1889 Hoadley’s Preserving Works established

Hoadley's Rising Sun Preserving Works in Park Street, South Melbourne

At the age of 21, Abel Hoadley migrated from England to Australia, arriving in 1865. By the early 1880s he had established an orchard at Burwood, now a suburb of Melbourne. He and his wife began making preserves at home until, in 1889, he established the first Hoadley’s factory in South Melbourne. Initially, the company focused on jams, preserved fruits, candied peels and sauces, although it seems some confectionery lines were also produced.

In 1895, the business, trading as the Rising Sun Preserving Works, was relocated to a five-story factory at 222 Park Street, South Melbourne. The Rising Sun trademark was registered the following year. The factory was located close to the Victoria Barracks, the headquarters of the Australian army. Hoadley’s rising sun logo is remarkably similar to the army’s ‘rising sun’ badge which was instituted in 1902, although there are varying stories about the badge’s origin.

In the early 1900s, Hoadley began to focus on cocoa and confectionery. He sold the jam-making operation to the Henry Jones Co-operative in 1910, acquired a factory near Princes Bridge, sought other investors, and in 1913 formed Hoadley’s Chocolates Ltd. Then Abel Hoadley retired, leaving the operation of the new company to his sons.

Among the products featured in early advertising were Hoadley’s Jersey Toffee, Kreemy Toffee, Kreemy Toffee Rolls and Chewing Nuts. In 1916, we find mention of the Victoria Chocolate Assortment and Hoadley’s Violet Chocolates were on the market the following year. The story goes that they were named after Abel’s wife’s favourite flower. Abel Hoadley died in 1918.

After a disastrous fire at the factory in 1919, Hoadley’s advertising implored customers to be patient as supplies of ‘Violet Milk Chocolates’, ‘All Red’, ‘True Blue’ and other famous lines would be in short supply. But, at this point, there had been no mention of Hoadley’s most famous product: the Violet Crumble. We first see it advertised in 1921.

Hoadley’s went on to make other bestsellers, including the Pollywaffle, the White Knight and the Tex Bar (similar to a Mars Bar and totally unlike the current Nestlé Tex Bar) and Bertie Beetle. From 1966 to 1972, the company sponsored a competition called  Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds, which saw rock/pop bands competing to win a cash prize and a recording contract.

The competition was abandoned after the English confectionery company, Rowntrees, bought Hoadley’s in 1972 to form Rowntree-Hoadley. In 1988, that company was acquired by Nestlé and the Hoadley name disappeared.  Pollywaffle was discontinued in 2009 and White Knight in 2016. The Tex bar and its minty version, Mintex, disappeared somewhere along the way. The Violet Crumble brand was sold to the South Australian company Robern Menz in 2018.  Bertie Beetle survives, but only in showbags and bulk sales.

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