Macpherson Robertson (Sir)


Macpherson Robertson (Sir)

'Mac' Robertson was without a doubt, the greatest entrepreneur and philanthropist in contemporary Australian History.

Sir Macpherson Robertson was the founder of confectionery company MacRobertson's best known for favourites like the Cherry Ripe and Freddo Frog still made and much-loved today.

Macpherson Robertson fought his way to the top of the confectionary industry, having started as a sugar-stirrer at age eleven. He started the company MacRobertson’s in his mother’s bathroom in the 1880s.

Products like the Cherry Ripe and Freddo Frog made it a national giant. A philanthropist and flagrant self-promoter, Robertson funded Mawson's Antarctic expeditions and a series of international air races.

MacRobertson’s & Cadbury
MacRobertson’s, a well-respected confectionery manufacturer founded in 1880, is acquired by Cadbury. The move gives Cadbury a major manufacturing base on the Australian mainland, at Ringwood in Melbourne, Victoria.

1924 - Cherry Ripe
'The Cherry Ripe' is introduced in 1924 by MacRobertson’s and is uniquely Australian. Its special combination of cherries, coconut and dark chocolate establishes it as a firm favourite with generations of families.

1929 - Crunchie
Crunchie quickly becomes a favourite with teenagers. Many of today’s grandparents and parents will remember enjoying Crunchie in their teen years.

1930 - Freddo
He might have been a mouse had employee Harry Melbourne not suggested that a chocolate frog might be a more likeable character than the mouse being considered by MacRobertson Chocolates.

In 1930 Freddo is sold for one penny for the plain chocolate version and two pennies for the cream-filled version, and today Freddo is one of Cadbury Australia's best-selling products - 90 million Freddo's are eaten every year in Australia.

1938 - Roses Boxed Chocolate
Cadbury Roses boxed chocolate was designed in 1938 to compete with 'twist wrap' chocolates. Within a year, Roses milk and plain chocolate assortments became one of the company’s most important products.

1958 - Picnic Bar
Picnic bar’s unique combination of ingredients, including caramel, nuts, wafer and chocolate, represents another breakthrough in Cadbury’s product development. Today, the Picnic bar is Cadbury Australia’s second-biggest-selling chocolate bar.

Other Contributions

In 1925, Robertson sponsored the MacRobertson Shield between Australia and England in his beloved sport of Croquet. This Shield is still the most skilled and prestigious Tournament Series on the International Croquet scene.

Macpherson Robertson introduced chewing gum and fairy floss to Australia.

In 1933, he donated 100,000 Pounds to Victoria for it's Centenary Celebrations. Asked what to do with the money he suggested first, a Girls High School; a much needed bridge over the Yarra River at Grange Rd (MacRobertson Bridge), a fountain in front of the Shrine of Remembrance on St Kilda Rd, and a Herbarium in the Botanic Gardens.

There is even an area of Antarctica named after Melbourne's legendary chocolate maker. Sir Douglas Mawson named a part of the Antarctic Mac Robertson Land in honour of the great entrepreneur. It was a fitting landscape to pay tribute to the Melbourne icon, who wore white suits, painted his factories white, and even used white draught horses to pull his white carts.

The MacRobertson Air Race, 1934 - England to Australia

The Great 1934 London to Melbourne Race was sponsored by Macpherson Robertson. It was divided into a speed competition and a handicap division over an 11,300 mile course. Twenty entrants took part. Eleven finished the course.

On the afternoon of 23 October, 1934, a sleek, two-engined red monoplane flew into Melbourne from the North. As it dived low over the vast, wildly excited crowd on Flemington Racecourse, the most spectacular of all sporting epics came to an end.

Tom Campbell Black and Charles W.A. Scott the two Englishmen in the cockpit of the De Havilland Comet were only vaguely aware that they had won; certainly they were far too exhausted to care. Behind them lay eleven thousand miles of desert, mountain, forest and sea, a trail of nineteen other aircraft that still stretched as far back as Paris.

Australia "the Lucky Country"

Mac pioneered the "Freedom of Choice" in Australia which would result, at the time of his death, with the United Nations having an Australian as the first Secretary, Dr Evatt.

From this grew the myth for some - Australia "the Lucky Country" - providing you would "try and have a go" and not "assume something is not possible before you even try" - which was then, the basic attitude.

Sir MacPherson Robertson (6 September 1859 in Ballarat, Victoria - 20 August 1945 in Kew)



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