1954 (?) Choo Choo Bar

The original Choo Choo Bar graphic featured a gollywog as the train driver

The Choo-Choo Bar was originally made by Plaistowe in Western Australia. Hearsay suggests it arrived in the early 1950s – it was certainly advertised by 1954. The wrapper of the chewy liquorice-flavoured toffee bar originally depicted a train being driven by a very non-PC gollywog.

The Choo Choo bar has had a chequered ownership history, thanks to the many upheavals, mergers and takeovers in the confectionery industry over the decades. In 1976, Life Savers Australia acquired Plaistowe. But back in 1964, Life Savers had bought Mastercraft, makers of the  Scorched Peanut Bar, Redskins and Mint Patties. It seems that, after the Plaistowe acquisition, the company began to market the Choo Choo Bar under the Mastercraft brand. Life Savers Australia was in turn acquired by Nestlé in 1985.

Choo Choos were discontinued at some time in the 1990s after Nestlé acquired the business.  They were revived after Lagoon Confectioners purchased the brand in 2007. It seems up to smaller confectionery companies to revive old favourites. The dearly loved Mastercraft Scorched Peanut Bar, introduced in the 1940s, also disappeared for a time but was reintroduced by Cooks Confectionery in 2019.

The steam train (the Choo-Choo Funtime Express) on the Choo-Choo Bar wrapper is being ridden by a cast of cartoon characters. The train remains, but the original gollywog driver has since been replaced by a monkey. There is also a raspberry-flavoured Choo-Choo.

Lagoon Confectioners itself has a long history.  The company began manufacturing in 1929 in South Melbourne opposite Albert Park Lake. They later moved to Port Melbourne and then to Williamstown North. Before they reinstated the Choo-Choo Bar they were best known for making Sherbert Bombs.

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