Sargents Pies were first produced by George and Charlotte Sargent at their shop in Paddington. The small pies sold for a penny each. Although this business was eventually sold, in 1901 the couple and their son Harley opened two bakeries and refreshment rooms in the city. Sargents Pies (now distributed only in frozen form) account for about half of Sydney’s pie sales.
An edition of The Newsletter of the Australian Society of Engineering and Technology (unfortunately no longer available online) gave an account of the history of meat pies in Australia, with a particular focus on Sargents Pies. As the Sargents establishments became successful the company Sargents Ltd was established in 1906. In 1912, they expanded into the Melbourne market and began to cater for state and federal parliaments. Federal Parliament met in Melbourne until 1927, when the first Parliament House was opened in Canberra. Sargents provided pies for the public at the opening event, but more than 10,000 were left over and had to be buried at the local tip.
By 1915, Sargents had 36 refreshment rooms and shops, a manufacturing depot, a catering section and ballrooms. At some point between 1924 and 1960 the refreshment rooms offered a pie with peas, potatoes and gravy, bread roll, a pot of tea and a slice of apple charlotte for 1/6d.
In the 1960s, the refreshment rooms began to close. While Sargents Pies had been a staple at the Royal Sydney Show, they stopped selling at the Show in 1964. The company was sold in 1967 and then again in 1978 to the present owners. Until 1981, fresh pies were distributed daily to small shops and canteens. However, since then, all distribution has been of frozen product.