Australiana Tea Towels and Their History in World Wide Kitchens

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Australiana Tea Towels

Australiana tea towels are an iconic household item. They were most commonly bought from souvenir shops as a memorable token of an Australian holiday. But now, they are readily available from various retailers for everyday use.

Everyday Use of Australian Tea Towels

An Australiana inspired tea towel screams retro. You may have childhood memories of using these themed tea towels  when drying up the dishes after a family meal.

The native flora and fauna pictures were common designs, which made tea towels a useful souvenir to bring back home or give as a gift to family and friends.

The use of tea towels in the kitchen has changed somewhat with the introduction of dishwashers, however, they are necessary for drying non-dishwasher safe items.

They are also practical for mopping up spills, keeping baked food warm, protecting food from flies and even used to dry hands when prepping in the kitchen.

In recent years, they have been framed as artwork or used as a sustainable option to wrap presents.

History Behind Australian Tea Towels

The tea towel was invented in the 18th century and its specific function was to dry dishes and cutlery in the kitchen after they had been washed up.

The material was absorbent and made out of cotton or linen.

Tea towels were also used to serve tea and to catch any drips when pouring from a teapot.

Nowadays, tea towels are predominantly used for the same purpose of drying dishes, but they are also used for decorative purposes in the home.

It’s not unusual to frame a tea towel making affordable artwork in the home.

Tea Towels for Everyday Use or Art Work

Australiana Tea Towels

  1. Birdsong Kookaburra Tea Towel $6.73 (on sale)*
  2. Blinky Bill Two Piece Blue Tea Towel Set $12*
  3. Add to Cart The Iconic Lamington Tea Towel $27
  4. Canningvale Native Birds Tea Towel Set $29.99*
  5. Peter Cromer Echidna Tea Towel $6.73 (on sale)*
  6. Hard to Find Banksia Tea Towel $35
  7. Spend With Us Australiana Navy Tea Towel $28
  8. Australian Flowers Tea Towel $25*
  9. Canningvale Native Flora Twin Pack Tea Towels $29.99 *

Vintage Australian Tea Towels

If your parents or grandparents have a linen cupboard of Australian tea towels, they could be worth a small fortune.

Check out this 1960’s Vintage Australian wildlife tea towel for sale for over $130. Of course a tea towel’s worth is in the eyes of the beholder. There are plenty of affordable options on eBay.

Vintage Australian Tea Towel

Tea towels can last for a few years if they’ve been washed and kept well. When the design fades or if mould starts to grow, it’s time to replace with a new tea towel.

Aboriginal Art Tea Towels

Online stores like Kullillla-Art offer a range of Aboriginal Art Tea Towels which are ethically produced and more importantly, royalties are paid to the artists and their communities. Not all brands of tea towels with Aboriginal Art do the right thing by our Indigenous Artists. It’s important to research this before making a purchase.

Aboriginal Art Tea Towels
Stunning Aboriginal Art Tea Towels from left to right: Utopia Aboriginal Art Australia Tea Towel by Lena Pwerle, Raintree Art Cotton Tea Towel by Caroline Numina, Raintree Art Tea Towel by Betty Morton

A way to remember your local travels

With the volatility of border closures, local holidays are being encouraged to support Australian tourism. A way to remember your local travels is to purchase an Australiana tea towel. You never know what it may be worth in the future but it may add a sentimental touch to your home during these unusual times.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links on this post. I will receive a small commission on the purchase of * marked links. This is at no extra cost to you.