Not the world's largest lamington

Big lamington – artist’s impression

On June 11, 2011, Toowoomba broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest lamington at the Newtown Rugby League Club. The record-beater weighed 2361 kilograms,  equivalent to 45000 normal lamingtons, and eclipsed the previous record held by Ipswich. Both cities claim to be the birthplace of this Australian classic and Toowoomba is contemplating erecting a “big lamington” as a tourist attraction.

Did the lamington make its first appearance at Government House in Brisbane, at the opening of the Ipswich Technical College in 1901 or at Harlaxton House in Toowoomba, the Governor’s summer retreat? The debate has raged for decades, although all sides agree that this Aussie classic was definitely invented in Queensland.

The gooey chocolate and coconut covered cubes are named after Queensland’s Governor, Lord Lamington and were almost certainly invented by his French chef, Armand Galland. The chef had a Tahitian wife, which may account for the coconut, and the creation may have been a way of using up left-over sponge cake to cater for unexpected guests.

Government House remains the most likely candidate. The fact that the first  published recipe appeared in 1900 (in the Country Life newspaper) seriously undermines the Ipswich claim. However, Toowoomba is stubbornly sticking to its story.