Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 05:12
ThreadID: 100860 Views:5642 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
This Thread has been Archived
In 1919, prior to the introduction of Vegemite, the Sanitarium Health Food Company in New Zealand began manufacturing and shipping to Australia a version of Vegemite's biggest competitor, Marmite. Vegemite was invented in 1922 by food technologist Cyril P. Callister when, following the disruption of British Marmite imports after World War I, his employer, the Australian company Fred Walker & Co., gave him the task of developing a spread from the used yeast being dumped by breweries. Callister had been hired by the chairman Fred Walker.
Vegemite was registered as a trademark in Australia that same year. Callister used autolysis to break down the yeast cells from waste obtained from the Carlton & United brewery. Concentrating the clear liquid extract and blending with salt and celery and onion extracts formed a sticky black paste.




Callister was born in Chute, near Ballarat in the Australian state of Victoria on the 16 February 1893. The son of a teacher and post master and one of nine children, he attended the Ballarat School of Mines and later won a scholarship to the University of Melbourne. In early 1915, Callister was employed by food manufacturer Lewis & Whitty, but later that year he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. However, he was soon withdrawn from active service and assigned to the Munitions Branch, making explosives in Britain. Following the end of World War I, he married Scottish girl Katherine Hope Mundell and returned to Australia and resumed employment with Lewis & Whitty in 1919.
Following a nationwide competition with a prize of £50 to find a name for the new spread, the name "Vegemite" was selected out of a hat by Fred Walker's daughter, Sheilah. Vegemite first appeared on the market in 1923 with advertising emphasising the value of Vegemite to children's health but failed to sell very well. Faced with growing competition from Marmite, from 1928 to 1935 the product was renamed as "Parwill" to make use of the advertising slogan "Marmite but Parwill", a convoluted pun on the new name and that of its competitor; "If Ma [mother] might... then Pa [father] will." This attempt to expand market share was unsuccessful and the name was changed back to Vegemite; but did not recover lost market share.

Fred Walker was an Australian businessman and founder of Fred Walker & Co. The company is best known for creating Vegemite, a food paste and Australian cultural icon.
Walker was born in Melbourne and won a scholarship to attend Caulfield Grammar School. He worked in the food import and export industry, and founded Fred Walker & Co in Hong Kong in 1903. The company began manufacturing canned foods and bonox, a beef extract product still produced today, and grew to operate around Australia and in New Zealand.



Fred Walker began a partnership with American businessman James L. Kraft to manufacture processed cheese in 1925, and by 1930 was chairman of Kraft Walker Cheese Co, a separate company from Fred Walker & Co but managed by the same staff. He was also successful at attracting staff by offering workers social club, allowing for morning tea breaks from manufacturing, providing first aid and canteen facilities, and modern work systems that increased employee productivity.
10 years after the Vegemite brand’s initial launch, a dramatic change is given to the appearance of the jar. Multi-purpose jars are developed that can be converted into an egg cup, salt and pepper shaker or mustard pots (complete with a spoon) once the Vegemite spread has been consumed.
Sizes of Vegemite spread jars change to meet the demand in popularity – Vegemite spread became available in 2, 4, 6 and 8 ounce jars and 1 and 6 pound tins.


In 1925, Walker had established the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. as a joint venture company with J.L. Kraft & Bros to market processed cheese and, following the failure of Parwill, in 1935 he used the success of Kraft Walker Cheese to promote Vegemite. In a two-year campaign to promote sales, Vegemite was given away free with Kraft Walker cheese products via coupon redemption and this was followed by poetry competitions with imported American Pontiac cars being offered as prizes. Sales responded and in 1939 Vegemite was officially endorsed by the British Medical Association as a rich source of B vitamins. Rationed in Australia during World War II, Vegemite was included in Australian Army rations and by the late 1940s was used in nine out of ten Australian homes.

