The other day I was involved in a celebration and exhibition at the State Library of Queensland based on the sheer passion Australian’s have about drinking tea. It made me sentimental for the ‘brew’ I grew up sipping with my English born grandmothers.
I realised, like a lot of Aussies, that we are closely linked through sensory experiences to memory, culture and habit. It reminded me that tradition is as much a part of our heritage as sport, music and social history.
Australian culture is now one of the most multi-cultural influenced countries on the planet, but if you look back over our brief history it all started with a stiff upper lip and lots of British imported tea. People traded leaves, cut out coupons in exchange for kitchenware and bonded over an afternoon tea.
The tradition is as loose and colloquial as a Bushmans ‘billy’ prepared over a rough fire; and as fancy as a group of women holding pinkies in the air and discussing life over cupcakes and cucumber sandwiches. Both very Australian.
We hold English tradition close to our hearts here – no matter how much has changed over the passing of time – somehow some parts of our culture are intrinsically tied to the Poms.
As it was the other day, standing around with a group of Senor Australians drinking tea, taking photographs of the event and capturing the occasion, I felt very sure that with all the tea blends on offer I should choose the one closest to my memory of home. Kind of like sticking to the football team you grew up with.
If you want to get back to your tea drinking roots you can visit the State Library of Queensland for the Tea & Me – Why Queensland loves a cuppa exhibition that’s currently on display. Or if you’re a traveller and want to gain an insight into Australia’s fascination with delicate crockery of old (antique lovers and kitsch bower birds alike) then this exhibition is worth a look.
All you really need to know if you’re going to sample some Aussie tradition in the tea sipping sense, is that a few sweet cupcakes, delicate lady finger foods or mini tartlets would definitely complete the picture. After all, pretending your a ‘lady’ occasionally is quite the tradition.