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Archive for the ‘Hudsons’ Category

Done Its Dash

In A.C. Nottingham & Son, Arthur Charles Nottingham, Bon Brushes Ltd, Camfosa disinfectant, Cyllin pastilles and lozenges, Dash detergent, Dry-Bright polish, Fisolene paints, Hudson's biscuits and confectionery, Hudsons, Jeyes' Fluid, Kalana tea, Liksopyne disinfectant, Persil, Procter & Gamble, Quickshine polish, R. Hudson & Co, Reginald Edward Smallbone, Renault Dauphine, Rinso, Scrubb's ammonia, Sprayforma freshener, W & R Smallbone, Walter Smallbone on November 26, 2014 at 10.46

Dash reassembled copy

A mysterious find is this unassembled box for household detergent powder. Was it a printer’s proof for a product that never actually launched?

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I like this time of the year because inevitably, one or two people visit and bring me a suitcase from New Zealand of the accumulated crap I’ve bought at online auction. It’s a big ask – but for some reason they agree to do this because my insanity…I mean…enthusiasm is so inspiring. Yeah, that’s it. Enthusiasm. It’s really catchy, like a communicable disease.

Actually, regardless of what time of the year it happens – it’s like my own Christmas. So, first off the rank is a recent purchase; an unmade box for Dash detergent under the Scrubb’s brand – which was originally British and primarily successful in New Zealand under license for their cloudy ammonia for quite a number of decades.

Not only a great design, but quite a curiosity, I thought. It’s hard to tell if this was rescued from a manufactory and so never run through a machine and die-cut into a box – or if it was a printer’s proof for a product that never made it to fruition. I’m edging towards the latter, given that I’ve never seen a single example of product or advertising for Dash in Aotearoa (not that I’m claiming to know or have seen anywhere near everything). If this is so – it would make it an extremely rare item, and one I am pleased to say I snapped up at an absolute bargain at just a couple of bucks with zero interest from any other collectors.

It may not have got off the ground down under – however Dash was very successful overseas and this brand is actually still going today, being one of the leading laundry detergents made by Procter & Gamble in the U.S. Even the design is effectively the same – now primarily blue rather than the green of my version. Actually at this time in America the main scheme for the packaging was red with a bit of blue. I get the feeling they may have adjusted the colour scheme to make it more closely resemble two of the New Zealand brands of the time who had the majority of the market share – Rinso and Persil. Here’s an old American Dash advert from 1962:

Dingy:”what needs adjustin’ is yaw detoigint.”

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Records show that The P&G Company registered Dash as a trademark in New Zealand in 1958-1959 (no mention of Scrubb’s, or the manufacturer, or even distributor on file in connection). The fact it’s under (the very appropriately named) Scrubb’s could indicate that the English base acquired the American rights to manufacture and distribute the Dash brand in their jurisdiction. However since P&G registered the rights themselves I’d say that the (proposed) manufacturer, Christchurch-based A.C. Nottingham & Son, made the decision to slot the washing powder under an already successful brand to piggyback off it’s good sales and reputation.

A. C Nottingham & Son was established by Arthur Charles Nottingham  (1860-1929). His son Robert Hilary Nottingham (1897-1974, the obviously favoured of Arthur’s impressive number of twenty children) was admitted as his partner in July of 1920. Arthur had a varied career in England, Australia and New Zealand before establishing himself as an agent – and by the early 1900s his client roster included Speight’s Ales, Penfold’s wines, The Royal as well as the British Foreign & Marine insurance companies, Perrier Champagne, Sanderson’s whisky, and Jeyes’ disinfectant and sheep dip.

dash detergeent ad peggy moffatt

American advert for Dash with one of my all-time favourite models Peggy Moffatt, June 1967. During this period, the box design was primarily red with a little blue.

