More Victorians and visitors can learn about the history of Australia’s iconic Vegemite, with a new museum in the Pyrenees dedicated to its inventor Cyril Callister, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing today visited the newly opened Cyril Callister Museum which celebrates the life and history of a man who changed the way Australia eats.
Located in the heart of Beaufort in a former 1950s service station, the museum has transformed this local landmark.
The museum will facilitate tours, talks and events for visitors of all ages and includes photos, memorabilia and a gift shop which celebrates all things Vegemite and the story of one of Australia’s greatest scientists Cyril Callister.
The museum has been launched by 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 lives in his family’s hometown near Chute and helped establish the museum, 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.
Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing
“This museum is a wonderful reason to discover Beaufort - it’s a joyful celebration of one of our most loved and recognised icons and the scientist who invented it – Vegemite is a beloved part of our identity and we’re so proud to support this museum to bring its story to the world.”
Quote attributable to Member for Ripon Martha Haylett
“This new museum celebrates our unique local history and community in the heart of the Pyrenees Shire – encouraging visitors from across the state and country to learn more about our rich Australian culture.”
Reviewed 14 September 2023