In the photo below showing 4 jars the top left is 1922 Vegemite spread debuts in an amber glass jar.
The top right is 1926 Vegemite spread, it was available in a limited edition porcelain jar
The bottom left was a 1933 Showbag Sample. And the bottom right is a porcelain jar
And probably similar as the broken jar I found at Adelaide River




Fred Walker died of heart disease in 1935. Fred Walker & Co was eventually purchased by Kraft Foods following Walker's death.

In April 1984, a 115g jar of vegemite became the first product in Australia to be electronically scanned at a checkout



.
still going strong with 836,179 K's

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 3 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Corrugate75 - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 06:35

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 06:35
Thanks Doug,
One of the highlights of Sunday morning, reading your history page.
Have you considered putting a random selection in a book form, I think it would make a great 'coffee table' book.
Thanks again, now I know what to have for breakfast this morning.
Cheers
Corrugate
AnswerID: 505935

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:16

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:16
Hi

Some copyright issues there...only about 1% of the work is Doug's (I could be over estimating here). Rest is cut and paste from Wikipedia (generally), which is no big deal but DT would need to start acknowledging sources if a book was produced to stay in the bounds of the law...and to be polite to the people who actually went to the trouble of researching and writing the material if nothing else.

Also books are not cheap to produce (especially ones with photos) so I could not see a "coffee table book" being an economic proposition even if proper procedures followed...though I could be wrong.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 782857

Reply By: Member - MUZBRY(Vic) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 07:59

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 07:59
Good morning Doug
I remember having white vegemite jars as a little fella.
Thanks

Muzbry
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 505939

Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 08:21

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 08:21
I agree with Corrugate...these stories are all iconic Australiana in content and would make an excellent coffee table book. Not everyone has the time or inclination to read a full book separately on each of these topics but a few pages on each one makes stimulating reading.
Also Doug can I suggest a future topic ? (my apologies if you have already covered this ...as I have not read Sunday History for very long).
I think the Bee Gees would make a good story. They grew up in Redcliffe near Brisbane and recently the Council opened a bronze statue of the trio along with a memorial board of their life. These boys are an iconic Australian band that became one of the most successful bands in our history. Just a thought.
Cheers
AnswerID: 505942

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:19

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:19
Hi

All about the Bee Gees here

..even mentions the new statue...

"On 14 February 2013, Barry Gibb unveiled a statue of the Bee Gees, as well as unveiling "Bee Gees Way" (a walkway filled with photos of the Bee Gees), in honour of the Bee Gees in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia"

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 782858

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:55

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:55
Thanks Greg for that link but I am aware there is plenty of info links to the Bee Gees. But that applies to all topics Doug puts on here...most info comes from Wikipedia (nothing wrong with that).
I just thought this would still be a good forum to do a history of the Bee Gees as Doug has developed a high level skill in summarising info from other sources and producing an interesting history lesson.
Cheers
0
FollowupID: 782861

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 13:57

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 13:57
You can be a bit more blunt if you like Wamuranman :).
Dave.
0
FollowupID: 782878

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 11:50

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 11:50
Sorry - thought you had a genuine interest in the Bee Gees so provided a link. There is quite a lot of information there on the Wiki site, though the Bee Gees did have a fairly long career so bit hard to shave it down too much. They have broken up the article up into subsections which makes it easier to read.

Overall I didn't find the amount information so overwhelming to the point where I thought I needed someone else to delete selected sentences/paragraphs (i.e. "summarise") and then put it on another website for me to read but everyone is different. Don't get me wrong, the service being provided by DT is obviously appreciated by some in this respect, which is a good thing.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 782937

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:40

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 19:40
Thats OK Greg. I may have sounded a little blunt. But I was not out to offend you in any way. I understand where you are coming from.
I am interested in these boys and a fan of their music. I have not read the Wikipedia link on the Bee Gees but there has been a lot in the local papers here recently in Brisbane as well as a multi page story in the Qweekend Magazine.
But not all Forum members would have read those stories. I was just making a suggestion to Doug that they would make a worthwhile Sunday history topic...especially while Barry Gibb (only living Bee Gee) is in Australia. Not all Forum members may have been aware they grew up in Redcliffe (there old house is still there) and claim this area as the area they went to school in and grew up in.
Thanks again for your comments. It was a good one as well.
Cheers

0
FollowupID: 782984

Reply By: Member - daz (SA) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 09:27

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 09:27
Thanks Doug
A great read this morning, Always keep two big jars of Vegemite in the house, Nothing worse than running out of it
Daz
AnswerID: 505946

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:48

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:48
Good morning Doug,

Yes, an interesting story.

