Cyril P. Callister
The son of a teacher and post master and one of nine children, he attended the Ballarat School of Mines and later won a scholarship to the University of Melbourne. He gained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1914 and a Master of Science degree in 1917. In early 1915, Callister was employed by food manufacturer Lewis & Whitty, but later that year he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. However, he was soon withdrawn from active service and assigned to the Munitions Branch, making explosives in Britain. Following the end of World War I, he married Scottish girl Katherine Hope Mundell and returned to Australia and resumed employment with Lewis & Whitty in 1919.
The invention of Vegemite
In the early 1920s, Callister was employed by Fred Walker and given the task of developing a yeast extract, as imports from the United Kingdom of Marmite had been disrupted in the aftermath of World War I. He experimented on spent brewer's yeast and independently developed what came to be called Vegemite, first sold by Fred Walker & Co in 1923.
Working from the details of a James L. Kraft patent, Callister was successful in producing processed cheese. The Walker Company negotiated a deal for the rights to manufacture the product, and in 1926, the Kraft Walker Cheese Company Ltd was established. Callister was appointed chief scientist and production superintendent of the new company.
Callister got his Doctorate from the University of Melbourne in 1931, with his submission largely based on his work in developing Vegemite.
Callister died in 1949, following a heart attack and is buried at Box Hill Cemetery. A biography of Callister, The Man Who Invented Vegemite, written by his grandson Jamie Callister, was published in 2012.
- Dorothy Wickham. "Cyril Callister (1893-1949) Industrial Chemist and Food Technologist (Inventor of Vegemite)". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Carolyn Webb (24 September 2012). "Spreading the story of an Aussie inventor". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- "Bright Sparcs Biographical Entry". Bright Sparcs. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- K. T. H. Farrer. "Callister, Cyril Percy (1893 - 1949)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Feeding the Nation". National Museum of Australia Canberra. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Duncan Kennedy (17 October 2012). "The slow spread of Vegemite". BBC. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
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