There was little reference to loaves and fishes in the struggling young colony; indeed, the first decade was one of unremitting famine and paucity. Crops failed. Ships did not appear over the horizon. Neither soldier nor free-settler was suited to growing vegetables, or wheat, or husbanding cattle or chickens. And water supply in this driest of dry lands was tenuous after the be-fouling of the sorry Tank Stream. Indeed, it was not until the tenure of the 5th Governor, Macquarie (1810-1821) that the future of the colony was assured.
So what was the diet in those early days?
The meat was mostly pig and chicken - although both were considerably more scrawny that the delightful critters being cuddled here! And this, even though Sydney was sited on a waterway teeming with fish, and the literature abounds with line-drawings of indigenous peoples fishing. Salting was a preservation method much indulged.
Scurvy was rampant well into the 19th century. Vegetable gardens had failed on Garden Island, within the Domain and along the eastern perimeter of land carved out or Hyde Park - where St Mary's now stands. However, individuals were more successful in their back gardens and in communal plots. Nowadays, we have come to expect 'perfect' fruit and vegetables, rejecting those with blemishes and wonky growth. Back in the early days though, food was desperately short, and anything was better than nothing. Pickling was a preservation method much indulged.