2018 Independence Celebration

The Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago diaspora get together each year to celebrate the anniversary of their independence from the United Kingdom.  Both nations gained independence in 1962, Jamaica on 6 August and Trinidad & Tobago on 31 August.

Showing the Dance Moves to All Ages

On this occasion we showcase our Caribbean culture, food, music and dance with family, friends, neighbours and the broader community.  In recent years we donate part of the proceeds to a recognised charity.

This year the event was held on Saturday 25 August 2018 at Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.  The charity supported is Lou’s Place, a not for profit centre offering a safe place for women.

The Hon Linda Burney MP

Approximately 250 persons were in attendance.  Special guests included:

  • The Honourable Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services in the Federal Parliament,
  • Councillor Darcy Byrne, Inner West Mayor,
  • Marco Breakenridge, Honourable Consul for Jamaica,
  • Dr Bill Milne-Home, Representative for Trinidad & Tobago.

The program consisted of:

  • Kids Corner, manned by Tekeisha, Elisha, Chantel and Nicole, the face painter.
  • Food Stalls – African Feeling, Jamaican Delights and TriniKitchen
  • Craft and Arts Stalls and
  • Full Entertainment Package with Dancehall demonstration, Story Telling, Fashion Show, Jamaican Folk Songs, Zumba Class, Jamaican Poetry Reading, Caribbean Soul Steel Drum, Dancehall, Reggae and Soca Show, Live Band and DJs.

Such a superb program would have been impossible without the assistance of sponsors.

Repeat sponsors included Appleton Estate Rum, Red Stripe Beer, Jamaican Products, World BeatMcLeod’s Antiques and Puretech-Solutions.

Other sponsors included Dance Central, DanZiNina, Dance Studio 101, SoulJah, BCS Technology, Doug & Ayesha, iShareCloset and The Honorary Consul of Jamaica.

Showing Some Sponsors Products

Special mention should be made of the Marrickville based business sponsors, Post Café, Banana Joes Foodworks and Manchester Factory.
The event was streamed live to Marlene, who wanted to be there in person if she could.

As the saying goes “Many hands make light work”, so the time and labour given by the many volunteers must be acknowledged.

Thanks to Margaret, Lisa, Stephanie, Suzanne, the Pearce family, Tom, Emma, Cheryl, Eileen, Garnett, Garfield, Ted, Keith, David, Yvonne and Rhys.  Although your name may not be mentioned, your invaluable contribution was much appreciated.

The Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Independence Celebration has been growing both in terms of program activities and participants.  It can now be regarded as a Calendar Event which should not be missed.

Would you like to be involved next year or do you have a great suggestion?  Then send me an email or give me a call on 0409 596 655.

View photos of the Celebrations.

Appleton Estate

Thanks to Appleton Estate for being a sponsor of the 2018 Independence celebrations for Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

Appleton Estate has the distinction of being the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica in continuous production.  They have been crafting this delicious and alive rum with the warmth, passion and unique sprit of Jamaica for more than 265 years on the estate nestled in St. Elizabeth’s Nassau Valley.  This region is the breadbasket of Jamaica with much of the Island’s delicious fruits and vegetables coming from this parish.

Nassau Valley, Jamaica
Nassau Valley, St Elizabeth, Jamaica

The road to the Appleton Estate is rough and windy, the land teeming with green vegetation, the air hot and sticky.  This land is the mother to Appleton rum: the endless fields of vivid green sugarcane, the rich and fertile soil and the blazing blue limestone spring supplying the water all give rise to the lingering sweet smells of molasses and ageing rum that fill the air.

The first known documentation of rum production on the Appleton Estate is dated 1749.  However, it is believed that the origins of the Estate date back to 1655, when England captured Jamaica from Spain.  Frances Dickinson, whose grandsons Caleb and Ezekiel are the earliest known owners of Appleton Estate, took part in that conquest of Jamaica.  It is believed that Appleton Estate was part of the land grant that Frances Dickinson received as a reward for his services.

Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum
Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old

Today’s beautifully complex and aromatic Appleton Estate rums are of a unique style, produced only in Jamaica, and only at Appleton Estate.  All Appleton Estate rum is produced on a single estate in a small circumscribed geographic area, which makes it one of the few rums in the world to claim a terroir and the only rum in the world that has a terroir as unique as the Nassau Valley.

Appleton Estate has a range of three award-winning, premium rums that comprise the Brand’s core range:

  • Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum,
  • Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Jamaica Rum and
  • Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum.

Additionally, there are two limited edition luxury rums:

  • Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum and
  • Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Independence Reserve Rum.

The Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum range has a heritage of awards dating back to 1862, when J. Wray & Nephew Limited won three gold medals for its 10, 15 and 25 year-old rums in the International Exhibition held in London.  This tradition of quality and excellence continues today as the products continue to win numerous awards in international competitions.

Why not judge for yourself by trying the 2 recipes below?

Jamaican Mule rum mix
Jamaican Mule

Appleton Estate Signature Jamaican Mule

  • 1 part Appleton Estate Signature Blend
  • 3 lime wedges
  • Two parts extra fiery ginger beer
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters (optional)

Appleton Estate Signature adds a great depth of flavor to this variation on the Mule, and is best enjoyed with a fiery ginger beer.  The dash of bitters provides extra complexity, if preferred.

Squeeze the limes into a highball glass, pressing them with a muddler.  Add ice and build remaining ingredients into the glass and stir.


Jamaican Honey Soother
Honey Soother
  • 2 parts Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old
  • 1/4 part honey
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice

Soothing honey and lemon highlights the rich, warm taste of Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old in this simple cocktail.

Pour the rum, honey, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker, half-filled with ice cubes.  Shake well, strain into a Coupette cocktail glass and serve.

Rum – A Jamaican Originated Word

Rum is one of the oldest and most versatile spirits in the world, with an interesting history. Although the exact origin of this liquid gold cannot be determined, many experts agree that it was perfected in Jamaica.

The source of all rum is sugar cane, a grass-like plant believed to have originated in Papua, New Guinea.  Christopher Columbus introduced sugar cane to the West Indies in 1493.  The plant flourished in the warm climate and fertile soil of the Caribbean islands, and plantations were soon established on practically every island (in particular Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Cuba).

Sugar Cane
Sugar Cane

Initially revered for the sugar it produced, it was soon discovered that alcohol could be created by fermenting and distilling the sticky brown substance that remained after sugar was produced.

This drink has had many names over the years — including, Eau-de-Vie de Molasses, Rumbullion, Aguardiente de Cana, and “Kill Devil,” amongst others — as the raw spirit was quite fiery. From these original names, there are two stories of how the name rum came about. The first is that rum is a derivative of the name sacharum, the accepted botanical genus name for sugar cane. The second version is that rum is a derivative of Rumbullion.

Rum Barrel Ageing
A Barrel Ageing at Appleton Estate

Back in the olden days, estate owners would develop special rums for their exclusive use; these rums were blended, and then placed in oak barrels for the long sea voyage back to England. The estate owners discovered that the rums were much smoother, mellower, and more flavourful when they arrived in England. They surmised that a transformation took place, while the rum rested in the oak during the journey, and this was the genesis of aged rums as we know them today.

Jamaica’s place in the history of rum is one of primary importance.  Jamaica is renowned around the world for producing wonderfully rich and flavourful rums and the island also has the privilege of being the first country to refer to this delicious spirit as rum in writing. An article that appeared in the 1937-38 edition of Planter’s Punch states that the earliest mention of “rum” occurred in an order from the Governor of Jamaica.  The island was also the first to produce rum on a commercial basis and the finest rums in the world are produced in Jamaica.

Read our next Blog on Appleton Estate, a sponsor of our 2018 Independence Celebrations.

Go Jamaica!

The Commonwealth Games were only a few short weeks ago – April 4 through 19 – but already it feels like that was a decade ago.

I travelled to the Gold Coast on Saturday 31 March, before the official opening, but with 71 nations competing, athletes, officials, the media and supporters were pouring in and the Commonwealth Games had already begun!

Sunday was spent at Jamroc Jamaican Jerk Chicken Restaurant, in Mermaid Waters, at the function to welcome the Jamaican competitors to the Games.  I had my Jamaican Products stall, selling Easter Buns and Jamaican memorabilia.  There was the opportunity to catch up with Jamaicans from the Gold Coast, Sydney and as far north as Gladstone.  We were all surprised to meet a Jamaican who after 2 years studying in the Gold Coast was meeting other Jamaicans for the first time.  “Where had he been?,” we all asked.  “In his books,” someone replied.

Hope and Anne in Surfers Paradise pre Commonwealth Games
Hope and Anne with our Usain Bolt salute

Lunch was delicious, but the highlight of my day was the dancing by members of the Jamaican Netball team and some Jamaican locals.  My last visit to Jamaica was 2 years ago, but I missed out on seeing this dance.  It was a chucking of the shoulder and movements of the bum.  Now my mirror is assessing my progress with the new dance moves.

Lunch on Monday was at the Helm Bar Surfers Paradise enjoying the food by Karl, the visiting chef from Jamaica.

