Vegemite was developed by Australian businessman Fred Walker, in opposition to the UK’s Marmite. It was first sold in 1924. I was amused to discover that he briefly marketed it as Parwill (as in Pa will, Ma might.)
In October 1926 an advertisement in Sydney’s Sunday Times zeroed in on the hopes and dreams of thousands;
AN ANNOUNCEMENT EXTRAORDINARY
On page 20 of this issue of the ‘Sunday Times’ will be found a most extraordinary announcement. The proprietors of ‘Vegemite’ have decided to offer a latest model British Jowett car absolutely free, together with twenty other valuable prizes.
All you have to do is cut out the coupon on page 20 and dispatch it to Messrs. Fred Walker and Co., Pty. Ltd., 16 Spring Street, Sydney, when you will receive free a copy of the explanatory brochure, which tells you how you may win the car, or one of the other prizes. No skill is involved, just a very little pleasant thought, and everyone has an equal chance.
And here is the coupon. Wow, what an opportunity!
According to another advertisement (see below) the lesser prizes consisted of three Carryola gramophones and 17 parcels of food products valued at £1/1s each.
A few months the results were published. In the opinion of the judges, Mrs D. Wyatt, 7 Commonwealth Parade, Manly, returned the best answers to the questions set for the competition. I wonder what these questions were? Maybe one asked what was her most economical recipe using Vegemite. I have to say there were some ghastly ones in that era.
JELLIED VEGEMITE MINCE
Slice two tomatoes and use them to line a mould. Fill with cold, cooked minced meat, well seasoned. Add two dessertspoons of gelatine, dissolved in a little water, to stock, (two cupfuls in which two teaspoons of Vegemite have been dissolved.) Pour over tomatoes and meat. When set, turn out and garnish. Chill thoroughly before serving.
Mrs Wyatt was duly photographed receiving her new car from the Managing Director of Fred Walker & Co.
THE WINNER WAS…..
Some ten years later there was another competition, this time with an American Pontiac as the main prize. By this time the Walker Company had amalgamated with Kraft.
I wonder whether there was ever an Aussie Holden on offer?
And yes, we all love Vegemite at our house.