The chocolate factory
Nestlé, then known as the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, purchased Abbotsford House and its grounds in 1917 to build the ‘largest chocolate factory in the Southern Hemisphere’. Abbotsford House was retained for use as offices, while the factory was constructed on three sides of the house. Nestlé commenced production in 1918.
It was regarded as a model factory with excellent staff amenities. Over the next seventy years Nestlé was a major employer in the area and it was not unusual for several generations of the same family to work for the company.
In 1927 the grounds and foreshore of the Nestlé site were used in the filming of For the Term of His Natural Life. During World War II the factory packed supply rations for soldiers on the Kokoda Track.
Following the closure of the factory on 18 December 1991 the site was redeveloped for medium density housing. Abbotsford House was preserved and once again became a private home.
In the photograph, the word Nestlé’s is spelt out by the factory workers standing in formation.