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As time went on the Nottingham business came to specialise in household cleaners and the like – both the aforementioned Scrubb’s ammonia, and Jeyes’ Fluid (the latter still available) were staples of household cleanliness down under from at least the 1920s onwards. In fact the Nottinghams really went to town with the Jeyes’ brand producing toilet soap, sanitary animal powder, horticultural wash, and Cyllin throat pastilles and lozenges in the 1920s, as well as shaving cream.
Then in the 1950s the introduction of Jeypine disinfectant was a huge success, in fact I think it was around well into the 1980s in original and lavender versions as far as I remember – and may even still be going today. I also have a recently-acquired advert for Chalet of the late 1960s, a foil-wrapped process Swiss, showing that there was more to this company than a narrow cleaning product genre. They also dabbled in tea (the Kalana brand) and took a stab at pet products with soap for dogs in the Twenties, Fisolene paint products in the Fifties, and toilet paper again under the Jeyes’ brand in the 1970s.

camfosa adverts 1920s and 1960s sml

Two adverts for Camfosa disinfectant: On the L shows that Smallbone and Nottingham had a strong business relationship in this one from the Woman’s Weekly, Feb 1962. Image on n R from the Evening Post, Feb 1925, courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand. 

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However the Dash detergent endeavour was not the first time they had worked with W. & R. Smallbone – who were based in Wellington but with branches dotted around the country including, of course, Christchurch. Smallbone had also been for quite some time distributors for Nottingham’s other incredibly popular product “Clever Mary” cleanser which was present from at least the 1910s through the 1960s, and A.C. Nottingham had manufactured Camfosa for them in the 1960s, which I will get to shortly. So the history of these companies were intertwined as well as parallel, something I wasn’t aware of until now.

Smallbone were better known as manufacturers in later years rather than handling the products of others, however Walter Smallbone (1862-1941), like Nottingham, had also started out as an agent and importer in the 1880s in Wellington. Of course this story was bound to come back to food – he handled Hudson’s biscuits and confectionery but it turns out he had also had a stint as manager of the Wellington branch of Hudson’s for a time. Smallbone also represented products from Thistle (McFarlane’s line of jams and canned foods), Suchard Chocolates, Household Delight washing cream for laundry, Robertson’s Golden Shred marmalade, Tiger Tea, I.X.L. borax and extract of soap, and Flag (The Hayward Bros lines of sauces and pickles).

Chalet Cheese - A C Nottingham Ltd - NZ Woman Nov 1968 edit sml

Coincidentally this week I also acquired evidence for a product that I never would have guessed Nottingham branched into: cheese. This Chalet advert from  NZ Woman magazine, November 1968 .

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The R. Smallbone part of the equation was Reginald Edward (1876-1961) who had the majority of his career on the sea. At one time he was superintending engineer for Sanford Limited, a major seafood business still operating (yet another food connection) and was rather good friends with the owners – so both brothers were very well connected in the industry with some major players.

At some point Smallbone had moved from simply representing – to actual manufacturing – and were behind Camfosa, a very successful disinfectant (and soap) from the 1920s for at least five decades. Dry-Bright polish was a brand of the 1950s. (Bon Brushes Ltd also had a brand of polish called Bon’s Dry-Bright so it’s likely that Smallbone, perhaps with Nottingham’s involvement, had a finger in the pie of this Christchurch based business or perhaps even owned it at some time). Smallbone produced their own self-named cloudy ammonia in the Sixties as well as Liksopyne disinfectant and Sprayforma room freshener. They manufactured the Vincents brand of powders and pills, and acted as agents for much in demand Quickshine floor and furniture polish.

nottinghamd and smallbone products copy

A variety of Smallbone and Nottingham products: From L Clever Mary (poss late 1950s), Scrubb’s ammonia  bottle (poss 1950s), Camfosa (1950s), Jeyes’ Fluid bottle (poss early 1960s), Clever mary (poss early 1960s), Jeyes’ Fluid bottle (poss early 1960s).

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Not satisfied with household products, they became owners of the franchise for Renault Cars from 1961-1967. Renault’s Dauphine models were assembled by Todd Motors’ Petone, Wellington plant under contract to Smallbone. This may appear quite a departure but seemingly the Smallbone family had other business interests in car dealerships, maintenance and car parts. The succeeding director, one of Walter’s children, N.R. Smallbone – passed away in 1969 – and it seems that Smallbone wound down in the early to mid 1970s. Nottingham seem to have been around until the early-mid 1980s (don’t quote me on that).

