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This Day in History

Australian History

Wednesday, June 13, 1923. :   Australia sees the introduction of Vegemite.

     Vegemite is the registered brand name for a dark brown, salty food paste made from yeast extract, mainly used as a spread on sandwiches and toast. It is popular in Australia and is known as one of Australia's national foods. The iconic Australian spread was first developed in 1922 by food technologist Dr Cyril P Callister when his employer, the Australian Fred Walker Company, had him develop a spread from brewer's yeast after World War I had disrupted the supply of imported yeast spreads.

A trade name competition was held to find a name for the new product, and the winning name of Vegemite was chosen from the entries by Walker's daughter Sheilah, by being picked at random out of a hat. The product was introduced to the Australian public on 13 June 1923. Initial interest and sales were slow, but the product endured through a name change to "Parwill", then a return to "Vegemite" in 1935. Largely an acquired taste, Vegemite is notorious for the dislike it generates amongst some foreigners.

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