The biscuit factory was said to have been one of the most perfect exhibits at the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition (MCIE). Exhibited in the Victorian Court, the biscuit factory displayed up to 90 varieties of biscuits with the latest innovations in machinery and manufacturing progress of the Victorian colony. Visitors could observe the factory in action turning flour into biscuits before their eyes, with the opportunity to taste magnificent samples of the product straight out of the oven.
The Victorian Court
The 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition (MCIE), celebrating a century of Australian settlement, was held at the (Royal) Exhibition Building, Melbourne, with nearly 40 countries sending their exhibits and approximately 2 million visits over a six month period. As the host colony of the MCIE, The Victorian Court covered a much larger space than any other colony displaying their latest innovations (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888, p. 5). The aim of the Victorian exhibitors was to display the manufacturing progress of the colony rather than the natural resourses, resulting in narrow streets lined with a series of magnificent shops (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888, p. 5).
One of the most, if not the most perfect exhibits in the Victorian Court was the biscuit factory where visitors could stand and see every ingredient of a biscuit mixed before their eyes (The Standard 1888, p. 2). It was one of the most attractive working exhibits in the building and was extremely popular among visitors (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888 p. 3).
The Australian Biscuit Company Biscuit Factory
The Australian Biscuit Company set up their exhibit in the Victorian Machinery Annexe, on the eastern side of the New South Wales Court and was open to visitors throughout the duration of the exhibition from 1:00pm until 10:00pm, daily. Of great interest to visitors was a panning machine and a patent travelling oven, which were said to have been the latest inventions in biscuit manufacturing machinery at the time (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888, p. 3). The machinery was able to turn out approximately 200,000 biscuits per day, necessitating the consumption of one ton of flour on a daily basis (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888 p. 3).
Most exciting to visitors was the ability to observe flour being put into the mixer by bakers dressed in white clothes and caps with the opportunity to taste samples of the product coming directly out of the oven (The Sydney Morning Herald 1888, p. 3). Visitors could view dough being rolled in sheets to the desired thickness, passed along a travelling cutter and then placed into the oven (The Standard 1888, p. 2). This exhibit was a "marvel of simplicity" and provided onlookers with an understanding of biscuit works, which was advanced from the old system of baking especially at a time when the biscuit manufactory industry was flourishing (The Standard 1888, p. 2). The company also exhibited two handsomely-finished wedding cakes, displaying the finer work carried on by employees in the factory (The Standard 1888, p. 2).
'Centennial Exhibition', The Record, 15 September, p. 5.
'Melbourne Centennial Exhibition', The Argus, 2 October, p. 46.
'Peeps at Our Exhibition', The Standard, 8 December, p. 2.
'The Melbourne Exhibition', The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November, p. 3.
'The Victorian Court' 1888, The Age, 21 August, p. 2.
'Victorian Court' 1888, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August, p. 5.