The Colourful History of Lollies

From elusive treats that dazzled kids at the local corner shop . . . to playthings young patrons bounced down suburban cinema aisles . . . to Sour Tongue Pops and Rip Snorter Booger Balls that offer young consumers extreme gustatory sensation and the opportunity to gross each other out: the history of lollies was the subject of a recent ABC 7.30 Programme. Peter McCutcheon did an excellent job of condensing twentieth-century Australian children’s lolly consumption into a few minutes through the use of interviews, objects, images and even film footage (if you haven’t seen Smiley then you are missing out on a revealing aspect of children’s lolly purchases and a superb Australian classic from the 1950s).

For those who missed the episode (could have been watching the State of Origin final) you can view it online:



Filed under Lollies

4 responses to “The Colourful History of Lollies

  1. Hello Toni…I visted the display at the Bribie Island Museum on some of the history of lollies. I am a great grandaughter of Thomas Bellotti who operated a biscuit and confectiony business in Huessler Terrace at Milton. He sold the business in 1907. The biscuit side was sold to Morrows later to become Arnotts Morrow. The confectionary side was sold to Allens.
    I do have photographs as proof. How much do you know about this business?
    regards Judy Cutts 07 3410 0926

    • tonirisson

      The crew at Bribie Island Seaside Museum did a great job of curating this exhibition based on my PhD research about the cultural importance of lollies in the lives of Australian children. A MIXED BAG featured objects from Lewin’s Confectionery, which closed down a couple of years ago after almost a century of lolly-making in Woolloongabba. Also on display was Smiley’s bike. This classic Australian film from the 1950s (Smiley) demonised lollies in its telling of a boy’s quest to save up four pounds for a new bike. There were old tins and magazine advertisements, and Macpherson Robertson’s illustrated volume about his rise from pauper to ‘chocolate king’: A Young Man and a Nail Can (1921).
      The exhibition ran from early December through to February, and the programme included three public lectures as well as fun activities like Jaffa-rolling, fairy floss-making and Mintie wrapper-tearing competitions. The exhibition was moved to the Pine Rivers Heritage Museum for April-June and has just closed at that venue. My thanks to Joan and her teams for a great programme.
      If you are interested in hearing more about our lolly heritage, I did an interview with Michael Mackenzie for Radio National’s First Bite:

      Among other things, we talked about banning red frogs from tuckshops, the Red Frog Chaplains who help out at schoolies each year, and the changing social status of sugar in general.

      • Nino Bellotti

        Colin ‘Smiley’ Petersen is a a friend of mine. Colin was originally from Kingaroy, Queensland. He attended Ipswich Boys Grammar, which was also my old boarding school.

        I havn’t seen Colin now since 1993 when I dropped him off at his Mother’s place at Chermside after a reunion at IGS.


        Nino Bellotti
        Hoi An

      • tonirisson

        I just love that little kid. He makes mistakes, he’s sneaky and sometimes he’s downright naughty, but your heart goes out to him. No matter how many times I watch the film, I can’t resist Smiley’s charms. Not to mention his cute little freckly face. I never saw Colin Petersen in another film, though he seemed to have so much potential. I think you should look him up, Nino, and let him know his work is still out there and still giving people a great deal of enjoyment. Colin must have had some connection with the Redlands area for his bike to be in the BISM’s possession.

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