Wednesday, October 07, 2015

MacRob

I think it was Hels who mentioned an exhibition about Sir Macpherson Robertson KBE, better known as MacRob, at the Victorian Historical Society. We went along and took a look and it was very interesting. The exhibition closes on the 18th of December so there is still time for local people to visit. Entry is by gold coin donation.

The Society is housed in this old army building, the Army Medical Corps, in A'Beckett Street.


MacRob was a generous benefactor to Melbourne and we have a bridge, a school, a fountain and various other physical evidence of his generosity.  His wealth came from the manufacture of confectionery, trading as MacRobertson and his factories occupied huge areas of the inner northern suburb of Fitzroy. There was some advertising reminding me of lollies I had long forgotten such as Milk Kisses and MacRobertson's Collection. The tins in which the sweets came are widely traded on ebay. The company was sold by his heirs to Cadbury in 1967 but some of his products still exist today, such as Cherry Ripe, Freddo Frog, Old Gold chocolate and Columbines.


My special interest is the nearby fountain which has just undergone renovation. It not the biggest, not the grandest but just a really nice fountain to sit and watch. To one side is a drinking fountain that drains into sculpted bowls for dogs to quench their thirst. Rather advanced thinking for 1934. The fountain was part of the celebrations for the State of Victoria's first centenary.



MacRob always had sugar models of large projects made.


The bottom photo is a depressing reminder of the 2000s drought when the fountain was shut down and fenced off with wire.

25 comments:

  1. The life and successful times of Sir Macpherson Robertson is well worth seeing. Although I really do not care for vigorous capitalism, this knight of the realm really did grow up in poverty and seemed to be good to his workers and his city.

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    1. Hels, it amazes me that he could become so rich by making lollies. His style of capitalism is the type that our Liberal Party would like to think they are, but of course they are not.

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  2. What a delightful outing. Thank you. Love that fountain, and his products were certainly childhood treats. How nice that as well as being successful he was generous with it.

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    1. EC, back then people with capital could make a lot of money, so it is good that he was generous with his wealth.

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  3. I remember how wonderful cherry ripes were when owned by Macrobertson's. Coated in REAL dark chocolate, not that awful compound stuff Cadbury has on them. I only ever ate one Cadbury cherry ripe and swore off them for life.
    The fountain is lovely.

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    1. River, that's right, they were dark chocolate. Were there ever really cherries in them though?

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    2. Yes, probably the glace kind also used in Christmas cakes.

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  4. Andrew the fountain is really lovely

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    1. It is Gosia. I really like it.

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  6. How interesting Andrew, I can absolutely see how lollies and chocolate could make one very rich, they are a little addictive :) Love some of those old advertising posters, framed they look fantastic in certain situations. The old fountain is a delight. I can see some of our fountains being turned off if we don't get more rain.

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    1. Grace, you have a desal plant. It needs to be producing to make sure the quality of life in Perth remains.

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  7. Interesting to read about MacRob. He must have been a gererous man and influential man back then. Always nice to know about certain people who were inventive in our country.....
    Like cherry rises but light chocolate....

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    1. Ripes...that should have been..

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    2. Margaret, it worth while reading a bit more about him. His interests were so wide.

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  8. Getting rich making candy---sweet! I like Cherry Ripes too, but not so much the ultra sweet ones.

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    1. Strayer, I didn't know they were a world wide product.

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  9. The fountain is beautiful and in a beautiful setting. Those sugar models can be pretty incredible.

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    1. Mitchell, I am not at all familiar with sugar models. I know more about sand models from your good self.

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  10. I think Cherry Ripes were a product of MacRobertsons. I used to love Cherry Ripes but find them a little too sugary nowadays.

    It used to amuse me that Radio National had a journalist broadcaster whose name was Cherry Ripe.

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    1. They were, Victor. Didn't Cherry Ripe have a food programme?

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    2. She may have Andrew but I remember her as a political journalist.

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