Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – An Unseasonal Christmas – Rain, Wind and Snow in 1878 by Catherine Meyrick

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1200 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience…

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

This series is along the same lines and is a celebration of Christmas and New Year.

I do appreciate that this is not a religious festival for everyone but it is a time of year when families and friends come together and our thoughts turn to our hopes and wishes for the coming year. At the end of the post you can find out how to participate in this festive series.

Author Catherine Meyrick shares some weather advisories from the past. It is customary in Australia for Christmas to be spent outside enjoying sunny weather with perhaps dinner eaten outside. Even in 1878 however, the weather gods could play hacoc with best laid plans with rain, wind and even snow on the menu.

Rain, Wind and Snow in 1878 by Catherine Meyrick

Mount_Wellington (2)

Mount_Wellington (2)Snow on kunanyi / Mount Wellington

In less than one hundred years of British settlement in Australia, settlers had developed certain expectations of Christmas – the weather would be warm, dinner could be taken al fresco, the afternoon would be spent in outdoor activities. But 1878 was a year when the ‘clerk of the weather’ decided to show that he had a mind of his own and Christmas arrived in south-eastern Australia with not only cold winds and rain but even snow on kunanyi/Mount Wellington* in Tasmania.

South Australia benefited with relief from the usual Christmas heat. South Australian Register reported:

Fortunately the weather on Tuesday and Wednesday was singularly fine, somewhat cloudy, with a fresh breeze off the sea, making the temperature delightfully cool and pleasant. In consequence of this very exceptional condition there was a large exodus of pleasure-seekers from the city by road and rail.

Melbourne, by reputation the Australian capital city with the most changeable of weather (often four season in one day), appears to have lived up to its reputation. According to the Argus

Christmas morning (Wednesday) opened in Melbourne with a pretty heavy fall of rain, and until noon sun and shower succeeded each other as in the proverbial April day in England, while the rest of the day was somewhat cold and boisterous. Christmas Day this year, therefore, was spent more in doors than usual but ample compensation was afforded by the splendid weather experienced yesterday, the day throughout being fine, cool and pleasant – in fact everything that could be desired for an outing. The result, it need hardly be said, was that Boxing Day was celebrated by the citizens of the metropolis and suburbs with even more than usual eclât. Indeed, it might be said with but very slight exaggeration, that all Melbourne, including its country visitors, yesterday lived in the open air. The means of out-door amusement were of the amplest description, and the public entertainments of all kinds during the day were well attended.

These included attendance at the cricket, visits to parks and the Botanic Gardens as well as to the beach.

The people of Ballarat, a large regional city in Victoria with, in my opinion, an undeserved reputation for cold weather, were exactly the same – as soon as the clouds cleared they were out and about, celebrating Christmas in the open air. According to the Ballarat Courier

The unfavorable weather of Christmas morning deterred many would-be holiday-seekers from fulfilling their anticipations of pleasant excursions; but as the weather cleared up, excursionists from all quarters of the town were to be seen making their way to the lake, and thence to the gardens ; and in the afternoon fully 2,000 people (mostly country folks) were present at one time in the gardens enclosure. Some little annoyance was caused to the passengers by the boats and cabs, on account of the confusion in the public mind occasioned by the alterations and changes made in the usual scale of fares, and generally unfavorable comment was passed upon those who changed them.

And, it would seem, there is nothing new under the sun – cab drivers indulging in a spot of surge pricing.


Dawn at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat

Meanwhile in Tasmania, the weather felt more like winter with snow covering kunanyi/Mount Wellington. This is not a unique situation, even as recently as twelve years ago, Hobart Town residents were able to visit the pinnacle to get a taste of northern hemisphere Christmas weather. Amusingly, this reporter for the Mercury indulges in a spot of schadenfreude in relation to Melbourne’s weather.

We have now had a fortnight of what has been not only unexceptional weather at this season, but we believe without a parallel. In fact we have seldom had even at midwinter such a continuance of bad weather, the snow on Mount Wellington having been more frequent during the last two weeks than is usual in winter. Yesterday afternoon and evening gave some indications of an improvement, and the barometor points in the same direction.

If the misery of others is any consolation to sufferers, we have it in this respect. We find the Melbourne correspondents of some of the inland newspapers thus writing on the evening of Boxing Day; – The climate of Victoria – capricious at all times – has never before, perhaps, shown itself more capricious than during the present Christmas holidays. Yesterday the morning broke with a most threatening aspect, heavy clouds apparently ready to burst in drenching downpours, hanging overhead, and occasionally giving us ‘a taste of their quality,’ by a partial fulfillment of then threats in the shape of a brisk shower, while from time to time blasts of wind came up from the bay cold enough to chill the marrow in the bones and calculated rather to remind one of the same festive season in the old country than of midsummer in sunny Australia.

Mt._Wellington,_Hobart,_Tasmania_(4750344870)Snow capped kunanyi / Mount Wellington from Bellerive

The final word must go to another Mercury correspondent who describes not only the unseasonal weather but the practice of Christmas that is still common in Australia today.