I believe that this box dates from the very early 1960s when, P&G, looking for someone “to take care of things” domestically, handed it over to Nottingham with Smallbone handling distribution. There’s no further mention of it so it may have been stalled or been short-lived in a market crowded with other products like Lux, Velvet, Laundrine, Taniwha, GHB, Waxine, Suds, Jet, Sunlight, Surf, St. Mungo, Rawleigh’s and of course Reckitt & Colman and Lever Brothers brands.

Jeypine poster by Jeyes copy

Nottingham’s Jeypine (in later decades adjusted to Jey Pine) disinfectant produced under the British Jeyes’ license, in a poster of the 1950s.

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Addendum early Now 2015: This unusual bulk tin for Jeyes Fluid by A.C. Nottingham, recently appeared at auction. I’d estimate it dates from the 1970s. 

JEYES FLUID tin made in Chch NZ by A C Nottingham EDIT copy

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

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Hokey Information: Poking at History

In Brian Simon, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Cadbury's, Cadbury's Crunchie, confectionery, Crystal Ice Cream, Deep South Ice Cream Ltd, Desserts, food historian, Frozen Foods, Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey ice cream, Hudsons, Ice Cream, Kraft Foods, Kraft Foods Ltd, MacDuffs stores, Manda Ice Cream Ltd, Meadow Gold Ice Cream Ltd, Newjoy Ice Cream Co, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Professor Helen Leach, Snowflake Ice Cream Ltd, Tip-Top, William Hatton on October 17, 2012 at 10.46

Newjoy Ice Cream sandwich board from a dairy showing products of the time. Painted by Tyrell & Holmes, 1958, courtesy of  and  © D. R. Murray of Built In Dunedin blog at  http://builtindunedin.com/

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Hokey Pokey ice cream. A national icon of foodstuffs, and officially the country’s favourite flavour next to (surprisingly) vanilla, in a land where the citizens have the highest consumption of ice cream per capita globally- sitting at well over twenty litres per annum, per person – even beating out the entire of the U.S. An amazing statistic really.
So who invented it? It’s a very good question, actually. Next to the Pavlova debate, it may be the number one most hotly contested issue of that genre.
Hokey Pokey, the confectionery, was apparently around quite some time as an individual confectionery product before it made it into ice cream form.

A close-up of William Hatton’s 1896 patent paperwork for Hokey Pokey, Archives New Zealand.

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Of course the famous fact about Hokey Pokey is that it was patented by a man named William Hatton, a manufacturer and confectioner from Dunedin, in March 1896:
A mixture of about 20 to 30 pounds of sugar and five to ten pounds of glucose is boiled with a little water to a degree not exceeding 400 degrees Fahrenheit; and then from 2 to 3 ounces of Carbonate of Soda is added causing the mixture to froth and become light. It is then poured out and moulded into any desired shape.
The record lies within Archives New Zealand where they consider it one of the jewels in the Kiwiana crown. They did a short piece on it here:


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“The invention of Hokey Pokey signifies how food is intimately related to our sense of identity and what it means to be a New Zealander”, says Greg Goulding , the Chief Archivist and General Manager.

Tin sign advertising Papatoetoe concern Meadow Gold which took over Snowflake in 1955. This sign probably early 1960s.

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Hatton may have patented the name and method, but he certainly didn’t invent it. I managed to locate records of Hokey Pokey being sold as confectionery new Zealand quite some time earlier than that – it was being offered as early as 1892 – by the Tyrell stores, owned by King and Co. It seems to have been in vogue as a novelty for a decade or so, and then doesn’t start re-appearing as a sweet until the 1920s.

Griffins Hokey Pokey Cream biscuits photographed  by Kniven & Co  for Woolworths N.Z. Ltd., Alexander Turnbull Library collection , Ref: 1/2-210966-F

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 None of these references of course show exactly what the product looked like or even describe it, however the earliest descriptions of commercial product refer to hunks, lumps or slabs – and that’s mostly in the late 1920s-early 1930s. The earliest visual I have is 1932 by MacDuffs. It was a chocolate coated bar and what would closely resemble a Crunchie, or Violet Crumble in Australia today; perhaps a bit heftier. Earlier mentions describing it as chocolate-coated hunks or lumps would resemble what’s sold today as “Honeycomb.”

