Monday, October 12, 2009

Brisbane staples: Soft drinks and ice creams

On a hot day in the Brisbane of the fifties and early sixties, the signs on this corner shop would be enough to send a kid into rapture, given that they suggest some of the best-liked refreshments of the time: Sawtell's pure fruit juices, Pauls ice cream and Tristram's soft drinks. The shop itself is in West End, on the corner of Vulture St and Besant St.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #131738)

These two streets meet at a rather sharp angle, so the building has an unusual shape, reminiscent of the famous Flatiron Building in New York. It is still a corner store, but with some changes - the signs are now for coffee and sandwiches. The balcony on the upper level has been removed.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

I think that Sawtell's fruit juices were made in Maryborough with fruit from Queensland's citrus belt, but the juice is no longer available. Here's a label, though.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #190715)

Pauls and Tristram's were manufactured in Brisbane, not far from this shop. Here's a picture of the Tristram's Soft Drinks factory from 1950.

(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; Image number BCC-B54-657)

Although Tristram's Soft Drinks are no more, their factory building remains in Boundary St, South Brisbane, and is now known as The Markets. It contains a number of retail stores.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The Pauls factory could be found a little further on, down on Montague Rd by the river. Although the Pauls brand is still seen on milk and ice-cream, the company is now overseas owned - its parent company is the Italian conglomerate Parmalat. So, the passage of time has dealt harshly with these former Queensland brand icons - more's the pity for today's kids who don't know what they are missing. :-)

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Next: Red church at Red Hill


  1. I never understood why beautiful Australian buildings lost their upper storey balcony. The only architecture in the entire world that is uniquely Australian was the double storey Victorian-era pub, often rural, filled with gorgeous shade and iron lace (later wood).

    Art and Architecture, mainly

  2. I agree. Unfortunately it's rather common to see buildings treated this way in Brisbane. This shop looked much better with the balcony.

  3. I pass the shop all the time and always thought it looked a little odd. That top photo is so much better! I wonder whether it was for practical reasons that they removed it or just fashion?

  4. Sawtels is from Kingaroy not maryborough

  5. Yes, you are correct. The head office and factory were in Kingaroy, and there was also a factory in Maryborough.

  6. Sawtells Fruit Juices was manufactured in Kingaroy as label states, my father Noel Sawtell, son of Ambrose and May was born in the family home next door to the factory..
    Barbara Sawtell Harrison

  7. It's possible that the up-keep of the veranda was too costly, unfortunately, the older timbers exposed to the weather and the elements became rotted... it was probably a safety issue as well. Still sad to see the old buildings meeting an unfortunate demise, they just don't build them like that any more. I love all the older stuff, remember a lot of what we had as kids...


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