WONDERLAND OF INDUSTRY.
Chocolates and Kindred Manufactures. Importance to Commonwealth.
Providing employment for nearly ?o,000 Australians, paying millions sterling yearly in wages, and utilizing many millions of pounds yearly of Australian products, the chocolate industry, with its kindred manufactures forms one of the most important industrial factors in the Commonwealth.
Fine displays are made by chocolate firms at the huge exhibition now being held in Adelaide under the auspices of the Chamber of Manufactures at the Exhibition Building on North terrace. They are MacRobertson's, of Fitzroy (V.), whose famous Old Gold brand is known the world over; the Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Company (Australasia), Limited, purveyors of "Nestles"; "Walton's" Limited, the well-known Adelaide firm: A. W. Allen, Limited, of Gilles street: and Messrs. Hoadley's (Violet chocolates). MacRobertson's. Underlying the attractive exhibit of MacRobertson's is a real life interest story, which has been well termed an industrial romance. It is the story really of an enterprising Australian and a nail can. Mr. Macpherson Robertson, the genius whose great ability has built up the enor mous business which bears his name is a native of Ballarat, Victoria. At the age of eight years, however, he went with his mother and brothers to Scotland. There he tried 10 different positions until he put his hand at the one that has made his name so famous— sweetsmaking. He learned the trade at Miller's, Edinburgh, where he first worked from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for a wage of 2/6 a week. Thence he joined the employment of one Clarke, of Leith, where he received 3/- weekly— an increase of 6d. He returned to Australia shortly afterwards, and soon com menced, operations on his own account in the sweetsmaking business. That was in 1880. Actually he began business in the bath- room of his mother's house at Fitzroy. With a small stock of sugar, and by means of an old pannikin, some plaster of paris moulds, and a few other modest accessories, he began manufacturing sugar dolls, sugar houses, and similar simple confectionery. He melted his sugar syrups in the pannikin over an old nail can, which he improvised as a furnace These primitive sweets were, manufactured on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and on Fridays and Saturdays they were carried from shop to shop and sold. For several months this form of business was continued, the slender profits made being used for the purpose of securing additional equipment. Gradually the youthful confectioner was able to develop his business and soon a factory and a staff were acquired. His mother's house— the actual birthplace of his business soon formed part of a modest commercial concern. From those
modest beginnings has grown the huge concern of the present day. Immense works now stretch from street to street in Fitzroy (V.), and win the greatest admiration for a man who could without the benefits of a good education, capital, or any other of the usual, means conducive to success, with the exception of the teachings, of good parents and his own industry, create such a marvellous industry within a period of 45 years. MacRobertson today employs well over 2,000 men and women and manufactures 700 varieties of sweetmeat. There is an annual wages bill of nearly £500,000 while depots and agencies fire in every principal city in Australia, and the firms products are found throughout the Commonwealth, and are now finding their way into the marts of other parts of the world in ever- increasing quantities. The works are self- contained. All the boxes, cartons, labels, and cases are made in a special factory adjacent to the main works, and in two large engineering shops is designed and constructed most of the machinery,- no matter how intricate. To Mr Macpherson Robertson, one-time lad worker at 2/6 a week, and how multi-millionaire, is due this industry, which is one of Australia's greatest. Nestlé's. The name of Nestle is another that is famous throughout Australia. The Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company (Australasia), Limited, to give the company's full title, began manufacturing condensed milk in Queensland in 1908. The business, at the commencement, was on a small scale, with condenseries at Too- goolawah and Wilson's Plains, Queensland. The annual total production at these two factories was almost 7,000,000 tins of con densed milk. Such a quantity, however, was altogether, inadequate. for Australian requirements and in 1911 a new condensery was opened at Dennington (Victoria), which is the largest sweetened condensed milk factory in the world. Subsequently other factories have been acquired at Wyreema (Queensland), and Smithtown (N.S.W.). On July 1, 1921, the company was formed under its present name, incorporating the factories, of the Bacchus Marsh Concen trated Milk Company Proprietary, Limited, the Standard Dairy Company, Limited, and the Australian Milk Products, Limited. Then the firm was manufacturing its well-known chocolates, condensed milk, sterilized cream, coffee, cocoa, and chocolate in milk, Sunlac powdered milk, malted milk, maltogen, and lactogen (the famous infant and invalid food). The importance of such an industry to Australia will be appreciated when it is realized that during 1924 Nestles, Limited, had in their employ 2,493- men, women, boys, and girls, with a salary and wages bill of over £500,000, while, in addition to their own farms, 1,916 farmers were supplying fresh milk. The value of the main raw materials used amounted to the huge total or £4,300,000, mainly Austra- lian materials. The goods manufactured in Australia, each year represent many mil lions sterling, and include over 50 million tins of condensed milk.. The company has a capital of £3,500,000, and an authorized capital of £4,000,000. Walton's, Limited. Walton's, Limited, of Grote- street, are one of the best known of South Australian sweets and chocolate manufacturers,
their exhibit in the northern annexe of the exhibition is a credit to them. It is a real miniature factory, where all the processes of manufacture are on view, the public can see at a glance the manner in which ingredients are sorted, weighed, mixed, cooked, and wrapped, practically all by machinery. Of particular interest of late has been the manufacture of Easter eggs. The outer shell is compressed in a mould by a girl, and handed on to a second girl, who fills it with sweets, and the familiar pink binding is then placed on the joins in the same way as a housewife makes fancy patterns with cream on a cake — by squeezing it through a nozzle. In another, section can be seen young, girls dipping hard centres in chocolate, and finishing them off with the familiar crisscross made by means of a fork. Needless to say, the firm has done a roaring trade in, sweets samples to child- ren, and parents as well. Everything bears an extremely spic and span appearance, and the sweets under such conditions are most appetising. Allan's and Hoadley's. Another working display that attracts much attention is that of A. W. Allan, Limited of Gilles street. Huge gleaming copper pans, turning at a rapid rate immediately fascinate the spectators. Into these pans are emptied the confections
to be made after they have been boiled in a revolving boiler, which keeps the materials at the same heat. The intricate process of cutting and wrapping the sweets is also of' great interest. Hoadley's Chocolates, Limited, of Currie street, have contented themselves with a showcase of their sweets, attractively displayed in fancy boxes. This is situated in the main hall.