Tip-Top TT-2, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Although Professor Helen Leach, who is a culinary anthropologist at Otago University (and wrote the book “The Pavlova Story” on the famous debate over the dessert) at the time she was quoted (2010) says that the earliest recipe she could find was 1916. However, The Auckland Star newspaper’s confectioner offered a cookbook including a Hokey Pokey recipe in 1895.

A picture of William Hatton’s 1896 patent paperwork for Hokey Pokey, Archives New Zealand.

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I don’t doubt that putting candy pieces in ice cream was an old idea. Hokey Pokey ice cream can generally be described as plain vanilla with small lumps of what is commonly known as honeycomb toffee distributed throughout it. Jeri Quinzio, a food historian, says that the origins of Hokey Pokey ice cream are rather simple and consisted of a cake of plain ice cream proffered by street vendors which was sliced to order and served wrapped in a piece of paper. Often the ice cream was layered in three flavours (what is commonly known as Neapolitan today) but this was not a hard and fast rule. It’s also quite likely that variations had small pieces of toffee or candy, and other ingredients mixed in the plain or layered base – a little like Cassata. According to The Encyclopaedia of Food, 1923, which was published in New York, Hokey Pokey is “a term applied to mixed colours and flavours of ice cream in cake form”.

MacDuffs Stores confectionery, Hokey Pokey Tablet, November 1932.

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And indeed it is thought that the origins of the name may be Italian and come from one of two phrases – “oh che poco” (oh how little) or “ecco un poco” (here is a little piece). This does make some sense, since that the term Hokey Pokey is also thought to derive from a song that was used by Italian street vendors who used to sing it in order to hawk their wares in 19th century Britain and America – and came to be known as “Hokey Pokey Men” ( and thus, the carts came to be known as Hokey Pokey Barrows). Another theory is that the vendors would yell “Ecce pocce”, which means something similar to “Get it here, it’s cold”, in Italian and this evolved into the name “Hokey Pokey”. After all, it was the Italians (and French) that really started making what we now know as ice cream in the late 1600s.

A recreation of Hokey Pokey in it’s original form; in the C19th it was a simple slice served wrapped in paper, often a tri flavour creation. Courtesy of Ivan Day from a fantatsic blog “Food History Jottings” at  foodhistorjottings.blogspot.com.au

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However “The Hokey Pokey” was a song (and dance) was inspired by the sweet treat, not the other way around, , allegedly written by bandleader Al Tabor in 1940, the idea came from an ice cream vendor whom Tabor had heard as a boy, calling out, “Hokey pokey, penny a lump. Have a lick, make you jump”.

Evening Post, December 1927.

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Apparently, the story goes that Hokey Pokey in ice cream form was first made by a Papatoetoe company in the 1940s. This alleged fact has been widely quoted by various, but the only source I could find giving credit was Christchurch City library which indicates the information as being from Richard Wolfe and Stephen Barnett’s 2002 book “100 years of Kiwiana.” CCL’s page on Kiwi Classics goes on to say “…peculiar to New Zealand is hokey-pokey (sic), a blend of vanilla base with pieces of toffee. Made famous by Tip Top, it was first sold by the Meadow Gold Ice Cream Company of Papatoetoe, Auckland, in the 1940s. The idea of adding toffee wasn’t new, but the distinctive taste was unique.” Further to that, the “100% New Zealand” website, by Tourism New Zealand, claims that it was “… first sold in 1940 (but doesn’t say by whom), Hokey Pokey became a national favourite when the Tip-Top Ice Cream company began heavily marketing it in the 1950s…” Yet again the source of this information isn’t quoted.

MacDuff’s Stores confectionery, Evening Post, September 1933.

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In fact Meadow Gold (which had a logo rather like Borden’s “Elsie the Cow”) didn’t exist until 1955. The Snowflake ice cream factory was once situated just to the south of the block of shops on the corner of Great South Road and Caspar Road, Papatoetoe. The factory was run by W.G. Lunn during the 1940s, then Rita and George Aagard took over the business in 1949, selling it to Meadow Gold after they were done after just six years. So technically, Meadow Gold could not have come out with it in the 1940s.
Of course, everyone wants to stake their claim, be “the person that had the idea” – and take the title of the one who invented this beloved dessert. Tip-Top’s claim is fairly dubious, and there is no information on Meadow Gold let alone anything to back that claim up. The janky dates also don’t fare well at all.

