History – 1934

1934 – Tallow, Protein Meals and Fruit exports begin

In the following year, 1929, Alice Scott joined the company. But, however important her arrival might have seemed in the CM scheme of things, it was greatly overshadowed by events overseas. The New York Stock Exchange crash in October that year put an end to post-war optimism. The Great Depression that followed almost destroyed the world capitalist economic order. Businesses closed and millions were made redundant, resulting in a wave of poverty, misery and starvation across the globe. In Australia, more than 32 per cent of the workforce was officially out of work by 1932. One of the by-products of this crisis was that job security came to mean more than the wage earned, and families dreamt of seeing their children in perhaps modestly paid but secure and pensionable jobs. Once a person was fortunate enough to find a job, he or she tended to stick with it for a long time. Extended tenure was to be a feature of CM for many years.

Through the Depression the company not only continued to trade but to expand, a tribute to the remarkable optimism and energy of its staff. In 1931 Charles William Rossiter Easdown joined CM. At about the same time the company’s first trademarks (“Cock”, “Cockfighter” and “Buckjumper”) were registered to cover leather. In 1933 the name “Cockfighter” was registered to cover the fresh and tinned foods the company was handling.

By 1934 it was also trading in eucalyptus oil, wool, rabbit skins, antimonial lead and, most importantly, tallow. This latter commodity, the rendered fats of sheep and cattle, was to become the mainstay of the company’s export business. Used in soap, candles, foods (margarine, biscuits), cosmetics and perfumes and for lubricating simple moving parts (such as in the cotton industry, where it did not stain the product on the looms), it was first exported by CM to the Dutch East Indies in the early 1930s. The Jansen Soap Manufacturing Co. in Surabaya and the Little Soap Factory in Bandung were the company’s first tallow customers. As a result of all this new business, CM rented its first storage space – in Day Street, Sydney- in March 1934.

Fresh fruit, too, was on the move, thanks to the efforts of Burt Lawson. Grapes from Victoria’s Murray River area and from north of Perth, the Western Australian capital, formed a big part of the business. In 1935 CM registered a new company, the first limb to sprout from the trunk that was now firmly rooted and growing strongly. Craig Mostyn Fruit Packing Co., which was to handle the export of fruit (citrus, apples and grapes) as an exclusive and separate operation from CM’s other operations, opened a packing shed at Leeton, in southern New South Wales, that same year.

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