In July 2013 on our way up to Cape York, we visited Brenda, daughter of Tess Adams and cousin of my father Ross Adams. It was from Brenda that I first learned of the sad story of how Matilda Adams (nee Waters) died after the horse pulling her sulky bolted – and the sulky overturning – leaving Matilda with a broken back. Matilda was Brenda’s grandmother and my great grandmother. Some of Arthur and Matilda’s 10 children were still quite young – Gidge was only 10 years old. And there were several of their grandchildren living with them too.
Brenda also talked of her Grandfather Arthur Adams and how he’d become a shearer’s cook when he got too old to shear. From listening to my father Ross Adams and his cousins Brenda, Doug, Jocelin and Lenore, it seems that their Grandfather Adams was a hard tough man, but one who loved his children and grandchildren. Arthur died in mid 1953, about 18 months before I was born.
So on our trip north to Cape York, mostly it was a happy visit with Brenda, who had made us some of Grandfather Arthur Adams’ biscuits – from his days as a shearers’ cook, after he became too old to shear sheep.
So here is Grandfather Arthur Adams’ Biscuits recipe – that has been passed along to some family members over the last 60 years or more :
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup – presumably these would be the old style tablespoons – so make it 4 metric tablespoons
- 1 egg
- 6 0z dripping – use margarine or butter – make it 150 gms
- pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder – again as old style make it 4 metric teaspoons
- 1 tablespoon custard powder – again as old style make it 2 metric tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon corn flour – again as old style make it 2 metric tablespoons
- 1/2 dried fruit
- mixed spice
- lemon essence – we had a giggle about that ie we were reminded of the Shearers Cook in the Jack Thompson movie “Sunday Too Far Away” – who used to order in and then sneak huge amounts of lemon essence because of its alcohol content
- vanilla essence
1. Cream together milk, golden syrup, egg, dripping/margarine/butter, salt
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, custard powder & corn flour
3. Add flour mix to the creamed ingredients, then the dried fruit, mixed spice, lemon essence & vanilla essence.
4. Mix all together
5. Roll out to 1/4 ‘” or 5mm thick
6. Cut out rounds with glass or scone cutter and place on greased tray.
7. Bake in a moderate oven – 180 oC for about 15 minutes.