These three cheery short films of Day in the Life of a Biscuit Factory cover many aspects of the Swallow and Ariell operation against the very familiar and yet changed backdrop of Rouse and Princes St. It’s worth watching just to listen to the voice over.
Meanwhile, the Face2Face exhibition at the Royal Historical of Victoria includes a photograph of women employees, office staff and management of Swallow & Ariell Biscuit and Cake Manufacturers standing outside the factory, Port Melbourne, c1920 – another reason, if one was needed, to visit this interesting exhibition.
Some of the richest but lesser known resources held by the PMHPS are the audio-recordings of talks given to the Society’s monthly meeting over many years. One such talk from 1995 relates to the re-development of the Swallow and Ariell biscuit factory into the Anchorage apartments.
Andrew Buxton explains how they approached the redevelopment – one of the earliest in the transformation of Port Melbourne’s waterfront in the ‘1990s. He explains the rationale for demolishing the 1937 building facing the foreshore:
“We sold a very high percentage of units that face the water, what we saw as the attraction of the site which hadn’t been taken advantage of. …We feel the water deserves to be looked at and height is the way to achieve that … We fought fairly vigorously to have the building on cnr Beach and Stokes taken off the historic register. (We) didn’t feel it did justice to anything. What we were going to do to the remaining historic buildings was our contribution. Had we not got that through, the rest of the project could have been put in jeopardy. That was certainly our attitude.”
The 1937 factory was built by the firm Clements Langford, prominent builders in Melbourne associated with building the spires of St Paul’s Cathedral.
It was difficult to find a photograph of the 1937 building viewed from the foreshore – the one in the Society’s collection is a very poor quality. Might you have one hiding at home?
Australian Screen on line aso.gov.au/titles/
Andrew and Richard Buxton talk about The Anchorage project 27 November 1995
Face2Face: RHSV Collection into the 1940s : 239 A’Beckett St : 19 March (closing July)