Lifestyle August, 25th 2014 by

The Vegemite Kid


Eggs Bacon and Sausages, it was early in the morning and getting very hot on 26th of January as people gathered at their local parks for a cooked breakfast to celebrate the National Public Holiday, ‘Australia Day.’

It is a fun day and everybody is welcome to join in. Trays of bacon, sausages, and dozens of boxes of eggs huge catering containers of butter for toast, jars of marmalade, and Vegemite are laid out on trestle tables, ready to be prepared and cooked by the volunteers gearing them selves up with tools to start cooking the big feast. There is plenty for everybody, and you can return as many times as you like for another helping! After breakfast everybody was upstanding for the raising of the Australian flag, and the singing of the National Anthem.

There was also plenty of entertainment to be enjoyed through the day. Stages were erected by the local councils for dancers and singers to perform. Keep fit and gymnastic routines were demonstrated by the local groups. Local artists exhibited their art work and clay sculpturing and students from the local schools their pottery. The bonniest baby show and the children’s fancy dress competition drew a big crowd. One competition about to take place called the ‘Vegemite kid’ fascinated me and I made myself comfortable on a handy chair to watch it.

It was a competition where children up to the age of twelve enter their ideas for the best way to use Vegemite. Large Vegemite posters served as a back drop behind the three judges seated at a table on the stage, about fourteen Vegemite kids entered dressed in various Vegemite clothes, tea shirts, hats and shorts and singing, “We are the Vegemite kids” they then left the stage. Each Vegemite kid one by one then re-entered the stage and presented their creative entry to the judges.

A little girl looking like a princess wearing a Vegemite apron was the first applicant to walk onto the stage, she carried a wooden spoon and a saucepan and said “My Mummy likes to add Vegemite to her stews and gravy, and stood stirring the empty saucepan. Another small boy followed her with his cap on his head back to front wearing a Vegemite tea shirt and said “ I like to eat my Vegemite on my soldiers and watch them fight on my plate to be the first one for me to eat!” (I learned later that soldiers are buttered pieces of toast spread with Vegemite and cut into thin strips!) Only a few contestants remained after many different ways of eating Vegemite were presented, some very different, and some which made sense. When a kid walked on to the stage covered with the stuff from head to foot with only one tuft of blonde hair remaining on his forehead, with his eyes peering out from behind the dark brown spread, you could see the outline of his mouth giving way to a very cheeky grin. He said in a loud clear voice “Vegemite is the best spread!” and hit the air with his fists. The judges were lost for words and the audience fell speechless. He won the competition! I dread to think of the grime left around the bath tub as the water ran away.

Vegemite is uniquely Australian. It is an Aussie icon. Ninety percent of Australian homes have a jar in the pantry next to the smooth or chunky peanut butter. It is an acquired taste and some people hate It. A young chemist named Dr Cyril Callister developed the remarkable new spread from brewer’s yeast. Over time it became very popular despite originally receiving a poor reception by the public. It appeared on shop shelves in 1923 and was the first to be electronically scanned at the grocery store Woolworth’s in Chullora in NSW Australia. Twenty two million jars are being sold every year, finding their way on to kitchen benches, restaurants, pubs and picnic hampers across Australia.

Since World War 11 Vegemite has travelled with Aussie soldiers in service for nutrition and comforting thoughts of home. The “happy little Vegemite song sung by the children in the competition was first performed on radio in 1950 and is still sung today all around Australia by children and adults alike.

“We’re happy little Veg-e- mites, as bright as bright can be.

We all enjoy our Veg-e-mite for breakfast, lunch and tea.

Our Mummies say we are growing stronger every single day.

Because we love our Veg-e-mite, we all adore our Veg-e-mite.

It puts a rose in every cheek.  

Copyrite Dianna Collen 2012


We are sad to inform her regular readers that following her presentation to us of this article, the talented Diana Collens passed away and knowing she wished me to publish it some time, I felt now would be the appropriate moment. The editor.

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