The Wide Brown Land For Me!

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!”


This second stanza of My Country by Dorothea MacKeller is perhaps the best known Australian poem, which has inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of true-blue Aussies in many unexpected (and flavoursome) ways.

The crew at Stokehouse Q Brisbane love their ‘wide brown land’ so much, they have decided to pay homage to it by creating the ‘classic Aussie burger and beer’ menu option to celebrate Australia Day. The Lamb Burger – with its practically perfect condiments of mint sauce, red onion, and rosemary, served on a garlic bun – is a welcome alternative to the traditional hamburger. And, what better way to complete the main meal than to wash it down with a refreshing glass of Top Shed Lager off the tap! At just $20 for this Aussie Day treat, how can you resist?

The chocolate lamington stands proudly alongside those other Aussie icons: Vegemite, kangaroos, and Holden cars. But, even icons can be improved and Stokehouse Q’s celebrated chef Richard Ousby proved himself to be up to the task, by giving this old-favourite a gourmet twist. Stokehouse Q’s strawberry jam and vanilla cream-filled lamington is oozing with goodness! This tempting sweet treat is available for just $10.


Photo credit: Courtesy kathROSE and associates

The team at Stokehouse Q Brisbane love celebrating their Australian heritage so much, that this year, they will be paying tribute to our national day over four flavour-filled days, from Saturday January 23 through to Australia Day proper, Tuesday January 26. So whether your preference is for sweet or savoury – or you like a bit of both – be sure to mark these dates in your diaries – your taste buds will thank you.

Stoke Bar and Stokehouse Q is situated at Sidon Street, South Bank, and is open seven days from 12noon for lunch and dinner, year-round (closed Christmas Day only).

A bit of history (and mystery) surrounding the lamington…

Let Them Eat Lamingtons!

The lamington is one of Australia’s most iconic cakes, and a perennial favourite treat served at both morning and afternoon teas. Most of us have participated in a ‘lamington drive’ fundraiser for schools, the Girl Guides or other charitable organisations.

While the general consensus agrees the lamington is delicious, the jury is divided about its origins. Kiwis have staked a claim saying this culinary treat was created in the land of the Long White Cloud but, given all the evidence available, my money is on Australia. And not only Australia but Queensland!

Here’s the evidence…

The lamington, which consists of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut, is believed to have been created through an accident at work by a maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the thoroughly-British eighth Governor of Queensland. The maid-servant was working at Government House in Brisbane when she accidentally dropped the Governor’s favourite sponge cake into some melted chocolate.


Lord Lamington was not a person of wasteful habits and suggested that it be dipped in coconut to cover the chocolate to avoid messy fingers. Lord Lamington devoured this new taste sensation with great delight and the maid-servant’s error was proclaimed a magnificent success by all! Despite serving in Queensland for five years, it is the lamington that will be, forever, his legacy.

And to add a little bit of mystery to the mix, Helena Rubinstein (before making her fame and fortune as a cosmetics maven) was either a maid or a governess in the Lamington household. Could it be that the newly arrived Polish emigre, the beautifully complexioned Ms Rubinstein, was moonlighting in the kitchen mixing up some early skin potions when this fortuitous culinary accident occurred?

Head of Helena Rubinstein with egret feathers

Who knows, and whoever let the truth get in the way of a good story! And then there is the dilemma of where the lamington was first served – Old Government House (on the grounds of the Queensland University of Technology) or in Lord Lamington’s home in Toowoomba?

Why not leave this debate in the 20th century where it belongs and enjoy the Stokehouse Q’s new millennium offering of strawberry jam and vanilla cream-filled lamingtons this Australia Day!


4 Comments on The Wide Brown Land For Me!

  1. Allan Gardiner
    January 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm (1 year ago)

    Charmingly retold Inez.
    The story about the lamington that I have in my head involved the Queensland painter, Lloyd Rees, having witnessed the event as a youth. I also thought that Redcliffe rather than government house, was the location. The Wikipedia entry on Lamington says there is a story that he hated the confection, not that he invented or liked it.
    Anyway, I agree that the story can be left in the 20th century as Lamington’s energy while Queensland governor was spent preventing us socialistic colonials from escaping British rule.

  2. the hipsterette
    January 21, 2016 at 11:17 am (1 year ago)

    Did a bit of digging – and it seems other countries lay claim to lamington-type cakes as well. In Hungary they are known as ‘kokuszos’, or coconut squares, South Africans call them ‘ystervarkies’, a derivative of the Afrikaans word for porcupine, and in America, the good folk of Cleveland refer to cubes of chocolate-and coconut-coated cake as coconut bars.

  3. Robyna | the Mummy & the Minx
    January 21, 2016 at 5:35 pm (1 year ago)

    Well I never knew that about the history of the humble Lamington. I love StokeHouse. Must get back there soon!

  4. the hipsterette
    January 21, 2016 at 6:27 pm (1 year ago)

    Yes, the humble lamington does have quite a history!


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