416-428 Gore Street, Fitzroy

“The MacRobertson’s Steam Confectionery Works operated on this site from the early 1880s. MacPherson Robertson, born on the Ballarat Goldfields in 1859, began his own confectionery company in his bathroom in Fitzroy in 1880, and demand for his products from local shopkeepers led to his purchasing land at 214 Argyle St to construct his first factory. The scale of the production expanded substantially, leading to the acquisition and demolition of surrounding housing to construct new factories. MacRobertson’s swift expansion was partly tied to their constant expansion of their range of products including the Freddo Frog, Cherry Ripe, and Old Gold; by 1923, the Argyle St factories made 700 different confectionery products, and by 1930, the factories employed 2,600 people. The brand’s reputation was closely associated with the personal reputation of MacPherson Robertson himself, from his signature acting as the logo for his factory’s products to the success of his popular “rags to riches” memoir ‘A Young Man and a Nail Can’ published in 1921. His innovative approach to branding and marketing extended to the form of the Argyle St Factories: these were painted white, and all workers wore white uniforms, to help create an image of a clean, hygienic, and modern factory, the nickname “White City” posed a contrast to the surrounding factories and streets. Macrobertson’s was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes in 1967, and production of Macrobertson’s products was transitioned to their Ringwood factories. Note the name of the adjacent Macrobertson’s Lane.” Lauren Piko – Yarra Past Port

Macrobertson’s Old Gold chocolate factory building and illuminated signage – as reproduced in “Take a leap into the past with Freddo Frog during History Week”, The Age, 18 October 2016, https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/take-a-leap-into-the-past-with-freddo-frog-during-history-week-20151018-gkbwye.html
Old Gold chocolate advertisement, Australian Women’s Weekly, 14 August 1948, page 27
available via Trove http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47220808

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