James Noble Stedman’s father, also named James, was the son of a convict. In 1854, at the age of 14, he began working for a Sydney confectioner William J. Cates. The firm went through several changes of ownership over the next 20 years and in 1875 James bought the business. He later opened a new shop and factory, Stedman’s Imperial Steam Confectionery Works. Many members of his family were involved in the company. Among his popular sweets, sold under the ‘Lion’ brand, were peppermints, brandy balls and bull’s eyes.
The family firm continued under the directorship of James Noble Stedman. In 1918 James moved the factory from the city to Rosebery and, after a staff competition, named the new site Sweetacres. This became the brand under which a range of sweets, including Minties, Fantales and Jaffas were sold.
James Stedman-Henderson’s Sweets Ltd changed hands several times from the late 1960s onwards. Taken over by Hoadleys in 1968, then Rowntree in 1971, they eventually became a part of the international company, Nestlé when Nestlé took over Rowntree in 1981. Minties are now sold under the Allens brand which was also bought by Nestlé in 1985.