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.

Feral Frog Cakes deal with lamington proliferation

Rich Higgins and Matt Kelly are
 The List Operators and their
Fringe show is Wigipedia!
The List Operators are out to make life compute for kids in their new show Wigipedia!

And, the compulsive listers of timeless trivia they are, they have some outrageous revelations about the City of Churches.
"We discovered the first name of Adelaide was in fact Radelaide and, when Michael Jackson toured in the '80s, it was changed to Badelaide for a week in his honour," Rich Higgins says.
 "Adelaide has a large percentage of cereal killers, you guys just love the muesli!"

"Adelaide is the only city you can see from space - apart from all the other ones!" Matt Kelly says.

"South Australia is north of Tasmania, east of WA and west of Victoria. It should really be called 'Slightly East of the Middle Australia'."

Higgins also listed Adelaide's feral Frog Cake problem.

"Feral Frog Cakes were released into South Australia early last century to deal with the Hedgehog and Lamington infestations," he says.

"It didn't work and now all three cakes are common throughout the state."

Rich said many famous people were not born in Adelaide.

"These include Chuck Norris, Ghenghis Khan, Jacki Chan, Justin Beiber and the Dalai Lama," he says.

"However, one of the funniest people ever, Shaun Micallef, is from Adelaide so that makes up for it."

Higgins also announced that Adelaide was not the greatest rhyming city. "Five words rhyme with Adelaide, the first four are: accolade, barricade, cavalcade, hand grenade. Can you guess the fifth?"

Rich said there would be other amazing revelations in the show.

"Such as cyberspace is as big as a piece of string," he says.

"The flipside of social media is Anty social media which works well ... for ants."

Higgins says there is no app for parenting yet.

"But you can get an ape for parenting, from the zoo.

"They especially enjoy babysitting - babies are comfier than pillows."

Rich said there were not many differences in working with kids and robots.

"One is really good for building cars and fighting things using lasers, and the other one is a robot," he says.

"And, after much research, we've decided the fridge doors are much better for lists than iPads.

"We used to have iPads, until Matt attached them to his knees and went skateboarding. Turns out they don't do everything."

The List Operators For Kids Do Compooters: Wigipedia!, Bosco Theatre, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights.


No place for booze in schools as alternative to lamington drives

Lamington drives: Traditional Aussie fundraiser
An ambitious campaign has been launched to stamp out alcohol-related fundraising efforts by schools.

Principals across Australia will this week receive a letter from Australian National Council on Drugs chairman Dr John Herron, urging an end to all booze-related money-spinners.

Wine "drives" conducted via newsletters, liquor "tasting events" on school premises, and alcoholic bottles featuring school logos are on his list of concerns.

Dr Herron believes schools are in a position to counter the "huge problem" of alcohol misuse, which he says costs Australians an estimated $36 billion a year.

"You can't wring your hands and talk about alcohol-inspired (problems), youth binge drinking, the violence that's occurring on the streets, and then say 'who's responsible?'

"Everybody has to start thinking about their own personal involvement, in this case through the schools," Dr Herron said.

In a letter to principals, Dr Herron said he was "seeking the agreement of all schools across Australia to not become involved with any marketing, sale or distribution of alcohol".

Several online fundraising companies offer deals for schools, and even kindergartens, as alternatives to traditional chocolate and lamington drives.

Australian Secondary Principals Association's Sheree Vertigan said she opposed alcohol fundraisers, but admitted some "slipped under the radar". "Sometimes parent groups organise things which involve alcohol, with the very best intentions in the world," said Ms Vertigan, who is also on the ANCD board.

"Parents and community groups seek whatever way they can. They come up with innovative ideas and sometimes alcohol has been (used) ... to raise funds, and people haven't taken the time or been aware of the possible consequences.

"I think we all know subliminal messages have a huge impact on young people. Through attaching (fundraisers) to a school newsletter, we're legitimising them and saying it's all right for students to be transporting information about alcohol between the home and school."