Australian National Library staff said they were stunned when they found a 120-year-old box of chocolate hidden in the papers of the late poet and journalist Andrew Bandos Patterson.
They were browsing through papers they had recently got for the Australian poet when they stumbled upon a souvenir box filled with chocolate. The chocolate was still in straw packaging and silver rolls.
Employees were unpacking the contents of a box of Patterson papers so they could be digitized, and the box that was found was designed by Britain’s Queen Victoria and sent to soldiers in South Africa during the Boer War around 1900 as a gift to the troops and it is believed that Patterson probably purchased the chocolate from a soldier while working as a war correspondent. For the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“There was an interesting smell when the wrapping was removed. An old box of chocolate belonging to Banjo Paterson was still wrapped in the box,” said Jennifer Todd, restoration officer at the National Library of Australia. Patterson never mentioned the chocolate bar in his writing, but souvenir chocolate boxes became a commercial item at the front.
Patterson worked as a war correspondent in South Africa for nearly a year, starting in October 1899 before returning to Australia. His family distributed his papers after his death in 1941, before donating the library in 2019.
Andrew Barton Paterson
Born February 17, 1864, and died February 5, 1941, was an Australian poet, journalist, author, and author of many stories and poems about Australian life focusing especially on rural and remote areas including the area around Binalong New South Wales where he spent most of his childhood.
Patterson’s most famous poems include “Clancy of the Overflow 1889, The Man from Snowy River 1890” and Waltzing Matilda 1895, which is widely considered Australia’s unofficial national anthem.
Andrew Barton Patterson was born on the Na Rambla estate in New South Wales and is the eldest son of Andrew Boyle Patterson, a Scottish immigrant from Lanarkshire, and his mother, Australia-born Rose Isabella Barton who is associated with future prime minister First Minister of Australia Edmund Barton.
The Patterson family lived at the secluded Buckinbah station until he was five when his father lost his wool buckle in a flood and was forced to sell when John Patterson died, Patterson’s uncle. His family took over John Patterson’s farm in Ellalong near Yas, near the main road between Melbourne and Sydney.
Pollock teams, Cope and Co coaches and riders were familiar sights of him as he saw riders from the Murombedzi River and Snowy Mountains Country taking part in picnic races and polo matches, which led to his fondness for horses and inspiration for his writing.
Patterson’s early education came from a nanny but when he could ride a pony he was taught at Jungle School in Pen along. In 1874 Patterson was sent to Sydney Grammar School, where he performed well as a student and athlete during this time he lived in a cottage called Röcken in the suburb of Gladesville The cottage is now listed on the National Estate Register and Heritage Register for New South Wales and left the prestigious school at sixteen After he failed an examination to get a scholarship at the University of Sydney.