Food for Thought

I promise that I don’t spend all day every day digging through the collection but every now and then, usually while I’m looking for something else, I stumble across something that catches my eye and sets me off on an information treasure hunt, and yes I usually end up somewhere other than what I set out for. I’m not lost in history I just find alternative directions. Today I found a Queensland Government Travellers’ Ration Registration Card from 1938.

Image: Ration Card

Image: Ration Card

Image: Ration Card Reverse Side

Image: Ration Card Reverse Side

During the time of the 1930s depression, police were called upon to act as employment agents for the “swaggies” traveling from town to town looking for work. With unemployment in Queensland reaching 31% of the workforce by 1931, funds from the (then) new Queensland Government Intermittent Relief Scheme were used to pay for work on road improvements, construction of dams and metropolitan sewerage system expansions, with the work carried out by the unemployed. Relief work schemes (the Relief Work Scheme, the Rotational Relief Schemes No. 1 and No. 2 and the Intermittent Relief Scheme) were created by the Labour and Industry Department to provide employment in exchange for rations or wages for single and married males. On the back of the card you can see that Mr Gardener secure relief roadwork in Oakey in April 1938. The Intermittent Relief Scheme was later abolished in 1939.

In 1942, the food ration scale was formulated using the “Principles of Nutrition and Guide to the Use of Foodstuffs”. We see a lot of fad diet books come in and out of fashion over the years here at the library, but it’s interesting to see that (at their core) these principles of a healthy diet hasn’t changed over time. The first paragraph basically says, that normally we eat what we like but with shortages people may have to try something new/different. Now this sounds fair, and I’m thinking that maybe people are going to have to try different types of food eg. Indian, or Chinese, and then I read further down that “there are more vegetables than potato, pumpkin and cabbage”. Well that certainly screams European Settlers doesn’t it.

Image: Priciples of Nutrition Source: Qld State Archives

Image: Priciples of Nutrition
Source: Qld State Archives

That’s all I’ve got today, all this talk of food has got me hungry. See you all next week.

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