Henry Jones had worked from the age of 12 for Hobart jam manufacturer George Peacock, rising to become foreman. When Peacock retired in 1891 Jones took over the business, renaming it H Jones & Company in 1891. Jam-making continued in the Hunter Street premises and in 1895 the company purchased a building in Melbourne – the landmark Jam Factory. Incorporated as Henry Jones IXL (“I excel in everything I do”) in 1903, the company became a significant Australian food processor.
In the years before Federation, there was no free trade between the Australian colonies and jam shipped from Tasmania to the mainland incurred import duties. This provided a powerful incentive for Tasmanian manufacturers like Henry Jones to set up operations in mainland cities. The Jam Factory in Melbourne’s Chapel Street, Prahran, had originally been a brewery then, in 1875, became home to the Victorian Preserving Company. Henry Jones IXL jam-making and canning operations continued there from 1895 to 1970, when manufacturing was moved to Port Melbourne. The original Hobart premises in Hunter Street are now The Henry Jones Hotel.
Henry Jones diversified the company’s interests which eventually extended to all Australian states, New Zealand and South Africa. He retired from the company in 1922 and died four years later. The company continued under the leadership of Frederick Peacock and was Australia’s leading manufacturer of jams for most of the 20th century.
Like many iconic Australian brands, IXL has seen many changes of ownership, beginning in the 1970s. The company was merged with pastoral company Elder Smith Goldsborough Mort in 1974 to form Elders IXL, then Australia’s largest company, led by larger-than-life personality John Elliott. Through the following turbulent years of corporate raids, take-over bids and company restructures, Henry Jones IXL continued to produce Australia’s most popular jams and spreads.
In 1989, the company fell into foreign hands when it was bought by J M Smucker Co., American jam manufacturers and owners of many US food brands. In 2004, fruit and vegetable processor SPC Ardmona proudly trumpeted that it had acquired IXL, returning it to Australian hands. However, the following year SPC Ardmona was itself acquired by Coca Cola Amatil.