Camping is a long held tradition in Australian culture, embedded in our history since the first settlement in Botany Bay.
Originally a necessity, it took 100 years before camping became a leisurely choice but by the 1950’s camping was the chosen form of holiday-making for most Australians.
It’s no wonder Aussie’s are so adept at the great outdoors and have our own Aussie camping traditions.
We’re the nation who take pride in our insulated cooler. So much so we’ve even given it our special name – The Esky. Over the years the all sorts of gadgets have entered the market with the goal to make the outdoors more comfortable, But none have stuck quite like the good ole esky.
Losing our campsites or not being able to find where our mates have pitched their tent is not a problem for us Aussies. We’re the nation of the crazy campsite identification tradition. If you’ve ever driven along Teewah Beach on Double Island and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s easy to lose track of where a camp is set up when there are kilometres of identical camp spots. Crazy, unique flags act as the perfect identification tool, and gives other campers something to look and chuckle at.
While the rest of the world spends their camping trips trying to keep warm, we’re going to extremes to keep cool. We have our whiley ways, though, like setting up camp near the water, maximising afternoon shade and if all else fails there’s always the new Zerobreeze Portable AC.
Nothing screams Australiana like the swag. Swagmen as they were called, were the pioneers of the original roll out bed. During the 18th Century when unemployment was high, and motor vehicles had not yet arrived on Australian shores, men were forced to travel the nation to look for work. With no money, they gathered all their belongings, rolled them into their thin mattress and set out on foot. At night they would unroll the mattress and sleep under the stairs. The swag has come a long way, and there are many comfortable single and double options.
And then there is the damper. The traditional campfire bread. Haven’t made it? Well, check out our little recipe below and give it crack next time you’re short of a few shrimp for the barbie. And the perfect accompaniment? Vegemite of course!
3 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
(alternative – use 1/2 cup of fresh or long life milk and only 1 cup of water adjusting as needed)
Add dry ingredients: flour, salt and milk powder into a bowl.
Add water gradually stirring as you go.
Now the fun part! Add a bit of flour to your hands, get those fingers working and ensure everything is mixed together.
Once your dough is forming, place the mixture on a well-floured surface and knead lightly.
Shape the mixture into a round and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.
Grease & Dust your camp oven with flour and place your Damper inside OR put your damper on some greased foil inside your camp oven
Put the lid on firmly and place camp oven on the hot coals
Cover the lid with coals also and allow to cook for around half an hour
NOTE: The damper will sound hollow when you tap it once it’s cooked.