11 June 2014. The former Swallow & Ariell Factory in Port Melbourne is included on the Victorian Heritage Register and classified by the National Trust. An overnight fire was contained before it spread and the extent of damage appears to have been contained.
In the mid-1990s the former factory was converted to 160 apartments, 40 terrace house and 20 townhouses . It was one of the first large-scale residential conversions of a former industrial complex in Melbourne. The site grew from one small building in 1854 manufacturing ships’ biscuits to a large industrial complex by the early 20th century manufacturing biscuits, tinned cakes, plum puddings, jams, syrups, and preserved fruit. A film shot in 1932 entitled ‘A Day in a Biscuit Factory’ show life inside and outside the factory.Swallow & Ariell was a vertically integrated business with interest in flour milling, sugar plantations and refining. It was one of the largest biscuit manufacturers in the world, and a large employer in the Port Melbourne area until closure in the early 1990s. In 1991 450 workers were laid of on a single day.
The Swallow & Ariell name was a household name famous for ginger nut biscuits, arrowroot biscuits and ice cream. In the 1960s it merged with other local manufacturers in an attempt to combat overseas competition. The biscuits were used by Burke & Wills on their ill-fated expedition across Australia, in antarctic expeditions and as army supplies during both world wars. There is more information information on the Port Phillip & District Historical Society website about the 1995 redevelopment and loss of a 1930s building.