Australian Society of Baking Historical Background

Following more than 18 months of communications and preparation of a constitution for approval by Chicago the Australian Chapter Affiliate, American Society of Bakery Engineer (ASBE) was born.

To discover why Australian Society of Baking (ASB) was established it is necessary to reflect upon our mother the ASBE.

ASBE was founded in 1923 due to the realisation of the need for a National organisation of bakery production personnel.

Local groups were already well organised in New England and bakers on the West Coast had been left behind.

It was the vision and genius of Julian Livingston that put together a definite course of action to create a single national organisation for bakery production personnel.

The first president was Ed O’Connell with Treasurer/Secretary Victor E Marx at the helm, whom for many years worked from home to support the society.

1955 the British Chapter Affiliate, American Society of Bakery Engineers, was founded by the renowned British baker John Thomson and first president.

Together the British and American societies provided a great deal of assistance to Syd Packham (OAM), Jim Edwards and Ienna Harper, (Syd’s faithful PA and secretary).

Jim Edwards learnt about the ASBE when he was assisting the US field bakeries during the war, on a yeast product called Dry Balm, which is a yeast food supplement produced by Mauri Bros and Thompson in Botany.

After WWII a number of Australian bakers became members of the ASBE.

Following a joint effort by the British and Australian members the “Chapter Affiliate” was removed from our names, and we became the Australian Society of Baking. The word “engineer” was confusing with the change of occupations.

Wednesday 17th February 1971 saw the  first ASB meeting being held at Whitehall Hotel, Edgecliff, Sydney, NSW.

The chairman was Ken Packham,

1st Vice Chair  Wilf Lovell,

2nd Vice Chair Ron Green

3rd Vice Chair Leslis Allan,

Secretary/treasurer Syd Packham (OAM)

Committee then consisted of:

Clive Holledge,

Ern Mackie,

Peter Coe,

Laurie Brooks, Graham Ireland and

Ken Fife

After the introduction by Ken Packham, Syd Packham (OAM) read greetings from Victor Marx ASBE and message from the British Society. Jim Edwards read the creed and the rest is history.

10 papers were presented at the first meeting. Karl Bonni presentation on “Bread and its various methods of production” including straight dough production, sponge & dough, salt delay method, chemical developed “no time” dough and mechanical dough development.

In June 1972 paper presented by D.A.Miller with the title “Modern Approach to In-Store Bakery Production”. It is remarkable how history repeated itself ad infinitum, Don opened his first Hot Bread Kitchen in Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell sometime in 1970-71 and his opening sentence was, “today I am going to talk to you about In-Store Baking, of course it is not a new concept in the baking industry, in fact it is the oldest concept. If we go back to the original bakery, it would have been in effect an In-Store bakery.

“I am standing here with the reputation of a innovator” and “Nothing in our business is a secret” and , “it is marvellous how the germ of an idea can grow from unplanned experience to a large degree”.

Since then, ASB, has had many successful meetings with multitude of high profile and innovative presenters over the years, and it is our firm belief “sharing of ideas”, is what made ASB such an integral part of the baking community.

ASB was able to provide the support and germination of ideas for all its members over the last four challenging and exciting decades for the baking industry, and will continue to add value to its members and their enterprises well into the future.