Fairy Bread for Australia Day

Australia Day Fairy bread on eatlivetravelwrite.comIt’s Australia Day! Sadly here in Toronto where the temps have been hovering well below zero all week (hello -32˚C with windchill = even too cold for kids to be playing outside for more than about 5 minutes!), it doesn’t feel much like it (meanwhile, Australia has been sweltering in temps well over 40˚C this week!) but I figured I needed to mark the occasion and what better way than with a favourite childhood treat – FAIRY BREAD.

Wait, what? I hear you asking… Fairy bread? Uh huh.

Right up there with another favourite childhood treat, a sugar sandwich (yup – white bread, butter and sugar, a VERY occasional treat), fairly bread was something you got to eat rarely – mostly at birthday parties. It’s basically three simple ingredients which make magic when they are combined.

Fairy bread on eatlivetravelwrite.com

How to make fairy bread:

1. Bread. White bread. Preferably store bought and preferably square so it cuts nicely into triangle shapes. No fancy bread allowed (no sourough, no artisinal loaves – just plain, white supermarket bread).

2. Butter. Preferably very thickly spread. This is hard to do when the bread is really fresh and (sssh!) it’s actually easier to make with margarine. This is most likely how I enjoyed this treat as a child (margarine was the spread of choice back then). But if your butter is soft enough and your bread is *just* fresh enough without being too fresh, you’ll strike the perfect balance!

3. 100s & 1000s (Hundreds and Thousands). No, North Americans, NOT sprinkles. YOU use the term “sprinkles” to cover all shapes and sizes. The long “jimmies” are what we call sprinkles (rainbow or chocolate). The topping of fairy bread is also known as “nonpareils”  but DEFINITELY NOT “sprinkles”. The term 100s & 1000s is so common in Australia that the labels for Tupperware containers even included a label for them!

Here is Canada, you CAN get 100s & 1000s in the grocery store but they’re not the same – notably, they are duller colours and they are smaller. Sweetapolita does a version that’s just like you buy in Australia!

Buy these on the Sweetapolita site or on Amazon!

4. Assemble

Yield: Serves 1

Fairy Bread

Australia Day Fairy bread on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Classic Aussie Fairy Bread

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • Fresh white bread
  • Butter
  • 100s & 1000s (rainbow nonpareils)


  1. Pour the 100s & 1000s into a shallow dish
  2. Spread the bread with the butter or margarine. 
  3. Cut the bread into triangles.
  4. Lay the bread triangles butter side down in the 100s & 1000s.
  5. Press slightly to make sure you're getting the MOST 100s & 1000s on the bread.
  6. Flip over and enjoy!

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 Whaaaaat? Who on earth invented this?

According to the Fairy Bread Day folks,

Fairy Bread has a very long history, but no one actually knows exactly when it started to become popular. It dates back to the 1920’s and was first mentioned in a newspaper from Hobart of all places! The term Fairy Bread was first published in a book of poems in 1885 and is the earliest known reference to the term, but no one knows if that’s where it started to what we know today.

Wikipedia suggests the name comes from the poem ‘Fairy Bread’ in Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, published in 1885.

No matter who invented it or where, it’s still the most brilliantly simply treat EVER. I was reminded of this as I ate those four slices I photographed. SO. GOOD.

Birthday party Australia Day Fairy bread on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Good reads on Fairy Bread:

What is Fairy Bread?

Fairy Bread: The Australian treat the rest of us can’t understand (I’m quoted in this!)

Bread, Butter, 100’s & 1000’s – Fairy Bread, we love you

A peek into Australian Fairy Bread history

and don’t forget…

Fairy Bread Day is November 24th!



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18 thoughts on “Fairy Bread for Australia Day”

  1. Sometimes when I’m reading books, I google things that I come across. That’s how I learned about Fairy Bread a few years ago! It wasn’t as startling as it would be to most North Americans, as I grew up eating ‘chocolate hail’, which is sort of a similar thing, except chocolate, and Dutch. I believe it originated around the same time as Fairy Bread. What a concept! And so delicious!

  2. Nice post Mardi. For the record, there have been a few record hot days in Australia in the past week. Adelaide scored a 46.6 C degree day or 116F. That’s a new record hot day for the city – the previous was 46.2C back in 1939. I remember the Fairy Bread very well and children really love it (always a hit at birthday parties), but today I wonder how many parents would let their children eat Fairy Bread, even occasionally just for a treat?

      • Ah I dunno – you see some of the stuff kids eat these days (processed snacks etc…) – this is actually pretty wholesome. A slice of bread, 1/2 tablespoon butter and a few teaspoons of 100s & 1000s? Lower calories/ sugar/ salt that a lot of things they eat!

    • That is CRAZY hot!!!! As I said to Neil (below) “you see some of the stuff kids eat these days (processed snacks etc…) – this is actually pretty wholesome. A slice of bread, 1/2 tablespoon butter and a few teaspoons of 100s & 1000s? Lower calories/ sugar/ salt that a lot of things they eat!”

  3. I suspect it was some sort of depression era food when people couldn’t afford birthday cakes for their kids so they just slapped some hundreds and thousands on a piece of bread and the rest is history.
    Either that or a modified version of prison food, owing to our convict past. Most Australian food seems like it’s either depression era or former prison food (Vegemite, sausage in bread, fairy bread etc)…
    But we love it!

  4. When I was a child from the late 1960’s onward in Australia my mum always made fairy bread with the long skinny rainbow sprinkles they taste the best , do not use the round rainbow one’s as they get stuck in your teeth and are hard to eat and ruin the experience , Wayne


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