Boiling the billy.

Boiling the billy

Frank 1. Frank 2 .
Boiling the billy. 1953.

Boiling the billy.

Old Australian tradition for making tea. A billy was a tin can of suitable size for the occasion, from large jam tin up. A wire handle was attached to the top, fencing wire mostly. A fire was lit from the best material available, dry sticks and grass worked well. The billy containing the needed amount of water was sat on the fire, or suspended over it by the handle and a framework of green sticks.

When the water boiled the correct amount of tea leaves were tossed in and brought back to the boil until the desired strength was attained. When ready the billy was removed carefully, and swung around in a circular motion for a minute maybe, that caused the tea leaves to settle to the bottom. This brew was then poured carefully into each man's mug, so as to leave the tea on the bottom of the billy. Sugar was added to taste and some liked milk if available, which wasn't often in Korea. Mostly it was drunk when very hot and was quite refreshing and stimulating.

When a large billy was being prepared, the call went out. "Brew up." and the mob gathered for a social chin wag and cigarette.

In Oz way back in time when folks could still light a fire, the usual thing was to toss in a gumleaf for extra flavour. They were hard to come by in the queer country.

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