A now empty packaging box for Vita-Brits, which was made in Australia, probably in Melbourne, around the 1950s-60s.

Vita-Brits, a 100% wheat breakfast cereal, was promoted as providing muscle-forming food that was healthy and easily digested. Scientific research and modern manufacturing were the foundation of the product's nutritional value, according to the advertising on the packet. The malted and ready to eat product was promoted to children over 6 months old, invalids and athletes. It could be eaten with hot or cold milk and topped with fruit and vegetables, and a daily portion was recommended.

This packet also contained 'picture cards' as a promotional device. The cards were inside the packet, and children were encouraged to save the cards and collect them.

The box is part of a small collection of packaging objects and point-of-sale material relating to a grocery store in Beechworth run by Francois Bertrand and his family in the early-mid 20th century. Francois Bertrand was a French migrant who arrived in Australia during the 1850s gold rush. He established an early vineyard and winery in the Beechworth area, but this was wiped out by the outbreak of phylloxera at the turn of the century. He subsequently moved into the township of Beechworth where he operated a grocerey store for several decades, having run a horse and cart taxi service prior to this. Francois Bertrand died in the early 1940s during World War II and the shop closed soon after. The packaging items were kept by Francois' son until the early 21st century, when he donated them to Museum Victoria.

Physical Description

Used cardboard packet, folded flat. It is white with blue, red and black text printed on it and coloured illustrations of fruit (strawberry, cherry, pear and apricot) and vita brits. The packet has slots for constructing the box.


Statement of Significance:
This box is part of a small group of packaging items and point-of-sale material originating from a small grocery store in regional Victoria in the early-mid 20th century. Being a product that was made in Melbourne, it represents Melbourne's once prominent status as an influential manufacturing city, and also highlights the importance on food production in Melbourne. The packaging also reflects the strong emphasis on graphic arts in advertising in the mid 20th century. The box additionally is an example of the typical type of food item sold in grocery shops in the mid 20th century and, along with the other packaging items in this collection, highlights the diverse range of products available in country shops.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community, Working Life & Trades, Migration & Cultural Diversity

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Cheryl Bertrand, Jan 2009

  • Manufacturer

    Cereal Foods Pty Ltd, Carlton Place, Carlton, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1960s

  • Inscriptions

    Printed, back, ink: 'VITA - BRITS / MALTED READY TO EAT' Printed, back bottom, ink: '100 PER CENT WHOLE WHEAT / CHILDREN _INVALIDS_ATHLETES_ALL NEED THIS BODY-BUILDING, MUSCLE-FORMING FOOD' Printed, back top, ink': 'MANUFACTURED BY / Cereal Foods (N.S.W.) Pty. Ltd., Shepherd Street, Sydney. Cereal Foods Pty. Ltd., Carlton Place, Carlton, Melb., Victoria. / Cereal Foods (W.A.) Pty. Ltd., 1-3 Harvest Rd., North Fremantle. / Cereal Foods (Q'ld.) Pty. Ltd., Wellington Rd., Woolloongabba, / South Brisbane. / Cereal Foods Pty. Ltd., Mowbray, Launceston, Tasmania. / 12 OZS. NETT WHEN PACKED' Printed, side, ink: 'VITA-BRITS / Simply POUR ON MILK' Printed, side top, ink: text is in a red circle 'BOYS & GIRLS / SAVE THE / PICTURE CARDS / IN THIS PACKET' Printed, front, ink: 'VITA-BRITS / WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS / The special study of Wheat Products, aided by modern manufacturing methods, has / made possible the preparation of Whole Wheat in its most nutritious and appetisingly / palatable form - VITA-BRITS. The Whole of the Wheat, rolled into dainty flakes, / is toasted and pressed into brittle wafers, forming a food of the highest nutritive / value combined with the greatest ease of digestion and assimilation. Not recommended / for Children under the age of 6 months. Packed ready to eat.' Printed, front top, ink: 'VITA-BRITS / WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS / The practice of taking a breakfast dish of VITA-BRITS - with hot or / cold milk added - and the liberal use of fresh fruit and vegetables, / is the ideal diet to promote growth, health and vigour. / EAT VITA-BRITS DAILY - IN THE INTERESTS OF BETTER HEALTH' Printed, side, ink:'VITA-BRITS / Delicious WITH FRUIT' Printed, side top, ink: text is in a red circle 'BOYS & GIRLS / SAVE THE / PICTURE CARDS / IN THIS PACKET'

  • Brand Names

    Vita-Brits (Breakfast Cereal)

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Food & drink packaging

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions - Folded

    294 mm (Width), 22.2 mm (Height)
    The packet is warped in places so the depth or thickness will vary.

  • Keywords

    Food, Food & Drink Consumption, Health & Well-Being, Manufacturing, Migrant Businesses, Migration & Settlement, Packaging, Promotional Materials