In early colonial Australia, printed cookbooks were an indulgence, offering little useful information for Australian conditions, and often requiring unobtainable ingredients.
Australia’s first cookbook appeared in 1864. Written by Hobart landowner and member of the Tasmanian Parliament Edward Abbott (1801–1869), The English and Australian Cookery Book: Cookery for the Many, as well as the ‘Upper Ten Thousand’ was more a grab bag of colonial oddities than a definitive guide. It did, however have a section on game, which included kangaroo, emu, wombat, mutton birds and black swan. It was re-published in the late 1960s, edited by Alison Burt.
In the 19th century, food supplies gradually became cheaper and more plentiful - so too local recipes.
One of the most popular Australian cookbooks, first published in 1915, was The Worker Cook Book, compiled by Mary Gilmore, later Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962), containing ‘every-day recipes of Australian housekeepers in working class homes’.
From the State Library of Queensland:
"Mrs Lance Rawson was one of Queensland’s well known 19th century cookery writers who urged settlers to adapt to their new environment by using locally available foods. Her The Australian Enquiry Book of Household and General Information of 1894 contains recipes that include flying foxes and bandicoots. According to Judith McKay and Susan Addison’s A Good Plain Cook: An Edible History of Queensland, Mrs Rawson “almost poisoned her household with roast ibis and served iguana stew to unsuspecting guests.”