sweet and sour – insolvent confectioners

In 1842,  Cooke and Staddon were trading in confectionery – a wide assortment of lozenges, jams, candied peel, syrups and drops, including nonpareils, more commonly known these days as hundreds and thousands.  Sydney Morning Herald – 14 September 1842.

confectionery 1842

Some hundreds or thousands of pounds went to the wall the following year when Robert Bray Cooke, Thomas Frederick Staddon and their partner John Rostron faced the court having had their goods sequestered in lieu of debts owed.

NSW Govt GazetteInsolvency Cooke and Staddon

Over a decade later, Cooke was facing insolvency again.  Things really had gone sour for him by then as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.  He was trading as a vinegar manufacturer.
Cooke insolvency

Hoadley’s Violet Crumble bar

Hoadley’s began its life as a jam and preserve-making business.  In 1910, Hoadley’s sold the jam component of their business to Henry Jones and began the path to establish Hoadley’s Chocolates Limited in 1913, the year the Violet Crumble bar was born.  Abel Hoadley’s story is outlined in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

The Argus – 28 February 1911


The foundation-stone of the new confectionery and cocoa works of Messrs. A. Hoadley and Sons was laid on Saturday by Mr. Abel Hoadley, the founder of the firm. The works, when completed will consist of two floors and a basement, and the area of floor space will be over 10,000 square feet.

Mr. Hoadley, when laying the stone said that the builidng would be an entirely new departure as far as Australia was concerned, the material used being silicate bricks. Each floor would be supplied with hot and cold water services, and provision had been made for dressing-rooms for the employees, each of whom would have a separate locker. There would also be a dining room, from which, access could be gained to the roof, a portion of which would be laid out as a roof garden. ……. St Kilda Road

In 1923, the Violet Crumble bar was 10 years old and cost 3d : The Advertiser – 28 July 1923. In 1950, Hoadley’s raised the price from 4d to 5d : Sunday Herald – 10 September 1950.  The price rose by about a penny a year and was 8d by 1954.



In 1956, Hoadley’s was advertising their range of confectionery products on radio.  The Australian Women’s Weekly – 22 August 1956.

Rowntree bought Hoadley’s in 1971.  In 1989, Nestle bought Rowntree.  The Violet Crumble is still with us nearly 100 years on.  And these days you’ll need around $2.00 to buy yourself a 50 gram bar.