||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I Technology Transported; 1788-1840
II Technology Established; 1840-1940
III The Coming Of Science
i Education for Food Technology
ii Research Institutes
IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years
V Products And Processes
The Coming Of Science (continued)
In March 1938, the Section of Food Preservation was consolidated, if that is the right word, in laboratories made available at the Homebush Abattoirs in Sydney. It was a move forced on the scientists by the Chairman of CSIR. It was a mistake and again may well have been due to a lack of understanding of the nature of food science and especially of its interactions with the technologies which it seeks to serve. There, however, it was established and there it remained until the new laboratories, which it occupies today as the Division of Food Research, were built at North Ryde in 1959-61.
Also in the thirties the wine industry began to recognize the value of science. In 1930, A. R. Hickinbotham joined the staff of Roseworthy College. He was a competent chemist and under his leadership, investigational work on wine-making under Australian conditions began. Not much of it was published but from 1938 a very great deal of it was taken into the wine industry by Roseworthy diplomates. Then, in 1934, the Australian Wine Board sought help from the University of Adelaide in solving the problems of diseases in fortified wines. In November of that year, J. C. M. Fornachon was appointed by CSIR to work on the problem at the Waite Agriculture Research Institute. He became expert in the microbiology of wines and especially in the understanding and prevention of microbial spoilage; when in 1955 the Australian Wine Research Institute was established in Adelaide, Fornachon was appointed Director.
Until after the Second World War almost all the technical men in the food industry were chemists. Engineers looked after the machines, the buildings and the services but did not see themselves in any way as 'food engineers' involved in specific problems of heat, mass and momentum transfer or of design for easy cleaning and sanitation. Microbiologists were scarcely heard of. Even chemists were relatively rare; only a few food companies had laboratories of any kind. CSR, Carlton Brewery and Kraft are examples of those that did, but there were others. Thus, in the early thirties, W. B. S. Bishop of Arnotts in Sydney was studying biscuit flours and in 1936, R. A. Bottomley set up at Kimptons in Melbourne the first laboratory in an Australian flour mill. Also in 1936, Kraft appointed a research bacteriologist to its factory laboratory at Allansford near Warrnambool in Victoria and in it D. I. Shew began Australian work on the problem of bacteriophage in cheese vats.
These men, and many others like them-those whose contributions were mainly in the production areas of food factories; public analysts (who acted, as requested, for individual food companies); and government chemists, (especially in the State Departments of Agriculture and Health), contributed to the slow development of an awareness of the need to apply science to food storage and processing and of the rewards which such scientific studies could bring. But when war came in 1939, the Australian food industry was, by and large, poorly supported technically. There was an immediate extra demand for some food products and the companies which made them swung into war-time production at once, but there were many problems and the frustration induced by the neglect of the Section of Food Preservation has been documented. The Section became a Division on 2 May 1940, and the scientific expertise which
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Wine Board; Carlton Brewery; Colonial Sugar Refining Company (C.S.R.); CSIRO; Kimpton's, Kensington, Vic.; Kraft Foods Limited; Waite Agricultural Research Institute, Adelaide
People in Bright Sparcs - Bishop, W. B. S.; Bottomley, R. A; Fornachon, J. C. M.; Hickinbotham, A. R.; Shew, D. I.
© 1988 Print Edition page 118, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher