TARAX, Newport


    This advertisement in Newport reading ‘BOTTLES & CANS! TARAX’, is hidden behind the jagged teeth of a wooden fence on a former milk bar erected in 1952 as Whitehurst’s Delicatessen.

    During the temperance movement in 1885 George Pethard Senior invented a drink he named Taraxale. The name ‘Tarax’ is Latin for dandelion, which flavoured the alcohol-free elixir. He moved from Numurkah to Ballarat in 1898 where George Jr, aged 12, peddled soda door-to-door. Seeing their business thrive, they moved to Bendigo in 1902. When George Sr passed away, George Jr was ready to catapult Tarax to new heights.

    Tarax expanded its lineup of flavours, with Tarax bars popping up like mushrooms after rain. They stocked milk bars and grocer’s aisles and even sponsored the Tarax Happy Show, where puppet Tommy Tarax became an icon of Australian childhoods. 

    In 1972, Cadbury Schweppes took over Tarax and slowly but surely the bottles and cans, once available from Newport to Nagambie, faded from shop shelves. Today, Tarax is seen on sun-bleached ghost signs like this one. It reminds us that sometimes the most enduring legacies are the ones we sip, savour and share through the stories we tell.

    A column by Sean Reynolds. If you’d like to read more stories about Melbourne’s past, follow me on Instagram @melbourne_ghostsigns.

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #96 May 2024

    Recent editions



    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles