The Art of Living in Australia by Philip E. Muskett (?-1909)
Together with three hundred Australian cookery recipes and accessory kitchen information by Mrs. H. Wicken, Lecturer on cookery to the Technical College, Sydney.
AUSTRALIA—ONE AND UNITED. AS AN AUSTRALIAN I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME TO THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA WITH ONE ABIDING HOPE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALL THE: GREAT NATURAL FOOD INDUSTRIES OF OUR COUNTRY.
Although this work fully deals with all the many matters connected with the art of living in Australia, its principal object is the attempt to bring about some improvement in the extraordinary food-habits at present in vogue. For years past the fact that our people live in direct opposition to their semi-tropical environment has been constantly before me. As it will be found in the opening portion of the chapter on School Cookery, the consumption of butcher's meat and of tea is enormously in excess of any common sense requirements, and is paralleled nowhere else in the world. On the other hand, there has been no real attempt to develop our deep-sea fisheries; market gardening is deplorably neglected, only a few of the more ordinary varieties being cultivated; salads, which are easily within the daily reach of every home, are conspicuous by their absence; and Australian wine, which should be the national beverage of every-day life, is at table—almost a curiosity.
Nearly three years have been occupied in the preparation of this volume, as several of the subjects it treats of have hitherto remained practically unexplored. This statement is not intended to excuse any shortcomings, but simply to explain the impediments which had to be overcome. There has been some little difficulty, therefore, in obtaining information in many instances. At the same time, it must be cheerfully recorded that assistance was freely forthcoming on the part of those from whom it was sought. Quite a number have been interviewed on the topics with which they were familiar; and on several occasions this has necessitated journeys out of Sydney on the writer's part. With the object of making inquiries into the fish supply of Melbourne, also, a special visit was paid to that city. And further, in order to gain an insight into vineyard work and cellar management, an instructive time was passed at Dr. T. Fiaschi's magnificent Tizzana vineyard on the Hawkesbury River.
It may seem to savour somewhat of boldness, yet I hazard the opinion that the real development of Australia will never actually begin till this wilful violation of her people's food-life ceases. For let us suppose that the semi-tropical character of our Australian life was duly appreciated by one and all. If such were the case—and I would it were so—there would be a wonderful change from the present state of affairs. But as it is, the manners and customs of the Australians are a perpetual challenge to the range of temperature in which they live. Indeed, the form of food they indulge in proves incontestably that they have never yet realized their semi-tropical environment. With a proper recognition of existing climatic surroundings there would be an overwhelming demand for more fish food; for something better than the present Liliputian supply; and for the creation of extensive deep-sea fisheries. Fish in Australia is nothing more than a high-priced luxury, although projects for the development of the deep-sea fisheries have been repeatedly suggested. Somehow or other we never get beyond this stage, and as a consequence the yield from our fisheries is simply pitiable. A widespread use of fish and an adequate fish supply would give employment to hundreds and to thousands. As I have pointed out in the chapter relating to this subject, the want of enterprise shown in starting our deep-sea fisheries is an inexplicable anomaly. If the Australian people had sprung from an inland race, this would not, perhaps, have been so difficult to understand. But coming, as we do, from a stock the most maritime the world has ever seen, such a defect is not to our credit as inheritors of the old traditions.
Nor can it be pretended that market gardening has ever been taken up seriously, if we apply the statement to Australia as a whole. It is true that Sydney and Melbourne, and possibly Adelaide and Brisbane, have made an attempt in this direction. But even with this admission there is not much reason for congratulation from an olitory point of view. Few—only very few—of the more commonly known varieties are grown. For if the potato and the cabbage were taken away, Australia would be almost bereft of vegetables. There are, however, many others, which are delicious and wholesome, which are easily grown, and which would make a pleasing addition to the present monotonously restricted choice. And there is something even more than all this. It is, that market gardening is a healthy and profitable calling; that it settles the people on the land; and that it creates a class of small landed proprietors—the very bone and sinew of any population.
In the chapter relating to Australian Food Habits it will be found that many of these desirable vegetables are enumerated. Their good qualities are highly appreciated on the Continent and elsewhere, and there is no earthly reason why they should not be grown here. The history of the introduction of the tomato into Australia is instructive in this connection. For years and years it struggled desperately, but unsuccessfully, for a place, and the attempt to bring it into use was on the point of being abandoned in consequence. But at last its undeniable merits were acknowledged, and to-day it is in universal request. Now, it is perfectly safe to assume that the same recognition would be awarded to many other vegetables vegetables at present practically unknown in Australia. For instance, sweet corn—which, however, must not be confused with Indian corn—is of exquisite flavour, almost melting in the mouth, while it possesses also eminently nourishing properties. It is a great favourite with Americans, and hundreds of acres are required annually for the New York markets alone.
But if there is one desirable form of food which we should expect to find in daily use by the whole Community, it is surely the salad. More than this, it deserves to meet with favour as a national dish. It takes pre-eminent rank in Southern Europe, and is certainly entitled to occupy a similar high position in the Australian food list. Unfortunately there is just the same story to tell, and the strange neglect of salads can only be expressed by the term incomprehensible. It is a waste-saving dish; it is wholesome, in that it is purifying to the blood; it is full of infinite variety; and its low price brings it within easy every-day reach even of the humblest dwelling. But, as things are, even the salad plants themselves are represented by a meagre list, and are confined to only few varieties. And as far as salad herbs are concerned, they are literally unknown.
Now, although I am strongly of opinion that a more widespread use of fish, vegetables, and salads in Australia would be attended by the happiest results (both by benefiting the national health and by developing Australia's food-industries), yet it must not be understood that I countenance vegetarianism. So far from being a vegetarian, I am one of those who firmly believe in the advantages derived from a mixed diet. But my assertion is that we in Australia habitually consume an injurious amount of meat to the exclusion of far more needed nourishment. The golden rule as far as the Australian dietary is concerned is a minimum of meat, and a relatively maximum amount of the other classes of food. The influence which food exercises upon health is a matter of far-reaching importance, in that it affects the daily life of the whole population. Amongst others, the following medical writers—Sir James Risdon Bennett, Dr. J. Milner Fothergill, Dr. T. King Chambers, and Dr. J.H. Bennett—have in the past contributed much to this subject. In the present day, Sir Henry Thompson, Sir William Roberts, Dr. T. Lauder Brunton, Dr. F.W. Pavy, Dr. Burney Yeo, and many more have given their advocacy to the same purpose. It is urged by all these authorities that there is a needless consumption of animal food even in the old country, and they all agree that an exaggerated value is attached to butcher's meat on the part of the public. If representative medical opinion thus protests against the use of an unnecessary amount of animal diet in the climatic conditions obtaining in the United Kingdom, how much more would the misuse of the same food in a semi-tropical climate like Australia be disapproved of! Indeed, I am perfectly certain, that were those who have given attention to food and dietetics in possession of the facts, they would unhesitatingly condemn the grotesque inversion of food-habits at present in vogue throughout Australia. There is one very important matter which unquestionably requires to have special attention drawn to it. I refer to the customary Australian mid-day meal. Strange to say, all through the hot season, as well as the rest of the year, this consists in most cases of a heavy repast always comprising meat. Why, even in the cooler months, a ponderous meal of this kind is not required! My own views are that meat in the middle of the day is quite unnecessary, and, indeed, during the hot months actually prejudicial. Most people in Australia, after a fair trial, will find that a lunch of some warm soup, with a course perhaps of some fish, and vegetables, or salad, or whatever it may be to follow, will not only be ample, but will give them a sensation of buoyancy in the afternoon they never before experienced. Among the recipes will be found many which may help to bring about a reform in this respect. The heavier meal should certainly be towards the evening after the sun-heat of the day is over, at which time it is more enjoyed and better digested.
Having thus far referred to our totally inadequate supply of fish food, of vegetables, and of salad plants and herbs, there is still the great Australian wine industry to consider. At present only in its swaddling clothes, it is destined before very long to enter upon its vigorous life. There was an eminent French naturalist, M.F. Peron, sent out to Australia by the Emperor Napoleon during the years 1801 to 1804 inclusive. A shrewd observer, he saw even at that early period of Australian history that there were unequalled possibilities for her wine. In the course of his interesting narrations he remarks:—"By one of those chances which are inconceivable, Great Britain is the only one of the great maritime powers which does not cultivate the vine, either in its own territories or its colonies; notwithstanding, the consumption of wine on board its fleets and throughout its vast regions is immense."