In Tasmania, and judging from information flashed along the electric wire in the other Colonies also, the glorious weather with which we associate Christmas, has proved a mockery, and a delusion. … Christmas issues of the illustrated Australian papers …[showed]… an imaginary stretch of silvan scenery, with a gigantic tree in the background under which sport crowds of fantastically got-up people, chiefly young, many but boys and girls; all clad in the lightest of presentable costumes, reminding us of the pictured representations of the inhabitants of Eden, except that for the orthodox fig-leaves are substituted the equally invariable check or tartan continuations ; or a scene different, yet the same – a delightful glimpse of a glistening shoot of water on whose margin flit a host of pleasure-seekers, the chief occupation, whether under the shade of the gigantic eucalyptus or with their shadows reflected on the silver lake, being not the mazy dance, but an impromptu style of tripping it on the light fantastic… But was there, within the sea-girt shores of Tasmania, and during this Christmas week, one single realisation of what our pictorial papers would have us believe is the proper and common thing at Christmas time?…Could anyone have been found mad enough to seek to realise an Australian Christmas under the greenwood tree on Wednesday, the Scotch mists that seemed to have their source in the obscurity and gloom of Mount Wellington, whose snow-clad summit was occasionally seen to stand out like a rock from a sea of cloud and mist, must have damped his ardour. The shivering wretch soaked long ere noon into an exaggerated resemblance to a drowned rat, must have returned to his home a sadder and a wiser man, thankful if he succeeded in reaching the haunts of men in time to partake of the Christmas dinner, his bright illusions so ruthlessly dispelled as to cause him heartily to give in his warm adhesion to the ancient faith that placed a great virtue in roast beef and plum pudding.

The correspondent had an embittered explanation for the absence of summer weather.

In fact the seasons are out of season and the clerk of the weather has been so capricious that his conduct is only to be accounted for on the assumption that of recent years, this year particularly, he himself began to keep his Christmas earlier than usual, and has kept ‘on the spree’ longer than usual. Probably he may be on leave of absence with, as our Civil servants desired, full pay.

And here are more photographs of the majestic kunanyi/Mount Wellington under snow. Mount Wellington is almost a character in her own right in my latest novel, Cold Blows The Wind set in Hobart Town from 1878.

*From 2013, Tasmania has had a dual naming policy for geographic locations which recognises both the Tasmanian Aboriginal history and connection to the landscape, as well as the European history and connections. The mountain overlooking Hobart is now called kunanyi / Mount Wellington incorporating the name the Muwinina people, whose country was the area around present day Hobart, called the mountain for countless generations.

Mount Wellington By tubagooba –, CC BY 2.0, Photograph cropped by author of this blog.

Lake Wendouree – By Ed Dunens – Dawn Lights, CC BY 2.0,

Mount Wellington from Bellerive – By OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons – Mt. Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, No restrictions,

©Catherine Meyrick 2022

My thanks to Catherine for sharing these weather reports which prove that our unsettled weather patterns are nothing new.

Books by Catherine Meyrick

One of the reviews for Cold Blows the Wind

I read a lot of books, but it’s not that often I think about them in my non-reading time and look forward to the late evening when I can get back to the story. Cold Blows the Wind is one of those books that embedded itself in my heart and wouldn’t let go.

Ellen Thompson was the epitome of a strong woman … and true strength, to me, shines the brightest when one is poor, when life is unfair, when one is mistreated, and when dreams die unfulfilled. All of this and much more describes Ellen, yet she managed to take care of herself, her children, and her loved ones in the way she best could … always standing up for who she was.

This historical story, which begins in Hobart Town, Australia in 1878, is rich in color and character … offering much insight into the lives of the poor and the harsh and often brutal living and societal conditions that were the norm. I did not know until I had read the entire book that it was based on the author’s great-great grandparents and their families. (While this is stated in the blurb, I only read the first paragraph when I purchased it.)

I have no wish to give away any of the story, but Ellen’s character and her story resonated strongly with me. I was fascinated to read the historical notes at the end of the book, and I am impressed by all I can imagine Catherine Meyrick put into telling/researching this fragile, yet very human tale. She has combined history and fiction to produce a truly wonderful book. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon AUAnd: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Catherine : GoodreadsWebsite/Blog: Catherine Meyrick – Twitter: @cameyrick1Facebook: Catherine Meyrick Author

About Catherine Meyrick

I am an Australian writer of historical fiction with a touch of romance. My stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways are like us today. These are people with the same hopes and longings as we have to find both love and their own place in a troubled world.

I live in Melbourne, Australia but grew up in Ballarat, a large regional city steeped in history. Until recently I worked as a customer service librarian at my local library. I have a Master of Arts in history and am also an obsessive genealogist. When I am not writing, reading and researching, I enjoy gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country & western. And, not least, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.

I would love to share one of your posts from this festive season and it can be a poem, short story, non-fiction in the form of a recipe, personal story, family memory, New Year’s resolutions etc. It does not have to be current but from any year in your blogging journey.

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 50,000 mark. If you are an author, your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts.

How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is email me the link to the fiction or non-fiction post you have chosen either with aChristmas or New Year theme to (
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.


41 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Posts from Your Archives – 2022 – An Unseasonal Christmas – Rain, Wind and Snow in 1878 by Catherine Meyrick

  1. What an unusual weather event for the land down under. This is such a great post as it gives us a glimpse into traditions in other places around the globe. Thanks for sharing, Sally!

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  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – December 5th – 11th 2022 – Bird Cafe and Spa, Munster Express, Hits 1950s, Tony Bennett, Culinary A-Z, Christmas Book Fair, Book Reviews, Flash Fiction, Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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