Although there were earlier “crocodile farms” it appears these were essentially zoos, whose major purpose was to attract tourists. The first commercial crocodile farming venture, at the Edward River Mission (now called Pormpuraaw) in North Queensland, opened (according to one source) in 1969. However, Applied Ecology Pty Ltd, the same organisation that founded Australia’s first emu farm, claimed that they started the Edward River farm in 1973. As of 2017 there were 13 commercial crocodile farms in northern Australia.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.More
Australia’s first ATM, or Automatic Telling Machine, installed by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney in 1969 was not the kind of ATM we know. It swallowed the card and when the customer entered the correct “combination” – a six-digit number – it disgorged $25. That was obviously estimated to be enough to see you through the weekend, or any unforeseen emergency. The card was not returned by the machine but sent back to the customer by “the fastest possible method”. In other words, snail mail. It wasn’t until 1977 that computerised ATMs were introduced – the first being in Brisbane.More
Kmart was originally a joint venture between Coles and the S.S. Kresge Company, which operated Kmart in the USA . It combined a supermarket with a discount department store. When the first Kmart store opened in Burwood, east of Melbourne, an estimated 40,000 people passed through the checkouts on the first day.More
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.More
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 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 & 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.More
Australia’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet opened in Guildford in Sydney’s western suburbs on 27th April 1968, with a staff of 25. It was opened by a Canadian named Bob Lapointe and started the fast food revolution in Australia. The advertising line at launch was “finger-lickin’ good”. The launch commercial, shot at the Guildford store, featured marching girls and all the fun of the fair.
Although there had previously been frozen TV dinner ranges which included Asian dishes, the first all-Chinese frozen meal range may have been the Mandarin brand, developed by Gordon Fong in Tingha, a small town near Inverell in New South Wales. The following text comes from Facebook posts by Juanita Kwok, who contacted me with these stories and gave me permission to use these photographs. She describes Gordon Fong’s business, in addition to her father Martin Kwok’s role in developing a range of frozen Chinese meals for White Wings in the 1980s.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 33 stores in Victoria.
In 1967 a new era in the Americanisation of Australian food began. King’s Cross in Sydney was the location of the United States R&R Centre after the Australian government agreed to accept American servicemen on rest and recreation leave from the Vietnam conflict. The Bourbon & Beefsteak was among many bars and restaurants serving American-style food (many say at inflated prices) that sprang up to cater for the visiting GIs. The trade was said to be worth $9 million a month to the area.More
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. The brothers were among the pioneers of Middle Eastern food in Australia. The restaurant is still operating, and the current manager is a relative of the Mrough family, who later opened restaurants in Cleveland Street and Randwick .More
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.
A 1966 research paper by agronomist Dr John Gladstones suggested that the Margaret River area in Western Australia would suit viticulture and had similarities to the French wine producing area of Bordeaux. His findings, and those of American expert Professor Harold Olmo, encouraged Perth cardiologist, Tom Cullity, to plant vines at his property Vasse Felix in 1967.More
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.
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.
Red Tulip didn’t invent the after-dinner mint. Rowntree’s After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins were launched in England in 1962, but the Aussie chocolatiers at Red Tulip wasted no time in copying the idea. For a couple of decades afterwards, no dinner party was complete without an elegant choc-coated peppermint square, in its individual envelope, to accompany coffee.
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. It was fiddly and potentially messy, as you needed to cut the corner off the bag, pour out the wine, then re-seal the bag with a peg. In 1971, Wynns introduced the cask with a built-in tap and cask wine took off.More
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”.More
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.
