[Editor: This article was published in The Sydney Mail (Sydney, NSW), 29 October 1924.]
There is every opportunity for housewives to be patriotic by buying goods made in Australia. It seems a pity that so few take the trouble to inquire the source from which most of our household commodities originate.
It is well understood that Australia cannot compare in a hundred and one ways with other countries which have been manufacturing for centuries. But it does appear to be rather foolish that no real effort is made in the interests of the Australian-made articles, and that prejudice alone is preventing various firms from having a fair deal, as it were.
For, after all, it is rather discouraging when the salesman “pushes” to his hardest such things as have come overseas, and we are familiar with the woman who, when asked if she prefers English or local products elevates her nose and says distinctly and without hesitation, “English every time.” This means that the Australian industries suffer because women (who are the biggest buyers) will not even condescend to help them. But if they would only be fair and try the goods before condemning them they would probably be agreeably surprised at the excellence of that which they are scorning.
Why the imported goods receive so much more attention than the locally manufactured articles is not clear. But it is quite true that the latter are often placed in the background, and a big show made with things which are not one whit better. There are some goods which are taken for granted, as it were, and no complaints are made as to their excellence. For example, there is flour. We buy this local product without comment. Then our sugar seems to be beyond comparison, and lately there has been a great demand for dried fruits.
Some of our jams are excellent, but, of course, it is a great mistake to make comparison with the flavour, because it stands to reason that fruit which is grown abroad must of necessity be quite different, from that which is grown on this side. Our preserved fruits are excellent, and much lower in price than the canned products of America, for instance. There are one or two brands of local peaches which it would be impossible to improve upon, and some of the shops sell these as reasonably as ninepence halfpenny and tenpence halfpenny for a large tin. We are also putting up some excellent olives just now — olives grown in the mountains and elsewhere. But these are too often put on the back shelf, while those from overseas are given pride of place. The best quality marmalade is particularly good.
The “Australian-Made Preference League” is doing all it can to further our industries, but it must have the support of the women to be successful. Certainly one does not expect buyers to take an inferior article, but when the Australian ones are as good as the others they should certainly be purchased in preference.
For the future, therefore, patronise your own land as much as possible. In many cases we can do just as well as others. The great thing is to give it a fair trial. Even if some of the imported goods are a bit better in some ways, we must be prepared to make a little sacrifice if we would sing “Advance Australia.” We can be very patriotic impersonally, and it is easy enough to join in the chorus. But when it comes to making a decision so far as our food is concerned it is quite another matter.
If more patronage were accorded to Australian-made goods the factories would not languish for want of support, and the opportunity would be given to improve conditions generally and to employ more people. It would mean, too, that there would be work for everyone who needed it. Women have it in their power to help the “Australian-Made Preference League” and their own country.
The Sydney Mail (Sydney, NSW), 29 October 1924, p. 22
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]