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He was born in Willingdon, Sussex, England, the son of Peter Hoadley (blacksmith) and Elizabeth Ann Wheeler. Hoadley arrived in Australia in 1865. His first business was manufacturing and selling jams and pickles, with produce fresh from his own orchard in Burwood East. He opened a jam factory in South Melbourne, Victoria, in 1889, trading as A. Hoadley & Company.
However, he soon began a more lucrative business of manufacturing confectionery (in the Rising Sun Preserving Works in 1895), which was not dependent on seasonal ingredients. When he produced his first chocolate assortment, he packed them with a piece of honeycomb that became so popular that Mr Hoadley decided to produce an individual honeycomb bar. This was not an easy task. As the pieces of honeycomb cooled, they absorbed moisture and started sticking together. This hygroscopic nature of honeycomb led him eventually to dip his bars in chocolate, to keep the honeycomb dry and crunchy. Thus, in 1913, the Violet Crumble bar was created.
Hoadley wanted to call his new bar just Crumble, but learned that it was an unprotectable name. He thought of his wife (Susannah Ann née Barrett) and her favorite flower, the violet, and registered the name Violet Crumble, using a purple wrapper with a small flower logo. It was an instant success and still popular in 2006.
The original orchard site in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood East was sold at less than market price to the Methodist Church Central Mission for the establishment of a Boys' Training Farm, which latter became the Tally Ho Boys' Home. The site now houses residential development, Crossway Baptist Church, the National Archives of Australia and the Tally Ho Business Park.
Hoadley and Susannah had fourteen children. He died at the age of 73 in his home, "Bella Vista", in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, Victoria. The Hoadley company was acquired by Rowntree's in 1970 and then by Nestlé in 1988.
- The Australian company MYOB Limited has its global headquarters in the Tally Ho Business Park, once part of the Hoadley estate. MYOB's corporate logo and corporate colour scheme is purple and gold, which is also famous as the colour scheme of the Violet Crumble.
- Hoadley's name is remembered in the history of Australian pop/rock music in the name of the successful Australian rock band competition, Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, which ran from 1966 to 1972 and which was sponsored by the company which bears his name. The competition was used to heavily promote the Violet Crumble bar.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography