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Swallow & Ariell Ltd

Australia's first biscuit company was founded in 1854 by Thomas Swallow. Within five years he had taken in a partner, T.H. Ariell. After Ariell died in 1875, F.T. Derham was appointed partner and managing director in 1877, a position held by several generations of his descendants. By the early 1880s the Port Melbourne factory extended to 3 acres (1.2 ha), and the company owned flourmills and sugar plantations in the Goulburn Valley and Northern Queensland. With no equal outside Great Britain, Swallow & Ariell was the fifth largest biscuit company in the world, manufacturing over 100 varieties, including the common ship biscuit (an original product) and meat biscuits (apparently taken by Burke and Wills on their ill-fated expedition). The company also boasted popular sideline products, including cakes, plum puddings, ice-cream and dried fruit. Renowned for its patriotic fundraising campaigns during both world wars, it diverted most of its biscuits and plum puddings to the Australian and US services in World War II. Company employees were filmed leaving work in 1905 in the Salvation Army film unit's first sponsored industrial documentary film. The surviving opening sequences are held by ScreenSound Australia. The company was delisted on 5 August 1964 following acquisition of more than 95% of its capital by the Australian Biscuit Co. The factory was later registered by the National Trust and converted into units.

Fay Anderson

Derham, G.A. (ed.), The first hundred years, 1854-1954: Swallow & Ariell Ltd, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Swallow & Ariell Ltd, Melbourne, 1954. Details