The Jam Making Era

George Peacock began business in Hobart as a jam manufacturer in 1861. He bought Nos.31 and 33 Hunter Street in 1869, expanding to No's.27 and 29 by 1882. In the earliest days the largest supply of fruit was received from the Huon, Franklin and Port Cygnet although some was obtained from all the fruit growing districts adjacent to the town. ‘…The raspberries were brought up in kegs, and inside the yard is a pile of these vessels, which were nearly all afloat during the raspberry season. The currants, gooseberries and stone fruit were all brought up in cases…’
‘…A great deal of fruit preserving is done at Mr Peacock’s manufactory…There are square galvanised iron pans, in which the tins containing the fruit to be preserved are placed, resting on trays to ease the lifting out when the fruit has been sufficiently heated JM steam and the tops of the tins are soldered, on before the heating process is commenced…’
Later just before 1895 George Peacock transferred his jam making interests to Henry Jones – one of his employees.
Henry Jones – 1885
Early comments ‘…The works are comprised in a splendid block of buildings situated on the Old Wharf, including newly-erected brick premise, having 160 feet frontage by 80 feet depth, with iron roof and splendidly lighted and ventilated. The works were almost entirely refitted in 1898 and only the most modern and up to date machinery is now used in all departments. A new 50-horse power boiler was erected by Kennedy and Sons of Hobart, and there is another boiler of 30 horse power, the two supplying the motive power for driving all the machinery including that employed in the manufacture of packing cases, tins etc. The entire premises are of stone and brick, of three storeys, with a frontage of 300 feet by a depth of about 290 feet, and a floor space of 140,000 square feet…
In the boiling room there are seventeen large copper boilers in which the jam is made – Messrs H.Jones & Co. use no fewer than 2,000,000 tins each season, which are all made on the premises. The IXL people employ from 150-350 hands, according to the season of the year…’
Over the next forty years the premises of the Jones & Co. jam factory extended in both directions along Hunter Street. In 1903 the two warehouses next to No.33 were either substantially altered or demolished to make way for the Iceworks and the Cool Store.
In 1911, the remaining old warehouses at the eastern end of Hunter Street were demolished and replaced by the large concrete building now occupied by the Centre for the Arts. An article published in 1922 attributed much of the company’s success to the self-contained nature of the company as everything required by the company was produced by it, from the timber for the packing cases to the equipment necessary to manufacture the specialist machinery used in the factory. The old warehouses at 27-33 Hunter Street were used primarily in the production of the tin containers used for canning jam, preserved fruit and fruit pulp. The 1922 article described the tin-making operations as they were then practised in considerable detail and discussions with past employees suggest that the processes varied little over the years.

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