Who remembers Simpson's self-raising Flour? Christmas advertisement from the Mayfair Theatre, 1944-1946.

Advertisement for Simpson's self-raising flour. Image number: 32406-0001-0003, 32406 Mayfair Theatre lantern slides, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

I wanted to know more about this Christmas advertisement from the John Oxley Library collection, 32406 Mayfair Theatre lantern slides. The collection contains 20 magic lantern slide advertisements that were shown at Mayfair Theatre at Sandgate in 1944-1946.

From a newspaper article I found digitised on Trove, "Flour Milling". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) 5 August 1930,  I found out that the Simpson brothers came to Brisbane in 1909 and started producing self-raising flour in Stanley Street, South Brisbane.

By 1929 they had vastly expanded their business, selling their products across Queensland, Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Darwin, Thursday Island and Torres Straits, New Guinea and Java. Some of their products included Simpson's self-raising flour, breakfast meal, wholemeal self-raising flour, "Koala" jelly crystals, and "Royal Blue" dried fruits.

To advertise their products, Simpson's produced cake recipe booklets featuring Ruby Borrowdale, Queensland's best-known cookery expert from the 1930s to the 1960s. The John Oxley Library holds the collection, 5501 Ruby Borrowdale Papers 1925-1987  that contains photographs, booklets, newspaper clippings and ephemera associated with Ruby Borrowdale. State Library's 2009 John Oxley Library Fellow, Susan Addison produced a short digital story called “Crazy about Cakes” focusing on the influence of Ruby Borrowdale's cake recipes booklets, produced by the Simpson Brothers.

Now I am left with a question “What happened to the Simpson’s Brothers company?” Please comment on this blog if you have anymore information? 

If you're interested in seeing some of the other lantern slide advertisements from the Mayfair Theature, please see our Flickr album.

Tania Schafer, Librarian, Queensland Memory.


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Simpson Bros were taken over by Gows. William Simpson was my Great Grandfather.

Thank you for the extra information, we can add this to our catalogue record. How exciting that our blog has made its way to you. If you have any information, photographs or ephemera about Simpsons Flour or Gows please consider donating these items to the John Oxley Library to help us capture Queensland's history. Thanks

Hello! I am Nicole Simpson, Daughter of William James (Bill), Granddaughter of Percy James (Jim) Simpson, who was the son of William James, one of the 4 Simpson Bros - both my Grandfather and Great Aunt worked in business. I'd love to help out with some more information... we have books, and flour bags etc!

Hi Nicole, that's really exciting, we are so thrilled this blog has made its way to you. We would welcome a donation of material to our collection to help document and preserve the history associated with Simpsons Flour. Please email qldmemory@slq.qld.gov.au with some details and pictures of the material you are interested in donating and one of our Librarians will be in contact. Thank you very much!

Following the death of his brother Ernest James Simpson in 1941, Edward Percy Simpson became chairman of Simpson Bros. Ltd. (flour mills) This business was later sold to R.M. Gow of Gold Crest fame.

I worked at RM Gow's Gold Crest Foods in early 1970's and the Mrs Simpsons Christmas Cake was packaged and sold with recipe on packet. I worked in the food quality control lab and made this cake it to test it It was the best !

Hello, my mother Mary 'Gert' Thompson nee French worked for Simpsons as a early teenager in the 1920s until 1945, was then factory forewoman. I have photos of her with other female staff inside the factory & outside a church. Have a photo of her wearing a blue sash with gold fringing 'Simpson Bros 1931', and another 1929 that I have.. Was a friend of Ruby Borrowdale & spoke of her often. I have a small war time air mail letter from 'Norm' Fells, 1944 in RAAF, Middle East thanking her & staff for the 5 parcels (cakes) & said he worked at Simpsons for only 6 months (probably before leaving for service). He mentions a Maureen & would write soon. My parents married in 1934 but had no children & Mum worked through till 1945, I have 2 silver napkins rings with their initials & 'from the girls 1945'. Dad came back from the war, they bought land in Stafford & built. They adopted a baby girl in Sept 1946, then I was their 'surprise' baby 1948. Mum talked a lot about her time working in Simpson Bros. Letters from Norm & also my Dad were C/- Simpson Bros, Ann St, Brisbane. I'm happy to show my items, photos. Regards, Susan in Brisbane

How intriguing. George Simpson (one of the Simpson brothers was my Great Grandfather) and whilst I know some information about him, such as he married my GGM Maria Elsie Wilkins in 1899 (in Brisbane) and had 3 children, George Theodore 1903 (who passed away aged 3 months), my Great Aunt Netta Ada Simpson 1901 (never married) and my GM Maida Simmons 1907? (writer and one of the founders of the Warana Writers Festival). The State Library has some photos from Netta's Birthday party (boat on Brisbane River - around 1909), and she worked for SGIO (photo of her on top of the old SGIO building looking across to the Town Hall late 1950s) that I know of. George Simpson was a founding member of the Brisbane Bicycle Club and came second in race from Brisbane to Sandgate in late 1890s. I have the silverware coffee set trophy from this event. I would like to find out when George and his brothers came to Australia from (I think) Newtownards, County Down in Ireland. I was unaware that there were 4 brothers, as I always was told there were 3 who came to Australia together. I will go back and check the immigration records from 1887 which appears to be the most likely match.

I collect Simpson's flour item, a late friend was the grand daughter of founder, I am into collecting old grocerise