Easter Bilbies & Bunnies…

Bilby_largeWill it be Easter Bilbies or Easter Bunnies appearing around your home this Easter, bearing loads of yummy chocolate and candy Easter Eggs and all manner of tasty treats for young, and older, alike?

Maybe it will be both Bilbies and Bunnies?…


Easter Bilby.2013




“VISITING wildlife parks with her parents as a child is how Rebecca Dunbar a then little known native marsupial heading towards the endangered species list. 
   In  bid to gain exposure for the Bilby’s plight, the then eight year old gathered signatures from class mates and sent a heartfelt letter to local chocolate makers Melbas and Haighs asking them to help – and the Easter Bilby was born.
   This year marks 20 years since the Easter Bilby became a chocolate icon in Australia, and Mrs Dunbar, of Gawler, says when she sees the bilby brought out for Easter, she stilll has to pinch herself.  “I’m humbled,” Mrs Dunbar said.
   “I’m still really amazed an idea could be ongoing and so influential in the public eye.
   “To be a young person…and hear about a cause…and be part of that change and find you made a difference is exciting and empowering.”
   Melba’s founding director Graeme Foristal said the company had been considering adopting the Bilby in 1993, but credited Mrs Dunbar for giving Melba the push to get it done.

   “The bilby changed Easter in Australia,” Mr Foristal said. “We were very unsure and then when the letter came we just couldn’t resist it. It was so cute.”
   Mr Foristal tracked down Mrs Dunbar this year through the threatened species network which help create the Easter Bilby, to include her in the 20th anniversary celebration and to unveil the new look bilby to the woman who inspired it as an eight year old.
   “It was very exciting – it was like seeing a long time family member,” Mr Foristal said.


Easter Bilby.2013.Haighs

HAIGH’s will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its chocolate bilby this Easter.

In 1993, Haigh’s Chocolates joined forces with the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia (RFA) to help increase awareness of the not-for-profit organisation’s programs.

Haigh’s Chocolates chief executive Alister Haigh said more than 500,000 chocolate bilbies had been made since the partnership started.

“We are determined to do more for a cause that is so important,” Mr Haigh said.

RFA president Nicholas Newland said the initiative raised money and awareness of the threat posed by rabbits.

“We all need to be vigilant against the threat that wild rabbits pose to our biodiversity, landscape quality, farmers, horticulturalists and foresters,” Mr Newland said.

Part proceeds from the sale of Easter bilbies go to the RFA’s work to protect the environment from wild rabbits.

Haigh’s Chocolate’s bilbies are available at its Parkside, Glenelg and CBD stores.


FEATHERDALE Wildlife Park wants the Easter bilby to be as loved as the Easter bunny.

IT’S the worst rabbit plague in Australia since the 1995 release of the calicivirus from Wardang Island.


Easter Chocolate gets the “taste test”…

Easter Chocolate Tasting

… and the winners are:

Easter Chocolate Score

Tasty chocolate is tasty chocolate… regardless of it’s shape    😀





Educational resources, such as this Worksheet, can be accessed at:


Save the Bilby:

Worst Rabbit Plague Since 1995:

Haighs Easter Bilbies – 20th Anniversary:

Eight year old girl from Gawler, South Australia, creates the Easter Bilby:

Students give Easter chocolate – 2013 – the taste test:


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

The History of the Hot Cross Bun

 I’m enjoying tucking into my Favourite Festive Food … Hot Cross Buns … and musing over the confusion surrounding this yeasty, spicy treat.


The origin of this English custom, brought to Australia by the first settlers and embraced by following generations, is not entirely clear.  In many historically Christian countries, the buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross seen as a symbol for the Crucifixion.

Some, however, believe the Christian church adopted Hot Cross Buns during their early missionary efforts to pagan cultures and re-interpreted the “cross”, which adorns the bun, to the cross on which Jesus sacrificed His life, as they have done with many other Easter activities.

It is said that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess “Eostre“, with the cross thought to symbolise the four quarters of the moon. “Eostre” is believed to be the origin of the name “Easter”.  Still others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier, and possibly to make it easier to break apart.  To the ancient Aztects and Incas buns were considered the sacred food of the gods, and the Romans believed the cross represented the horns of a sacred ox.  The word “bun” is derived from the ancient word “boun”, used to describe this revered animal.

Some historians date the origin of Hot Cross Buns back to the 12th century when an Anglican monk was said to haves placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honour Good Friday, known at that time as the “Day of the Cross”.  Yet another more recent theory ties the tradition of the buns to a monk in 14th century St Albans who is said to have distributed spiced cakes to the needy on Good Friday.  Still further references tie them only into the Easter tradition from the Elizabethan era.  It is said that during the reign of Elizabeth I, when Roman Catholicism was banned, making the sign of the cross on the buns was regarded as popery.  It was also believed that they were baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer, so Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them but only at Easter and Christmas.

Whatever their origins, there were certainly ideas associated with these buns which could be regarded as superstitions.  In the Middle Ages, they were believed to have powers of protection and healing.  People would hang a Hot Cross Bun from the rafters of their homes for protection throughout the coming year.  If hung in the kitchen, they were said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turned out perfectly.  The hanging bun was replaced each year.

It was also believed that buns baked, and served, on Good Friday would not spoil or become mouldy throughout the coming year and such a bun would be kept for medicinal purposes. If someone was sick some of the dried bun would be ground into powder, mixed in water, and administered. A person was said to often recover quickly simply by eating a small piece of the bun.

Sharing a Hot Cross Bun with another was believed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if,

“Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” 

was said at the time.  Because of the cross on the buns, some said they should be kissed before eaten.  If taken of a sea voyage, Hot Cross Buns were believed to protect against shipwreck.

Tansy Leaves

Other old Easter customs, like the tansy (a bitter herb flavoured cake) and fig porridge have died out. “In the hot cross bun, you do have a surviving fossil of these customs,” says food historian Ivan Day who runs the “Historic Food Website”.  “It can not be proven, but the provenance of the buns may be more connected to Jewish passover – with its sharing of unleavened bread as part of a wider ritual – than Roman, Saxon or pagan customs”.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to Hot Cross Buns is in 1733.  It’s in the form of the ditty:

“Good Friday comes this Month,
The old woman runs,
With one or two a Penny hot cross Bunns”

It does seem clear, however, that the terms was around long before 1776. In the words of Mr Day,

“The trouble with any folk food, any traditional food, is that no-one tended to write about them in the very early period”

This simple piece of spiced bread decorated with a cross, whilst not an extravagant treat, is a global food tradition which stretches way back in history.  A thought which gives a little tingle of pleasure, every Good Friday, as I wipe the butter from my chin and reach for another Hot Cross Bun.


SOURCES:  http://en.wikipedia.org/Wiki/Hot_cross_bun

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot Cross buns!

Hot cross buns!
Hot Cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons!
One a penny two a penny,
Hot Cross buns!

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
If you haven’t got a penny
A ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
Then God bless you.


This familiar old nursery rhyme comes from the call of the street vendors who sold them.

The Fate of the Hot Cross Bun … cont

Chuckled to see a Letter to the Editor in “The Advertiser”  today commenting on the 100 yr old newspaper article I posted here just yesterday.

Letters to the Editor
Penalty Bunfight

NOTHING much has changed.  One hundred years ago April 4, 1912, the Bakers Union requested that the practice of baking buns of the Wednesday night before Good Friday forced the men to do two nights’ work which they objected to (The Advertiser, 2/4/12).
     Pity their thinking at that time wasn’t as modern as today when penalty rates may have applied.



The (Adelaide) Advertiser, Thursday, April 5, 2012.

4 Apr 1912 – The Fate of the Hot Cross Bun

THE hot cross bun is going to share the fate of many other old customs brought into Australia by the pioneers.  It is going to disappear.  Last year the Bakers Union requested the Master Bakers Association to discontinue the practice of making the buns, and after taking into consideration the fact that on the Wednesday night preceding Good Friday the men had to do two nights work, they decided to comply with the request.  Only a few persons engaged in the trade are making buns this Easter.


SOURCE:  “The Way We Were” compiled by CHRIS BRICE, The (Adelaide) Advertiser, 2 Apr 2012, page 19.  http://adelaidenow.com.au