It’s not clear when the first of the Golden Fleece branded restaurants was opened – perhaps in the 1950s or as late as the early 1960s. In 1964 the fuel company ran a national advertising campaign and made a big push into country areas, recruiting local operators and advertising for an experienced chef and a senior waitress to travel the country and supervise standards. Before the advent of American fast food chains, Golden Fleece roadhouses were the go-to food stops for travellers. During the 1960s and early 1970s Golden Fleece operated the largest chain of restaurants in Australia.More
In 1963, Arnott’s launched Tim Tams , a new chocolate-covered biscuit based on a British product called Penguin. They were named after a horse that won the Kentucky Derby in 1958, by Ross Arnott, who had attended the race and fancied the name. Tim Tams proved a winner for Arnott’s, becoming its best-selling product. By the end of the century sales reached more than 30 million packs a year.More
The chocolate Bertie Beetle was launched by Hoadley’s in 1963 and is generally supposed to have been created as a way to use up fragments of honeycomb left over from making the company’s famous Violet Crumble bar. It is made from milk chocolate containing small chips of honeycomb. A white chocolate version with caramel chips was later developed, but discontinued. At some point after Rowntree’s took over Hoadley’s in 1970, the product was withdrawn from sale in shops and could only be purchased in a showbag at the Royal Shows and Exhibitions in various states.More
The Davids wholesale operation put together the first professionally organised voluntary retail grocery group in NSW. It involved Supa Valu and Foodland, and introduced the first retail services program for independent retailers. Davids later became Metcash, the buying group that operates the majority of IGA stores in Australia.More
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 stores, Safeway supermarkets were acquired by Woolworths.More
“Cellarmaster”, the first regular wine column in an Australian publication, was written by Len Evans in The Bulletin. Evans went on to become the first Director of the Australian Wine Bureau, to write the first encyclopedia of Australian wine and to found his own wine company, Rothbury Estate, in the Hunter Valley. He wrote numerous books about wine beginning with “A Cellarmaster’s Guide to Australian Wines” in 1966.More
The special New Years’s Eve menu at the Rex Hotel was typical for its time. It offered Oysters Naturelle or Fruit Cocktail followed by Sole Bonne Femme, half a Spring Roast Chicken with vegetables in season, Tropical Fruit Salad and Ice Cream, Assorted Cheese and Coffee. I have since donated the souvenir menu to the National Library of Australia for its ephemera collection.More
The Mr Whippy ice cream van company was founded in Birmingham, England, in 1958. Just four years later the franchise was extended to Australia. The founder, Dominic Facchino, shipped 10 pink and white Commer Carrier vans to Sydney in 1962 and the distinctive Greensleeves melody soon became a kid-magnet around the suburbs.More
The multi-course Christmas menu at the Hotel Astra, Bondi, offered such choices as Oysters Natural au Citron, Consomme Royale, Fillet of Sole Bonne Femme and Roast Muscovy Duckling à l’Orange. Accompanied by Chablis, Hock, Burgundy or Claret. It was an era when restaurants and hotel dining rooms with pretensions clearly thought a French menu added a touch of class.More
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, a shopping precincet, an American-style Grill Room and Melbourne’s first tenpin bowling alley. It famously 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
House brands have become an increasing focus for supermarkets in Australia. The first Coles house brand appeared as early as 1962 attached to a range of frozen vegetables. The Farmland brand, initially confined to the freezer, expanded to embrace a wide range of fresh and packaged products. Woolworths responded with their ‘Own Brand’ range in 1973.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 first brewery in Australia to use the ring pull can was the Swan Brewery in Perth. The original ring pull detached from the can and became a significant litter problem. More
The term “TV dinners” emerged as a brand name in the USA in 1955, although frozen ready-to-eat meals had been around for more than a decade. In Australia, it seems the first to pick up on the concept were Sydney pie-makers and caterers, Scotts. The newspaper campaign in 1962 promoted their frozen “heat-n-eat” TV dinners as “a wonderful new wife-saving idea”.More
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
The first canned soft drinks in Australia were produced by Tarax in their Huntingdale, Melbourne, plant in 1961. Initially, Tarax lemonade and orange were released in cans. The innovation made soft drinks easier to transport and allowed Tarax to move into interstate markets, and the following year a second canning operation was started in Sydney. Tarax was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes in 1972 and the only products now carrying the brand are large bottles, mainly through supermarkets.More
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, and on this basis was inducted into World Pizza Hall of Fame in 2007. However, it’s a false claim. 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 partners sold the business to Sami Mazloum in 1983.
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.More
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 the late 1970s to Leon Massoni. In the 60s, new licensed restaurants began to open in Melbourne.More
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. She died in July 2019.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-style 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.>eMelbourneMore
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.More
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.