A screen shot of William Hatton’s method description in his patent, 1896, Archives New Zealand

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A more detailed explanation comes from descendants of Peter Pan ice cream’s founder T.C. Denne, who claim that they were possibly the first to make Hokey Pokey, not Meadow Gold– and they actually have a written description of how it was first made – “In the early days, The hokey-pokey was manually crushed into large chunks and hand-spooned into the ice cream during the churning process. Later the engineers developed machinery which crushed and blended the hokey pokey into the ice cream”.

 Yvonne Sutton as well as John Denne distinctly remember it already being made by the mid-1950s: “My understanding is, it was Peter Pan that invented the Hokey Pokey ice cream. I’m pretty sure that’s correct. It was a very exacting procedure because you have a porous, soft sugary product inside an ice cream – and to stop the Hokey Pokey from melting was really a technique that was very valuable – and my understanding is that Peter Pan began it”, says JohnYvonne remembers: “I think it was an original Peter Pan product – first made – and superior to all later versions.  Of course I’m somewhat biased. I well remember it  being made by Trevor Franklin in a large steam jacketed ‘kettle,’  and how the golden sugary mix frothed up when the baking soda was put in. It was poured hot into large, shallow, cut down milk powder tins, and chilled. When cold, it  was dropped in big chunks into an ingenious crusher, built by engineer Gordon Brogden, then shovelled generously by hand into the ice cream. Delectable!”

So here we have some verifiable company information, a detailed description, a general date and eyewitnesses.

Modern version of the Tip-Top tub showing the new toffee balls that recently replaced smashed “kibble”.

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In the scheme of things they are a contender for the title however here is another, likely better one: Brian Simon, previous owner of both Deep South Ice Cream Ltd and Manda Ice Cream companies in Invercargill. Now in his seventies, he himself claims to have made the first Hokey Pokey ice cream at a Dunedin company in 1953:
“I was 18 and working in my father’s ice cream factory Newjoy Ice Cream Co., and we thought about different flavours (we could do). I was reading in an American magazine about what they were making there and one was candy ice cream, and I thought “well, we’ve never had one like that in New Zealand”. We had two Dutchmen working there during the daytime and then when they knocked off, they walked up the road to Cadbury’s to do the night shift. One day I asked them – “what are you doing there?” and they said “Oh, we’re making Crunchie bars”. So I said “do they have any broken Hokey Pokey?”and they said “yes, they’ve got quite a bit” and I said “well can you put me in touch with the man that I can talk to about buying some?” So we got some and I started sprinkling it into the ice cream. And that’s how we first made ice cream with Hokey Pokey in it and it became quite popular. Our opposition at the time was Crystal Ice Cream in Dunedin and they started doing it too – and it just sort of blossomed from there.

Auckland Star newspaper’s  cook book with Hokey Pokey recipe of January 1895 far predates Prof. Helen Leach’s 1916 find.

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But I have seen in a book that somebody showed me, that Tip-Top claim to be the first ones to do it in 1943 or 1944 and I said “oh, that’s bullshit”.  At that time we were on sugar rationing , as well as petrol rationing , because it was World War Two and you just couldn’t get the sugar to do those sort of things. So I don’t think that is what really happened. So it was the broken pieces of Crunchie bars – and eventually Cadbury’s actually made special stuff for us because we were using so much of it, they put it in eleven pound bags and we bought it in pallet lots. When we bring on a new flavour we don’t know how it’s going to go, and so we didn’t get too excited about Hokey Pokey at the time. When the opposition saw that we were selling a lot of it they decided to have a go at it. I haven’t got a message for Tip-Top; they are the market leaders and they seem to have claimed that it was theirs since during the war, well I don’t know where they got their sugar from!”.

Hokey Pokey biscuits from a vintage Edmond’s Sure To Rise cookbook.

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It is a fact that during WWII years, that manufacturers were only allowed to use fifty percent of their usual sugar. On top of that, a 25% sales tax was imposed on products so many manufacturers such as Cadbury decided to cancel most of their confectionery lines and put all their sugar into chocolate bars for the war effort.

The earliest verification I have of Tip-Top selling Hokey Pokey are both in the 1950s, both in bulk, and in quart boxes. However the dates further than the general decade are not more specific. Brian Simon is described by a colleague as “a no-nonsense kind of guy”, and his account does sound believable. This could be backed up by Cadbury’s and other witnesses of the time if, indeed, any are still alive. By his account Crunchie Bars were on the market in NZ around in the early fifties, and they were being made from the late 1920’s in the UK first by Fry and then Cadbury Fry when they merged (and then Cadbury Fry merged with NZ’s Hudson in 1930). They were present in Australia by 1929.

Here’s the problem: Ted Barringer, who was sent from Britain in 1952 to work on sales and marketing, and eventually became managing director of Cadbury Fry Hudson for 17 years, specifically remembers working up the almost non-existent  novelty line and sending for the successful Crunchie recipe and process from J S Fry at Somerdale in the U.K., in 1955. By all accounts it was an instant hit in Aotearoa. Although the hand-cut method of production in New Zealand may have accounted for high breakage, they just weren’t being made before then. This probably puts Newjoy and Peter Pan back head-to-head.

It should also be noted, for the record, that Peter Pan first published their company history “Sweet Success” in 1997, a good twelve years before Simon gave his interview.

By the late 1950s to early 1960s Both Hudson’s and Griffin’s had their versions of Hokey Pokey biscuits, and Tip-Top had a Hokey Pokey TT-2, pictured here, exact dates for all are unknown – but it goes unsaid, way after the fact.

Hokey Pokey commemorated in a NZ Post “Kiwiana” stamp set of 1994.

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Nobody is going to challenge Tip-Top’s claim – and besides that “Hokey Pokey” is apparently not a registered trademark, to this day. They recently modified the recipe to use uniform honeycomb balls, from what was formerly known as “kibble” in the trade – reason being that the bigger chunks, created by hammering the toffee into pieces, would routinely clog the machinery. Combining two classics, they also released a limited edition Trumpet version – “Creamy Hokey Pokey flavoured ice cream with crunchy hokey pokey pieces, a caramel sauce centre and sprinkled with hokey pokey pieces and choc topping”, celebrating renowned Kiwi team the All Blacks, in 2011. Regardless of what Tip-Top do to it, they will never really make it their own – But besides that – evidence speaks otherwise to Hokey Pokey’s origins. Yet to materialise are dates and details that back up their implication as original creator.

There is at least the good beginnings of a story here, even if it’s one of those “ask more questions than gives answers” type of articles to start with – and hopefully more information will come to light in due course which will settle this mystery once and for all.

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.

Iced VoVos: Who Did It First?

In Arnotts Biscuits, Aulsebrook's biscuits, Baking, Hardman Biscuits, Hudsons, Iced VoVo on February 28, 2012 at 10.46

This is why you love me: I’m a truth-teller. And the truth is that Aulsebrook’s, a Kiwi biscuit company established in the 1860s,  were making Iced VoVos before Arnotts registered the name, an interesting discovery I made this week whilst cruising the newspaper archives.
The Iced VoVo is a biscuit covered with pink fondant and has a strip of strawberry jam running down the centre; the whole lot sprinkled with coconut. At this point it has been well and truly claimed as an “Aussie icon” much like the Gingernut has been in New Zealand. It’s status as such has never been challenged – until now.
You can find the Wiki entry with a link in references to the official page at the Arnotts site here.

 The classic Arnotts Iced VoVo today. Photo courtesy of  Verity Grace, The Accomplished Woman blog.

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So, here’s the proof from The Star newspaper, 21 November 1905. Although Arnotts trademarked the name in 1906 – so say the company themselves –Aulsebrook’s were making them some time before that and continued to sell them through 1908 at least, I suppose until they perhaps had to concede to the legalities of the matter.

 Aulsebrook’s biscuits advert including the Iced VoVo – Star, 21 November 1905, Page 4.

