The Great Australian Lamington

The Great Australian Lamington
Lord Lamington Governor of Queensland - creator of the world-famous Australian Lamington.

The Humble Australian Lamington - Created in Queensland in 1901

Australian Lamington

The world-famous Australian lamington is over a century old.

Despite some dubious claims from New Zealand, the lamington is as Australian as meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars, ranking alongside the other true Australian icons of the pavlova, peach melba and Vegemite.

This Australian culinary icon, which consists of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut, was 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.

Paul Tully celebrates
the 100th anniversary
of the world renowned
Australian lamington
on 19 December 2001
Lord Lamington devoured this new taste sensation with great delight and the maid-servant's error was proclaimed a magnificent success by all! The Governor however is on the record as calling them "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits".

Lord Lamington was born in London, England on 29 July 1860 as Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE holding the aristocratic title of Baron Lamington.

He was Governor of Queensland from 9 April 1896 to 19 December 1901.

After leaving Queensland, he went on to become the Governor of Bombay in India for 4 years. He died at Lamington House, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1940.

According to Hansard page 728 at the Australian Constitutional Convention in Canberra on 11 February 1998, Cr Paul Tully, an elected delegate representing "Queenslanders for a Republic" suggested that his extensive research of the Governors of the 6 Australian colonies and states had produced evidence of only "one, single, solitary, positive achievement of any Governor since the First Fleet arrived in 1788" and that was Lord Lamington's contribution to the culinary delights of the Australian nation!

Lord Lamington served Queensland for 5 years but despite all of his colonial, aristocratic pomp and ceremony, the only thing which Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE will ever be remembered for in Australia is the creation of the world-famous lamington.


3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour 1/2 cup milk.

Beat the eggs well, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla essence and then stir in the self raising flour and whip the butter into the mixture. Pour the mixture into a cake tin or lamington baking dish and bake in a moderate oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes and then stand for 24 hours preferably in the refrigerator, before applying the icing.

4 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups desiccated coconut.

Stir the cocoa and icing sugar vigorously in a large bowl, adding the milk, butter and boiling water, warming the chocolate mixture over a very low heat until it has a smooth creamy texture. Cut the sponge cake into equal squares about 5cm x 5cm and, using a fork or thin skewer, dip each piece into the chocolate mixture ensuring that the mixture is liberally and evenly applied. Dip each piece into the desiccated coconut, allowing the lamingtons to cool on a wire tray for several hours.


© Paul Tully 2009

Do you have an interesting historical anecdote about the Australian lamington?
Please email the Australian Lamington Official Website.

Sydney's Bennelong restaurant re-opens and is serving Cherry Jam Lamingtons


Fresh face of restaurant result of multi-million dollar re-fit
New design will seat 99, with another 40 in the bar
Be prepared to shell out $125 for three-course experience

AFTER what seems like an age for Sydney foodies, the iconic Bennelong restaurant reopens under a sail of the Sydney Opera House tomorrow.

Exactly 18 months after the doors closed on Guillaume Brahimi’s Bennelong, chef Peter Gilmore and restaurateur John Fink are waiting in anticipation for the first official customers to walk through the door tomorrow night after a multi-million dollar refit.

“I’m not nervous at all, to be honest. I’m really pumped,” Fink said. “It’s one of the greatest privileges of my professional life.”

Gilmore and Fink, staff, friends and family have been trialling the menu and different spaces for almost two weeks, including the restaurant proper, a bar, a semi-private dining space and the casual “Cured & Cultured” section. Chefs to have enjoyed a sneak peak inside include Alex Herbert and Martin Boetz.

The restaurant’s stunning new interior space.

The Bennelong kitchen crew get cracking.

“We started with family and friends so it was nice and easy, we were just trying to get a feel of the space. It’s like test-driving a Maserati around the block,” Fink says.

“Then we get industry professionals to come in and you expect them to tear you to shreds.

“But we are still driving the Maserati. We’ve now got stickers on the side and the helmet on and we are ready to go.

“I think we’ve spent close to two weeks in a training period. In the first week we did a whole day on HR, workplace policies, health policies, sexual harassment, use of IP and IT, hygiene, how to wash your hands, everything.”

The Bennelong: All lit up and ready to start again.

The new restaurant, which will seat 99 in the dining room and 40 in the bar area, will feature a $125 three-course a la carte dinner menu with six entree and seven main course options, plus a two-course lunch menu for $80, or three courses for $130.

Patriarch of the restaurant group, Leon Fink, didn’t have much to say, his son said.

“I know when he’s happy, he doesn’t talk much. You know you really have to do something when he starts to say something.”

Entrees include Queensland scallops with dory caviar, cultured cream and citrus, slow-cooked heirloom pumpkin, Bruny Island C2 cream, Manjimup truffle and roasted seeds or grilled Lady Elliot Island bug, fermented chilli, organic turnips and radishes.

Mains include roasted John Dory served on the bone, orach, turnips, kalian and umami butter,

King George whiting, sea scallops, leeks, native parsley, celery heart, ice plant broadbeans and kale, Flinders Island salt grass lamb, nasturtiums, anchovy salt or Macleay Valley suckling pig, with black garlic and “smoky juices”.

The Bennelong team before completion of the renovation.

There are also vegetarian options including a dish of ancient grains, eggplant, mushrooms and hazelnuts.

There will also be a selection of seafood and charcuterie at the Cured & Cultured bar such as

Sydney rock oysters with lemon and pepper granita, raw Mooloolaba yellow fin tuna, mushroom soy, pickled white radish and sesame oil, a dish of red claw yabbies with lemon jam, cultured cream and buckwheat pikelets or a salad of saltwater chicken, udon, palm heart, sesame and peanuts, plus Byron Bay black pig prosciutto and smoked Wagyu tartare.

Or just stay for a $28 dessert, including the classic pavlova with a Gilmore twist of Opera House sails, a cherry jam lamington, strawberries and cream or “chocolate cake from across the water”, a reference to Quay, Gilmore and Finks other famous venue on the other side of Sydney Cove at the recently refurbished Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Bennelong now puts the Fink Group in three prominent positions on the city side of Sydney Harbour, as they also have Otto, the modern Italian restaurant, under chef Richard Ptacnik, on the next headland at Woolloomooloo.

The Bennelong team includes (from left) sommelier Russell Mills, restaurant manager Neil Walkington, general manager Kylie Ball, chefs Rob Cockerill and Peter Gilmore and owner John Fink.

No comments: