“Galloping Gourmet” and television chef Graham Kerr published Graham Kerr’s Guide to Good Eating in Sydney – Australia’s first restaurant guide. This was followed, in the same year, by Graham Kerr’s Guide to Good Eating in Melbourne. More
Said to have been born on the first Concorde flight out of Paris, this new and lighter approach to French cooking is largely attributed to famous French chef Paul Bocuse. Nouvelle cuisine rejected rich sauces and put great emphasis on the appearance of the food on the plate. Australians embraced this style during the late ‘70s but it is remembered by many for an overuse of kiwi fruit and tamarillo.
The first Kmart store was a joint venture between Coles and the S.S. Kresge Company, which operated Kmart in the USA . Kmart combined a supermarket with a discount department store. When the first store opened in Burwood, east of Melbourne, an estimated 40,000 people passed through the checkouts on the first day.
The first commercial microwave oven, Raytheon’s Radarange, was invented in the USA in the late 1940s. Domestic models began to sell in Japan in 1966 and in the US in 1967. The first imports to Australia were used mainly in take-away food outlets, but by 1980 around 150,000 households had a microwave, with penetration reaching 50 per cent by 1989 and around 77 per cent by December 1995.
The name Raytheon is one you see every time you hop off a flight at Canberra airport. They make weapons. Very big weapons. Their posters in the airport are designed to catch the eye of defence boffins as they flit around the country giving out submarine contracts and having conferences on subjects like electronic warfare and combat readiness.
So who would have thought that this same company brought us the appliance we use to defrost our fish fillets or warm up last night’s leftovers? Yet it was Raytheon who clinched the first patents on microwave cooking back in the 1940s.
Like other US technology giants, they were looking for ways to convert their wartime manufacturing operation into a peacetime manufacturing operation. The legend goes that one Percy Spencer noticed that stray microwave radiation (!) melted a chocolate bar in his pants pocket. History does not record whether said radiation partially cooked his thigh, or resulted in sterility.
At any rate, Percy lodged the first patents for heating food with microwaves. These were granted in 1950 and 1951 and other Raytheon employees continued to develop the technology. Where Percy had demonstrated how microwaves could cook lobster and pop corn, the engineer who developed the first practical, commercially viable microwave oven was Marvin Bock.
His invention needed a name, so a staff competition was held. The winning entry combined the good military terms Radar and Range, to produce Radarange. The first consumer version was presented by Brock at the World’s Fair in Montreal in 1967. Marvin then went back to designing Sparrow and Hawk missiles. As you do.
Microwaves go domestic
In Australia the microwave oven was initially marketed to take-away food outlets, but by the late 1970s domestic models were beginning to gain acceptance. In the ‘80s, we were told that this was a revolutionary way of cooking that represented a low-energy alternative to conventional cooktops and ovens. There was nothing you couldn’t cook in a microwave.
Of course women (mainly women) had to learn how to use this challenging new technology. There were microwave cooking classes, usually sponsored by the manufacturers and a spate of cookbooks telling women how to use them.
These were encyclopaedic in its approach: how the microwave oven worked; where to put the oven; what kind of cookware to use in the oven; how to defrost, roast, bake, reheat. How to boil an egg. Despite this, surveys over the years have shown that microwave ovens are mostly used for defrosting and re-heating food.
Microwaves are, indeed, energy efficient. A study by researchers at Brown University in the US found that the average microwave uses a third of the energy used by a conventional electric oven. However, many people still have lingering doubts about their safety. The CSIRO, for its part, says there’s no evidence for most of these concerns.
In 1969, the wholesale operations of the Queen Victoria market moved to new premises at Footscray. In part, this was an attempt to distance the criminal activities that had been associated with the fruit and vegetable trade from the general public. A history trail at the Queen Vic market documents some of this dubious history.
Soft drink company Tarax was one of the first brands to use television, sponsoring a children’s program, Tarax Happy Show, that first went to air in January 1957. At first called The Happy Show after its host, Happy Hammond, it subsequently became The Tarax Happy Show. After Happy Hammond left the show it was renamed The Tarax Show, and was hosted by Geoff Corke (Corky King of the Kids) and later Norman Swain (Uncle Norman) with Panda Lisner (Princess Panda).
A recent high school graduate, 17 year old Fred DeLuca, and family friend Dr. Peter Buck teamed up to open their first sandwich shop, called ‘Pete’s Super Submarines’ in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1965. They expanded the operation, opening more stores and changing the name to Subway in 1968. Sandwiches were made in front of customers and claimed to be a healthier alternative to other fast food options. More
Cookery writer Margaret Fulton‘s first cookbook, published by Paul Hamlyn in 1968, sold over a million copies. It was reprinted in 1969 and further editions were published in 1976, 1980, 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2006. The classic 1968 edition was reissued in 2010 revised, updated and with new photography. Margaret Fulton has published many other cookbooks, earning her a place in almost every Australian kitchen.
Until the 1960s, if you wanted to wine and dine in Tasmania your options were restricted. There were fancy meals in first-class hotels such as the Wrest Point Riviera in the south or the Launceston Hotel in the north, or basic counter meals in pubs. Pressure from the industry brought about changes to licensing laws. The first fully licensed restaurant was the Martini in Burnie. More
Courage Beer attempted to break the stranglehold Carlton and United had on the beer market in Victoria with its launch on Thursday 10 October, 1968. Despite introducing a range of brands and an eventual take-over by Tooths in 1978, Courage was unsuccessful. This was in large part because of the system of ‘tied pubs’ which meant CUB controlled much of the distribution chain.
Wynn’s perfected the wine cask (bag-in-a-box) in 1970, with a tap that was exposed by tearing away a panel on the front of the box. The new design offered extra convenience for drinkers and “chateau cardboard” helped to make wine an everyday drink. Orlando’s Coolabah wine cask, launched in 1973, became famous with the advertising campaign “Where do you hide your Coolabah?” More
Mexican food was a new experience for most Australians when the founder of Taco Bill, Bill Chilcote, arrived in Australia from the California/Mexico border in 1967. His first Taco Bill outlet was located on the Gold Coast and offered take-away food. The chain is now a franchise operation with 34 stores in Victoria and one in New South Wales.
Founded in 1967, the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology is an industry body that aims to advance Australia’s position in the global food industry. Unlike the Australian Association of Food Professionals, which evolved from the Food Media Club and is essentially about food marketing and media, the AIFST is, as its name suggests, the premier body for food producers and scientists. More
The first Lebanese restaurant in Sydney was founded by the Mrough brothers in 1967 in Pitt Street, Redfern. Oddly, it was named Wilson’s. Wilson was the first name of one of the brothers, who had been named after US President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1966 the GLAD® brand was born in Australia with the launch of ‘the amazing new plastic GLAD® Wrap, a totally new concept for storing food’. The plastic wrap market in Australia is now valued at $51 million with nine out of ten Australian households purchasing some kind of plastic wrap and the GLAD® brand is a market leader with 53% value share.
During a visit to the Adelaide Festival in 1966, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko evidently acquired a taste for Seppelts Great Western ‘Champagne’. On his way back to Moscow via Paris, he startled the wine waiter at Maxims by requesting Great Western in preference to the many French offerings on their list. Two bottles were procured by sending a runner to the Australian Embassy. More
On 1 February 1966, Victorian hotel hours were extended to 10pm – the end of six o’clock closing. Judge Archibald McDonald Fraser, who was chairman of the Victorian Licensing Court from 1954 to 1968, recommended the extension of opening hours until 10 o’clock. He had toured Europe and the US to look at licensing laws, and was critical of what he termed “perpendicular drinking” in Australia.
Started by Stephanie Alexander and her Jamaican husband, Monty, mainly as a way to sell products imported from the West Indies, Jamaica House served curries, Jamaican escoveitched fish and a mean pumpkin soup. It became an institution on Lygon Street, Carlton.
In 1966, both Epicurean and Australian Gourmet food magazines were founded. Epicurean was the first Australian magazine devoted entirely to food and wine. It was the official magazine of the Wine and Food Society of Australia and its contributors included Len Evans, Dan Murphy, Mietta O’Donnell, Tony Bilson and Terry Durack. The art direction by Les Mason was dramatic. Australian Gourmet, now Gourmet Traveller, counted Margaret Fulton among its early contributors.
The wine cask or ‘bag in a box’ was invented by Tom Angove of Angove’s in Renmark, South Australia. The plastic bag inside the cardboard carton held 1 gallon, or 4.5 litres. His wine cask design was flawed as you needed to cut the corner off the bag, pour out the wine, then re-seal the bag with a peg. It was fiddly and potentially messy.
According to the company history of Uncle Tony’s Kebabs, the first kebabs were introduced in Sydney by Lebanese immigrant Tony Khater in 1965. His recipe was passed on to his nephew, Bill Mansour who, with his wife Rita, opened their Queensland business in 1983. Meanwhile, in 1979, Ali Baba had opened their first restaurant in Canberra. Ali Baba acquired Uncle Tony’s Kebabs in 2007. More
The BYO boom in Victoria started slowly, but gathered momentum year on year, really hitting its stride in the early ‘70s. Being able to take your own liquor to restaurants suddenly made dining out a lot more affordable. And while the BYO licence arguably also meant that a lot of people opened restaurants who shouldn’t have, there’s no arguing with Stephen Downes’ assertion (in Advanced Australia Fare) that it led to the development of a “middle rank of restaurants of amazing diversity, quality and value for money”.
Claiming to be the first and most famous of Australia’s “Big Things” (although it was actually pipped by the Big Scotsman in Adelaide) the Big Banana was commissioned by John Landi to attract people to his roadside banana stall at Coffs Harbour, NSW. Over the years, the attraction has had mixed fortunes, but is now the centrepiece of an amusement park.
The American supermarket company purchased three Pratt’s supermarkets in Victoria and launched the Safeway brand. The first was on the site of a successful Pratt’s Supermarket (with rooftop parking) in Frankston, Victoria. In 1985, by which time the chain had grown to 126 supermarkets, Safeway was acquired by Woolworths.
The Southern Cross Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Melbourne to depart from the traditional style of hotels like the Hotel Windsor. Part of the American Intercontinental hotel chain (owned by airline Pan-Am), it had vivid interior tiling decor, 17-second room service response time, shop, an American-style Grill Room and Melbourne’s first tenpin bowling alley. It hosted the Beatles in 1964, but closed in 1995 and was demolished in 2003. More
Adelaide’s Burger King chain had nothing to do with the similarly-named chain in the United States. However, its founder, Don Dervan was American and was most likely aware of the US operation that was founded in 1953. Dervan opened his first Burger King drive-in hamburger restaurant in Adelaide in 1962, with waitresses on rollerskates serving customers in their cars. He eventually expanded his operation to 17 restaurants, mainly in South Australia. More
History does not record when the first Hawaiian Pizza arrived in Australia. But the man credited with its invention was a Greek Canadian, Sam Panopoulos who introduced the dish, with its pineapple and ham topping, in 1962 at his Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. The dish was copied worldwide (although perhaps not in Italy). More
Actually, the Streets people themselves don’t know when this iconic Aussie ice cream was launched. They say it was “sometime in the 1950s”. But the trade mark was registered in August 1961, so 1962 (which is the date Wikipedia gives) seems likely. The original version was Lime Splice, with Raspberry Splice following in 1963. More
The ring pull can was invented by Ermal Cleon “Ernie” Fraze of Dayton, Ohio, in 1959. It was first put to the test by Iron City Brewing in Pittsburg in 1962 and soon became widely used for beer and soft drinks. The original ring pull detached from the can and caused litter. To solve this problem, Fraze invented the first push-in, fold-back tab which was patented in 1977.
Coles launched “A new world of shopping” with the opening of the first Coles New World Supermarket in Frankston, Victoria. This was a new concept in food retailing in Australia, with groceries, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy goods, produce and frozen foods all within one store. >Coles Myer Facts
Earl Silas Tupper introduced the range of plastic containers in the USA in 1946. Their trademark was the distinctive “burping” seal. In the early 1950s the Tupperware party became the unique marketing method. The first Australian Tupperware party was held by Mary Paton in her mother’s home in Camberwell, Melbourne. Mary’s sister Ruth became the first Australian Demonstrator. More
Toto’s claims to be the first pizzeria in Australia, but this is not the case. Lucia’s Pizza Bar, in Adelaide’s Central Market, opened four years earlier. Toto’s may well have been the first in Melbourne, opening on 7 July 1961 in Lygon Street, Carlton. Salvatore Della Bruna operated the business in partnership with Franco Fera and, from 1968, with Silvio Tuli and Salvatore Mercogliano. The pizzas were, and remain, Italian-style (no Tandoori chicken pizzas here!)
Although this book is largely credited to Julia Child, it was co-authored with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, whom Child met in Paris. Julia Child had attended the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and studied privately with various French chefs. The first edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking ran to 734-pages. It was a best-seller and is still in print.
The new licence allowed alcohol to be served with food. Formerly only hotels, registered clubs and wine saloons could legally serve alcohol, even with meals. Balzac restaurant held the first restaurant licence in Victoria, allowing alcohol to be served with meals until 10 p.m. Balzac, which operated between 1958 and 2001, was started by George and Mirka Mora who sold it in late 1970s to Leon Massoni. In the 60s, new licensed restaurants began to open in Melbourne.
After World War II, wine exports to Britain resumed. To capture more of the British market the Wine Board opened the Australian Wine Centre in Soho, London, in 1960. Wine was still not one of Australia’s major exports; in 1974-5 when production reached over 36O million litres only 6.5 million litres were exported valued at $5.3 million.
Margaret Fulton, then working at advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, joined the weekly women’s magazine Woman’s Day as food editor and began to introduce Australians to a wider world of cookery. She remained at Woman’s Day for 19 years, before moving to the Murdoch-owned New Idea. She was to become Australia’s leading cooking pundit, being awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in 1983 and named an Australian Living National Treasure by the National Trust. Margaret Fulton published her autobiography in 1999. More
Fanny’s restaurant was opened by Gloria and Blyth Staley in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, on the site of a Greek café. It eventually closed in 1993. It was a classic, formal, European restaurant beloved by Melbourne’s upper crust. Gloria Staley, though not a chef, devised the menus. Fanny’s was influential and many of the waiters and chefs went on to make their mark in other restaurants. More
In 1960, Myer completed the Chadstone Shopping Centre 12 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne. “Chaddy”, as it soon came to be called, was the first self-contained regional shopping centre in Melbourne, and the largest in Australia at the time. The opening on 4 October 1960 was televised and the advertising offered 45-degree angled parking spaces to make shopping ‘easier’ for women who could not manage reverse parking.>eMelbourne
The first Woolworths supermarket was opened at Warrawong in New South Wales in May 1960. It offered a range of variety goods and food, with adjacent parking space. The same year, Woolworths made their first move into liquor, when they purchased a store at Leederville, WA, which had a liquor licence. Further licenses were acquired and consolidated into one trading unit in 1984.
The first Coles supermarket – a freestanding suburban supermarket complete with carpark – opened in the Melbourne suburb of North Balwyn in 1960. By 1973, Coles had supermarkets in every capital city in Australia. Supermarkets, complete with extensive car parks, had begun their unstoppable progress throughout the suburbs.