In the whole of Australia the annual production of wine is only a little over three million gallons; but in France, as well as in Italy, it is nearly 800 million gallons. These two countries together, therefore, every year produce about 1,596 million gallons more wine than Australia. These stupendous figures reveal very plainly what an enormous expansion awaits our wine industry.
The colossal growth of the wool trade is in striking contrast to the puny dimensions of the wine industry. In 1805 the exportation of wool from Australia was "nil." In 1811 it reached to the modest amount of 167 lbs., while Spain exported 6,895,525 lbs. In 1861 the exportation of wool from Australia increased to 68,428,000 lbs., whilst from Spain it fell to 1,268,617 lbs. And lastly, in 1891 the amount of wool exported from Australia reached the majestic figures of 593,830,153 lbs., representing a value of 20,569,093 pounds. If New Zealand be included, the total export attains to 710,392,909 lbs., having a value of 24,698,779 pounds. It must be borne in mind that these figures represent only the wool actually exported, and do not include that kept back for Australian requirements. As I have pointed out in the beginning of the chapter on Australian wine, if the latter industry had increased in similar proportion, Australia's prosperity would be second to none in the world.
There are some other striking figures which are well worth referring to. The city of Paris alone requires nearly 300,000 gallons of wine daily. Now, the total yearly wine production of the whole of Australia is but a little over three million gallons. It will follow from the preceding, then, that the single city of Paris itself would consume in 12 days all the wine which the whole of Australia takes 12 MONTHS to make.
The future prosperity of Australia, at least to a very great extent, is wrapped up in her wine industry; for its development means much more than a large export trade to other countries. It means, in fact, the use of Australian wine as a national and every-day wholesome beverage; it means the covering of the land with smiling vineyards; it means employment and a healthy calling literally to thousands upon thousands; and, lastly, it means settlement upon the land, and a more diffused distribution of the population throughout Australia.
It must be remembered that the nervous system is far more susceptible to the effects of alcohol in a warm than in a cooler climate. It is said that in Southern Europe there are very few water drinkers, but that, on the other hand, there are very few who indulge in strong drink. The system does not feel to want the strong alcohol, so to speak. A weaker wine in a warm climate produces the same feeling of exhilaration that one of greater alcoholic strength does in colder countries. We shall not go far wrong in Australia if we stick to our own natural wines. As it will be found in the chapter on Australian wine, the every-day wine for Australian use is a wine of low alcoholic strength; a wine of which a tumblerful may be taken with benefit; a wine, indeed, which is beneficial, cheering, hygienic, restorative, and wholesome.
By reason of his semi-tropical climate the Australian is bathed in an atmosphere of sunshine. This has a distinct effect upon the blood, for the action of sunlight upon this fluid is to redden it—a fact which has for ages been dwelt upon by the poets. But for a scientific explanation of this effect of sunlight in reddening the blood we must turn to the spectrum analysis. The visible solar spectrum as shown through a prism by the ordinary sunbeam is made up of the seven different colours, namely, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Instead of consisting simply of white light as a whole, it is now universally accepted that in this spectrum different properties belong to different parts. Light or luminous power to one portion; heat or calorific power to another; and chemical power or actinism to a third.
The visible solar or Newtonian luminous spectrum, resulting from the decomposition of white light by a prism, is only the middle portion of the whole solar spectrum. Beyond the red end there are rays possessing still greater-heating effect; and beyond the violet extremity there are rays endowed with far more powerful chemical action. The violet, and especially these latter ultra-violet rays, redden the life stream by increasing the haemoglobin—that crystallizable body which forms so large a portion of the coloured corpuscles of the blood. Sunlight, moreover, has not only this action upon the animal kingdom, but also upon the vegetable world as well Plants, like celery, which are subjected to blanching, become whitened under the process of etiolation. This is due to the absence of chlorophyll, the green colouring matter of plants, which can only be developed by the presence of light. The tops of celery, being unearthed, retain their green colour, while the stem embedded in the soil acquires its familiar whiteness.
Many philosophical writers, notably David Hume and Charles Comte, C. Montesquieu in his L'Esprit des Lois, and Henry Thomas Buckle in his HISTORY OF CIVILISATION IN ENGLAND, have dilated upon the influence which climate exerts over race, and all their forceful opinions are to the effect that the character of a people is moulded by climatic conditions. More than this, the same new was entertained by the classic writers; for we find the philosopher and orator Cicero recording his belief that "Athens has a light atmosphere, whence the Athenians are thought to be more keenly intelligent; Thebes a dense one, and the Thebans fat-witted accordingly." Again, Horace, the poet and satirist, has given us the famous passage:—" You would swear he (Alexander the Great) was born in the dense atmosphere of the Boeotians."
But the influence of climate is not confined to ordinary conditions alone, because without the shadow of a doubt it controls disease as well. As it is well known, certain diseases are peculiar to, and confined to, certain regions. And, moreover, a malady will vary in its type in different zones. Thus the disease known as rickets is in the old country marked in many cases by bending of the bones, giving rise to deformities of the limbs, &c. The Australian type of the disorder, however, is milder altogether, and is of a different character. The Australian child is straight-limbed almost without exception, yet the Australian type of rickety disease, as I pointed out in 1891, is quite a definite affection.
At the Congress of Naturalists and Physicians at Strasburg in 1885 the great German pathologist, Professor Virchow, called attention to a sphere of research in which, he alleged, neither the French nor the English had hitherto accomplished anything of importance, namely, the modifications of the organism, and particularly of the special alterations of each organ, connected with the phenomena of acclimatization. This reproach cannot be denied. We have not yet reached the stage in Australia of noting the effect which climate has upon the system in general, much less of inquiring into the changes which occur in such organs as the liver, spleen, &c. But apart from investigating the phenomena of acclimatization, it is very plain that the people of Australia have never given any heed to their semitropical climate, or else the food-faults now universally practised would have been rectified long before this.
It has always been a matter of interesting speculation as to what the characteristic type of the future Australian will be. But reflections of this kind can only be in the right direction by bearing in mind the ever-present climatic conditions. Climate is of all forces the most irresistible; for, on the one hand, the Great Desert of Sahara could not be crossed in an Arctic costume and on Esquimaux diet; nor, on the other, could the Polar regions be explored in a Hindoo garb and on Oriental fare. And though blood is thicker than water, yet the resistless influence of a semi-tropical range of temperature will be to imprint on the descendants of the present inhabitants of Australia some marked peculiarities of skin-colour, of facial expression, of lingual accent, and perhaps even of bodily conformation.
Quite recently an observing writer, in a keenly analytical if somewhat facetious article, gave it as his opinion that the coming Australians will be as follows:—"They will not be so entirely agricultural as the Americans were; they will be horsemen, not gig-drivers. Descended from adventurers, not from Puritans, and eager, as men of their climate must be, for pleasant lives, they will thirst for dependent possessions, for gardens where fortunes grow. The early Americans were men of austere temper, who led, on an ungrateful soil, lives of permanent hardship. They had to fight the sea, the snow, the forest, the Indians, and their own hearts. The Australians, with a warmer climate, without Puritan traditions, with wealth among them from the first, will be a softer, though not a weaker people; fonder of luxury, and better fitted to enjoy Art, with an appreciation of beauty which the Americans have never shown. They will be a people growing and drinking wine, caring much for easy society, addicted to conversation, and never happy without servants. The note of discontent which penetrates the whole American character will be absent."
From the climatic standpoint alone it is safe to predict that the future Australian will be more nearly akin to the inhabitants of Southern Europe than to his progenitors in the old country; though, naturally, there will be considerable diversity between the native born of the various regions, covering as they do such a vast extent of territory. The ample opportunities for outdoor life will do much towards ensuring physical development. And, finally, the imaginative faculties will be very active, and it is quite permissible to hope that in time there will be a long roll of artists, musicians, and poets.
As it will be seen, a considerable portion of this work is taken up with the practical side of living, as exemplified by the Australian Cookery Recipes. From the very first it was recognised that it was imperative to include them within its compass. It occurred to me, however, that this important department would better be undertaken by someone thoroughly conversant with the subject. With this object in view, therefore, I submitted to Mrs. H. Wicken what I required. I knew Mrs. Wicken to be well qualified for the task from the following facts, namely, that she had previously been successful in her culinary writings; that she was a Diplomee of the National Training School for Cookery, South Kensington; and that she occupied the responsible post of lecturer to the Technical College, Sydney. My propositions were that the recipes were to be written purely for Australian use, and that they were to be of the strictly economical order. Mrs. Wicken accepted the task, and it can only be hoped that her efforts will meet with the approbation they deserve.
In their original form the three chapters on Australian Food Habits, Australian Fish and Oysters, and on Salads, appeared in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Sydney. I take this opportunity, therefore, of expressing my sense of obligation to the Proprietors thereof for their courtesy in permitting me to make complete use of these three contributions. As they now appear in chapters they have been revised, considerably altered, and materially added to, for the purposes of reproduction in book form.
143, Elizabeth Street Hyde Park, Sydney September 1893
A farmer being on the point of death, and wishing to show his sons the way to success in farming, called them to him and said—"My children I am now departing this life, but all that I have to leave you, you will find in the vineyard." The sons, supposing that he referred to some hidden treasure, as soon as the old man was dead, set to work with their spades and ploughs and every implement that was at hand, and turned up the soil over and over again. They found indeed no treasure; but the vines, strengthened and improved by this thorough tillage, yielded a finer vintage than they had ever yielded before, and more than repaid the young husbandmen for all their trouble. So truly is industry in itself a treasure.—THE FABLES OF AESOP.
CHAPTER I. THE CLIMATE OF AUSTRALIA. Their semi-tropical climate hitherto unrecognised by the people of Australia—Reasons advanced for this statement; early gold-mining era influences still at work, and Anglo-Saxon heredities—Hot months and cooler months; temperatures of the Australian capital cities—Fluctuations of temperature and barometric pressure not extreme—Equability of Australian climate a marked feature—Not many successive days of great heat—Humidity of atmosphere in different colonies—A dry heat always preferable to a moist heat—Duration of the different seasons, and months apportioned to each season—Prevailing winds, and ROLE of hot winds
CHAPTER II. THE ALPHABETICAL PENTAGON OF HEALTH FOR AUSTRALIA. The Alphabetical Pentagon a convenient form of remembering that the FIVE essentials of health—namely, Ablution: the Skin and the Bath; Bedroom Ventilation; Clothing; Diet; and Exercise—occur in alphabetical order
CHAPTER III. ABLUTION—THE SKIN AND THE BATH. Important and numerous functions of the skin—The skin itself and its different parts—The use of the scarf skin—The structure of the true skin—The perspiration tubes—The tubes of the oil-glands—Great value of the cold bath—Importance of the rubbing down after the cold bath—The cold bath as a preventive of disease—The cold bath in the maintenance of health—The warm cleansing bath—The beneficial effect of adding salt at the end of a warm bath—Other interesting hints
Loss of hair in Australia—Structure of the hair, and its blood supply —The hair is not a tube—Management of the hair—Singeing the hair— Washing the hair—Description of brushes and combs recommended—Hard rim of the hat a factor in thinning the hair—Excellent applications for promoting the growth of the hair
Formation of the nail—Different parts of the nail—Growth of the nail—The care of the nails
Disorders arising from loss of teeth—The preservation of the teeth— An admirable recipe for a tooth-powder—Management of the teeth—Use of floss silk
CHAPTER IV. BEDROOM VENTILATION. The bedroom the most important room in the house—necessity for proper ventilation—Extra allowance of sleep in hot climates—Crowding of articles in bedrooms condemned—Results of breathing vitiated air—Injuriously affects the heart as well as the lungs—The proper dimensions of a bedroom—Regulation of the ventilation—Mosquito nettings for summer months—Fresh air equally required in the cooler months
CHAPTER V. CLOTHING, AND WHAT TO WEAR. No clothing actually creates warmth of itself—The varying powers of clothing to detain air in its meshes—Two or three layers of clothing always warmer than a single garment equal to their combined thickness—The transmission of the body-heat to the clothes—The different fabrics are either good or bad conductors of heat—Permeability of clothing to air—The vegetable kingdom; the properties of cotton and of linen—The animal products; the properties of silk and of wool—Wool one of the best materials to wear next the skin—Recommendations for wearing woollen under-garments —The way to prevent them from shrinking—The modern pyjamas immensely superior to the old-fashioned bed-gown—The clothing would be modified according to the season of the year.
CHAPTER VI. DIET—IMPORTANCE OF BREAKFAST, FRUIT, TEA, COFFEE, ICED DRINKS, TOBACCO. Breakfast usually scampered through—Monotony of the ordinary breakfast—A plea for something better—Butter during Australian summer months—The ice-chest an absolute necessity— Breakfast should be a substantial meal
Fruit fortunately abundant in Australia—The agreeable qualities of fruits reside in three factors—Fruit must neither be over-ripe nor under-ripe—The anti-scorbutic properties of fruit—Changes in the blood in scurvy—Mild forms of scurvy not uncommon—Symptoms of an excess of uric acid in the stem—A word for olives
Abuse of tea by the gentler sex—Protest against lunch of tea and broad and butter—An admirable opportunity for philanthropic efforts— Tea to be enjoyed, and not misused—The making of tea—The anti-tannic teapot
The three active principles of coffee—Coffee stimulates the brain— Coffee relieves fatigue and exhaustion, whether mental or manual—The virtues of coffee—Coffee as a remedy in different diseases—The details of coffee roasting—The art of making coffee—The cafetiere, or French coffee-pot—Proportions of coffee and of chicory in "cafe noir" and "cafe au lait" respectively—Minute instructions for making coffee
Universal use of ice in America—Ice indispensable in hot climates— Expert opinions upon the value of ice in India—Medical authorities practically unanimous in favour of ice when used with discretion— Purity of the ice must be ensured
Proportion of smokers to non-smokers—Five out of every six men smoke —Amount of tobacco used in Australia and in other countries—The effect of tobacco on the system provisionally divided into three classes—The principles contained in tobacco—Different results of combustion from a cigar and from a pipe—Effect of tobacco when it is unsuitable—Symptoms following excessive smoking—The smokers heart— Men of middle age often compelled to give up tobacco—Effect of tobacco upon the palate—Power to appreciate good wine lost after the first whiff of cigarette, cigar, or pipe
CHAPTER VII. EXERCISE. Effect of exercise upon the muscles—Exercise removes debris from the system—Bodily health the great desideratum of the present day—Will power increased by exercise—Exercise improves the quality of the blood—Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, and benefits the nervous system—Every one must perform his own exercise; no carrying it out by proxy—Walking six miles a day the orthodox amount of exercise—Early morning exercise not beneficial to everybody—It is only by exercise, and by exercise alone, that the different organs are brought to the perfection of health
CHAPTER VIII. ON SCHOOL COOKERY, AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE AUSTRALIAN DAILY LIFE. Enormous consumption of meat and of tea in Australia—A contest between a semi-tropical climate and Anglo-Saxon heredities— Progressive changes in the theories of education—The purpose of education—School cookery instruction in England and in Australia— Cookery in its relation to health—Cookery as a preventive of drunkenness—Cookery in the formation of character—A national plea on behalf of Australian school cookery
CHAPTER IX. AUSTRALIAN FOOD HABITS, AND THEIR FAULTS—A PLEA FOR THEIR IMPROVEMENT. Food usually in harmony with climate, except in Australia —Isothermal lines of Australian cities, Southern Europe, and southern portion of United States—Australian food habits diametrically opposed to climate—Lamentable state of Australian cookery—Restricted choice of vegetables in Australia—Many other desirable vegetables never seen here, but in great request elsewhere—No possible excuse, as they would all do well—Extraordinary trouble in popularising the tomato in Australia—A protest against "boiling," and nothing but "boiling," in the cookery of vegetables—Cookery must be taught in Australian schools—No national Australian dish, a reproach to Australia
CHAPTER X. AUSTRALIAN FISH AND OYSTERS—AND THEIR FOOD VALUE. No deep-sea fisheries in Australia, although her people come from a maritime stock—The defectiveness of our Australian fish supply—Our primitive methods of fish capture—The beam-trawl in deep-sea fishing—Drift-net and other deep-sea fishing—Benefits from the development of our deep-sea fisheries—Fish markets—The "middleman" controversy—The distribution of fish to the public—Fishmongers and the sale of fish— The development of the oyster—The failure in the New South Wales and Victorian oyster supplies—The recreation of our oyster fisheries— The food value of the oyster—The food value of fish
CHAPTER XI. ON SALADS; SALAD PLANTS AND HERBS; AND SALAD MAKING. Salads plainly intended for Australian use—Many people miss the present in looking for the future—Cookery of the highest excellence amongst all classes in France—A contrast between the English and the French methods of making a salad—Detailed instructions for the preparation of a French salad—Importance of a roomy and properly shaped salad bowl—Poor display of greengrocery in Australia as compared with the show of meat—Salad plants in great request elsewhere which might readily be cultivated in Australia—Salad herbs indispensable to a proper salad, but entirely unknown in Australia—A complete recipe for the famous Mayonnaise sauce—An excellent recipe for a herring salad
CHAPTER XII. ON AUSTRALIAN WINE, AND ITS PLACE IN THE AUSTRALIAN DAILY DIETARY. "With time and care Australia ought to be the vineyard of the world"—Interesting facts in the early history of the vine in Australia—Figures showing the possibilities of Australian viticulture —The climate—The soil—"Cepage," or variety—The preparation of the soil—Laying-out the vineyard—Whether to plant cuttings or rooted vines—The height of the vine above the ground—On pruning— The cellar—The gathering of she grape—Varying additions to the must —The must itself—Fermentation—THE TASTING AND JUDGING OF WINES— uniformity required in Australian wines—The future success of the Australian wine industry, and upon what it depends
THE ART OF LIVING IN AUSTRALIA
CHAPTER I. THE CLIMATE OF AUSTRALIA.
Australia, forming as it does a vast island continent in the Southern world, lies to some extent within the tropical range, for the Tropic of Capricorn traverses its northern part. At present, however, its most densely populated portion lies just outside the tropics, and it is this semi-tropical part of Australia with which we have mostly to do. And apart, too, from the mere fact of Australia being between certain parallels of latitude, which makes its climate tropical or semi-tropical, as the case may be, its position is peculiar in that it forms this enormous ocean-girt continent already described.
One of the most extraordinary circumstances in connection with the Australian people is, that they have never yet realized their semi-tropical environment. It would naturally be supposed that a dominating influence of this kind would have, from the very first, exercised an irresistible effect on their mode of living. But, on the contrary, the type of the Australian dwelling-house, the clothing of the Australian people, and, what is more significant than anything else, their food habits, prove incontestably that they have never recognised the semi-tropical character of their climate all over the rest of the world it will be found that the inhabitants of different regions adapt themselves to their surroundings. For instance, the Laplander and the Hindoo live in such a widely different manner, that one can scarcely believe they belong to the same human family.
It has, however, been reserved for Australia, strange even from the first, to prove an exception to this universal law. Yes, strange even from the first! For did not the earliest arrivals find that the seasons came at the wrong time of the year; that Christmas-tide came with sunshine, and that the middle of the year was its coolest part? Were there not found in it curious animals, partly quadruped, partly bird, and partly reptile? Were there not discovered, also, other animals who carried their young in a pouch? Moreover, did Dot these first settlers see that the trees shed their bark, and not their leaves; and that the stones were on the outside, not the inside, of the cherries?
But even admitting these peculiarities of season, of FAUNA and of flora it may be asked, How is it that the people of Australia have never adapted themselves to their climatic surroundings? The answer, or rather answers, to such an interrogation must largely consist of matters of opinion. This being the case, therefore, I call do no more than attempt to give my own explanation of this singular anomaly. It must be remembered that the one great impetus to colonisation in Australia was the discovery of gold in 1851. Up till that time settlement had been proceeding steadily, it is true. Indeed, one may go 80 far as to say that the development of the country was progressing, although slowly, on safe and natural lines. But the announcement of the finding of gold, which was continually being corroborated by successive reports, acted as an electric stimulus throughout the whole civilized world. As a consequence shipload after shipload of new comers flocked to Australia, all aflame with the same ardent desire—gold. Amongst them were certainly many of the picked men of the earth, whose spirit will leaven the whole of Australasia for all time to come. Yet even at the present day we still see the influence of this gold period at work, in the readiness with which men are caught by any plausible mining prospectus. They have only to be told that a company is being formed to extract gold out of road metal, and they are ready to believe it, and, what is more, prepared to put money into it.
But far better than all this eagerness to amass wealth by some fortunate COUP, would be the natural development of the country. Agriculture and market-gardening, vine-growing and wine-making, the deep-sea fisheries and all the other comparatively neglected opportunities, only await their expansion into vast sources of wealth. What wonder, then, that a continent with so much that is wanting in connection with its food life should be living in a manner distinctly opposed to its climatological necessities! In the case of America there is a far different history. Settlement began there in a small way at first, to gradually expand as time went on. There was no sudden event, with the exception of the short-lived Californian gold rush of 1849-50, to set men flocking to its shores in countless legions. No, in America the inland territory has been peopled, steadily and slowly at first, but in after years by leaps and bounds, so that its development has been on a perfectly natural basis.
But there must be something even more than this to explain the want of adaptation to climate shown in Australia, and it is, I think, to be found in the following. It must be remembered that Australia has been peopled chiefly by the Anglo-Saxon race. In such a stock the traditional tendencies are almost ineradicable, and hence it is that the descendants of the new comers believe as their fathers, did before them. It's in the blood. For there can be no doubt but that the Anglo-Saxon thinks there is only one way of living in every part of the world—no matter whether the climate be tropical, semi-tropical, or frigid. Those in the old country live in a certain manner, and all the rest of the globe have every right to follow their example.
These two facts that Australia was peopled in part by the influx which followed the discovery of gold, and that its inhabitants belong essentially to the Anglo-Saxon race, have unquestionably exercised a great influence over our Australian food-habits. But notwithstanding these powerful underlying factors, there still remains that most extraordinary circumstance, to which I at first referred, namely, that the Australian people have never realized their semi-tropical environment. In order to assign to this latter the prominence it deserves, it seems desirable to make special inquiry into the peculiarities of the climate in its different parts. With that object in view, therefore, I wrote for certain information to the observatories of the four principal Australian metropolitan centres, namely, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane. As has always been the case, I received the fullest answers to my requests from Mr. H.C. Russell, Government Astronomer of New South Wales; from Mr. R.L.J. Ellery, Government Astronomer of Victoria; from Sir Charles Todd, Government Observer of South Australia; and from Mr. Clement L. Wragge, Government Meteorologist of Queensland. And it is with a feeling of considerable indebtedness to these gentlemen that I acknowledge their uniform kindness. And yet it is important to remember that the annual temperature, by itself, of any given locality may afford no indication whatever of its climatic peculiarities. Take for instance the climate of the North-Eastern portion of the United States. That region is characterized by intense heat during the summer, and extreme cold in the winter. In New York, for example, the mean summer temperature ranges as high as 70.9 degrees, while the mean winter temperature is as low as 30.1 degrees; yet the mean temperature of the whole year is 53.2 degrees, affording no indication of these extremes. The mean annual temperature alone, therefore, would be entirely misleading, as it would give no idea of these alternations of heat and cold. Such being the case, the actual character of any climate will be far better realized by placing in juxtaposition the mean annual temperature, the mean temperature of the hot, and the mean temperature of the cooler months. First of all, then, I purpose showing the mean annual temperature, and also the mean temperatures for the hot and cooler months, of the four largest Australian centres.
TABLE showing the Mean Annual Temperature, and also the Mean Temperatures for the Hot and Cooler Months, of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
Capital. Mean Annual Mean Temperature Mean Temperature Temeperature for the Hot Months for the Cold Months Sydney 62.9 70 58.7 Melbourne 57.5 64.9 53.8 Adelaide 63.1 72.4 58.4 Brisbane 67.74 75.2 64.3
Much will be gained by a comparison of these temperatures of the Australian capitals with those of some other cities in different parts of the world. A contrast of this kind will, in my opinion, help to a truer understanding of the climate of these capitals, than any other. Accordingly I made a successful application to Mr. H.C. Russell, for the corresponding temperatures of the following cities: London, Edinburgh, Dublin; Marseilles, Naples, Messina; New York, San Francisco, New Orleans; Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.
TABLE showing the Mean Annual Temperature, as well as the Mean Summer and Winter Temperatures, in twelve different cities.
City. Mean Annual Temp. Mean Summer Temp. Mean Winter Temp. UNITED KINGDOM London 50.8 62.9 39.5 Edinburgh 47.5 58 38 Dublin 50 61.1 40.7 . . . .
SOUTHERN EUROPE Marseilles (France) 58.3 72.9 45.2 Naples (Italy) 62 74.4 47.6 Messina (Sicily) 65.8 77.2 55
. . . .
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA New York 53.2 70.9 30.1 San Francisco 56.2 60 51.6 New Orleans 69.8 82 55.8
. . . .
