Golden Circle: A Sweet Legacy Rooted in Northgate

Golden Circle
Golden Circle pineapple can label, circa 1947 (Photo credit: Queensland State Archives)

Long before Golden Circle became a household name across Australia, its roots were firmly planted in Northgate. In 1947, the suburb welcomed the opening of the company’s first canning factory, an event that would forever etch Golden Circle’s name in the records of Queensland’s pineapple industry and the nation’s food heritage.

Read: Greet the Morning With Delectable Baked Goodies at Flour & Chocolate Northgate

The grand opening of the Northgate facility on 28 October 1947, was a significant event, attended by 1,500 people, including 500 fruit growers from the Sunshine Coast who arrived on a special train. 

The then Premier of Queensland, the Hon Edward Hanlon, officially inaugurated the factory, which was initially named ‘Queensland Tropical Fruit Products,’ with ‘Golden Circle’ serving as their brand name.

Golden Circle
Pineapple cannery under construction at Northgate, 1946 (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

Since its inception, the Northgate factory has been the heart of Golden Circle’s operations, processing and canning a wide range of fruits and vegetables, from iconic pineapples to an array of other produce. 

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Process workers at work at the Golden Circle cannery in Northgate (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Over the years, the company’s product line has diversified, now encompassing fruit cordials, juices, carbonated beverages, and baby food, but the Northgate facility remains the company’s main production hub.

Photo credit: Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 1076737

Golden Circle, once one of the few remaining Australian-owned food companies, was acquired by international corporations. In 2007, Coca-Cola Amatil made a conditional bid to acquire 100 percent of the company’s shares. 

However, in 2008, Heinz launched a competing takeover bid, offering $1.65 per share, totaling $288 million. This bid was deemed attractive by Golden Circle’s chairman, Phillip Cave, especially given the challenging economic conditions at the time. 

Photo credit: The Pineapple Pantry by Golden Circle/Google Maps

Ultimately, Heinz’s takeover bid succeeded, and the acquisition was finalised on 19 December 19 2008, marking Golden Circle’s transition from an Australian farmer-owned company to an international ownership.

Whilst Golden Circle’s ownership has changed hands over the years, most recently acquired by Heinz in 2008, the brand’s connection to Northgate remains a point of pride for the company and the local community. The factory’s presence has been a constant in the area, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the suburb’s identity.

Golden Circle factory at Northgate, 2008 (Photo credit: CC BY 3.0/Enya2008/Wikimedia Commons)

In 2023, Golden Circle revived its Pineapple Pantry at Earnshaw Road, offering locals a unique opportunity to purchase select products from the company’s extensive range at discounted prices. The in-store offerings vary weekly, featuring items nearing their best-before date, product lines discontinued from supermarkets, or surplus inventory.

Photo credit: The Pineapple Pantry by Golden Circle/Google Maps

Read: Massive Discounts as The Golden Circle Pineapple Pantry Re-Opens in Northgate

Today, Golden Circle’s Northgate facility stands as a testament to the company’s rich history and its deep-rooted ties to Brisbane. As the brand continues to evolve and expand its reach, the Northgate canning factory remains a cherished landmark, reminding Australians of the company’s humble beginnings and its commitment to quality and innovation.

Published 17-May-2024