Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Henry Jones IXL Jam Factory


Henry Jones was born on the 19th of July 1862. His parents John and Emma were originally convicts who were sent out two years apart and served their sentences separately and ended up getting married some time later. At the age of 12 young Henry Jones started work for George Peacock his first and only employer. Working six days a week, ten hours a day Henry Jones pasted labels on jam tins. At the age of 27, he purchased a share of the factory and then from these humble beginnings, rose to fame as an entrepreneur spanning five continents with interests in jam, fruit, timber, mining and shipping.


George Peacock began business in Hobart as a jam manufacturer in 1861. He bought Nos.31 and 33 Hunter Street, a pair of dilapidated warehouses in 1869, expanding to No's.27 and 29 by 1882 and a reinforced concrete warehouse was built in 1911. The fabric of the largest part of the building is of reinforced concrete and is founded on timber piles under the greater part of its area.  When it was built, the technology of reinforced concrete was quite new and this was one of the first constructions using the material in Australia. Later just before 1895, George Peacock transferred his jam making interests to Henry Jones – one of his employees.


All this originated in the buildings now comprising the Henry Jones Art Hotel. This group of buildings is located on what was once Hunter Island which was used in 1804 by Lieutenant David Collins, for landing and receiving of stores. The island was connected to the foreshore by a causeway in about 1820 and a warehouse was erected shortly after. The line of the causeway is marked by bronze markers in front of the present buildings. Because of insufficient depth and difficult docking conditions for vessels under sail, shipping transferred to the New Wharf at Salamanca Place. However, with the coming of steam, shipping returned and Hunter Island was developed with land reclamation.


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 Ice works 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 practiced in considerable detail and discussions with past employees suggest that the processes varied little over the years.


Henry Jones and Co’s company motto ‘IXL’ dates from about 1895 and, it is said, derived from Henry’s own quote “I excel, in all the products I make”. As a brand name this motto was an inspired choice soon forming part of Tasmanian and Australian folklore. It became instantly recognizable with the man, his factories and his products. He was the largest private employer in Tasmania and at the time, the head of the largest private company in the world exporting jam to countries throughout the world. A comment in the press of the day stated “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 was now used in all departments. A new 50-horse power boiler was erected by Kennedy and Sons of Hobart, and there was 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 were constructed 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 were seventeen large copper boilers in which the jam was made. It was said that during the fruit season, the room would be thick with steam and the air full of the fragrance of boiling fruit. The smell wafted into the city and Hobart residents might knowingly remark “Yes, it was apricot jam today”. Messrs H. Jones & Co. used no fewer than 2,000,000 tins each season, which were all made on the premises. The IXL factory employed between 150-350 workers, according to the season of the year…’


Henry Jones died in 1926 and over 5,000 mourners went to his funeral. Jam however was made through to 1979 when the factory closed down and the brand had become synonymous with quality Australian jams & preserves. The IXL business was purchased by Elders to become Elders IXL. Much of the factory area still stands in Hunter St and parts have been converted into cafés, art galleries, office space and the Henry Jones Art Hotel.




Updated 22/5/2016
Updated Information Source - www.abc.net.au - 23/7/2015

28 comments:

  1. Hi Geoff,

    We really enjoyed reading your blog, it was very informative and it was nice hearing about Henry Jones. We have put a link to your blog on our Facebook page so others can learn the story behind Henry Jones(www.facebook.com/ixljams).

    From the IXL Brand Team

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    1. Hi Guys and Gals from the IXL brand team
      Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate you linking my blog to your facebook page. I'm just a simple history buff who enjoys finding out about our wonderful history here in Tasmania, taking some photographs and sharing what I've found with as many as possible. Cheers :)

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  2. hi geoff ritchie...what a blog I really appreciate your work and very informative post I feel like commenting on each and every post..:)

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  3. Thank you so much. I'm glad you like what I'm doing. Please keep coming back regularly to check out the new posts and photos. :)

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    1. Hello Geoff Ritchie, a very interesting Blog. I am also interested in Tas history & photography. My Tas Family History;

      (My gr grandfather) was Henry Jones, Married Emma Hannah Andrews.

