Classically literate people will recognize the title of this post as a reference to Xenophon’s Anabasis, and the cry of the Greek army as they finally sighted the sea: “thalassa, thalassa”.
Similar emotions were stirred in the heart of my great aunt, the noted Australian poet Lala Fisher, when she spotted some molasses. To her, they were a miracle cure for just about every ailment – in farmyard animals, at least. Here is a letter she wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald which was published on 9 November 1907:
She may have inherited her fondness for molasses from her grandfather, Archibald Richardson, who was asked by a government committee to do some experiments with distilling spirits from molasses in 1831. An extract from the committee’s report is shown below, including Archibald’s excuse for not including some information they wanted, which shows him to be a bit of a spuffler.