😍 Mr Fred Walker

Vegemite was first produced  by Australian businessman Fred Walker, in opposition to the UK’s Marmite. It was first sold in October 1923  I was amused to discover that  he briefly marketed it as Parwill  (as in Pa will, Ma might.)

Walker’s chemist and food technician who invented the concoction was Dr. Cyril Callister.

Americans have described the taste as being like ‘rusty nails’, but most Aussie adore it. I thought I would celebrate the centenary with a look back at the Great Vegemite Car Competition.

In October 1926  an advertisement in Sydney’s  Sunday Times zeroed in on  the hopes and dreams of thousands;


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!

Vegemite competition.

Anyone could enter for the price of a postage stamp.

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.

Carryola gramaphone

Second, third and fourth prize.

Note the indirect reference to tough economic times re the car on offer; ‘Anyone can afford to run it.’   Unless the winner had to sell it to pay the rent or buy shoes for the kids of course.Vegemite competition 1926

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.


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.

Good grief!

Mrs Wyatt was duly photographed receiving her new car from the Managing Director of Fred Walker & Co.


Vegemite competition winner.

A delighted winner.

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.

Editor Des and his Vegemite toast

Vegemite for breakfast, even on Christmas Morning.



  1. Brilliant Story ! The whole family loved it.

    • Pauline

      Thanks so much for taking the trouble to leave a comment, Terry. I’m delighted you enjoyed the story.

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