Saturday, January 21, 2012


I can’t pinpoint the exact year of my first Australia Day memory, but I was probably 9 or 10 when the story below unfolded.

With a picnic lunch in tow, we grabbed our swags and high-tailed it to Widgee Crossing in readiness for a fun, family Aussie Day on the banks of the Mary River.

Widgee Crossing existed long before “Widgies” in pedal-pushers and duck-tailed, Brylcreem-haired “Bodgies” cut a rug to Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock”; and long before they hung around milk bars where, in hushed tones, they discussed what forbidden activities might be going on behind Jim Lowe’s mysterious “Green Door”. There’s no “Bodgie Crossing”; although I’m sure there were a few dodgy bodgies who got cross if someone tried crossing them! On a whole, they were a harmless lot with only few amongst them true blue delinquents, I imagine. Most “Bodgies” were all shine and no shoes! Stone the flamin’ crows! I’ve strayed off the bush track - again!

Soon after arriving at our destination we chose a beaut shady possie handy to the water. Graham, my brother, and I immediately shot off to find wood for our campfire. The fresh country air and the thrill of cooking our lunch on an open fire had elevated our appetites. We were starving, making a horse in the nearby paddock very nervous, indeed!

After our delicious early lunch we felt as full as googs, or as butcher’s dogs. Biding time until our “lunch went down”, Graham and I mucked about on the riverbank. Being his usual ratbag self, he carried on like a pork chop, acting like he wasn’t the full quid! Already in our togs, we were biting at the bit to go swimming. Not another soul was within cooee at Widgee Crossing that day. We were on our Pat Malone.

Our lunch finally “settled” and, without further delay, into the river we leapt. A race to the other side ensued. Graham beat me by a whisker! Not wanting to be a wuss, full of bravado I declared a rematch. Back and forth we swam until…Wham! Something stung my left foot! Fair suck of the sav! Strewth! It hurt!

In agony, I swam back our camp’s side of the river and limped to our picnic spot beside the campfire. My foot felt like it was being stabbed with shards of hot glass. I was feeling more emotional than Bob Hawke at a book launch!

We believed a cranky catfish stung me because I’d disturbed it during its cat nap! For the rest of the arvo I sat with my foot close to the campfire seeking relief. I reckoned I’d gotten the rough end of the pineapple!

After a while the mozzies descended. It was time to shoot through. Still in our cozies, we left our no longer cosy possie to the mozzies!

It’d been a ripsnorter Aussie Day; a real corker - that is until a cantankerous catfish spat the dummy – which was about as funny as a kick in the head! Be proud to be an Aussie; embrace and enjoy it! Make everyday Australia Day! Never lose the spirit!


Nana’s Campfire Spuds: Slice 10-12 scrubbed spuds, 1/2cm thick. Layer alternately potatoes, chopped onion, chopped red and green capsicums, finely-chopped garlic, salt, pepper and a little butter on piece of heavy-duty foil (add sliced sweet potatoes for variety). Repeat layers until all spuds are used; top with foil; seal. Cook on barbie or on a rack in the coals, 60-90mins; turn often to prevent burning. This is excellent cooked in pan for breakfast as well; just cut down quantity and stir together.

Campfire Couscous: In saucepan on med-heat campfire/stove, heat 2tbls oil. Add 1 thinly-sliced garlic clove; season well; stir occasionally; cook until garlic softened, not browned. Add 3c dry couscous; stir to coat with oil; cook, stirring often, until couscous is golden brown, about 5mins; add 4-1/2c water and thyme sprig; simmer until couscous is tender and water absorbed. Remove from heat; add 2 zucchini finely-diced; cover; set aside until zucchini is tender; add 1/4c toasted pine nuts, 3tbl currants and 2tbls oil; season.

Campfire Chicken: Grab a piece of heavy-duty foil per person; sprinkle foil with salt, pepper and spices of choice; place half chicken breast, meaty side down onto seasonings. Arrange chats, baby carrots and corn cobs around chicken. Cut red onions and tomatoes into wedges or thick slices; place on top. Close foil; grill or bake pouch until all is cooked and tender. Aussie

Meal-in-One: In centre of piece of foil, place beef patty (or lamb/chicken/ pork). Place 3 thin slices of onion on top; then top with potato slices; season with salt, pepper and garlic; add large spoon of bacon-flavoured baked beans on top. Seal foil securely; place in hot coals, 30-45mins.


  1. Jeez, fair bite of the pineapple doughnut, you didn't leave much for the rest of us!

  2. Love it, loved it. I like the way you cook. Some of this looks like I might have put it together. I like layering things and slow cooking.

  3. Tough cheddar, Cosmo! Fair dinkum! How are you, me ol' china?

    I'm as happy as a worm in a can on the way home from a fishing trip to see you! ;)

  4. G'day Cliff. I don't I'll be having any campfires this Aussie Day...rain is predicted. Perhaps I'll just have some baked beans on toast and a cold beer instead! ;)

  5. G'day mate,

    How's it hanging. I enjoyed your rip snorter of a post.

    Have a great Aussie day!


  6. Hahahahaha! Janice!! I now declare you an honorary Aussie! ;)

  7. I'd like a zack for everyone of those Aussie-isms Lee, I reckon it'd break the bank.

  8. Hi there Peter! Nice to see you. I was happy to learn that Merle is on the mend. :)

  9. Grouse. Rooly trooly grouse.

  10. Awww! Strike me lucky, Lee!!! Dig a hole and bury me; it doesn't get much better than this!!! ;)

  11. Happy Australia Day! The food looks absolutely fabulous.:)

  12. Some of the vernacular escapes me but the recipes sound universally tasty. Almost makes me want to get out our barbecue even though it's below freezing here in Michigan. Heck, I just might anyway.

  13. Thanks, Serena. I had a lazy day watching the tennis! :)

    Big Dave...ahhh...our wonderful Aussie confuses many. I hope we never lose the way of it! ;)

  14. Hello Lee ~~ Loved the lookof
    the food and all the Aussie slang - great for Australia Day.
    Thanks so much for your comments of my previous post
    It is great to be back home
    and getting stronger. Love and Hugs, Merle.

  15. Welcome back, Merle. Good to see you gracing my blog! :) Keep on getting fit and well, Merle!

  16. Love the story and I hope you had a Grand Day this year. Have a great weekend Peace

  17. Hi Lady Di! I had a very quiet Australia Day...trying to dry out...we'd had so much rain and had a reprieve on the day, but the rain return during the evening. Wet! Wet! Wet!

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