Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mina Rawson - the first female cookbook author hailed from Boonooroo

 Mrs Rawson State Library of Queensland Negative number: 13555 
Did you know the first female cookbook author in Australia, Wilhelmina Frances Rawson (Mina) (1851-1933), wrote many of her recipes while living in Boonooroo? Mina Rawson was “the first white woman to live at Boonooroo, on the shores of WideBay, Queensland” according to an article published in the courier mail in 1951 found here 

 In 1878 her recipes for early women settlers Queensland Cookery and Poultry Book was published in Maryborough. At the age of 21 she married Lancelot Bernard Rawson (Kingston, 2016). Mina lived on a cattle station in Mackay, Queensland, for some time.  “In 1877 Lancelot became a partner in Kircubbin sugar plantation, Maryborough” (Kingston, 2016). Mina’s respect for Melanesian labourers was fostered at this time. Kingston (2016) claimed bankruptcy struck Kircubbin in 1880 with the property still idle in 1901. Mrs Rawson’s writing provided the only income for the couple at this time. Information about this is found here

In 1880, Rawson’s set up a fish station at Boonooroo  found here   and became the first European settlers in this isolated beach location. It was a harsh environment found here

Using the local wildlife and knowledge gained from the local kanakas she created recipes pioneer women could find ingredients for, One such example can be found here

She had the youngest of her four children while at Boonooroo.

Mina's memoirs, serialized in the Queenslander (December 1919 - July 1920) as 'Making the best', described her life at their Boonooroo fishing station, the cattle station “The Hollows” in Mackay and the Sugar Plantations. She has published many cookbooks which can be found through the state library of Queensland searches found here   and here  
There is also a project to transcribe her book Australian enquiry book of household and general information at the state library of Queensland here

Lyndall Blackley (Mina’s great granddaughter) has commented on this blog that her great grandmother “Mina was an amazing woman. She had a hard life, but met difficulties with spirit, determination, humour and great resourcefulness.”

Wilhelmina Rawson. (2016). America.pink

She died in 1951 at the age of 81 found here

Do you know anything about Mina and the early days in Boonooroo? 

Kingston, B. (2016). Biography - Wilhelmina Frances (Mina) Rawson - Australian Dictionary of Biography. Adb.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rawson-wilhelmina-frances-mina-8163/text14269
Newspapers Home - Trove. (2016). Trove. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=
State Library of Queensland,. (2016). Onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?vid=SLQ&fromLogin=true
Wilhelmina Rawson. (2016). America.pink. Retrieved 24 July 2016, from http://america.pink/wilhelmina-rawson_4787727.html
Tags #Rawson, #Maryborough, #cookery, #housewife, #Boonooroo, #cookbooks  #domestic advice, #settlers, #Kircubbin, #sugarplantations

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