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.

Lord Lamington

2nd Baron Lamington and
Lady Lamington - 1896
Second Baron Lamington (1860-1940), governor, was born CHARLES WALLACE ALEXANDER NAPIER COCHRANE-BAILLIE on 29 July 1860 in London, son of the politician and author Alexander Baillie-Cochrane, later 1st Baron, and his wife Annabella Mary Elizabeth, née Drummond, granddaughter of the Duke of Rutland. 

He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (B.A., 1881). Assistant private secretary to Lord Salisbury in 1885, he was narrowly defeated as Conservative candidate for North St Pancras but won the July 1886 'Home Rule' election contest. 

According to the St Pancras Guardian, 'nothing has been left undone that money could accomplish to secure his election'. 

His rare appearances in the Commons were said to be 'a good augury of an impending dissolution'. 

The death of his father in February 1890 removed him to the House of Lords. On 13 June 1895 at St Michael's Church, Pimlico, he married Mary Houghton Hozier; they had two children.

Chosen in October 1895 to succeed Sir Henry Norman as governor of Queensland, Lamington served from 9 April 1896 to 19 December 1901 including six months leave in England in 1899-1900. 

In his dispatches he demonstrated his conservatism and declined to forward a Labor address 'advocating extreme socialism because it was so crude [and] wanting in sense'. He found class divisions more accentuated than in England and feared that Federation might lead to extreme socialism.

Lord Lamington

Concerned at the unsatisfactory treatment of Aboriginals and Melanesians, Lamington visited British New Guinea in 1898 and travelled extensively in Queensland. He confided in Chief Justice Sir Samuel Griffith, although they clashed when Griffith deputized for him in 1898. 

He supported Griffith's attempts to retain appeals from federated Australia to the Privy Council and hoped that the status of State governors would not diminish under Federation so that Britons 'of recognized appeal or high social standing' would still apply. He came eventually to realize that governors needed other qualities; 'mere show appeals but little to Australians'.

As governor of Bombay in 1903-07, Lamington found that he had more power than in Australia where he had only the royal prerogative to administer. He and his wife retained an interest in Australia, corresponding with Governor-general Lord Northcote and Griffith. 

He spoke on Queensland at the Royal Colonial Institute and in the House of Lords. In 1919 Lamington served as commissioner of the British Relief Unit in Syria. He died on 16 September 1940 at Lamington House, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He had been appointed G.C.M.G. in 1900 and G.C.I.E. in 1903.

Lamington's name is remembered in Australia by place names, particularly the Lamington Plateau in Queensland and Mount Lamington in Papua-New Guinea. 

It is claimed that a cake covered in chocolate and coconut is named after him.

Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington

The Right Honourable
Lord Lamington

Lord Lamington /
Baron Lamington
Governor of Queensland
In office
9 April 1896 – 19 December 1901
Monarch Victoria

Preceded by Sir Henry Wylie Norman
Succeeded by Sir Herbert Chermside

In office
12 December 1903 – 27 July 1907
Monarch Edward VII

Personal details
Born 29 July 1860

Died 16 September 1940(aged 80)

Political party Conservative

Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, GCMG, GCIE (29 July 1860 – 16 September 1940) was a British politician and colonial administrator who was Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, and Governor of Bombay from 1903 to 1907.

Early life
Born in London, England, he was the only son of Alexander Baillie-Cochrane, the 1st Baron Lamington. Charles was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1883. In 1885, he became assistant private secretary to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Lord Salisbury.

Political career
Cochrane-Baillie was narrowly defeated in the 1885 election for the borough constituency of St Pancras North, but he won the subsequent election in July 1886, taking his seat in the British House of Commons for the Conservative Party.

Upon the death of his father in 1890, he succeeded as the 2nd Baron Lamington.

On 13 June 1895, he married Mary Houghton Hozier at St Michael's Church, Pimlico; they had two children, a son and a daughter.

In 1890, the British Government sent Lord Lamington to travel between Tonkin in Vietnam and Siam, with a view to annexing at least the Xishuangbanna district and possibly the whole Yunnan province of China in an attempt to limit French colonisation of the area.

In October 1895, Lord Lamington was selected to replace Sir Henry Norman as Governor of Queensland, and he was sworn in on 9 April 1896. He was a very politically conservative governor, and expressed a concern that the Federation of Australia which took place during his tenure would lead to unrestrained socialism. He also worked with the first Premier of Queensland, Sir Samuel Griffith, to ensure that the role of state governors was not diminished after Federation.

Apart from six months leave in England when he was knighted GCMG, Lord Lamington served as governor for five years until 19 December 1901. In 1903 he was made GCIE, and appointed as Governor of Bombay, where the royal prerogative he exercised was far more powerful than it had been in Australia. He is also noted as being sympathetic, after having met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to the Bahá'í Faith.

Lord Lamington
Later life
Lord Lamington was appointed captain of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry on 26 March 1902.

In 1919, he served as commissioner of the British Relief Unit in Syria, prior to its allocation as a French mandate.

He returned to his family home, Lamington House, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, where he died on 16 September 1940, aged 80.

Lord Lamington is best known in Australia for allegedly giving his name to the lamington, a popular Australian cake consisting of a cube of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. The stories of the creation of the lamington vary widely, although in most versions Lamington's chef Armand Gallan at Queensland's Government House devises the cake either by accident or due to a shortage of ingredients. Lamington is also reported to have referred to the cakes as "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits".

The Lamington Plateau and National Park in Queensland, Lamington Bridge in Maryborough, Queensland, Mount Lamington (a volcano in Papua New Guinea), and Lamington Road in Mumbai Lamington High School,Hubli were also named after him.,_2nd_Baron_Lamington


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