      (grandmother) Marion Gertrude Jones, Married William James Hardy.

      (father) Walter James Hardy.
      Cheers, Maggi Hardy.

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  4. Hi Maggi,
    Thanks for dropping by. Glad you like the blog. Thank you for your contribution. very Interesting.
    Regards

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  5. Thank you for the blog.

    Do you have any information about John and Emma Jones' other children? ie. the siblings of Sir Henry Jones. Any info would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Vince

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    1. Hi Vince,

      I'm sorry but i dont have anything on John & Emma's other children. I havent delved that deeply into their history. Sorry I cant be of help.

      Regards
      Geoff

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  6. Hi Geoff,
    I met you 3 or 4 weeks ago outside St Matthews in New Norfolk. Thank goodness you gave me your business card! I have spent many happy times on your site. Have passed it on to friends and rellys. Keep up the good work!
    Regards,
    Keith.

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    1. Hi Keith,
      Glad you found the blog and have enjoyed it. Thanks for passing the details on.
      Cheers mate :)
      Regards
      Geoff

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  7. Are there any employee records available and if so, are they accessible? Many thanks in hope!

    Di Middlewick

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    1. Hi Di,
      I have no idea. Suggest you contact IXL directly as they may have records on file.
      Regards
      Geoff

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  8. After reading Judy Nunn's book Tiger Men it spurred me on to read and learn more about IXL, thank you for your photos and information, such great history.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Eleanor. Glad the blog was of some help for you.
      Regards

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  9. very imformative you might like to know there is a scholarship named The Sir Henry Jones Scholarship at the Campbell Street School and I believe it is still running probably in a different format to when it was started. I had the pleasure of being a co-winner in 1949 and my name along with many others is on a honour roll in the school's assembly hall. joan a

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    1. Hi Joan,
      Thanks for visiting the blog. Thank you for the information about the scholarship. I wasnt aware of that award so its great to hear about it. Congrats on your win in 1949.
      Regards
      Geoff

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  10. Hi Geoff,
    Very interesting as I have just listened on the ABC about Henry J.My neighbours as a child were the Peacocks,grandson of George,and who later in my life was the person who actually introduced me to my husband in Rome,as he was at the immigration section in Italy in 1965. I hope to be in Hobart again soon. Cheers

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  11. Hi, Very interesting. What a great blog and the preservation of history. My grandfather used to sail/skipper some of the vessels for Henry Jones & Co, I believe they were known as The Jam Fleet. I was in the building in 1960 & remember seeing some large black & white framed photographs, which I believe were taken from the origional paintings by A.V. Gregory - Marine Painter.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. very interesting stuff

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  12. Interesting to see you are deleting comments which make you uncomfortable.
    Why is this ?

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    1. Sorry, which comment did I delete? I usually only delete any spam "advertisement" comments, which I have had heaps of. If I've deleted your comment, please feel free to repost it.

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  13. It is worth noting your comments about the background of Sir Henry's parents are not correct. Suggest you read the story in Tasmania Forty Degrees South #77

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    1. Thank you for your information. I will certainly look up a copy of the magazine.

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  14. I note you say Sir Henry's parents were free immigrants from England.This is actually not correct.They were both convicts.There is a fascinating story about this in the magazine Tasmania Forty Degrees #77 and I suggest you do read it and amend your background.

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    1. Thank you Ian. I will make that change as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy of the magazine you mentioned in order to read the article. Havent had the opportunity to do so as yet. Thanks for the reminder.

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  15. Hi Geoff, My ex-husband's grandmother, Madge Brown, then Parkin, was the niece or great-niece of Sir Henry and received income from his estate. Her mother was Elizabeth, who married John Smith Parkin in 1885. E Grubb

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  16. Do you know anything about a Jam Factory in Launceston in the later 1930s. Our family thinks our father worked there near the Paton Baldwin Mill in Launceston where our mother worked.. Thank you Sandra Maynes

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    1. No sorry I dont. The local historical society might be able to help you.

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