Book titled 'Recipe & Remedy' which was created by Eliza Duckmanton in 1870. The book contains recipes and remedies hand-written in pen, and cuttings pasted in from other publications. Recipes for cakes and biscuits predominate, while the recipes for jams, jellies, relishes and sauces are similar to those used today. There are almost no savoury recipes, other than for relishes or pickles. And no mention of using any indigenous ingredients, as was a feature of some of the first cookery books published in Australia. The book also contains a variety of remedies for relieving everything from sore throats to cholera and cancer.

Eliza Duckmanton (nee Womersley) was born in 1843, and migrated from England circa 1859. In 1862 she married John Duckmanton at Dunkeld in Victoria. The couple had 13 children, and Eliza became a bush nurse in the Dunkeld area. This book was handed down within the Duckmanton family until it reached the donor.

Physical Description

142-page book with brown cardboard cover with embossed pattern around edges. Pages of book are lined and contain recipes and remedies handwritten in pen and cuttings stuck in from other publications. Page numbers have been written in the bottom right hand corner of every second page. On page 14 there is a cutting that has come unstuck in the bottom right hand corner. Between pages 70-71 there are 3 loose pieces of paper. Between pages 110-111 there is a loose piece of paper. The last 3 pages of the book are not attached.


It was common for literate colonial women to create their own household management guides to suit their new country. Hand-written recipe books were sometimes even part of a bride's trousseau. This was because few cookery and household management books were available in Australia until the 1890s, and those that did exist were more suitable for English ingredients and kitchen facilities, being either imported from England or being locally produced imitations. Mrs Beeton's 1861 Book of Household Management was one of these; recipes were also published in imported magazines. Cookbooks were also usually aimed at city dwellers rather than country women, who had far less access to many ingredients. [Symons, p 52-5 Gollan, p45-46] Further, many recipe books were written for experienced cooks - not for young middle class women unaccustomed to cooking. [Daunton et al p24]

Locally, home cooks could take advantage of recipe suggestions such as those by Caroline Chisholm in the 1850s. [Gollan, p45-46]. Others still relied on the age-old tradition of learning recipes by experience and passing them on through word of mouth.

Not surprisingly, the solution to this lack of guidance in the kitchen was for literate immigrant women to make their own recipe books, bringing with them to their new country the housekeeping expertise handed on by their mother, relatives and friends, and adding to it whatever experience they gained in the new colony, and whatever recipes and hints were passed on by other women who had met and mastered some of the new problems before them. [Gollan, p.45]

The tradition of making and using home made recipe and remedy books continued until recently - indeed many of us remember our mothers valuing such recipe and remedy books. The recent explosion of commercially published cook books has caused the home-made book to largely, although not completely, lose currency. Not many of the early colonial home made recipe books survive in library or museum collections. This particular example provides a rare insight into the domestic life of a rural woman in the late 19th century and, as such, is a significant historical artefact.

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