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The Golden Christmas Cake, 1872

Posted 21/12/2018 in History
The golden Christmas cake, 1872. Image source: State Library Victoria

Imagine walking through the town at Christmas and seeing Christmas puddings made of solid gold displayed in the shop windows! The image above depicts one such cake being made in 1872, soon to be admired by all who pass by. One cake displayed in a Melbourne Jeweller weighed 3764 oz and was worth £15,026! These golden cakes were an awe-inspiring symbol of all the prosperity the Victorian Goldfields had to offer. 

This impressive goldfields tradition was described in the Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 1872

On the goldfields the mining companies generally endeavor to have a large crushing for Christmas, and turn out their golden Christmas cakes for exhibition in the windows of the local banks to the admiring gaze of hundreds. The frontispiece to this number depicts most accurately a scene where the golden cake has just been dropped from the retort. Our artist has well illustrated the event, and the engraving will supply our readers who have never been upon the goldfields with a truthful sketch of this interesting operation. Tis not the traditional plum pudding of the old Christmas days, but it is one far more valuable, containing locked up within its golden grasp the means which rightly used will help to impart comfort and material prosperity through the length and breadth of the land.

Read the full article below for more fascinating details and a poetic description of the unique Christmas festivities in this 'sunny southern land'...


The golden Christmas cake
Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, 1872

Adventide, despite the absence of the old world associations in the shape of carols, waits, snow, and frost, with the yule log, the mistletoe, the holly with its scarlet berries and the family gatherings, still continues a time of deep rejoicing in this sunny southern land. In the far bush and on the busy gold-fields, in the crowded city and the quiet hamlet, Christmas brings with it associations far different to its surroundings in the old world. They are characteristic of the new country, yet they lose nothing of their intensity in the change of locality and climate. Here the glad celebration of the season takes place, for the most part, under the broad canopy of Heaven; and picnics, athletic sports, and trips over the briny waves suffice as outlets to the feelings. In the wild bush, round the night fire, yarns are spun by the travelling stockmen ; and men live over again the scenes of their youth. Our artist has given a very graphic sketch of this mode of spending Christmas Eve in the far-away wilderness where the presence of the house dwellers has never yet penetrated. 

On the goldfields the mining companies generally endeavor to have a large crushing for Christmas, and turn out their golden Christmas cakes for exhibition in the windows of the local banks to the admiring gaze of hundreds. The frontispiece to this number depicts most accurately a scene where the golden cake has just been dropped from the retort. Our artist has well illustrated the event, and the engraving will supply our readers who have never been upon the goldfields with a truthful sketch of this interesting operation. 'Tis not the traditional plum pudding of the old Christmas days, but it is one far more valuable, containing locked up within its golden grasp the means which rightly used will help to impart comfort and material prosperity through the length and breadth of the land. A cake which was exhibited the other day in the window of a jeweller's shop in Melbourne, weighed 3764 oz., and was worth £15,026. This cake was the result of the last crushing made by the Great Extended Hustler's Tribute Company, Sandhurst, and is said to be the largest cake of gold ever produced in Victoria.


 

 

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