INDIA Bombay 78.8 82.6 73.8 Calcutta 78.4 83.3 67.8 Madras 82 86.4 76.6
It has been said that Australia is practically Southern Europe, and to a very great extent this is perfectly true. It will be seen, however, on reference to the preceding tables, that the Australian climate is more equable than that of Southern Europe, for there is not such a marked difference between the hot and the cooler months. In the New England States of North America, as exemplified by New York, there are intensely hot summers and extremely cold winters—to which fact attention has already been drawn. And lastly, in India, the thermometer stands at such a height, winter as well as summer, that we can only be thankful our lines are cast in more pleasant places.
Having thus compared the summer and winter temperatures of the Australian capitals with those of other cities in different parts of the world, it will be advisable to direct our attention to some details connected with the climate of these capitals, and of the corresponding colonies generally. Commencing with Sydney we find that the climate is characterized by the absence of very violent changes of temperature, owing in great measure to its proximity to the ocean, which in winter is about 10 degrees warmer than the air. Its summer climate is marked by the absence of hot winds, which do not come more than three or four times, and the are short-lived, seldom lasting more than five or six hours. For a short time in the midsummer of each year, Sydney is visited regularly by moist sea breezes, which are enervating to many persons. While these continue the temperature seldom rises to 80 degrees, but there is so much moisture that they are very oppressive. Otherwise the climate is one of the most enjoyable in the world. In other parts of New South Wales towns may be found varying in mean temperature from 45.8 degrees at Kiandra to 69.1 degrees at Bourke. Speaking generally it is a fact that for the same mean annual temperature in New South Wales the range between summer and winter temperature is less than it is in Europe.
The climate of Melbourne is characterized by a low average humidity, moderate rainfall, and moderate winds, strong gales being of her rare occurrence. The most marked feature is the summer hot wind. A hot wind is always a northerly wind, and the highest temperature generally occurs a little before the win changes to west or south-west. When this takes place a sudden drop to a comparatively low temperature sometimes follows within a few minutes. These hot winds, however, are not frequent, only averaging eight or nine per annum. These characteristics will apply to all Victoria except the mountain ranges, where all the climatic elements vary with the altitude.
The climate of Adelaide is certainly healthy, and, with the exception of the extreme heat occasionally experienced in summer, the weather may be described as enjoyable. It must be remembered, however, that these high temperatures are always accompanied by extreme dryness, the wet bulb thermometer usually reading at such times from 30 to 35 degrees, or even more, below the temperature of the air. The heat is, therefore, more bearable than if it was combined with the humid atmosphere. When the thermometer stands perhaps at something over 100 degrees, the wet bulb thermometer will show 65 degrees, and it is this which enables persons to bear the heat of the summer and carry on their usual pursuits with less inconvenience and discomfort than is felt in tropical and damp climates, though the temperature may be 15 or 20 degrees lower, but nearly saturated with aqueous vapour, as at Port Darwin, where during the rainy season of the north-west monsoon the thermometer may stand at only 88 degrees, whilst the wet bulb at the same time indicates 86 degrees. Such an atmosphere, it need hardly be said, is far more enervating than the hot and dry air of the Adelaide plains. The summer, which may be termed warm and dry, usually extends over, say, five months; and during the remainder of the year the climate is simply perfect. The temperature in mid-winter over the Adelaide plains rarely, if ever, reaches the freezing point, although there may be sharp frosts, and on still clear nights, so frequently experienced, copious dews. On the ranges, and on the high lying plains 150 miles north of Adelaide, lower temperatures are reached, indeed in some years there have been falls of snow.
The climatic features of Brisbane are, as a mean expression, decidedly semi-tropical. The months from October to March may be classed as tropic when vegetation makes luxuriant growth, especially if the rainfall prove abundant. The rest of the year, from April to September, is marked by a dry, bracing, "continental" climate, during which the westerly wind often proves very cold, bleaching, and searching accompanied by great dryness accumulated during the passage of this current from southern-central Australia. Many settlers affirm that they feel the peculiar searching character of the dry cold "westerlies" more keenly than the more "honest" frost of the old country. Yet vigorous constitutions thoroughly enjoy the bracing nature of the westerly weather of winter. Hard ground frosts not unfrequently occur in the Darling Downs and Maranoa districts, especially during May, June, and July, in connection with the westerly type of climate; and, moreover, ice has at times been observed in the water-jugs of bedrooms, &c. As before intimated, the westerly winds are marked by great dryness, so that (saturation= 100) a percentage of relative humidity below 33 per cent. may occur during the prevalence of such phenomena, not only in Brisbane, but especially in the more western districts above mentioned. Such conditions are characterized by great diathermancy of atmosphere, and hence are frequently followed by days of considerable heat. Even in the tropics, in inland districts, ground frosts are known to have occurred owing to this extreme diathermancy of the atmosphere far from the coast, and the consequent attendant factor of active terrestrial radiation. In coast districts, or that fringe of country bordering the ocean north from Rockhampton, frost is of very rare occurrence, and the prevailing winds are between south-east and east-north-east, with a rainfall far more abundant than that obtaining in other parts of Queensland. The climate of the country surrounding the southern end of the Gulf of Carpentaria is very hot and trying from November to March, but genial thenceforward. It is certainly not unhealthy, and the fevers suffered from in the northern and gulf districts of Queensland are largely brought on by reckless or needless exposure.
In addition to the foregoing, which has been obtained from head-quarters, certain questions were submitted by me as to the climatology of the different colonies. As it will be seen, these interrogations are somewhat extensive in their scope, and supply knowledge upon points, which is not ordinarily met with in my descriptions of Australian climate. In drafting them everything which had a bearing on health was included as far as possible, and consequently in a work of this kind they unquestionably deserve a prominent place. In arranging them I purpose placing the different replies after each question in the following order, namely, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland. And in the different answers it should be borne in mind that Mr. H.C. Russell is responsible for New South Wales; Mr. R.L.J. Ellery for Victoria; Sir Charles Todd for South Australia; and Mr. Clement L. Wragge for Queensland.
IS IT NOT A FACT THAT THE TEMPERATURE AND BAROMETRIC PRESSURE ARE EXPOSED TO SUDDEN AND MARKED CHANGES? HAVE YOU KNOWN THE TEMPERATURE TO FALL, SAY, AS MUCH AS 22 DEGREES IN 15 MINUTES?
New South Wales.—The temperature sometimes changes rapidly in the summer, coming with a change from a hot wind to a cold southerly, although the instances are rare. Once in 30 years I have known such a change to amount to 20 degrees in 15 minutes. Under ordinary circumstances the change in temperature from hot to cold wind takes several hours to amount to 20 degrees. The fluctuations of barometric pressure are moderate, seldom amounting to half an inch in a day, or an inch in a week. In England, on the other hand, the pressure sometimes varies quickly to the extent of two inches.
Victoria.—Yes; the temperature much more so than the barometric pressure; it has fallen from a high temperature to 20 and even 30 degrees sometimes in as many minutes, when a hot north wind has suddenly changed to a cold southerly one. But such sudden and great changes occur very seldom, and then only in the hot summer months, and are known as "the change." On several occasions in the last 30 years it has fallen from 105 degrees in the shade to 70 degrees and 65 degrees in the shade in less than an hour.
South Australia.—Yes, in the summer; but, especially as regards temperature, rarely in the winter. One notable example occurred on February 9th, 1887, when during a heavy thunder-storm the temperature fell 25 degrees in 10 or 15 minutes, followed by a rising temperature. In other instances the fall of temperature has been almost equally rapid. From this it will be seen that we are subject to large and quick falls of temperature following extreme heat. The approach of hot weather is usually gradual, and the fall abrupt. The barometer has been known to show a rise of 6/10 of an inch in 24 hours; this, however, is exceptional.
Queensland.—There is no record of a fall of as much as 22 degrees in 15 minutes. But, on the other hand, a rise of 30 degrees in three hours is a common feature over the Darling Downs after sunrise. Owing to the diathermancy of the atmosphere already referred to, it is a fact, nevertheless, that in the "continental" or inland districts of Southern Queensland the temperature in winter is subject to sudden and marked changes. Barometric pressure, owing to the comparatively low latitude, is not exposed to sudden and marked changes, except during hurricane conditions, which usually affect the central coast-line in February and March.
AS A COROLLARY TO THE PRECEDING, WOULD YOU SAY THAT THE CLIMATE IS MARKED BY GREAT VARIABILITY?
