Victorian winemaker, David Sutherland Smith, of All Saints Vineyard, introduced the idea of Wine and Food Societies to Australia, founding a group in Melbourne. The Wine and Food Society NSW was launched in the Rhine Castle Cellars on 9 March, 1939, with the inaugural dinner held at the University Club in Phillip Street on July 13 of that year.
Margarine was developed in the mid-1800s in France. Meadow Lea was the first margarine marketed in Australia. The brand was founded by Oliver Triggs , a Melbourne grocer who moved to Sydney and began a manufacturing operation. Early margarines often contained beef fat and were viewed as a cheap butter substitute. Until the 1960s, to protect the dairy industry, regulations prevented the addition of yellow colour.
While not the first instant coffee to be marketed, Nescafe was the first to be made by a spray drying process that maintained the flavour of the coffee. While earlier products were said to have a disagreeable, bitter taste, Nescafe was well accepted. Launched by Nestlé in Switzerland in 1938, it went on to become a world-wide brand.
Harry ‘Tiger’ Edwards operated a pie cart at Woolloomooloo just before WWII, taking advantage of custom from the navy dockyards. He enlisted in 1938, was invalided out in 1942, then returned with his pie caravan in 1945. Famous for its pie and peas, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels was patronised by sailors and celebrities, prostitutes and late-night revellers. The original caravan is now in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. More
Blackmore’s, makers of a range of dietary supplements, claim that their founder, Maurice Blackmore, opened Australia’s first health food store in Brisbane in 1938. He developed a system of healthcare based on naturopathic principles and established the first naturopathic colleges and associations in the country.
Chocolate Crackles are small, chocolate-flavoured cakes made from Rice Bubbles, coconut and Copha. The earliest Chocolate Crackles recipe so far discovered was printed in an advertisement in the Australian Women’s Weekly on Saturday 18 December 1937. The advertisement was placed by Edible Oil Industries, a subsidiary of Unilever, who made Copha – a uniquely Australian ingredient made from solidified coconut oil.
It was touted in American magazines as a money-making enterprise. Henry Jacka and Sydney Willson imported ‘breeding stock’ of bullfrogs from the American Frog Canning Company and established a frog farm in the Victorian country town of Euroa. However, the frogs apparently failed to breed and the enterprise failed.>Australia’s first frog farm
Winemaker Jack Mann created Houghton White Burgundy (now Houghton Classic White). The wine is still assembled from parcels of different grape varieties, and fashioned to a classic dry white styling. Components include Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, Verdelho and Riesling, Semillon and Muscadelle. Jack Mann made the wine for 51 consecutive vintages, making it Australia’s oldest consecutive-vintage white.
The ‘Early Kooka’ range of gas stoves was developed by Metters, a company established by Frederick Metters in Adelaide in 1891. The company originally manufactured fuel stoves and advertised as ‘stove and range makers, ironfounders, engineers, coppersmiths, sheetmetal workers’. The ‘Early Kooka’ range with its Kookaburra trademark, was released by Metters in 1937, the year of its founder’s death.
Tasmania was the first state to jettison the six o’clock closing legislation introduced during WWI. Ten years later, during a referendum on closing times, the premier of Tasmania defended his state’s decision to move to 10 o’clock closing in an advertisement paid for by the Liquor Trades Council of NSW.
Nestlé’s Sunshine Powdered Milk became a staple during the war years. It was often used to make up bottles for babies and could even be whipped to make ‘cream’ as this 1960s television commercial shows. It was also a favoured ingredient of damper.
The Commonwealth Advisory Council on Nutrition was formed in 1936. In 1939 it became the Nutrition Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Commonwealth Government’s peak body for medical research, which was established in 1926. At the same time, a Nutrition Unit was established in the then Commonwealth Department of Health. State and territory health departments set up similar nutrition committees to provide nutrition information and education programs.
The Wine and Food Society of Victoria was modelled on the London Wine and Food Society established by Andre Simon. Functions were mostly for gentlemen only, with four grand banquets each year to which ladies were invited. Only in 1998 was the constitution changed to permit female membership. The first president was Francois de Castella.>Wine and Food Society of Victoria
Products made by the US-owned Heinz company had been imported and sold in Australia since the late 19th century. The factory in Bendigo Street, Richmond, was opened in 1935. The first product Heinz produced in Australia was bottled horseradish. The first canned product was baked beans in tomato sauce, soon followed by canned spaghetti and a range of soups.
First marketed as Nestlé’s Tonic Food, MILO powder was developed at Abbotsford in Sydney and launched at the Royal Easter Show. The chocolate and malt powder is mixed with hot or cold water and/or milk. Although MILO was invented in Australia, it is sold around the world, including in Malaysia, Singapore, Columbia, Peru, the USA and Canada.
This charity recipe book, printed as a fund raiser for Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Hospital, was compiled by Mrs E. Drake-Brockman of Clendon Road, Toorak, wife of a Melbourne judge. The book retailed for two shillings and carried introductions from Lady Isaacs (wife of the Governor-General), Lady Irvine (wife of the Governor of Victoria) and Enid Lyons (wife of the Prime Minister). The Herald Recipe Book is notable for a whole chapter of rabbit recipes; “underground mutton” clearly featured on even the highest tables at the time.
Although other strains of Bos Indicus (Asian cattle) had been imported earlier, the breed now known as Brahman was first imported by a group of Queensland cattlemen in 1933. Brahman cattle were developed in the USA from Indian strains to produce a beef animal adapted to harsh tropical conditions.
Originally conceived as a weekly newspaper for women, the Australian Women’s Weekly became the largest-selling magazine ever circulated in this country. Published by Frank Packer, it was initially printed as a black and white newspaper, and sold for 2d. In the early years it took a stand regarding the status of women in society, but by the mid-1930s was principally appealing to the traditional home-maker. The ‘Weekly’ became an important source of recipes and helped shape food trends in Australian homes.
Albers Supermarket in Cincinatti,USA,was the first to use the term ‘supermarket ’. William Albers, former president of Kroger Grocery & Bakery Co. may well have been inspired by his former employee, Michael Cullen, who was having great success with his King Kullen chain.
The Black and White 4d. Milk Bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932. He developed the concept after a trip to the USA. Adams had changed his name from Joachim Tavlaidis and was one of many Greek immigrants who operated milk bars, cafes and fish and chip shops in Australia in the early 20th century. Adams went on to open more milk bars in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne & Wollongong.
Founded by Guiseppe Codognotto to cater to Italian immigrants, the famous Bourke Street restaurant, The Italian Society, was run by the Codognotto family until 1984. During the war years, to avoid anti-Italian sentiment, the name was changed to simply The Society. After 1984 it went through several changes of ownership and name, but has now returned to its roots under the DiMattina Group.
Smith’s Chips (then called Smith’s Crisps) were first sold in the UK by Mr. Frank Smith. The potato chips he and an associate, George Ensor, launched in Australia was made in gas-fired cooking pots, and packed by hand. The early product was sold in threepenny packets with a “twist of salt” sachet. More
Jaffas, with their chocolate core and orange-flavoured shell, were made by James Stedman-Henderson’s Sweets Ltd of Sydney under the brand Sweetacres. The brand was bought by Hoadley who were in turn taken over by Nestlé. They were a favourite in cinemas, where the sound of spilled Jaffas rattling down the wooden floors became a familiar accompaniment to Saturday matinees. More
Freddo Frog was introduced by MacRobertson’s in 1930. The original plan was to launch a mouse-shaped chocolate bar, but a young employee, Harry Melbourne, suggested that a frog may be more likeable. The shape of the frog and its packaging have changed over the years,with Freddo Frog assuming a more cartoon-like character. The foil packaging has been replaced with a plastic wrapper. Cadbury now owns the brand, selling more than 90 million in Australia each year.
It seems the dairy industry objected to the word “butter” being used for anything other than the dairy product. In response, legislation was passed requiring peanut butter to be called “Peanut Paste”. South Australia and Western Australia introduced a similar requirement, but in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania “Peanut Butter” remained in use. More
King Kullen, the Price Wrecker, opens in Long Island, New York. King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian Institute as America’s first supermarket although the business did not use that term. It offered mass merchandising, with a high-volume, low margin model. The founder, Michael Cullen, was a branch manager at Kroger Grocery & Bakery Co. in Illinois who, having his vision rejected by his employers, decided to go it alone. His venture was immensely successful.
For several generations of Australians, a visit to Coles Cafeteria was the highlight of a trip to the city. The first Coles Cafeteria was opened in Store No. 12 – the flagship store and company headquarters constructed in Melbourne’s Bourke Street. It was Australia’s first in-store cafeteria.
The Procera bread baking process involved enriching the flour with gluten, thus boosting its protein content, decreasing starch and improving its texture. It originated in New Zealand in the 1930s, with a baker called Henry Maltwood Williams. His process was patented worldwide and the patent-licensing approach was soon extended to the larger market of Australia. One baker in each market was granted the right to use the Procera name and the process in return for a royalty of 0.1 penny per loaf, in what became the first major franchising operation in Australia.