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Jaffa Madden, the chef from Jessies Bistro at the Parap Hotel, was a household name during the 1970sand 80s. Jaffa was a Malay from Singapore, who worked for 12 years as an indentured labourer on pearling boats in the Northern Territory. He then built a life in Darwin, but without citizenship he was threatened with deportation. More than 20 per cent of Darwin s population signed a petition asking for the cancellation of the deportation order. It was eventually dropped. Jaffa was especially known for his flame-grilled steaks. You must love life and people and work hard every day it s simple, said in 1981. People talk of secret ingredients; there are no secret ingredients. It s all to do with the experience of life. The heat of the charcoals, the smell, the sound, the feel of the steak. And, if you understand and respect people, you will cook well for them. Jaffa died in 2010, aged 84.

Image: Leigh Harding

Published: 5 June 2016


Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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