New South Wales.—No; just the opposite. Indeed, as regards Sydney itself. there are few cities in which so much uniformity of temperature and slow changes, are to be found. The cause of any great change is the hot wind, and as that seldom comes more than three or four times in the year, great changes are infrequent. The mean diurnal range in Sydney is 11 1/2 degrees, and taking a series of years it is very unusual for the range on any day to reach 25 degrees.
Victoria.—No; because these are exceptional phenomena. In the late Spring and during early summer the climate may be said to be occasionally subject to sharp and sudden changes, which give it the character of variability. But the deviations from mean temperature, except for short periods, are not remarkable.
South Australia.—Yes, in summer; but not in winter.
Queensland.—Certainly not; with the exception of the wide diurnal range of temperature in winter in the southern "continental" districts, as at Cambooya and Thargomindah. The changes are, according to my knowledge, far more sudden and marked in the southern colonies (as during a "shift" from N.E. by W., to S.W. for instance, at Melbourne, and especially at Adelaide) than in Queensland and its coastal districts.
WITH REGARD TO SUSTAINED, PROLONGED, OR CONTINUED HIGH TEMPERATURES DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, FOR HOW MANY DAYS HAVE YOU KNOWN THE TEMPERATURE REMAIN CONTINUOUSLY AT A HIGH LEVEL? THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION, AS IT CONCERNS INFANTILE MORTALITY IN NO SMALL DEGREE; I SHALL BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE?
New South Wales.—Much depends upon what temperature is deemed a "high level." If we assume that 90 degrees and upwards is a high level, then such periods are very rare in Sydney; in fact during the past 24 years there have only been three. In 1868 there were three consecutive hot days of which the mean temperature was 91.8 degrees; in 1870 a period of four days with a mean temperature of 91.3 degrees; and in 1874 a period of four days with a mean temperature of 90.2 degrees. Since then, although sometimes near it, the temperature has never been for three days over 90 degrees. Taking a lower level, we have one period of nine days in 1870, the longest on record, during which the mean temperature was 82.6 degrees. It must, however, be distinctly understood that what is here taken is not the mean temperature of each 24 hours, but the highest temperature reached during the day, and which would not as a rule last more than three or four hours, if so much. If the mean temperature of the day were taken these temperatures, as given, would have to be reduced at least 10 per cent.
Victoria.—It is very unusual to have a hot period lasting more than three days; when it does happen it is generally in February or March. In the majority of cases high temperatures (over 90 degrees) do not last more than one or two days. The exceptions generally occur in February or March, and have sometimes extended to four or five days hot weather, with a temperature of over 80 degrees with a maximum of about 90 degrees, has on a few occasions during the last 30 years extended from five to ten days; and in 1890, a memorable instance, to 12 days (the only case for 37 years).
South Australia.—The longest stretch of continuous heat noted was in January and February 1857. On January 28th, 29th, and 30th, the temperature exceeded 100 degrees, and during the whole of February it was over 90 degrees on 25 days, and above 100 degrees on 12 days, the mean being 107 degrees. In January 1858 there were 10 consecutive days over 90 degrees, of which eight consecutive days were over 100 degrees. In January 1860 there were in the beginning of the month seven consecutive days, above 100 degrees (maximum 107.5 degrees). In the middle of the same month, seven days were over 90 degrees, of which five exceeded 100 degrees, two days reaching 113.7 degrees. These are, however, exceptions to our usual experience. Although there are several other instances of great heat, yet the foregoing will suffice to show what we occasionally suffer without much harm being done.
Queensland.—During the period February 17th to February 23rd, 1891, the shade temperature at Townsville ranged between 81 degrees and 62 degrees, but at Cairns a range between 82 degrees and 70 degrees is of frequent occurrence, within at least fortnightly periods.
ANY INFORMATION WITH REGARD TO HUMIDITY OF THE ATMOSPHERE ALSO, WILL BE OF GREAT VALUE. ALL PHYSICIANS ARE OF OPINION THAT A HIGH TEMPERATURE, COMBINED WITH MOISTURE, IS VERY IRRITATING TO THE LUNGS OF THOSE AFFECTED WITH PULMONARY DISEASE.
Before setting forth the different answers in response to this, it will be desirable to refer briefly to the term "humidity." The humidity of the atmosphere is defined as the degree of its approach to saturation. Air completely saturated is represented by 100, and that absolutely free of vapour by 0. As a matter of fact, however, the latter never occurs; even in the driest regions of Arabia a humidity of 10 per cent. is almost unknown. For its estimation the Wet and Dry Bulb thermometers are employed. These consist of two ordinary thermometers. One has its bulb exposed so as to register the temperature of the air. The bulb of the other is covered with muslin; this latter material being kept wet through its connection with a cotton wick dipping into a vessel of water. The water ascends from this vessel by capillary attraction, spreads over the muslin, and evaporates quickly or slowly, according to the dryness or moistness of the atmosphere. Thus when the air is driest the difference between the two thermometers will be greatest, and, on the contrary, when it is completely saturated with moisture the two readings will be almost identical.
New South Wales.—A considerable part of the colony, forming the western plains, is subject to great heat, caused, no doubt, by the sun's great power on treeless plains, and the almost total absence of cooling winds; yet, although in summer the temperature here frequently rises over 100 degrees, and sometimes up to 120 degrees, owing to the cold at night and in winter the mean temperatures are not greater than those of corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere. This region of the colony is remarkably dry, and stock of all kinds thrive well and are very free from disease. At Bourke, the driest place in the colony, the humidity for a long series of years is—in the spring 51 degrees, in the summer 49 degrees, in the autumn 61 degrees, and in the winter 74 degrees. At Sydney the humidity in the Spring is 69 degrees, in the summer 70 degrees, in the autumn 79 degrees, and in the winter 79 degrees.
Victoria.—The humidity of the air of Melbourne is low, the average being 71 per cent. In the summer it falls to 65, and on hot days is generally very low. The characteristic of our hot weather is that it is usually extremely dry; the exceptions are very few, and occur in the late Spring and early autumn during thundery, muggy weather. On the hottest days, with north winds, the dryness makes the heat much more endurable, and the humidity frequently falls to between 30 and 40 per cent.
South Australia.—Attention has already been drawn to the fact that the hot, dry air met with on the Adelaide plains is far more endurable than a lower temperature in which the atmosphere is surcharged with aqueous vapour. A damp atmosphere is a rare thing in South Australia during the summer, though in March there are at times some warm and humid days. In the winter the air for the most part is dry, although the nights are often damp. The Mount Lofty Ranges, close to Adelaide, afford a cool retreat; they have a very large rainfall, in some years over 50 inches. The climate at Mount Gambier, in the south-eastern part of the colony, is cooler and damper; it has also a much heavier rainfall than the Adelaide plains.
OF WHAT DURATION ARE THE DIFFERENT SEASONS, AND TO WHAT MONTHS WOULD YOU APPORTION EACH SEASON?
New South Wales and Victoria.—Spring—September, October, November; Summer—December, January, February; Autumn—March, April, May; Winter—June, July, August.
South Australia.—Spring—September, October; Summer comprises the five months from November to March inclusive; Autumn—April, May; Winter—June, July, August. Practically, in South Australia the year may be divided into two seasons, namely, Spring, the seven months from April to October inclusive; and Summer, the five months from November to March inclusive.
Queensland.—With regard to Southern Queensland, the seasons may be provisionally apportioned as follows: Spring—August, September, October; Summer—November, December, January, February, Autumn— March, April, May; Winter—June, July.
WHAT ARE THE PREVAILING WINDS, AND WHAT PARTICULAR ROLE DO THE HOT WINDS PLAY?
New South Wales.—A general statement is not sufficient, for the winds vary much at different places; but taking the colony as a whole, its prevailing winds come from some point between north-west and south-west, and hence the dry climate. In Sydney no less than 39.6 per cent. of the wind comes from this quarter. The winds known as southerly bursters are generally to be expected from November to the end of February; they are always attended with strong electrical excitement, a stream of sparks being sometimes produced for an hour at the electrometer. The approach of the true burster is indicated by a peculiar roll of clouds, which, when once seen, cannot be mistaken. It is just above the South horizon, and extends on either side of it 15 degrees or 20 degrees, and looks as if a thin sheet of cloud were being rolled up like a scroll by the advancing wind. The change of wind is sometimes very sudden; it may be fresh N.E. and in ten minutes a gale from S. Hence vessels not on the look-out are sometimes caught unprepared, and suffer accordingly. When a southerly wind commences anywhere south of Sydney it is at once telegraphed to its principal coast towns, and a signal put up indicating its approach. As to the hot winds, they are so insignificant in number that it cannot be said they play any particular ROLE. Their effect is to raise the temperature, because they flow from the heated interior of Australia; but they do not last long. and for the majority of people are dry, healthy winds. Indeed, they are by no means so oppressive as the warm north-east wind, so charged with moisture, which comes in the summer.
Victoria.—In summer the N. winds blow to the extent of 8 per cent., the S.W. winds 24.1 per cent., and the S. winds 201 per cent. Northerly, or warm-quarter winds, in summer are 20 per cent., and southerly, or cool-quarter winds, 64 per cent. The northerly winds in winter, however, are bleak and cold, like easterly winds in England. The particular ROLE played by the hot wind is to precede a cyclonic movement, and is always in front of a low pressure area or V-shaped depression. It is frequently followed by thunderstorms and rain of short duration. It dries the surface and raises dust storms when strong. So far as its effects on the people are concerned, it does not appear to hinder the ordinary occupations of life. Some invalids are better during its continuance, some worse; but all weakly people feel some depression after "the change" comes. The aged are generally better in hot winds, unless they suffer from disease.
South Australia.—As far as the southern regions of the colony are concerned, we may say, speaking generally, that light winds and calms are a very distinctive characteristic. The prevailing wind in the summer is the S.E., varied by sea-breezes during the day. In the winter there are mostly dry, cold N.E. winds, broken at intervals by westerly and S.W. gales of moderate strength, squalls, and rain. The best and heaviest rainfalls are those which set in with the surface winds at N.E., the rain increasing in intensity as the wind veers to N.W., and breaking up into showers and squalls as it veers to S.W. In the interior, north of, say, latitude 30 degrees to about 18 degreess., the prevailing wind all the year is the S.E. North of latitude 18 degrees to the north coast the country is well within the influence of the north-nest monsoon during the summer months, with frequent thunderstorms and heavy rains; and during, the winter dry S.E. winds prevail.
Queensland.—Eastern Queensland (or rather the Pacific Slope) is very seldom troubled with hot winds. The hot winds of "continental" Queensland are always very dry, and are usually accompanied by dust storms.
THE ALPHABETICAL PENTAGON OF HEALTH FOR AUSTRALIA.
A few introductory remarks on this subject will serve a useful purpose. It will be seen that I have referred to the alphabetical pentagon of health—which is purely a provisional arrangement of my own. It consists of five headings, which fall naturally into alphabetical order. They are best considered, therefore, in the following way, namely:
* (a) Ablution—the Skin and the Bath. * * (b) Bedroom Ventilation. * * (c) Clothing. * * (d) Diet. * * (e) Exercise. *
This is a convenient method of remembering the five great fundamental principles concerned in the preservation of health. It will serve, moreover, as a means of impressing them upon the memory, superior to any other with which I am acquainted.
This very number five, indeed, has a more than ordinary significance belonging to itself. It has been termed a mystical number. "Five," says Pythagoras, "has peculiar force in expiations. It is everything. It stops the power of poisons and is redoubted by evil spirits." According to the Pythagorean school of philosophy, the world is a piece of harmony and man the full chord. The major chord consists of a fundamental or tonic, its major third and its just fifth. The eighth note, or complement of the octave, is the diapason of man. These are of course very highly imaginative speculations. It is interesting to remember, however, that the system of astronomy first taught by Pythagoras was afterwards developed into the solar system by Copernicus, and is now received as the Copernican system. But, turning from grave to gay, we find that five wits have been described, viz., common sense, imagination, fantasy, estimation, and memory. Of these, common sense passes judgment on all things; imagination brings the mind to realise what comes before it; fantasy stimulates the mind to act; estimation has to do with all that pertains to time, space, locality, etc.; and memory is "the warder of the brain." Then again, have we not also the five senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting? Have we not likewise five fingers and five toes on either hand and foot? Moreover, is not fives an ancient and hollowed game, still popular wherever the English language is spoken, and is not its name derived from its being played with the "bunch of FIVES," namely the hand? And further, there must be numbers of Australians who know well what "five-corners" are. In addition to the foregoing, the number five has an important historical and legal association in connection with the Code Napoleon. Prior to Napoleon's time, different ways and customs prevailed in different parts of France, and altogether legal matters were in a chaotic state. It was greatly to his credit, therefore that he recognised the necessity for the entire alteration and remodelling of the whole system. But what was more striking than the recognition of the existing, defects was the speediness with which they were rectified, for the CODE NAPOLEON was devised and actually in operation between 1804 and 1810.
It consisted of FIVE parts, namely the "Code Civil," dealing with the main body of the private law; the "Code de Procedure Civile"; the "Code de Commerce," dealing with the laws relating to commercial affairs; the "Code d'Instruction Criminelle "; and finally, the "Code Penal." It is recorded that Napoleon was prouder of this than of his victories. "I shall go down to posterity," he said, "with my Code in my hand." The best proof of its excellence is that to-day it remains in force as the law of France (though it has been re-christened the "Code Civil" under the Republic), and that it has been the model for many Continental Codes, notably Belgium, Italy, and Greece.
But, leaving, these references to the many associations attached to the number five, it must not be supposed that my desire is to make people unnecessarily timorous about themselves on the score of health. This is certainly not my intention, for such a frame of mind would defeat the very object I have in view. Yet there still remains the fact that a little rational attention is indispensable if the vigour of the body is to be maintained at its best. There is a very great difference between carefulness carried to extremes in this respect, on the one head, and a heedlessness and total disregard of personal health, on the other. The golden mean between these two is the proper knowledge of what is required for the preservation of health, and so much conformity thereto as will give the best results. And yet it must be remembered that no cast-iron code can be laid down which would be applicable to one and all. No; idiosyncrasy, that personal peculiarity which makes each individual different from every one else, is too potent a factor to be ignored. In matters of this kind, each one, to a certain extent, is a law unto himself, and, consequently, what agrees and what disagrees is only discoverable by the individual concerned. In what follows, therefore, I have endeavoured to lay down rules for guidance which will be beneficial to by far the greatest number; although this element of the EGO must never be forgotten.
ABLUTION—THE SKIN AND THE BATH.
It has been estimated that the external skin of an ordinary adult is equal to an area of about twelve square feet, and that in a tall man it may be as much as eighteen square feet. There is a considerable difference between twelve square feet and twelve feet square, and it is well to mention the fact in order that there may be no confusion. From this large surface alone, therefore, it is quite easy to see that the skin requires to have some attention paid to it. But it is really far more important than even its extensive surface would be likely to indicate, for it fulfils no less than seven different duties. In the first place it serves as an external covering to the body, and, as we shall see also, the internal skin acts as a support to the internal organs. Secondly, it is endowed with an extensive system of nerves, which give rise to the sensations of touch, of temperature, of pressure, and of pain. In this way we can tell whether a substance is rough or smooth, and whether it is hot or cold; we recognise, moreover, the difference between a gentle pressure of the hand and one so forcible as to cause pain. Thirdly, the skin, as we shall find farther on, contains thousands of small tubes for the purposes of perspiration, and besides this, there are other tubes secreting, an oily substance. Fourthly, the skin plays an important part in regulating the temperature of the body. Thus in a warm atmosphere the skin becomes reddened and moist, and much heat is lost; on the other hand, when the air is colder the skin becomes pale, cool, and dry, thus conserving the body heat. Fifthly, the respiratory action of the skin must not be forgotten, although it is nothing like so great as that of the lungs. Nevertheless quite an appreciable amount of oxygen is absorbed through the skin, and beyond all question carbonic acid is exhaled from it. Sixthly, it is an absorbent; that is to say, the skin is capable of absorbing into the body certain substances applied to it. In this way remedies are often introduced into the system by what is known as inunction. And lastly, the skin is a great emunctory, and carries off waste matters from the body. Accordingly it acts as a purifier of the blood, in which it assists the kidneys, intestines, and the lungs. And more than this, it often happens that the turning point in any disease is announced by a sudden, profuse, and markedly offensive perspiration, as if a considerable amount of deleterious and noxious matter has suddenly expelled from the system.
