The Banana line

Exploring my set of Arthur Mee’s The Children’s Encyclopaedia reveals aspects of life in the early 20th century that elude my understanding. Or maybe the encyclopaedia is just odd.

A case in point is one of the maps of Australia that provides a line that indicates the climatic boundary for growing bananas. Not content with that it also includes a similar boundary for the growth of coconut palms. While I know that copra (the kernal of the coconut which the oil comes from) is a reasonably significant commodity, why a young British child should need to know the limits of banana cultivation is beyond me. I am pretty sure that wool and wheat would have been Australia’s major exports to the UK at that time.


The Banana Line, 2017, watercolour and ink on photocopy



  1. There is such an abundance of weird and wonderful information in those encyclopaedias, and some information that is distinctly opinion rather than fact, such as a diatribe against ‘modern’ sculpture, but so many useful things too, like how to make a pop gun from a quill (any boy can do it …). I have to say I learnt heaps from these and still find them fascinating!


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