Spreading the story of Vegemite in Beaufort25/09/2023
Visitors can learn about the history of Australia’s iconic Vegemite with a new museum in the Pyrenees dedicated to its inventor Cyril Callister now open.
Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing visited the Cyril Callister Museum which celebrates the life and history of a man who changed the way Australia eats. Located in the heart of Beaufort, the museum is set up in a former 1950s service station thanks to $37,000 in funding from the Government.
The museum displays photos and memorabilia and runs talks, tours, events and a shop which celebrates all things Vegemite and the largely unknown story of one of Australia’s greatest scientists Cyril Callister.
The museum is the brainchild of The Cyril Callister Foundation, established in 2019 to celebrate the life, work and scientific legacy of the chemist and food scientist.
Cyrill Callister was born and raised in nearby Chute along with his 8 siblings, and attended Ballarat School of Mines.
He competed his Doctor of Science through a scholarship before becoming a laboratory assistant at the Fred Walker Company, later known as Kraft, where he invented the salty black paste now known as Vegemite.
The yeast extract’s flavour wasn’t an instant hit when it first rolled off the production line in 1923, but 100 years on it can be found in 8 out of 10 Australian pantries and fridges.
This year the sandwich spread celebrates its centenary, its popularity surviving two world wars, a depression and the polio epidemic.
Cyril’s grandson Jamie Callister is on the foundation board and helped establish the museum. He still lives in his family’s hometown near Chute and speaks at schools and events, spreading the story to the next generation of happy little vegemites.
The project is part of the Victorian Government’s record investment of more than $41 billion in regional and rural Victoria since 2015.