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Made in WA - Bakewell Pies

Staged to Sell

A tuck shop lunch at school, a snack at the football, eaten with one hand, or with chips and peas in a restaurant. The meat pie is as versatile as a sandwich. Although an imported invention, the pie has become an Australian cultural icon. While pie stalls were common in capital cities during the 1800s, the late twentieth century saw a revolution in refrigeration technologies and the development of Australian pie-making on an industrial scale.

The square meat pie

Serving the Western Australian market, Kennneth 'Mr Mac' and Catherine 'Mrs Mac' MacGregor, established their wholesale business, Bakewell Pies, in 1954 on Bulwer Street, Northbridge. The business later created the well known 'Mrs Mac's' brand of pastries (1980s). Sales of Bakewell's square meat pie in paper bags were popular at school tuck shops, leading to Bakewell's early business success.

Bakewell square meat pies, circa 1968, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 331220PD

Staged for the sell

Between the late 1960s to the 1980s, Bakewell Pies, via Robert Woods Advertising Agency, was repeat client of Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography. Un-packaged and packaged pastries were photographed in the studio from multiple angles. Photos were selected and reproduced to market the brand in newspaper advertisements, catalogues and as stills for television commercials. Later, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott were also commissioned to document pie production at Bakewell's headquarters.

From clockwise: Packaged Bakewell pastry goods for Robert Woods Advertising, circa 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320100PD, 320101PD. Bakewell chunky beef steak pies, about 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320141PD.

On screen

Bakewell Pies 1980s television advertisement

Don't just ask for any old pie - always ask for a Bakewell!

- Bakewell Pies, 1980s advertising slogan

Take a big-big-bite, take a big-big-big-bite of Australia.

- Bakewell Pies, 1986 advertising slogan

Bakewell Pies 1982 television advertisement

M-M-More Meat!

- Bakewell Pies 1982 advertising slogan

Fresh to Frozen

By 1964, an estimated 94% of Australian homes were equipped with refrigerators. Frozen pies were sold more in supermarkets and less in suburban pie shops. Around this time, Bakewell joined New South Wales pie makers, Sargents, Scotts, and Irelands, and Victorian makers Four'N Twenty, in the refrigeration revolution. The move from fresh to frozen catalyzed the distribution of frozen pies to supermarkets and regional locations around Australia. Smaller frozen pies known as 'party pies' increased in popularity with the conveniences brought by refrigeration.

Make your own pies

Grandma's pizza pie, a creamy apple tart, or an old fashioned bacon and egg pie - these were just some of the simple 'make-at-home' recipes using Bakewell's 'ready to bake' puff pastry sheets and pastry cases.

Bakewell Foods pastry cases packaging, about 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, 320143PD

Savoury pies

Egg & bacon pie, quiche and apple pie made by Bakewell Pies, about 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 340200PD.
Bakewell Foods pastry cases packaging, about 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320142PD

Sweet pies - ready to serve

Bakewell Pies pastries, about 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 325002PD

Fresh from the Bakewell kitchen

Expansion

Growth in demand led to the re-location of Bakewell to larger headquarters on Collier Road in Morley in 1966.

The Bakewell office, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320092PD

Automated pie lines

Bakewell introduced automated pie lines in the late 1970s. The pie lines enabled increased production and reduction of pasty waste.

Piemaking at Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320075PD

Pies, pasties and sausage rolls

Piemaking at Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320073PD

Smell the fresh baking

Piemaking at Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320082PD

Production line

Piemaking at Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320080PD

Packaging pasties

Piemaking at Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320079PD

Delivered to a supermarket near you

Like many large Australian pie makers, Bakewell had a fleet of Ford Transit vans to deliver pies to local supermarkets and stores.

Fleet of delivery vehicles, Bakewell Foods, 58 Collier Road Morley, 1985, Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Corporate Photography, State Library of Western Australia, 320090PD

Explore more

Further reading

  • Australian Society for Historical Engineering and Technology, 2015, 'ASHEET - The meat pie: Australia's own fast food'. ASHEET < https://ashet.org.au/projects/the-meat-pie/ > Accessed 20 April 2020
  • Bannerman, C. (1998). Acquired tastes: Celebrating Australia's culinary history. National Library of Australia.
  • Farrer, K. (Ed.). (2005). To feed a nation: a history of Australian food science and technology. CSIRO PUBLISHING.
  • Macgregor, Kenneth. (2006). Trust none believe none : the story of success and bitter feuding behind the Mrs Macs Pie / Bakewell Empire. [Labrador, Qld.] : Kenneth Macgregor
  • O'Connell, J. (2020) 'Australian Food History Timeline', < https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/food-history-timeline/ > Accessed 10 March 2020
  • Symons, M. (2007). One continuous picnic: A gastronomic history of Australia. Melbourne Univ. Publishing.

This digital story is part of a series created for the online exhibition Staged To Sell: Iconic Advertising Images from the Stevenson, Kinder & Scott Photographic Collection.

Created By
State Library of Western Australia
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Credits:

Photographs - State Library of Western Australia Pictorial Collection Video - "Mrs Macs" via YouTube