Sweet suburbia

mySouthPerth Magazine | BIRAK 4 December 2023

Mill Point Road between Gladstone and Arlington Avenues is now a resolutely residential area, but did you know that this stretch of suburbia was once South Perth’s industrial estate?

The Weaver & Lock soft drinks factory and Noonan’s bakery once dominated the streetscape of Suburban Road. From the Gladstone Avenue corner, Weaver & Lock distributed “aerated waters” to the corner stores, supermarkets, and hotels of Western Australia.

The company began life on the goldfields in 1898 with the foundation of the Menzies Aerated Waters Company, one of many enterprises quenching the thirsts of miners. Scottish immigrant Charles Anthony Lock and his partner Phillip Meagher bought the business and ran Lock & Meagher until 1916.

Moving to Perth, Lock linked up with his friend and former Railway Hotel proprietor, John Joseph Weaver, partnering in 1919 and building the Weaver & Lock factory on the corner of Gladstone Avenue and Suburban Road, South Perth.

The company became famous for innovative advertising schemes, sponsoring a pole-sitting competition and adorning their bottles with bright, fruit-covered labels that proudly declared “preservative added”

A donation of material to the South Perth Local History Collection by Shirley Hamblin (nee Weaver) has preserved not only a large collection of labels and photographs but three handwritten recipe books, including the secret formulae for such favorites as Kola Beer, Lemon Squash, and Hop Beer containing 'not more than ½ grain sulfur dioxide to the pint.'