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Brian Meagher, a descendant of the Hardmans who had one of the two largest biscuit concerns in Australia prior to 1946, is stamping his claim:

“The Vo-Voes (sic) were first produced by Hardman Biscuits in Sydney, not by Arnotts. Originally the Hardman Biscuits company was started by the Hardman brothers who had immigrated (sic) from England in the 1850s building themselves into a leading biscuit manufacturing company in Sydney. In 1946 after their large factory in Newtown was burned down, it is told by our family that Arnotts bought them out and so the biscuit became a receipt of theirs. There are many of the Hardman descendants (who) remember this story. I being one of them”.

It’s true the factory was in Newtown and burned down the year Meagher quotes; but before we even talk “who was first?”– I have a question about how Arnotts could have staked their claim forty years earlier if they didn’t purchase the rights to the VoVo until the mid to late 1940s. Given that, I can’t even begin to consider this statement a contested site. How people remember things, or how stories are passed down, and what the facts are – are different things completely.

A variety of Aulsebrook’s, Bycroft, and Hudson biscuits, Hawera & Normanby Star, 18 September, 1906.

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Yes, so – unless someone can actually provide a date that’s earlier than the Aulsebrook’s creation – the Kiwis win AGAIN. First the Pav, then apparently the first chocolate factory (according to Hudson history, truth be told I’m actually not sure I believe this claim until I look into it some more- but anyway, I will go with it for the time being)… and now this. Being hit multiple times in the pop-cultural/historical stakes has got to result in a K.O eventually.

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Addendum late July 2013: Another Hardman descendant has weighed in here  on the issue. Ross Hamilton Hill had this to say on the matter: “Iced Vo Vos (sic) were made by Hardman biscuits long before Arnotts took them over. Hardmans biscuits was first taken over from the Hardman brothers by a tri-partnership which included my grandfather, Henry Gough. Hardman’s biscuits was owned by this tri- partnership until the 1950′s when Arnotts took them over. It might interest you to know that the Arnott and Gough families were neighbours in Strathfield, Sydney.”

Trove actually shows that my date for the launch of this product has been usurped by Arnott’s who were selling a “Vovo” (no mention of being iced) by mid-June 1904. By 5th Sept 1905 it was being advertised as an “Iced Vovo”, as we know it today. This, for all official documented intents and purposes – scrapes in a mere three weeks ahead of Aulsebrook’s and scoops the title. It should be noted here that Aulsebrook’s had made a move across the ditch and set up in Sydney around 1890 where they successfully established themselves – one of very few brands to achieve that feat. So this begs the question – did Aulsebrook’s bring the Vovo with them, a lot earlier than 1904?  Still no mention of Hardman’s, anyway. For everyone’s claims in Australia that they were definitely first – I’m yet to see any evidence whatsoever! If you have an advert or some packaging that shows different, then bring it on.

Arnotts  Vovo The Mercury  Tuesday 14 June 1904 page 3 EDIT SML

Arnott’s Vovo biscuit, no mention of icing, The Mercury, Tuesday 14 June, 1904, page 3. Courtesy of the National Library of Australia, via Trove digitised newspaper archive.

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Arnotts Iced Vovo The Mercury Tuesday 5 September 1905 page 3 edit SML

Arnott’s Iced Vovo biscuit, The Mercury, Tuesday 5 September, 1905, page 3. Courtesy of the National Library of Australia, via Trove digitised newspaper archive.

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Addendum late Oct 2015: A couple of vintage Arnott’s adverts showing the Iced VoVo have appeared online recently over the ditch; both issued in the Australian Woman’s Weekly in 1960. It doesn’t have any revelatory bearing on the thrust of my story, obviously, but I just thought I ought to save them before they disappeared for good. 

ICED VOVO ARNOTT'S CREAM BISCUITS AD RETRO AUSTRALIAN Vintage Advertising both  1960
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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

Fishy Buzzness

In Biscuits, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Chocolate, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudson's Chocolate Fish, Hudsons, Hudsons Buzz Bars, Pascall, Schweppes on February 6, 2012 at 10.46

Frozen Buzz Bars poster 400 dpi  colour adjust

Buzz Bars point-of-sale cardboard poster recreation,  probably late 1970s-early 1980s.  

