

Queensland Memory