Swallow’s Biscuits

Albion St, Brunswick.

I pass this one on my way to work every day. I love that it’s so bold, (in a faded kind of way,) just on the plain brickwork. Tasty.

According to legend, (read: the internet,) Swallow’s Biscuits was founded by Thomas Swallow in 1854 after his failed attempt at selling Colt pistols up in the Ballarat goldfields. Upon returning to Melbourne, he set up his biscuit making factory down at Liardets Beach, later known as Sandridge and now know as Port Melbourne.

FUN FACT: Apparently their meat biscuits were taken by Bourke & Wills on their ill-fated mission up north. (Mmmm … meat biscuits …)

Check out this clip from 1932 (there’s three clips total), filmed in the Swallow & Ariell factory. View for the the quality and service; Stay for super-smooth narration.

Here’s an ad I found from The Argus, 1943. Swallow’s was well know for it’s patriotic fund-raising campaigns.

Now, there’s a couple of kids who look like they’ve had their meat biscuits!

During the years 1949-1963, many of Australia’s major biscuit companies came together. Swallow and Ariell was the last to join in 1965 when the Australian Biscuit Company bought out 95% of its capital. This group has operated under the name Arnott’s Limited ever since. SO THERE YOU GO!


2 thoughts on “Swallow’s Biscuits

  1. My Grandfather, Mr. Gordon Burns Peddie was Factory Manager @ Swallow & Areill – he loved his job and made dozens of biscuit designs (unfortunately many of them were unpatented by him) as a sudden heart attack @ 42 years old rendered Gordon unable to work again. Gordon had studied at RMIT, returning to studies aged 19, where he graduated in the Science of Home Economics and Biscuit Design. Gordon worked at Swallow’s from age 22 until 42. He was sent to the U.K, Europe and the United States where he studied biscuit manufacturing, oven designs in many countries.
    Gordon holds a very special place in my heart…He was a wonderful, talented man –
    he rowed for Victoria and played football for Carlton 2nd’s whose life and work was cut short, way before his time. He died aged 62, after having spent his last 20 years, mostly in a wheelchair. – Kathryn A. Hartley

    I have since discovered several new pieces of information concerning Gordon; He worked for Swallow & Ariel for 30 years.
    He wrote articles for “The Swallows News” a factory newspaper always the first article in each issue; I have 5 of these articles from an acquaintance Terry in Aberfeldy who has a whole room full of Swallows Memorabilia.
    Furthermore, Gordon must have had his heart attack which paralysed him on his left side, confining him to a wheelchair for 12 years, not 20 as I previously wrote; His mind was still in good function, however, he struggled emotionally every day with his ailing body leaving him bereft and depressed even though Dorothy, his wife cared for his physical and emotional needs every day. Dorothy was taught by their daughter, Laurys a qualified Nurse, to give Gordon insulin injections every day! As Gordon was unable to drive again and Dorothy never learned to drive it was Laurys who came to their aid; Dot and Gordon also lived with us on several occasions during their lives at our home in East Brighton. When Gordon passed away in 1962, Dorothy lived with us for a further 6 years until she died in April 1971.
    Dorothy was actually born November 1, 1900 but her family didn’t register her birth until 1901 a year later. Therefore Dorothy was 71 when she passed away NOT 68 as stated previously – updated version 8 April, 2023. By Kathryn Hartley

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