Settler picnics

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QUITE AN OUTING: A picnic group and wagon visiting the Sunshine Coast in the 1800s
QUITE AN OUTING: A picnic group and wagon visiting the Sunshine Coast in the 1800s

Serendipity with Bev Young

ON the lighter side of life in the 1800s, the settlers liked to have their Sunday picnics, weather permitting.

The glorious photograph of unknown people, all dressed out in “their Sunday best” belies the tremendous effort it took to get to the coast.

Possibly rising at dawn, the farmers would have to conclude the normal affairs of their land, wash, dress and rush off to church. That said, one presumes they had already packed the wagons for the rest of the day. This would have been well cooked meats, bread, fruit if any, salted and pickled vegetables, fresh and soured milk, fresh drinking water and well hidden jars of brandy – a “medicinal necessity”.

Many of the men brought along fishing sticks, in the hopes of a fine catch to add to the meals, and for the ladies of the groups who were breastfeeding, tents in which attend to their babies. These were used for the very elderly women to who needed a nap and for small child too – to prevent sunburn.

It was a special era – hardworking people who looked forward to the outing, one which allowed them to catch up on gossip, meet and greet far-flung neighbours, and we assume the unmarried a chance to flirt and have fun.

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