Skip to main content

Callister, Cyril

Image from the Federation University Historical Collection

Mr Cyril Callister

Cyril Callister is the inventor of Australia’s iconic sandwich spread Vegemite.

The chemist and food technologist studied at the Ballarat School of Mines (SMB) around 1910 before studying science at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Callister discovered Vegemite around 1922 - a product which still proves popular with Australians today with 22.7 million jars sold in the country each year.

He was hired by the Fred Walker Company, a Melbourne based manufacturer later known as Kraft, as a laboratory assistant to develop a yeast extract spread.

He secured the royal charter for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 1931 with Sir David Rivett, becoming president of the Society of Chemical Industry of Victoria in 1935-36.

It took some years but by 1954 the special Vegemite song 'Happy Little Vegemites' demonstrated the popularity of the spread.

Mr Callister was also known for packing cheese in a can to preserve it and developing Kraft processed cheese.

View the Distinguished Alumni page