Dead kangaroo anyone?

me in empty stand

Busy week here at the MCC library (if not in the stands!).  I’ve been working on lots of enquiries, I had one about the fixtures of the first Aboriginal tour of England in 1868, one man wanted to know what 1902 Lord’s looked and ‘felt’ like for a chapter of a children’s book he’s writing that features a cricket match.  I also had a rather tedious task that took half a day looking up book reviews for every book written by Eric Midwinter over about 15 years, so glad when I found the last one!

My ‘show and tell’ this week doesn’t involve any of my enquiries though.  I’ve picked a rather interesting menu card for a welcome dinner given to the 1904 England touring team when they arrived in Australia.  It was found by my colleague Heather.


What first attracted me to this item was the marvelous cover.  The lion pummeling the kangaroo is pretty standard Ashes contest imagery.  What’s a little more unusual is the crazy grasshopper thing holding a sinister looking canister which appears to be emitting clouds of some kind of gas.  What does this mean?  Can anyone shed any light on this?  I was also intrigued by the fact that Warner has brought a bag of dead kangaroo to Australia with him, very strange and most unpleasant.  Is he bringing it to the dinner for everyone to eat or is it just a gift for his hosts?  It’s enough to put me off my dinner but maybe the items on the menu would tempt me…

menu 001aAt the risk of appearing utterly unsophisticated I have to admit that I have no idea what any of these dishes are!  Are they really posh dishes or is it just ordinary food written in French?  Again, can anyone enlighten me?

The final thing that drew me to this item was the entertainment laid on for the touring team.


I love the names of the dances, especially ‘Cozy Corner Girl’.  Also I just love the idea of a team of cricketers getting together for a Waltz and a Two-Step etc.  I can’t help but picture the modern teams having a go at this, Prior, KP and Broad et al all twirling and two-steping around a ballroom, mind you most of them will end up on Strictly eventually so maybe it wouldn’t be so strange.  What do you think?


Filed under archive, Australia, British Empire, Cricket, England, History, MCC

6 responses to “Dead kangaroo anyone?

  1. I think we can safely say the insect is a cricket… it looks like it’s holding a censer of some kind. Maybe an ashes/Ashes joke?

    • You’re right. When I look more closely the insect actually has CRICKET written on it! I too thought the urn was the Ashes, I just didn’t understand all the gas. It may well be an Ashes joke, though it seems a rather strange one!

  2. Very impressed by Heather’s dedication.

    “I did a bit of research ( what better way to spend Friday night) and came up with this… Appetisers – blinis topped with smoked fish in aspic
    Soup – Pastry topped chicken consomme with seafood sauce
    Fish – salmon steaks with a white sauce and whitebait
    Joint – saddle of suckling lamb with, possibly, a tomato & mushroom sauce
    Entree- Quail Demidoff, not sure what that entails
    York ham with spinach
    Sorbet – champagne ice
    Roast – spit roasted grain fed chicken & cos lettuce salad
    Vegetables – asparagus in hollandaise sauce
    Sweet – spiced pineapple
    Ice cream – vanilla & chocolate ice cream bombe filled with nut souffle and covered with chocolate & a basket of sweets
    Dessert – dried or fresh fruit

    Thanks Heather!

  3. Mum

    Yes! Its French, and I could actually translate SOME of it, but Heather beat me to it, as I’ve been without a computor for nearly a week. You MUST send this to Victoria for Stuart – he’d love it! – Mum x

  4. I’ve had even more help interpreting the meaning of the menu cover. My friend Usha has pointed out a few things that have made me feel a little foolish! I completely misunderstood the purpose of the dinner, it wasn’t to welcome them to Australia, it’s welcoming them home in triumph. If I’d looked carefully I would have seen that Australia is shown in the far distance, also the date should have given it away (I was too lazy to check!). The dead kangaroo isn’t dinner but a ‘spoil of war’ brought back from Australia. The canister the grasshopper is holding is probably the Ashes, won by England, although I still don’t know what the gas coming out of it is.

  5. I thought I knew everything there is to know about this stuff, but seems we are never to old to learn..;)

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