The Weird and Wonderful History of Your Favourite Aussie Foods
Aussie Foods
How the meat pie, Golden Gaytime and other iconic foods came to be.
Published 18 March

Ever wondered how Tim Tams were invented? Questioned the origins of meat pies? Thought, “Why are Lamingtons called Lamingtons?” We have too. In our mini-exploration of Aussie food origins, we answer all of these questions – and a few more.

Meat Pies 

Watching the footy wouldn’t be the same without a piping hot, sauce-drenched pie in hand. In fact, it’s probably footy season that drives us to eat an average of 12 pies each per year. Not that that number is so remarkable, our New Zealand neighbours put us to shame when it comes to pie eating, consuming an average of 15 a year.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans are credited with creating pies, but the Aussie meat pie as we know it – meat in gravy encased in flaky pastry – traces back to the arrival of the First Fleet. Adelaide had a storied history of horse-drawn pie carts during the late 1800s. The carts were known for their ‘Pie Floaters’: a meat pie floating in a bowl of green pea soup. 

Thankfully the Pie Floater is a now thing of the past (unless you’re in Adelaide). Got a pie-and-sauce hankering? Grab yourself a freshly made, classic meat pie here: 

The Butcher Club Level G, Shop T25
Muffin Break Level G, Shop FC01
Ferguson Plarre, Level G, Shop K12

Lamingtons

The origins of our treasured national cake are hotly debated. What we do know is that the name was a nod to a chap named Lord Lamington, who governed Queensland from 1986-1901, or possibly, an homage to his wife, Lady Lamington. One story suggests that it was Lord Lamington’s French-born chef, Armand Galland who created the jammy delight as a way to use up stale sponge. 

A more exciting theory is that a clumsy maid unwittingly created the coconutty confection when she accidentally dropped sponge in melted chocolate and Lord Lamington suggested it be dipped in coconut to prevent messy fingers. If there’s one thing for certain, it's that lamingtons are finger-licking delicious.

Grab yourself a decadent lamington at these retailers: 

Ferguson Plarre, Level G, Shop K12


Golden Gaytime

You might not know it, but the Gaytime of your Grandma’s day looked a lot different to the biscuit-coated favourite of today. Launched by Streets in 1959, the Gaytime came in a myriad of flavours including Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Rough and Choc Orange. 

But it wasn’t until 1970 that Streets hit the jackpot with the Golden Gaytime – the toffee, vanilla, chocolate and biscuit combo we now know and love. If you’re ever craving a Gaytime in New Zealand, look out for the Cookie Crumble. Due to a rival New Zealand ice cream in the ‘60s called ‘Gaytime Goldmine’, the Gaytime adopted a new name when it crossed the ditch. 

There’s more than one way to enjoy Gaytimes these days. Aside from the original, you can choose from the Golden Gaytime Cornetto, Gaytime Ice Cream Sanga or scoop up a tub of Blue Ribbon’s Golden Gaytime ice-cream. 

Coles Level G, Shop R01
Woolworths Level G, Shop M01
 

Tim Tams

The humble Tim Tam is so much more than just a chocky bickie. It’s the treat we miss most when we’re overseas, the best part of an afternoon tea and the perfect excuse to slurp your coffee like a big kid. 

Ian Norris, Director of Food Technology at Arnott’s modelled the original Tim Tam on the British Penguin biscuit. But the magic happened when he set himself the challenge to make the snack even better. Norris spent six years perfecting his creation before releasing it in1964, naming the biscuit after a horse that won the 1958 Kentucky Derby.

Fifty-four years since its release, 45 million Tim Tam packets now fly off the shelves each year, with a Sydney factory producing a whopping 3000 biscuits a minute. And it’s not just Australians that love a Tim Tam: Taylor Swift deemed them “life-changing”, while the Indonesians went one step further with their Tim Tam love and created their own cheese-flavoured version.

You can stock up on the classic or indulge in the special Messina Tim Tam range at the following retailers:

Coles Level G, Shop R01
Woolworths Level G, Shop M01