“I had been a screen printer in Melbourne for five years when a sales rep. friend of mine was informed that Tom Piper was looking at doing in-house printing rather than sending it out.
I made an appointment, called in and was shown what they wanted to do and asked if it was possible.
I told them that tables and screen frames would be needed and I could set things up from there. Tom Piper had an in-house wood work shop, so I was employed for the task in 1960 at age 22. It was a good step up for me.
Tom Piper canned meats, veg, and fruit. Many, many staff in the factory were Turkish, Greek or Italian. Everyone got on well. Hundreds were employed.
Office staff were mostly young to middle age Australian people. I was considered a staff member and was paid well for 1960.
I had a couple of young guys who helped me print posters and price cards for grocery shops all over Australia. We were a very busy team.
Ticket writers were also there. Leo Haanappel, a good artist, and I designed many posters over the years to be screen printed. Leo was employed by Tom Piper in 1961 as a ticket writer. For screen printing as we did it, one had to know exactly what was needed for the artwork so I could hand cut the stencils to go onto the screen.
I also went out merchandising to the grocery stores using things I had printed.
Gerry Morrow was overall manager, Allan Blumfield general manager, and I was accountable to Keith Murray the sales manager.
The Spooner brothers owned the company. They also had Caribbean boats in Scoresby. Both had good and large cars…..Jaguar MK10 and new Chevrolet or Pontiacs.”
The Tom Piper brand is now part of Goodman Fielder Consumer Foods
Tom Piper employed 600 women in 1964 – 90 percent of them Greek.1
1 Mrs Jane Moody, the Deputy Chief of the Inter Governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) mission in Athens, meets employees at Tom Piper National Archives of Australia image A12111:1/1964/27/59
Tom Piper occupied a large site between Williamstown Rd and Plummer St with a frontage to Graham St. PMHPS is posting this fragment of a story hoping that it may prompt further recollections about this significant industry and workplace in Port Melbourne. The Society has no photographs of the premises or employees at Tom Piper. If any reader of this article has any information or photographs to add to this brief account, we’d love to hear from you.
Thank you to Howard for making contact and getting the ball rolling.