From the foregoing it is evident that the skin has many varied and important duties to perform. As we might expect, moreover, an organ with such functions is of complicated structure. Its component parts, therefore, deserve to have some little attention paid to them, since the importance of the skin from a health point of view will then be all the more appreciated. The skin is most conveniently considered under three divisions—the skin itself; the glands, producing perspiration, oil, and hair, which are found within it; and the appendages belonging to it, the hair and the nails. The skin itself may be described as the soft and elastic tissue which invests the whole of the surface of the body, and consists of two layers, the outer or scarf skin, and the deeper or true skin. The interior of the body is likewise lined with a covering, which is termed mucous membrane, from the fact that from its surface, or from certain special glands within it, or from both, there is constantly being secreted a thin semi-transparent fluid called mucus. At the various openings of the body, as the mouth, the nostrils, and other parts, the external and internal skins are continuous with one another. Indeed, at these apertures the mucous membrane, or internal skin, takes leave of absence from the world to line the cavities within the body. So that, as Professor Huxley expresses it, "every part of the body might be said to be contained within the walls of a double bag, formed by the skin which invests the outside of the body, and the mucous membrane, its continuation, which lines the internal cavities."
The use of the scarf skin is manifestly to protect the more delicate true skin, while at the same time it allows the waste products and used-up material to escape from the body. In the substance of the true skin are thousands of minute little bodies called papillae, which are specially concerned in the sense of touch, for the vast majority of these papillae contain the end of a small nerve. The numberless fine ridges seen on the palmar surface of the hands and fingers, and on the soles of the feet, are really rows of these papillae, covered of course by the layers of the outer skin. The supply of blood to the skin is also very plenteous, each of its innumerable papillae being abundantly supplied in this respect. As a proof of the amount of blood circulating within the skin, and of its extensive nerve supply, it is only necessary to mention the fact that the finest needle cannot be passed into it without drawing blood and inflicting-pain. In addition to the foregoing the skin also contains a countless number of very fine tubes, which penetrate through its layers and open on its surfaces by minute openings called pores. There are altogether three different varieties of these tubes distributed throughout the skin, namely, those intended for perspiration; secondly, those which lead from the oil glands; and lastly, those which enclose each hair of the body. The first of these, which carry away the perspiration from the body, are very fine, the end away from the surface being coiled up in such a way as to form a ball or oval-shaped body, constituting the perspiration gland. The tube itself is also twisted like a corkscrew, and widens at its mouth. It is estimated that there are between 2,000 and 3,000 of these perspiration tubes in every square inch of the skin. Now, as we have already seen, the external skin of an ordinary adult is equal to an area of about twelve square feet, and in a tall person it may be as much as eighteen square feet. The number of these tubes, therefore, in the whole body will be many hundreds of thousands, so that it will readily be seen how exceedingly important it is that they should be kept in thorough working order by cleanliness. The two great purposes fulfilled by the perspiration are the removal by its means of worn-out or effete material which is injurious to the system, and the regulation of the heat of the body by its influence. When it is stopped by any reason, such as catarrh or disease, the skin fails in its work, and the noxious matters, instead of being expelled from the body, are thrown back into the system. Hence there is a good deal of truth in the belief that a freely acting skin is always a safeguard against disease.
The second variety of tubes, those which furnish an oily-like fluid to the skin, resemble in—great part those which serve for the office of perspiration. At the extremity away from the surface of the body, each one has a gland, the oil gland, which secretes the oily material. The pores or outlets which open on the skin, however, are a good deal larger than the similar orifices of the perspiratory tubes, but they are not distributed so equally throughout the body. In certain parts of the skin they are especially numerous, as on the nose, head, ears, and back of the shoulders. The unctuous matter which is secreted by these oil glands is intended to keep the skin moist and pliant, to prevent the too rapid evaporation of moisture from the surface, and to act as a lubricant where the folds of the skin are in contact with each other. At times in these oil tubes the contents extend to the opening on its surface; the part in contact with the air then becomes darkened, and forms the little black spots so frequently seen on the face of some persons. The white, greasy matter which is thus contained within the tubes can often be squeezed out with the fingers or a watch key, and on account of its shape and black end is popularly supposed to be a grub or maggot.
The tube into which each hair of the body is inserted differs materially from the two preceding, in that its function is more restricted. It serves to form a sort of sheath which contains each hair, and is called the hair follicle. Usually one of the last described ducts opens directly on the side of the hair follicle, and its secretion serves the purpose of keeping the hair pliant. It will be more convenient, however, to enter into a fuller description of the hair and hair follicle when be come to speak of the hair, the nails, and the teeth.
Having thus gained some knowledge of the structure of the skin, and of its delicate formation, it will be the more readily understood why strict attention to the bath is necessary to produce a healthy frame. There is a continual new growth of scarf skin going on, and there are likewise the secretions from the perspiration ducts and oil tubes being poured forth. The outer skin which has served its purpose is being incessantly cast off in the—form of whitish looking powder, but instead of being thrown clear from the body it clings to it and becomes entangled with the perspiration and oily material, thus forming an impediment to the free action of the skin. If the pores of the latter be obstructed and occluded in this manner, the impurities which should be removed from the system cannot escape, and have therefore to be expelled by some other channel. Hence the work of removing this impure and deleterious material is thrown upon the liver, bowels, or kidneys, and often results in their disease. In our warm climate, where the skin acts more freely than it does in colder latitudes, the use of the bath is certainly indispensable, if the health of the body is to be maintained at all.
The cold bath, at any rate during the summer months, should always be there before breakfast, but in the cooler part of the year the shock may be lessened, if it be desirable, by using tepid water instead of cold. And since there is, as we have seen, a good deal of oily matter excreted by the skin, it becomes necessary to use something in addition to water for cleansing purposes, for the latter is unable to displace the greasy collection by itself. The only thing which will render it easy of removal is soap, as by its action it softens the oily material and dislodges it from the skin. Soap has acquired an evil reputation which it certainly does not deserve, and if it disagrees it is either due to the fact of its being an inferior article, or else the skin itself must be at fault. The best soap to use is the white, not the mottled, Castile, as it is made from pure olive oil. By the proper and judicious use of soap the skin is kept soft and natural, and the complexion is maintained in the hue of health.
Even in the matter of washing the face, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. The basin should be moderately filled with water and the face dipped into it, and then the hands. The latter are to be next well lathered with soap, and gently rubbed all over the face, following into the different depressions, such as the inner corners of the eyes and behind the ears. It is quite a mistake, however, to apply the lather to the inside of the ears, as it seems to favour the formation of wax; the different depressions and canal of the ears can be very well cleaned by means of the finger tips moistened with water. The face is then to be dipped into the water a second time and thoroughly rinsed, but it is better to pour away the soapy water for the rinsing. Many people apply the soap to the face by means of a sponge or bit of flannel, and do not wash the soap thoroughly off with fresh water before drying with a towel. The hands unquestionably make the softest and most delicate means of bringing the lather completely into contact with the surface of the skin and, besides this, the amount of pressure to be applied can also be regulated to a nicety. The face and neck should always be carefully and thoroughly dried by means of a suitable towel. But for the ears something of a softer material, such as a clean handkerchief, is more convenient in following out the various hollows and the canal itself.
Many houses, and fairly sized houses too, are destitute of a bath, and if there is no room for the erection of one, or if the means for having it built are not forthcoming, it becomes necessary to see what cheap and efficient substitute can be made. A sponge bath, or large tub, with a bucket of water and a good-sized sponge, can readily be obtained, even in the most humble dwelling, and answers as well as can be wished. When the body is simply sponged over with tepid water it makes one of the mildest baths that can be taken; but those who are in ordinary health can well lather them selves over with soap and cold water, and then wash it off with some squeezes of the sponge copiously wetted with the water.
Next in order to the sponge bath comes the plunge bath, and with either of them the face should always be washed first, in the manner previously directed, so as to prevent a rush of blood to the head. In taking a bath, whether it be the sponge or the plunge bath, plenty of water should always be dashed over the front of the chest, for it makes one hardier and less susceptible to the effects of cold. In fact, besides acting as a preventive to attacks of common cold, it really strengthens the lungs, and renders the body more capable of resisting disease. If in addition a little cold water is habitually sniffed up the nostrils at the time of taking the bath it will have many a cold in the head. After coming out of the bath the towels should always be used to thoroughly dry the body, and it is certainly better to have two for the purpose. The two towels should be sufficiently large in size, at least five feet in length and of ample width; anything smaller is altogether useless. One of them should be of some soft absorbing material so as to thoroughly dry the body, while the other should be rougher, to use with friction to the skin. In fact, this rubbing down with the rougher towel is in some respects the most important part of the bath, and there should always be enough friction to get the skin into a glow. If there is not this feeling of reaction, but a decided chilliness, it is a sure sign that the bath is not agreeing, and one with tepid water must be substituted, or else it will have to be stopped altogether for a time.