Category Archives: Australian history

The tradition of the Christmas pudding

One of the most enjoyable features of Christmas dinner in Australia has been the Christmas plum pudding. The first settlers to Australia brought its ritual and tradition. It was to be expected, of course, that my family whose ancestors came from the British Isles before 1840 would follow the ritual and tradition with much joy and enthusiasm. The reader will find an excellent description of the plum pudding and its cultural background on the most informative of the many websites on Jane Austen and her world:  The Christmas plum pudding and old English foodie tradition.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother helping my grandmother prepare the Christmas pudding for Christmas dinner. It was pretty much as described on Jane Austen’s World website, including the stirring of the bowl.

That tradition has carried on. Until my mother passed away well into her nineties, she used to watch on as daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren stirred the pudding mixture.  An indispensable part of the ritual was the mixing in of thruppences, sixpences, shilling and two shilling pieces which my parents had kept after the cultural destructive introduction of dollars and cents in 1966. Those lucky enough to find pennies and shillings in their slice of plum pudding could exchange them for higher value but colourless cents.

The slab and bark hut in colonial Australia

The slab and bark hut is a major feature of colonial Australia. My first ancestors, all from the British Isles, lived in rural New South Wales. The accommodation of my great-great-grandparents Wilson and Jones, about whom I write in FROM PRISON HULK TO THREE BEDROOM HOME  would have been a hut like this:

Slab and Bark Hut

There is much information about bark and slab huts. Interesting sites are here and here.