Whenever the word ‘Amscol’ is mentioned to an Adelaide raised baby boomer, their eyes glaze over and they seem to drift off with sweet memories of hot summers and an ice cream cone at the beach, an Eskimo Pie at the pictures or the special ‘once-a-week’ luxury of a slice of Amscol ice cream from the brick after tea.
Even as I’m writing this, I’m immediately transported back in time to being a kid again, and Friday nights, when sometimes as a special treat we had takeaway fish and chips, and then dad would carefully slice the brick of ice cream into six equal proportions served with mum’s preserved peaches from our own peach tree.
It’s not hard to understand why we still have such a soft spot for Amscol, it was the ice cream we grew up with and people today still swear it was creamier and had a far better flavour than anything currently on the market.
Amscol stood for Adelaide Milk Supply Co-Operative Limited which took over the premises of the Beauchamp Brothers in Carrington Street in the city in 1922. It was an extensive business and produced bottled milk, ice cream, cream, cheese and butter.
The ice cream brick was first introduced in the 50s when refrigerators started to appear on the market. Most brands in those days had a small rectangular freezer compartment inside the body of the fridge itself and the brick was made to fit snugly inside. Later, as fridges were made with larger freezers, Amscol introduced tins, and finally plastic containers for their famous ice cream.
Amscol also supplied the milk when the Government introduced the ‘milk for school children’ programme back in 1950. They produced special third-of-a-pint bottles of milk and although we loved the ice cream, many people have less pleasant memories of trying to chug down the warm, sour milk at recess time.
Some memories from the ARW Facebook page about Amscol included going to the corner shop on a Sunday to buy a brick of ice cream to have after lunch with ‘pudding’. “They wrapped it in lots of newspaper so it wouldn’t melt on the walk home”.
Others recalled the different flavours, including Rainbow, Dutch Treat, Honeycomb and Strawberry.
Dandies and Eskimo Pies were sold at the pictures on Saturday nights by tray boys, usually dressed in a semi-formal military style uniform; “and you had to line up to get them before they
Amscol’s milk processing works and factory remained in the same city location right up until the company ceased trading in the 1980s and was eventually sold off, demolished, and the land used for housing. Many will recall I’m sure the retail outlet off the side street where it was possible to purchase the full range of Amscol products.
Amscol may be gone but it’s certainly not forgotten….”It’s a Food, Not a Fad”.