I am looking forward to Marmite coming back onto the market; this month I think.

The factory in Christchurch was extensively damaged by the earthquake there.

I find Vegemite very salty in comparison (and I gave it up after they put THAT compliance certificate symbol on the label).



I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 505952

Follow Up By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:50

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:50
You are not suppose to eat the label....

.
still going strong with 836,179 K's

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 782852

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:40

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 11:40
GB, I think Marmite will be back on the shelf in NZ in March but some months away in Australia (Marmite has a significant market share in Australia but outsells Vegemite in NZ).
A friend recently paid $10 at auction for a small jar of Marmite...lol.






0
FollowupID: 782859

Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:01

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:01
Hi Gone Bush, I think 'that' symbol you are referring to (that's if I've got it right) is on a lot of products that is in peoples cupboards today. If you are referring to the info in an email that has been circling around for a couple of years now, it appears that info could be false anyway. Don't quote me on that but I did do a check and it has come up false. It apparently is to assure a certain section of our society that it is OK for them to eat...... creates a larger market depth. I love my vegemite......LOL
Cheers
D


Simba, our much missed baby.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 782892

Follow Up By: Member - G.T. - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 17:45

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 17:45
Aldi`s Brekkie Mite is very similar to Marmite ,probably cheaper than Vegemite & Marmite. Regards G.T.
0
FollowupID: 783584

Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 18:40

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 18:40
Nah............

I'll stick to the real thing VEGEMITE, Brekkie Mite is made in Brazil anyway.

You can buy a 950gm tub of Vegemite at Costco for $7.99 not bad!!!
0
FollowupID: 783593

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 19:55

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 19:55
We have 3 of these spreads in our house to meet different tastes. I think they are all acquired tastes depending on what you grew up with. My wife only eats Promite, my daughter only eats Vegimite but I prefer Marmite. Marmite is the only one that is meat free....i.e. suitable for vegetarians.

Cheers
0
FollowupID: 783602

Reply By: Member - Noel K (NT) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 12:37

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 12:37
Hey Doug,
Very tasty topic today mate.

Nar stuff the Marmite, you can't get better than a poached egg on toast with VEGEMITE....and I would much rather be a Happy Vegemite than a marmite!

Noel K.
AnswerID: 505959

Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:03

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:03
Thanks Doug for todays History Lesson, there is so much of the history of Vegemite that I didn't know, I just enjoy eating it, on fresh, warm bread with butter, or on toast...... I did enjoy the read.....
Cheers
Deanna


Simba, our much missed baby.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 505982

Reply By: Member - Matt M - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:02

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:02
Vegemite vs. Promite. It split our family 50/50 growing up.
AnswerID: 506094

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:32

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:32
Nah, you are not an Aussie unless you have developed a love of Vegemite. Today's palate has changed (preferring sweet tastes to salty) so Aussie parents must muster up perseverance to get their kids to develop the liking for it. I have won in my house! We always serve "cheese & vegemite" grilled toasties, never just cheese on toast, and even better we sometimes do vegemite and gerkin with grilled cheese on top, as well as vegemites soldiers for the dipping eggs. When camping, Vegemite makes a great soup stock and adds just the right touch of flavour in casseroles too ;)
Michelle Martin
Marketing & Customer Support
I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: HF Radio System: Codan NGT AR Voice with 9350 Autotune & Garmin GPS
Moderator

AnswerID: 506103

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)