THE demise of the corner store rang the death knell for many old lolly favourites. Those dusty, musty mixed businesses or milk bars with their lolly counters crammed with hundreds of different kinds of loose lollies have been vanquished by supermarkets with confectionery packs on hooks. Some old-time favourites have been squeezed out of existence. Since the 1980s, Nestlé has acquired Sweetacres (Fantales, Minties, Jaffas), Hoadley’s (Violet Crumble, Polly Waffle) and Mastercraft (Redskins, Mint Patties); still-viable lines are marketed under the Allen’s label.
Kids growing up in the Depression without much money went for Rainbow Balls or Aniseed Balls – cheap and long-lasting. The 1950s’ baby boomers were the first children to have money; they didn’t mind wasting their Jaffas by noisily rolling them down the aisle at movie matinees, followed by a cross torch-toting usher.
Minties, Violet Crumble, Jaffas, Fruit Tingles and Marella Jubes were introduced in the 1930s. Mint Leaves, Milk Bottles, Choo Choo Bars, Cobbers, Chokito bars, Clinkers, Snakes Alive, Strawberries and Creams, Jelly Beans, Kool Mints, Redskins, Scorched Peanut bars, Turkish Delight, Crunchie bars, Cherry Ripe, Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate and Darrell Lea liquorice and Rocklea Road are among other perennial favourites.
Hanging in bravely for decades, only to become victims of changing tastes were – White Knights, Toscas (“Where’ s George? Gone for a Tosca!”), Polly Waffles, Chocolate Cigarettes and Metro Gum. Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs are still going.
When it was discontinued in 2009, Polly Waffle fans protested, but people weren’t buying them. And with their wafer tube filled with marshmallow and coated in chocolate, they were labour-intensive and expensive to make.
Citing falling sales and changing consumer demands, the 85-year-old Darrell Lea’s went into voluntary administration in 2012. Although the purchasers undertook to distribute the most popular lollies, lovers of Darrell Lea liquorice and Rocklea Road fear for their long-term survival. Remember the wonderful Darrell Lea shops with the ladies behind the counters with the huge colourful bows on their smocks?
Aniseed Rings –For Baby Boomers they were a real treat and can still be purchased today.
Fantales – Created 1930 the chocolate-covered caramels with celebrity trivia quickly became a favourite.
Jaffas – First made in 1931 in Sydney, the orange flavour, created by Sweetacres food chemist Tom Colston Coggan, has long defied replication by rivals.
Kit Kat – “Kit Kat” was registered by Rowntrees in 1911. They came to Australia in the 1950s; the famous slogan “Have a break … have a Kit Kat”, coined in 1958, is still synonymous with it.
Life Savers – In 1912, in Ohio, Clarence Crane invented a hard peppermint candy shaped like life-buoys.
Mars Bars – Chocolate-coated nougat and caramel treat invented by Forrest C. Mar in Slough, England in 1932; it’s been popular in Australia since its introduction in 1954.
Minties – Created in Sydney’s Rosebery in 1922 by confectioner Keith Wolfe. The slogan “It’s moments like these you need Minties” accompanied a cartoon.
Musk sticks – A semi-soft stick of fondant with a floral taste, chalky texture and strong perfume scent. For Aussies, musk sticks are much-loved, but in 2018 were included in Sweden’s Disgusting Food Museum, alongside other Australian delicacies such as Vegemite!
According to the ABC, Woolworths sells around 24 million musk sticks each year; when Coles stopped selling them in 2015, complaints found them swiftly back on shelves.
Smarties – Began as ‘Chocolate Beans’ in 1882. In 1937 York-based Rowntree’s renamed them Smarties and added red, yellow, orange, green, mauve and pink to the existing light and dark brown sweets. Australia’s Rowntree’s followed suit.
Violet Crumble – First made in 1913 in a Melbourne factory, it soon become an Aussie favourite, with its purple and gold packaging and the slogan “It’s the way it shatters that matters”.