Food blogger Libby Hakim has discovered what is believed to be an early version of an Anzac biscuit recipe, written right here in the Hunter Valley.
Ms Hakim, of Louth Park, runs the blog Cooking with Nana Ling, which is based on the recipes of her great-grandmother Lydia Louisa Ling, who lived at Buttai.
A few years ago, with Anzac Day approaching, Ms Hakim started searching for an Anzac biscuit recipe among the collection.
The family has a connection to World War I: Nana Ling's brother-in-law, Harold Bliss Ling - a labourer from Ellalong - was killed in action at Gallipoli on July 19, 1915.
"Mum's family talk about our history all the time, and they lay a wreath (for Harold) at the Kurri Anzac Day service every year," Ms Hakim said.
Nana Ling had a recipe for Soldier's Cake, so Ms Hakim had a hunch an Anzac Day recipe would be amongst the archives.
After about a year of searching, she eventually - albeit by accident - found Nana Ling's Anzac biscuit recipe, which she had submitted to the Maitland Mercury in 1939.
"It was called 'brandy snaps' - but with no brandy or ginger. I looked at the ingredients and said 'that's Anzac biscuits, but without the coconut'," she said.
Ms Hakim contacted a curator at the Australian War Memorial, who confirmed that early versions of Anzac biscuits did not include coconut, and that Nana Ling's recipe was, in her opinion, a variant of the Anzac biscuit recipe.
According to the war memorial, sweet Anzac biscuits were different than the 'hard-tack' biscuits that were sent to the Western Front in World War I, but - for reasons unknown - from the 1920s onwards the sweet biscuit recipe came to be known as Anzac biscuits.
Find Nana Ling's Anzac biscuit recipe, and many more, at cookingwithnanaling.com.
The story of Harold Bliss Ling
Harold Bliss Ling, son of Jacob and Elizabeth Ling of Congewai was only 24 years old when he heard the call to take up arms and enlisted with the 4th Infantry Battalion on 29 August, 1914.
Private Ling, a labourer from Ellalong, left Australia on-board the HMAT Euripides on 20 October, 1914 sadly never to return. The 4th Battalion, like the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions was recruited from NSW and was one of the first infantry units raised for the AIF during WWI.
The Battalion was put together within a fortnight of the declaration of war and embarked just 2 months later. The Battalion briefly stayed in Albany, WA, before leaving for Egypt arriving on 2 December,1914.
They then took part in the Anzac landing on 25 April, 1915 as part of the 2nd and 3rd waves. Private Ling survived the landing only to be killed in action at Gallipoli on 19 July, 1915 aged 25 years. He is buried at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Gallipoli.
- The story of Harold Bliss Ling appears in Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr's Anzac Day 2022 commemorative booklet, which can be downloaded here.