This Friday (21 July) is National Lamington Day!
It’s much debated, but here’s the origin story we like: the lamington was created in Toowoomba.
In the late 1800s a guy named Lord Lamington (best name ever?) was the Queensland Governor. He would escape Brisbane’s summer heat by hanging out in Toowoomba. The story goes, while in his home in Toowoomba, his chef created the lamington out of limited leftover ingredients to feed some unexpected guests.
There’s another story about a maid accidentally creating it when they dropped a sponge in chocolate, but as this is said to take place in Brisbane we’re calling that #fakenews.
Local creatives and sisters Sarah Ryan and Caitlin Greenhalgh launched their design business The Wonders of the Volcano on National Lamington Day two years ago. This creative enterprise celebrates all things design, and all things Toowoomba. Named for our volcanic region, the sisters design and print their linen tea towels right here.
To celebrate their second birthday and of course, National Lamington Day, the sisters have teamed up with the ladies at The Bungalow and Basket to offer a super lamington special this week!
All this week their uniquely designed ‘Toowoomba Created the Lamington’ linen tea towel will be available to buy at The Bungalow and Basket for a special sale price of $25 (regular price $34.95). The Bungalow ladies will also be serving up lamingtons – yum!
Want to know more about this dynamic duo? Keep reading for our Q&A with The Wonders of the Volcano.
Why did you start the Wonders of the Volcano?
We are sisters, who both studied in creative areas (Sarah in Fine Arts and Caitlin in Architecture).
We wanted to start a creative enterprise together, and starting small we saw a need for stylish Toowoomba gifts. Our first foray into this area has been quality hand-printed Toowoomba-inspired tea towels. We decided to launch on National Lamington Day (21 July), as the lamington inspired one of our very first designs ‘Toowoomba Created the Lamington’.
What’s it like working together as sisters?
We love working together…as sisters we can be really honest with each other. We bring different skills sets to the table, and thus are able to complement each other. Meetings are often relaxed over a glass of wine (however we’ve found it’s best to stick to one glass).
Why tea towels?
We decided to start with linen tea towels, as they are a practical yet stylish gift that everybody needs. And, our aim was to elevate an everyday product into something beautiful.
How would you define your style?
Our style is intrinsically linked to our philosophy, which focuses on quality over quantity, on living a “small footprint” (thus designing and printing in Toowoomba), within a contemporary, minimal aesthetic.
Are you open for commissions?
We are open to conversations with businesses or individuals about creating personalised designs within their brief. In other words, if someone likes our style and designs, we are happy to start a conversation about how we could work with them.
What’s the plan for the future? Will all of your future products be Toowoomba themed?
All of our products will sit within our philosophy of a “small footprint” however, the designs will not all be Toowoomba themed.
We would love the business to grow and become more profitable and are constantly talking about what our next designs will be, and what new products we will bring to the business. At this stage, with both of us working full-time, we are happy for the business to grow organically, and sustainably.
Can we find you at local markets?
We do not attend regular markets, but attend seasonal markets like Hand Made Under the Stars at Cobb + Co. Our products are available online, at Cobb + Co, The Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre and Bungalow and Basket.
What do you like about living in Toowoomba?
We love that Toowoomba is a really liveable city, whilst maintaining a small country-like atmosphere with tree-lined streets and many parks. It is geographically close to larger cultural centres, like Brisbane, and even Sydney and Melbourne with the new airport. We have lots of family in Toowoomba, and that is also a wonderful reason to be here.
Can you tell me about your collaboration with The Bungalow and Basket?
We have recently arranged to stock our tea towels with The Bungalow and Basket. As they are a café and homewares gift store, we thought it was the perfect fit to celebrate our second birthday with them on 21st July – National Lamington Day. During the week, they will be offering delicious lamingtons, alongside the lamington tea towel at a special sale price of $25. Our full range of tea towels will also be on display and available for purchase.
And finally, when it comes to lamingtons should they be hiding some kind of jam or cream surprise, or is plain the way to go?
We are all for the original “puffy woolly biscuit” without jam or cream.
Photos courtesy of The Wonders of the Volcano