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OK, I’m not sure what else they would be frozen with if not a freezer, but thanks for letting us know. Ah, the joys of vintage advertising. They just kept it simple, even if that meant leaning towards scratchings of complete irrelevance.  None of this baffling us with quasi-organic blatherings.

Anyway, I definitely remember these Hudson’s Buzz Bars from my childhood in the 1970s – they were made of marshmallow dipped in caramel,  then covered in chocolate. They were extremely popular along with the ubiquitous Chocolate Fish (a seafood shaped, milk chocolate covered raspberry or vanilla marshmallow treat that are often whacked in there with all the other popular Kiwiana icons).

Buzz Bars point-of-sale counter box, probably early 1960s.  

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One of my favourite childhood memories is my grandmother’s tenant when I was a toddler; I think her name was Janet or Janice, I can’t quite recall. She just adored me (well, I was very cute) and every once in a while she would leave Chocolate Fish in Nanna’s letterbox for me, sometimes with a Little Golden Book.

Of course to my generation Hudson’s was also the propagator of the famous “Cookie Bear” . Who didn’t get their annual birthday postcard from him? (parents would sign you up and the Hudson’s company would send you a birthday greeting from their mascot every year, replete with paw print. Well, to a small child it seemed like the real deal at the time). Of course later on he suddenly became the Griffin’s mascot, which was a little confusing for those that grew up with him, I touched on it in one of my first few, now seemingly rather amateurish posts, on the blog here. https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/hudsons/

Back of Cookie Bear birthday postcard from Hudson’s, issued 1979 

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I recreated this poster at top, which looks to be a card point-of-sale ad of the type that would be hung up in a dairy (known as a milk bar in Australia, or Drug Store in the U.S. – same thing) from a very low res, shoddy photo that accompanied an on-line auction a few months ago and the design looks to date from the early 1980s.

Chocolate Fish point-of-sale counter box, probably mid 1960s.  

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I wrote out the company history for this post but quite frankly it’s a bit too heavy-going with all the complicated twists and turns, mergers and buy-outs – so I am just going to give you a potted history:
Richard Hudson arrived in Dunedin in 1868 and set up a bakehouse that same year in Dowling Street churning out biscuits and pastries. By 1884 he had established a cocoa processing and chocolate manufacturing plant, thought to be the first in the Southern hemisphere (Kiwis triumphant over the Aussies yet again!), so chocolate and other confections were being produced from then on. In 1930-1931 Hudson’s merged with Cadbury, (or some sources say Cadbury Fry) of Britain and that is how the first Cadbury chocolate bar came to roll off the production line as opposed to being imported. That’s another whole story we won’t get into right now.

Chocolate fish, photo courtesy of  Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.a

Things chugged along nicely until around 1969 when Cadbury Fry Hudson conglomerated internationally with Schweppes to become Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd. In the late 1980s onwards things start to get really messy with Griffin’s coming into the picture in some capacity, or maybe entirely – and some brand swapping back and forth as well. And moving some Hudson products under the Pascall brand, just to confuse things. See what I mean? I’m sparing you this time around. Basically what was left continued under Griffin’s from thereon although there have been at least three different corporate owners between that period and now.

Buzz Bars are actually still being made today, at this time under the Cadbury brand. whatever scraps are actually left of the original Hudson’s company confectioneries are now back under the jurisdiction of Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.
I’ll get back to the Hudson’s Cookie Bear, Cadbury and Griffin’s later on in the year, or maybe the following. There’s certainly a lot of ground to cover.


Buzz Bar, photo courtesy of Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

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Dum-De-Don’t

In Biscuits, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudsons on January 2, 2011 at 10.46

John Griffin and his family arrived in New Zealand in the mid 1850’s and started Griffin’s in Nelson in 1864 as a flour and cocoa mill.


Business boomed and he was soon able to expand into making biscuits and sweets out of the raw ingredients he was producing.By 1895 success was such that the company went public.


Now a ubiquitous part of New Zealand culture, and much loved – except for the part where they hijacked our childhood icon, Cookie Bear, from rival company Hudson’s in the 1990’s – utterly confusing Generation X.