Cripps Bakery is an iconic Tasmanian brand, with a long and proud history in our state.
Tasmanian baking’s famous William Cripps was named after his convict father, a baker from Sussex who transported to live out his days in Hobart Town in 1844.
After he was freed, William Cripps Snr. started a family and continued his passion for baking through running his own business, Suttons Bakery, in Sandy Bay.
As was customary of the time, William’s sons worked in the family bakery and when they turned of age, followed in their father’s footsteps to begin their own bakery initiatives.
William Cripps (Jnr.) was a bread pioneer, recognised for opening Tasmania’s first commercial bakery located at 91 Elizabeth Street, Hobart in 1878 when he was just 21 years of age.
Back then, William Cripps was known as a leader in the installation of baking machinery, making W. Cripps (as it was known) the most modern baking facility in Australia at the time.
As the population of Hobart Town grew, so did the demand for bread, leading W. Cripps to move to a bigger facility at 99 & 101 Elizabeth Street, Hobart.
William Cripps was blessed with many sons who continued the Cripps family legacy after he passed away in 1944, building a new state-of-the-art bakery in Argyle Street in 1945.
The bread business was booming in the early years, with Cripps purchasing a number of local bakeries to keep up with the demand for fresh daily bread delivered to the doorsteps of Hobartians.
Up until the late 1960s, it was a common site to see your Cripps bread delivered by horse and cart, but to move with the times, they began using Morris J Vans (pictured), allowing them to increase their load capacity.
Although a thriving business, in 1969 W. Cripps was sold to Consolidated Foods.
This is where long-serving employee Anita Milovanovic’s story comes into play.
Anita Milovanovic started working at Nut Brown Bakery in 1968 at the age of 17. Although she didn’t know it at the time, three years later Nut Brown would amalgamate with W. Cripps to form ‘Cripps’, at Swallows Parade in Glenorchy.
In those days, there were limited positions available for young women in the workforce and it was common for them to become secretaries or young clerks.
As a junior clerk, Anita’s duties included typing and taking notes, as well as serving morning and afternoon tea to the seniors at Nut Bakery.
“That’s how it was in the ‘60s,” she said, and business was booming.
“We used to do 40 rounds of household deliveries a day, serving around 1,000 local customers.”
“People would leave their bread tins outside, waiting for bread to be delivered fresh to the doorsteps of locals daily.
“The two-pound loaf at 18 cents was the crowd favourite back in the late ‘60s, and as a dedicated employee, I have had the opportunity to sample many bread varieties over the years.”
A short 46 years later and Anita is still proudly working for Cripps.
“Cripps is my second home. It is my first and only job, and the only reason I’d leave would be in a bread crate,” she laughs.
In 1997, Cripps merged with two other regional bakeries, Nubake-Launceston and Bass-Cooee, to form Cripps Nubake.
Today, Cripps Nubake has operations in both Hobart and Launceston, manufacturing and distributing a range of baked products to the Tasmanian market including bread, crumpets, rolls, buns and muffins, along with shortbread and ANZAC biscuits, which are distributed nationally and internationally.
If you have ever had dealings with Cripps over the last 40 years, it would be hard not to have encountered a Mr Jim Horne.
By trade, Jim is a qualified motor mechanic and at the age of 23 he was employed by W. Cripps to fix the Morris J delivery vans.
“I’m known as the ‘general dog’s body’ around the place. In other words, I’m a jack of all trades!” he said.
“I fixed trucks and vans for 11 years, but when house deliveries started to die out, so did the need for vans and the people that fixed them.”
He was then offered a role as a delivery driver, delivering fresh bread to local supermarkets and other outlets.
“Older, traditional people who still had their bread delivered daily used to leave their kitchen door open. We’d leave their bread on the kitchen table ready for their breakfast.
“It gave me a great sense of pride that people trusted us to enter their homes and deliver their bread, but I guess it was a different time.”
As the years went on, Jim’s roles changed, and today he holds the role of state distribution manager.
“Cripps gets in your blood,” he said, “I have had an interesting career and have experienced many facets of the business.
With Jim’s dedication and passion for Cripps, it’s not surprising that both his sons took up positions at Cripps at a young age.
“My eldest son James began working here 16 years ago and is currently the supervisor for the pick and packing areas, while my youngest son Phil has been here for 17 years and now runs his own distribution business through Cripps,” he said.
“They both live up to my expectations. I’ve always been a hard worker and I think that’s rubbed off on them!”
Jim said Cripps has always been a family-orientated business, looking after their workers and their families.
“I’ve been here through many changes and to this day it is still a great company to work for.”
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