Kitchen staff
Dining Room
Kitchen staff
Dining Room staff
Serving meals
Meal time
Cutlery and crockery
against the rules, they cooked in their rooms!
Childrens' lunch bags

Catering for people from so many different cultures was not easy but in the early years the standard Australian menu – meat and vegetables, stews and pudding, bread and butter was all that was offered.  Many residents from Asian countries had difficulty adjusting to the smell of lamb and dairy foods.  When rice was finally introduced it was not cooked in the Asian way and tasted very different.

Up to 750 people could be served in the dining room at any one time.  The rules were strict and often incomprehensible:

· Salads could not be served with a hot meal.  This was very difficult for people from South and Central America

· No food could be taken out of the dining room.  Letters were sent to anyone contravening these rules.

· Mealtimes had to be observed.  No staff could go to the kitchen out of those hours even if a parent desperately needed something for their child.

· Children under 6 could have an egg for breakfast, children over 6 could not.

Cooking in the rooms was strictly forbidden. This was the rule almost everyone broke!  People bought frypans and other equipment to enable them to cook for themselves.  Every few months there was an inspection and the cooking utensils would be confiscated.  They were always replaced!

Staff were under strict instructions to keep food costs to a minimum.  In 1972 food costs per person per week were $2.72.  Golden Syrup replaced honey as a cost saving measure and the push to introduce instant coffee was rejected on cost grounds

"It was a kitchen that had never seen a drop of olive oil.' – Simon Palomares, Spanish migrant

"The butter smell put us off.  They put it on everything.  We saved money and bought instant noodles." - Seda Douglas, Cambodian refugee

"Our daughter who had just turned six was not allowed to have an egg, so our new-found friend ordered one for their four year old son and gave it to her." - Anonymous contributor

"The worst thing about the food was the mayonnaise on the salad.  Everyone thought the salad was ‘off’ because of the vinegar." -  Erika Belmar, Chilean resident


Related Documents

  1. Children's Meals
  2. Dining room rules
  3. Instant Coffee (too expensive)
  4. Sample menu
  5. Removing food from dining room
  6. Christmas Dinner - 1977
  7. Christmas Dinner - 1987
  8. Sample menu
  9. Sample menu
  10. Individual tastes
  11. Food training course
  12. Meals provided
  13. More dining room meals
  14. Sweet menu
  15. Salad oil


Photo Gallery

Food: One Cuisine for all

Top: Kitchen staff;
Bottom Left: A special occasion meal;
Bottom Right: Cooking meals in the units was forbidden but everyone did it.

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