Before I knew it I was back in Sydney watching the Games on TV.  There was not much opportunity to scream Go Jamaica to the TV, as the reporting was Aussie focused.  I was caught up in the excitement of the Jamaica vs England netball match.  What a finish!

The first, second and third places in the medal tally went to Australia, England and India.  While Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, British Virgin Islands and Dominica each won their first Commonwealth Games medals.

In the end Jamaica placed 11th with 7 gold, 9 silver and 11 bronze, with all medals awarded in athletics except for a silver in swimming and bronze in netball.  Go Jamaica!

Jamaica and the Pineapple

I am sure you will agree that Jamaica is a Caribbean island with a lot of personality. Just think of its – people: oldest living and fastest persons; music: reggae; food: savoury jerk spiced cooking; beverages: Appleton Estate rum, Blue Mountain coffee, Red Stripe beer, Ting and ginger beer.

A Ripe Pineapple

To add to the list, even though you might think of Hawaii when it comes to the pineapple, most of those pineapples in Hawaii can actually trace their lineage to Jamaica.

Although considered endemic to Jamaica the pineapple was brought to Jamaica by the Tainos. Use of the pineapple profile from the 1660s along with Symon Benning’s initials SB on his Jamaican made pewter dishes shows the historic association of the pineapple with Jamaica. After all pewter was the material of choice for domestic utensils in 17th-century England and her early colonies.

Not only was the pineapple a symbol of Jamaica and the wealth the island brought to England, but the image became synonymous with elegance and royalty. Considered an exotic, exquisite natural marvel, the pineapple was treated as a delicacy in Europe.

Pineapple growing

The Pineapple has had many uses.
• Its bromelain enzyme makes a fantastic meat tenderiser. This enzyme breaks down proteins in your mouth, so when you eat a pineapple, it is eating you back. Once swallowed your stomach acids break down the bromelain enzyme, so no need to worry about being eaten inside-out. Folklore has it that workers on pineapple fields often do not have fingerprints, a result of this enzyme attack on the skin.
• It is an exceptionally good fruit to bring on long sailing voyages because it helps to prevent, just like oranges, the often lethal disease scurvy.
• It is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
• The mix of pineapple and sand was a great cleaning agent for the large wooden ships used to cross the oceans in year gone bye.

Jamaican Coat of Arms

The pineapple thrived in Jamaica because of the favourable environmental conditions, and was used as both a food and symbol of Jamaica.

The Jamaican Coat of Arms shows a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples, the indigenous fruit. The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling. The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many One People’, based on the population’s multiracial roots, completes the Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms, considered a legacy from the British with slight modifications, was granted to Jamaica in 1661 under Royal Warrant. This Coat of Arms appears on one side of all Jamaican coins.

2017 Independence Celebrations

On Sunday 20 August we held our 2017 celebration of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago independence.  It was great to see so many faces, all enjoying the dancing, reggae, steel pan music and yes, most definitely the food and beverages.

Appleton Estate Rum
Appleton Estate Rum

We know that all those who came felt like they were immersed in the Caribbean, right here in Australia.  The stalls meant we could take a part of the Caribbean home with us.  Congratulations to all who won prizes in the raffle.
Our major sponsors who donated iconic Jamaican beverages included:

Red Stripe Beer
Red Stripe Beer


Other sponsors included:


Thank you to:

  • the entertainment crew including:
    • steel pan players,
    • the dancers who showcased both traditional and contemporary dancing,
    • the DJs who made us dance and ‘shook the house’
  • the chefs who made the food possible
  • the bar folk pouring our iconic beverages and
  • other invaluable helpers.
Jamaican Products Sale
Julian Leeser MP – the first sale

The stalls:

A portion of proceeds was donated to Beyond Blue.  In line with the mental health theme, Jessica McLeod-Yu shared her video clip on depression.

Thanks to everyone.  We will see you at next year’s event.


Photos attached.



Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Independence

This year the Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago independence celebrations will be held on Sunday 20 August from 2:00 to 8:30pm at Thornleigh Community Centre, Thornleigh NSW 2120.

Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Flags

The entry prices to this function are:
Adults (18+): $55
Teens (10 – 17): $25
Kids (under 10): FREE

$2.50 from each ticket sold goes to beyondblue .

Come for an afternoon of entertainment for the entire family with special activities for the kids.

The function will be opened by federal member for Berowra, Mr Julian Leeser MP.

Celebrate 55 years of Independence with a Caribbean style party showcasing the  history, music and food of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

Dance to Reggae, Soca and other Caribbean music.

Stanley Steer and Folk Singers

Enjoy our folk singers, steel pan, dancers, DJs.

Errol Renaud and Steel Pan

Experience an assortment of Caribbean foods that include patties, roti, jerk chicken, curries and rice and peas. Salad, dessert, tea and coffee will also be served.

