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A 120-year-old box of chocolate is discovered in the famous Australian's personal belongings


A 120-year-old box of Cadbury chocolate is discovered in the personal belongings of a famous Australian – and it still looks good enough to eat

  • An almost 120 year old block of chocolate was found with little deterioration
  • The centuries-old chocolate once belonged to the famous Australian poet Banjo Paterson
  • The unexpected find has remained untouched and is still in its original packaging
  • British soldiers received chocolate from Queen Victoria during the Boer War

The National Library of Australia discovered one of the oldest boxes of Cadbury chocolates, dating back more than a century – and it's only marginally deteriorated.

The NLA Conservators discovered the sweet treats from the personal collection of the famous Australian poet Andrew Barton & # 39; Banjo & # 39; Paterson, the & # 39; Waltzing Matilda & # 39; and & # 39; The Man from Snowy River & # 39; wrote.

The tablet was found in a souvenir chocolate box that Queen Victoria gave to soldiers during the Boer War.

The 120 year old chocolate (pictured) was discovered in Banjo Paterson's personal paper collection at the National Library of Australia

The chocolate bar was found in a souvenir chocolate box (picture) that Queen Victoria gave to soldiers during the Boer War

The chocolate bar was found in a souvenir chocolate box (picture) that Queen Victoria gave to soldiers during the Boer War

Notably, almost 120 years later, the chocolates were relatively untouched, much to the surprise of the library's conservation laboratory, which found the unexpected object hidden in the poet's collection of diaries, newspaper clippings, and poems.

"There was a pretty interesting smell when they were unpacked," National Library of Australia Conservator Jennifer Todd told ABC.

"(It was) an old form of banjo pralines, the pralines of which are still packed in the box."

The bar of chocolate still had the old straw packaging and the silver foil was still wrapped around the chocolate.

The National Library of Australia will house the chocolate along with a larger collection of Banjo Patterson's personal effects recently acquired by the NLA last year (pictured)

The National Library of Australia will house the chocolate along with a larger collection of Banjo Patterson's personal effects recently acquired by the NLA last year (pictured)

The cans were commissioned by Queen Victoria to comfort the Boer War troops during their battles. The tin read "South Africa, 1900" and "I wish you a Happy New Year, Victoria RI" with the royal face.

Banjo Paterson (pictured) is said to have bought the chocolate from soldiers during his time as a war correspondent in South Africa

Banjo Paterson (pictured) is said to have bought the chocolate from soldiers during his time as a war correspondent in South Africa

Cadbury UK created the historic chocolates for British troops when Buckingham Palace ordered £ 70,000 to £ 80,000 cocoa cans to be paid out straight from the Queen's own purse.

According to the Cadbury Brothers, "cocoa must be made into a paste and sweetened ready-to-use under the harsh conditions of warehouse life" and "the cans must be specially made and decorated".

Although the cans were specifically intended for the troops, the collector's cans became a popular item of trade, with some cans selling for five to ten pounds at the front.

It is speculated that Banjo Paterson bought the chocolate box from British troops in 1899 when he was a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and sent it back to Australia while he was in South Africa.

The chocolate jar has now found a new home in the National Library of Australia as part of a larger collection of Banjo Patterson's personal effects.

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