As bright as bright can be!
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast lunch and tea!
Our mummy says we're growing stronger every single week
Because we love our Vegemite
We all adore our Vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheek!
It was invented, or discovered if you prefer, way back in 1922 by a young chemist with the impressive name of Dr Cyril P Callister, who was hired by the Fred Walker Food Company (which became Kraft Foods Limited in 1950) to make a spread out of brewers yeast. They wanted a convenient source of Vitamin B, and this seemed to be the answer.
So he developed this spread, and released it labelled "Pure Vegetable Extract". He then launched a competition so that the public could name the spread properly. In a remarkable twist of fate, or perhaps by some darker means, Fred Walker's daughter, out of all the hundreds of entries, won by naming it Vegemite.
The spread's popularity was not immediate. Marmite dominated the market, and people seemed reluctant at first to try the new option. But Vegemite was helped along by another invite to the public, this time to come up with a jingle which is now passed into each Australian fetus via the umbilical cord so that all babies are born knowing and singing the song transcribed above. Vegemite was also given a massive boost by being approved by the British Medical Association as a great source of Vitamin B.
During World War II, domestic supplies of Vegemite were severely restricted due to the demand from the armed forces. We shipped that stuff out to "our boys" like it was going out of fashion. But it wasn't. Demand for the stuff increased hugely over those years, and domestic sales soared after the war, partly thanks to the endorsment of various health professionals, and our own post-war baby boom.
Today, Vegemite's recipe is more or less unchanged and over 22 million jars are sold each year. Now that was a spread worth inventing.
All this because I wanted Vegemite on toast for breakfast this morning. Naturally, being good little Australians (and happy little Vegemites), we do have Vegemite in the house at almost all times. But we didn't have any bread.