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Feast, Famine and Foraging in the Founding of the Sydney Settlement

Tuesday 14th December from 4.30pm


Famously, within two years of arriving at Botany Bay, the First Fleet colonists faced the threat of famine. Colonists struggled to feed themselves on meagre and unsavoury rations as they tilled impoverished soils on a 'fatal shore', and in 1790, suffered chronic food shortage. The first years of settlement have since become known as the 'hungry' or 'starving' years. How hungry was the First Fleet colony? And how could colonists find themselves starving in a land that had sustained Aboriginal people for millennia?

The First Fleet's food story is one of plenty and paucity, fate, famine and 'divine providence - a survival story following shipwreck, abandonment and betrayal. Drawing from the voices of convicts, marines and colonial officials in their letters, diaries and journals, Dr Jacqui Newling explores early colonial foodways in the founding years of the Sydney settlement.

Discover how British colonists adapted their tastes and culinary practices to this unfamiliar environment, their responses to the government ration and native produce, and how they coped when their food systems failed them in the hungriest year in the colony.


Dr Jacqui Newling is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Masters in Gastronomy program at Adelaide University, and recently completed her PhD in History at Sydney University. Jacqui specialises in Australian food heritage and settler-colonial identity. 


Music - Roshani’s music defies pigeonholes, timelessly crossing genres. Using loop pedals to play guitar, harmonica, keys, percussion and a voice that gives you goosebumps, Roshani revs up the vibe in an explosive multi-instrumentalist sound that perfectly fills the venue.

Please note: This is an outside courtyard, all weather event. Please bring appropriate clothing/umbrellas.

Doors open at 4.30pm with a welcome complimentary cocktail.

Guests are invited to stay on to enjoy quality eats and drinks from the Sily bar. 


General Tickets:$65

Member Tickets: $55 (save 15%)

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