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