A licensed bar will sell our iconic beverages of Red Stripe Beer, Appleton Rum, Ting and Old Jamaica ginger beer.

Patties, Ting and Ginger Beer

Remember a valid Government issued ID is required confirming you are 18+ if purchasing and/or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Stalls will be promoting some of our Caribbean organisations and selling various products.

There will be raffles and door prizes.

Teens and Kids must be accompanied by an Adult.  Group bookings of 10 or more receive a 5% discount with online/over the phone pre-payment.

To purchase tickets visit our website:  www.jamaicanproducts.com.au/events

*If you have trouble purchasing online, call to order over the phone:

Organiser:  Hope Kidd
Email:         [email protected]

Phone:        0409 596 655

Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago independence celebrations Proudly Sponsored by:

Backing Small Business

Who better to discuss the recently published Australian Government “Backing Small Business” booklet with than The Hon Michael MacCormack MP, Federal Minister for Small Business.

Hope Kidd with Michael MacCormack

I attended a free breakfast organised by John Alexander MP, Member for Bennelong, at Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club on Friday 2 June 2017 where Mr MacCormack was the guest speaker.

As a small business owner I take every opportunity to attend talks, workshops and seminars on factors that affect my operations. So it was a pleasure to hear of Government initiatives to support me in my dream of building a successful Jamaican Products business. It is heartening that my 3 person team of me, myself and I, with occasional help from others, is a component of small business making up 99%of all Australian businesses. Even more astonishing is that together we contribute more than $380 billion to the Australian economy. I will remind myself, when the me part of the triad wants to take a break of the importance of pursuing our dream.

My triad is reading their way through the 33 page ‘Backing Small Business” booklet. I appreciate the Federal Government’s backing of small business through lower taxes, simpler paperwork and other initiatives to keep us small businesses in the driver’s seat. I plan to take up Mr MacCormack’s challenge to take advantage of the support offered by Government and see my dream become a reality.

For an audio capture of the breakfast speech visit: http://www.rydebusiness.com.au/pHZ52

Oldest and Fastest Persons – From Where?

Have you heard of Mrs Violet Brown of Trelawny, Jamaica? Born on 10 March 1900 and affectionately known as Aunt V, she is now the oldest living person in the world whose age has been documented. So Trelawny Jamaica boasts of being birthplace of not only the oldest living person in the world at 117 years young but also the fastest man on the planet. Yes, Usain Bolt was born in Trelawny a few miles from Violet’s birthplace.

Mrs Violet Brown

Aunt V still lives in the same house where she was born and which has been in her family for 200 years. Her son Harold Fairweather, died last Wednesday 19 April 2017 a few days after his 97 birthday at their home in Duanvale, Trelawny. Prior to his death, Harold held the record for being the oldest person with a living parent.

Harold’s 97th birthday coincided with the day his mother Violet became the world’s oldest living person following the death of previous world’s oldest, Emma Morano of Italy.

Aunt V and son Harold

Aunt V is the first ever verified supercentenarian from Jamaica and the oldest verified Jamaican person EVER. She was born when Jamaica was a part of the British Empire, making her the last living former subject of Queen Victoria who died in January 1901.

Queen Elizabeth II sent her a congratulatory letter for her 115 birthday.

Aunt V attributes her longevity to her faith in God and living life as a devout member of her local Methodist Church. Undoubtedly genetics may have something to do with it too as her parents both lived to 96 years of age.

Aunt V worked as a plantation worker cutting cane for her masters and also as a maid in their homes. Eventually she was able to buy property to grow her own sugarcane and would walk two days from Duanvale to the town where she could sell it. She would carry the cane on the back of a donkey or on her head.

Aunt V, the entrepreneur, also opened the only bread shop in town, was a music teacher and seamstress. She clearly remembers seeing her first plane and car. Aunt V enjoys her Bible, but isn’t above appreciating the poetry of the rakish Lord Byron and can recite The Vision of Belshazzar from memory.

Aunt V and Granddaughter

Aunt V was married to cemetery keeper Augustus Gaynor Brown until his death. They had six children. She is a great-great-grandmother and has descendants in Jamaica, the United States of America, Europe and Africa.

Aunt V likes to eat fish, mutton and the occasional cow foot. She also likes sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, breadfruit, and fruits, especially mangoes and oranges. But which Jamaican does not like mangoes and oranges? She does not eat pork. Unlike her fellow parishioner Usain Bolt who loves chicken nuggets, Aunt V does not eat chicken. ‘

Congratulations Aunt V on your amazing achievement from Hope Kidd of Jamaican Products, Australia.