A Commonwealth Festival Perth 2011 Event
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Things taste better in small houses...

"Things taste better in small houses" - Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 

June 1897 saw many celebrations throughout the British Empire to celebrate the Sixtieth anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne of the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

In Western Australia numerous public events were held to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria.  At the beginning of the week’s celebrations in Perth a letter to the editor was published in The West Australian newspaper suggesting that surviving members of the Enrolled Pensioner Force be invited to a jubilee dinner. 

With surprising swiftness, the government of the day acted upon this suggestion by a member of the public and so a banquet for the surviving Enrolled Pensioner Force, which was estimated to number sixty four, took place at St. George’s Hall in Perth only five days later with Sir Gerard Smith, The Governor and Mr. Wittenoom as Acting Premier in attendance. 

A Colonial Secretary’s Office file (C.S.O., 1897/1997 – Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations – Proposal to entertain surviving members of the Enrolled Pensioner Force. SROWA, Accession 527) of the time shows the government estimating that the cost for entertainment, hire of the hall and incidentals would not exceed 40 pounds.  The government came up trumps once again by providing a very hearty spread and the issue of free railway passes to the old soldiers for only 36 pounds and 10 shillings. 

Who were the Enrolled Pensioner Guards?

They were soldiers who came to Western Australia as guards aboard convict transport ships between 1850 and 1868. They were also known as the Enrolled Pensioner Force or Enrolled Guards. They were comprised of aged or invalid military personnel who were unfit for active duty but capable of fulfilling a role as garrison troops or convict guards. Approximately 1,100 pensioner guards and their families arrived in Western Australia, many of whom remained on as settlers. Upon completion of 7 years of service the Pensioner Guards were eligible for a free land grant

Was one of your ancestors a Pensioner Guard? More information on the convict period in Western Australia can be found by following this link.


Image Courtesy of State Library of Western Australia (599B)

The State Records Office invites you to pick up your fork and join us in Eating the Archives - an online exhibition and event that forms part of the Commonwealth Festival Perth 2011.

Witness history come alive on Friday 28 October at 12.00pm in the Perth Cultural Centre as celebrated WA chef Hadleigh Troy of Restaurant Amus√© interprets and reinvents menus from the State archives collection using fresh, local produce with a modern twist. 

Twenty lucky West Australians will join State Archivist Cathrin Cassarchis and some well-known guests to experience Hadleigh Troy’s take on these historic menus.

Eating the Archives is a partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Food; and the dishes presented will reflect a Buy West Eat Best ethos, showcasing premium West Australian produce.

The online exhibition will take you on a culinary journey to experience food fashions of the past and gain an insight into how these events have shaped today’s food culture and informed WA’s identity. This exhibition will be served up in three courses; Appetiser, Banquet and Dessert. Come back and sample more food related offerings from the State archives collection and follow us on our journey.

Eating the Archives is an event for all to celebrate as chef Hadleigh Troy pays tribute to a bygone culinary era, bringing a small part of WA’s history alive through food.

See and hear Hadleigh begin his journey...

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