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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 2

I Technology Transported; 1788-1840

II Technology Established; 1840-1940
i Meat Preserving: Heat Processing Introduced
ii Horticultural Products: Heat, Sugar and Solar Drying
iii Refrigeration and the Export of Meat
iv Milling and Baking
v Dairy Products
vi Beverages
vii Sugar: Supplying an Ingredient

III The Coming Of Science

IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years

V Products And Processes

VI Conclusion

VII Acknowledgements



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Bread (continued)

For thousands of years, doughs were mixed, kneaded and shaped by hand in batches large or small and bakeries were small businesses in village, country town, or suburb. This was the pattern in Australia until after the Second World War, when changes based on a greater understanding of cereal chemistry led to a high degree of mechanization and a considerable shortening of the time from dough mixing to finished bread. There was, however, one advance in the thirties; the promotion of the 'starch-reduced' loaf in which the proportion of starch was reduced by fortifying with protein added to the dough as wet gluten prepared at first by the baker himself. The major advantages were to the baker in improved handling, quality of the dough, and better bread, since most Australian wheats were, and still are, low in protein by world standards.

The technique for the recovery of wet gluten and starch from flour probably came to Australia from New Zealand early this century and led in due course to the proteinenriched bread which was sold under licence as 'Procera'.


In 1933, Fielders produced commercially in Tamworth, New South Wales, the first vital, i.e. undenatured, dry gluten and this was the beginning of the starch and gluten industry. Protein-fortified bread 'enabled the bread industry to overcome the problems of poor wheat and flour quality in the period 1930-50. Today Australia probably leads the world in the production of vital dry gluten'.[74]

In 1907, Charles Regan began a flour mill in Tamworth.[75] In 1913, he acquired from George Fielder the other flour mill in the town and moved to Fielder's site. He added wheat and flour testing facilities and in 1927, changed the name of the business to George Fielder and Co., Pty., Ltd. In 1925, experiments on the flash drying of starch and gluten began and over the next few years Fielders developed the centrifugal method for separating starch and a method for drying wet gluten in an undenatured form so that it reconstituted with the normal rheological properties of wet gluten. Manufacturing began in 1933 and the flour tonnage was low; it was only 300 tons in 1935, 1,800 in 1940, but over 20,000 by 1954. It has more than doubled since then. This new Australian industry was steadfastly retained in Tamworth where it began, because Charles Regan believed in decentralization and staying near the farm gate.

Other Fielder initiatives were the transport of flour in tankers and the use of chlorine as a bleaching and maturing agent for flours. This company, which by mergers is now Goodman, Fielder, Wattie, logically extended from starch to glucose and dextrose and into other cereal products; baked goods, pasta, packaged do-it-yourself products, and stock foods, but its basic contribution to cereal technology was the pioneering of vital dry gluten.

Other Baked Goods

Biscuits, a form of cracknels, were baked in Roman times and varieties of sweet biscuits from France and Italy were known in England in the eighteenth century. The biscuits familiar to the early colonists, however, would have been the practical and utilitarian ships' biscuits. Who made the first biscuits in Australia? It may never be known, because bakers, and over the years there were many supplying local needs, were well placed to make ships' biscuits and it is highly likely that some did. We do know, however, that they were made commercially in a factory in Tasmania at least from 1829.[76]

In 1854, Thomas Swallow began to manufacture ships' biscuits at Port Melbourne. In the same year he was joined by T. H. Ariell and by 1880, Swallow and Ariell had a large modern factory on an expanded site, employed 370 people and manufactured an impressive range of cakes and biscuits[77]' In 1856, the Victorian Industrial Society awarded a medal for biscuit manufacture to T. B. Guest and Company, another Melbourne firm. Guests's products were received favourably at the London Exhibition of 1873, and its pattern for a machine for making Currant Luncheons was taken up by English biscuit machine manufacturers.[78]

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Fielder's; Victorian Industrial Society

People in Bright Sparcs - Ariell, T. H.; Fielder, George; Guest, T. B.; Regan, Charles; Swallow, Thomas

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 99 - 100, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher