A great find

Whilst I was in Peak Hill I found a little treasure:

A book of household hints from the early 1900s in Australia. I couldn’t stop reading it.

This is the introduction by Mary Murray:

The idea for this book came to me when my sister, Eve, (who has since passed away), said to me, ‘Mary, our lives were shaped by the things our mother taught us – by her wonderful ideas, her wisdom and knowledge, her graciousness and compassion.

The hints and ideas in this collection belong to a time and a generation of Australian women when making the best of things, living within one’s means, turning one’s hands to any task and lending a helping hand to others were the accepted practices of everyday life. It was a time when reusing and recycling were prompted as much by practical necessity as by gratitude for the bounty of the land, when women kept their families in good health, and well fed and clothed, with home-grown food and hand-made garments.

My own mother never owned a refrigerator; she had an ice chest and before that a Coolgardie safe, yet she kept her food safe and healthy for her family of eleven without the scientific gadgetry we take for granted today. Hers was the ‘making do’ generation. Having little, she wanted little and was content with what she had. Yet in many ways her life was richer than many in this day and age, being wealthy in practical wisdom, prudent management and generosity of spirit and action. Her generation passed on a relatively clean world to us, returning to the earth only that which was wholesome and regenerative.

These household hints evoke the wide range and diversity of interests, occupations and responsibilities of the women of my mother’s era, as well as the creative, often ingenious use they made of the ordinary, humble and familiar materials at hand in the home. Most of these items are just as readily available to us and their past uses are worthy of imitation and as relevant in application today as then.

This book is dedicated to my own dear departed mother for teaching me through her example, and to all my relatives, friends and acquaintances who have kept alive the ideas and ideals of the pas in their daily practices, as well as in their collections of hints, recipes and memorabilia from our youthful days

Written by Mary Murray – Scarborough 1995


I am interested to hear from others  around the world if they have similar things in their country’s past as I post the amazing, the brilliant and the odd hints and ideas. I think this will be a lot of fun. We might learn something along the way as well.

So…let’s do a few now, starting with ‘‘Children’

  • Always keep the legs of old flannelette pyjamas; they make excellent linings for little boys’ trousers for winter wear.
  • Don’t throw away the cuffs of white gloves; they make very pretty collars for small girls’ dresses.
  • Replace the worn ends of a boy’s braces with pieces cut from the tongue of an old boot or shoe. Lasts well.
  • Make your boy a serviceable pair of overalls. Boil two sugar bags, cut along the seams and press, then dye them a dark brown or navy blue. Good for backyard romping.
  • It’s a good idea to make children’s sun-hats from unbleached calico. Bind with coloured bias-binding and machine round and round the brim, first putting ‘ingrain’ cotton in the shuttle to match the hat. They wash well and can be starched to the required stiffness.


Let me know what you think of these little gems and I would just love it, if you can add your own.

Thank you for taking the time to visit me


6 thoughts on “A great find

  1. I find books like this tremendously interesting. Unfortunately, my entire collection of antiquated books was let go when I left Canada. I did have a recipe book from Scotland circa early 1800’s which in a certain recipe called for you to go to the barn and take warm milk directly from the cow into the mixing bowl. I wish I could remember how it was worded, it was priceless. There were books written along the same line in Canada for the pioneers, especially in the west. Interesting! hugs, Donna

    • Oh, I wish you had that book. I just love the old ways, some are quite bizarre. I would imagine certain things would be similar around the world. In that era people had to use anything and everything they had. What is that saying: Invention is the mother of necessity? How have your photos turned out? Your friend has all the good equipment. Are you going to do cards etc? Happy creating love randomrose xx

      Rosemary …aka…randomrose http://www.randomrose.wordpress.com Happiness is….creating

      Reflections in lake sky and trees admiretheir own beauty

  2. This was a gem, dear Rosemary. There is always so nice things in the memories, in the past… we all come from these past days… This book is amazing, I wished to have and also to have more books like that. Because we need, I think. In this globally life something that is so precious is being forgotten. And another point, once again makes us to remember this, how important mother in a family… So how important women too in this life. They teach everything to their children, boy and girl… I am impressed so much. You are such a nice one, and I am sure a nice mother too. I can see this through your posts. Unfortunately I haven’t a mother like that. It is my sad part… But my grandmother was so nice and also my father. If you find me positive and good, this is because of them. I grew up in their hands… not in my mom’s … So, once again makes me so impressed when I read these kind of written pieces… What can I share with you, just a little craft, 🙂 You know there can be always an old clothes at homes… One day, I had an idea, and I made a blanket with all old sweaters (my son’s and my husband’s)… I cut them all as a square piece and then with crochet I made them a whole piece… at the end it was a nice blanket. I can post later.
    Thank you my beautiful looking friend, Rosemary, with my love, nia

    • Dear Nia, Mother’s cannot always be what we need them to be, but as long as we have someone in our lives that love, teach and inspire us, we are lucky. I was so excited to read about you making the blanket. When my brother passed a dear friend of both my brother and sister-in-law gathered my brother’s shirts (he just loved pale checked shirts and had many). She made a beautiful quilts, one for my sister-in-law and three smaller ones for his grandsons. She used the buttons from the shirts as well. I can’t wait for you to post yours to see. You are such a beautiful person. love and happiness randomrose xx

      Rosemary …aka…randomrose http://www.randomrose.wordpress.com Happiness is….creating

      Reflections in lake sky and trees admiretheir own beauty

  3. What a beautiful book and I’ve always loved old ‘vintage’ things and photo’s. Just look at that lace where her cups are on the shelf, just little things to make it home. I’ll keep my eye out for this book, but my wishlist of favourites is already long! x

    • Glad you like it and yes, I looked in the background and all around for the little pieces of beauty. My Mother did lovely crochet as did my Grandmother. I always admired such fine lacy work.Happiness to you randomrose

      Rosemary …aka…randomrose http://www.randomrose.wordpress.com Happiness is….creating

      Reflections in lake sky and trees admiretheir own beauty

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