Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea Around the World – Australia

By Jess Hodges

The first fleet landed in Australia on 26th January 1788, establishing a British Colony and bringing with them a staple drink of the empire, tea. When explorers set off around Australia in the early part of the nineteenth century they would take with them dozens of pound of tea, which was considered to be an absolute necessity.

It continued to be a standard drink and in the countries unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matlida, the hero of the song was boiling his billy, a can in which he would have been making tea by the pint before getting up to all kinds of mischief.

The first commercial tea plantation in Australia was established by Dr Allan Maruff in 1959, though there had been previous attempts made at growing it. The first attempt was in 1884 at Bingal Bay and was made by the Cutten Family. Though the tea crop was unsuccessful and the entire farm was later destroyed by a cyclone there are tea plants surviving from that time in the rainforest today. These aren't to be confused with tea tree which grows plentifully in Australia but certainly isn't as palatable as it's namesake.

Modern tea drinking in Australia is an everyday occurrence similar to that in America or the UK though coffee has overtaken it in popularity in recent years. Cream tea is known as Devonshire tea after its origins in Devon. Of all of the stamps left on the history of Australia by the English, tea is perhaps one of the most pleasant.