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Banjo Paterson and the 120-year-old chocolate box

Banjo Paterson and the 120-year-old chocolate box
22 December 2020

Tin of Boer War chocolates, Papers of A.B. ’Banjo’ Paterson, nla.cat-vn8047102

Life really is like a box of chocolates at the National Library – you never know what you are going to find while sifting through boxes of papers. 

Library staff recently found a 120-year-old box of chocolates, still in their straw packing and silver foil wrapping, in the recently acquired papers of A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson.

The souvenir tin was commissioned by Queen Victoria and sent to South Africa during the Boer War as a gift to troops serving on the front. It's thought that Paterson bought the chocolates from a soldier while serving as a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

""Banjo" on the Boer." The Worker (Wagga, NSW : 1892 - 1913), 6 January 1900, available to view on Trove

The box was being unpacked so the contents could be digitized and made freely available online. Some items were selected for conservation treatment work to stabilise their condition prior to digitisation. Watch a short video of one of the photographs from the Banjo collection being conserved.

The Australian public provided the funds to digitize Banjo’s papers by donating to the Library’s annual fundraising appeal. 

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