This site was the head office of the MacRobertson’s Chocolate Factory. The Building says ‘Established 1880’, but it is likely that this particular building as it looks today was built after this, though some parts such as the far left side of the building look like they could be older.
In 2021, Doug Loveless provided a tour of the MacRobertson’s sites around Fitzroy for the Fitzroy History Society. Doug had spent two years as an Employment and Safety officer at MacRobertsons and transferred to Cadbury in June 1967 when the business was sold. Doug recollected for the Society members his first day, standing on the roof of his car to marshal hundreds of women who applied for 50 jobs available in ‘Factory 2’. According to Doug he hired the ladies and completed the paperwork, only to be confronted by a manager from ‘Factory 3’ the following day ordering him to sack 50 people. After remonstrating with the manager over the on/off nature of employment practices, the manager stated “I am only interested in factory 3, not factory 2”, so Doug set about changing the culture of employment.
Another story that Doug shared was that on day 2 of his employment in MacRobertson’s lane, opposite the head office, he caught an employee drinking. It was 11am in the morning. He tried to sack the man only to be stopped by a sea of people who said he was unsackable as he was one of the illegitimate sons of MacPherson Robertson. (Fitzroy History Society Newsletter, June 2021)