As it is now, picnicking was a popular pastime for families and friends at the turn of the 20th century.
Thanks to the rise in transport options, such as trains and bikes, many more people were able to make their way to the Bayside area and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
This was especially popular with artists at the time, who would set up to paint and draw for whole days at a time, packing with them a trusty picnic to keep them going throughout the day.
Artist Clarice Beckett would often meet other artists in Beaumaris to paint and picnic. She was renowned for her culinary expertise, often bringing peanut biscuits which were nicknamed 'Clarice's Wind Biscuits' by fellow artist Colin Colahan.
Picnicking was a whole day affair back in the late 1890s early 1900s. To prepare for a picnic, and a day out in Bayside, one first had to consider the terrain and type of entertainment that one might enjoy during the day.
Ladies were advised to wear a woollen dress that was not too heavy, or new or a cotton dress that was not too thin. Footwear was advised to be “easy shoes, that have a friendliness for the feet because of prolonged intimacy with them”. Ladies were also advised to pack two clean handkerchiefs and a needle and thread. Broad hats and parasols were also advised, as were travel shawls to either sit on or use in case of cold.
Once you had yourself ready, it was time to prepare the feast! Essential picnic items included: cotton napkins, plates, cutlery, and often china tea cups with handles (but not always saucers), which artists would have carried cream or condensed milk to complement strong black tea or coffee.
According to “Queen of the Household” by Mrs. M. W. Ellsworth published in 1900 the Bill of Fare for spring and summer picnics were as follows:
The Bill of Fare for a Spring picnic could include the following; Cold Roast Chicken, Sandwiches of Potted Rabbit, Bewitched Veal, Small Rolls with Salad Filling, Cold Baked Ham, Egg Salad, Buttered Rolls, Hard Boiled Eggs, Crackers, Pickles, Orange Marmalade, Quince Jelly, Sugared Strawberries, White Cake, Almond Cake, Cocoanut Jumbles, Lemonade, Tea Cakes, Raspberry Vinegar.
The Bill of Fare for a Summer picnic may have included: Cold Boiled Chicken, Tongue Sandwiches, Spiced Beef, roast tomatoes, Sardines, Jellied Chicken, Pickled Salmon, Spanish Pickles, Sweet Peach Pickles, Fresh Fruits, Imperial Cake, Small Fancy Cakes.
In some areas in Australia from 1850s – early 1900s using local fauna in recipes for picnics was popular, including parrot pie and cockatoo soup.
Why not take some inspiration from the artists and set out for your very own artists picnic along our beautiful Bayside Art Trail. Below are some recipes you might like to try for the perfect artist inspired picnic.