Adelaide's Motteram biscuit legacy lost in the mesh with Menz and Arnott's takeover

The Motteram name in Adelaide biscuit making first featured on the Motteram & Williamson factory in Waymouth Street in 1894 and ended with the Arnott's takeover in the 1960s.

Motteram is a lost name in the rich legacy of Adelaide biscuit making, even through its identity survived into the second half of the 20th Century.

Charles (Cecil Augustus) Motteram, who founded Adelaide’s Motteram & Sons biscuits business, in 1919, was the London-born son of a Bendigo solicitor. After two years as assistant librarian at Bendigo Mechanics Institute, he moved in 1873 to South Australia where he joined the Aerated Bread and Biscuit Company in Adelaide.

By 1881, he was manager of the company whose products included Pilot Bread, Cabin Bread, Adelaide biscuits, Abernethy biscuits, Arrowroot biscuits and Bush biscuits.

Motteram and fellow-employee engineer Edward Williamson took over the business in 1894 and Motteram & Williamson soon became South Australia’s leading biscuit manufacturer. In 1909, Motteram left to start his own company; Williamson continued as E. Williamson & Co. in Waymouth Street, Adelaide. He sold it to E. Williamson Ltd, three years before he died in 1927.

In 1919, Motteram opened his new factory in Grote Street, Adelaide, near West Terrace, as Motteram & Sons. The Motterams joined in 1950 with the New South Wales-based Arnotts, with four Arnotts and three Motterams on the board of Arnott’s-Motteram.

In the 1960s, more amalgamations and buyouts in the Australian market resulted in the Australian Biscuit Company. This included Arnotts and other companies such as Menz in South Australia, Brockhoff Biscuit Co. and Guest’s Biscuits in Victoria.

Australian Biscuit Company was later renamed Arnott’s Biscuits but regional varieties such as Menz Yo-Yo were kept.

Arnott’s cut about 30% of biscuit production at its Adelaide Marleston bakery in 2014.


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