Golden Circle: A Sweet Legacy Rooted in Northgate

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. 

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

Northgate BotBuilders Shine in First Tech Challenge

Local robotics talents Blue BotBuilders and Red BotBuilders have made quite an impression at the state qualifying event of the First Tech Challenge and are now preparing to make a strong showing at the Australian Nationals.

At the state qualifying event, BotBuilders secured an impressive 2nd place in the robot game.

First Tech Challenge
Photo Credit: CrAdamAllan/Facebook

Their collaborative efforts within a strategic three-team alliance not only showcased their technical proficiency but also highlighted their teamwork and innovative spirit, earning them well-deserved recognition within the competition circuit.

First Tech Challenge
Photo Credit: CrAdamAllan/Facebook

First Tech Challenge (FTC) is a competition that demands creativity and technical finesse. Teams comprising 13- to 17-year-old students undertake the task of designing, constructing, refining, and programming a 45cm cubed robot.

This robot operates within a 3.3-meter square game field, navigating and executing specified tasks that put their technical expertise and collaborative skills to the test.

First Tech Challenge
Photo Credit: FIRST

Beyond the competitive aspect, FTC catalyses innovation and learning, encouraging students to delve into problem-solving, prototype development, and networking with industry professionals. It’s a remarkable conduit that seamlessly integrates scientific principles and engineering, offering an immersive experience for these budding innovators.

As the Australian Nationals approach, slated for the 9th and 10th of December, the entire Northgate community eagerly anticipates the BotBuilders’ upcoming performance.

Northgate Cr Adam Allan, alongside the community, has extended heartfelt well-wishes and steadfast support to these young STEM pioneers, recognizing their invaluable contributions to our region’s technological advancement and future innovation.

For residents of Northgate intrigued by robotics or eager to engage with these prodigious talents, BotBuilders eagerly welcomes inquiries and potential collaborations. Interested individuals can easily reach out to them via email at

Published 2-December-2023

Cases of Number Plate Theft on the Rise

Did you know that number plate theft in Wavell Heights has been on the rise in recent weeks?

In four separate incidents recently, registration plates were pinched from vehicles parked in Allworth Street, Northgate; Sandgate Road, Nundah; Curtin Avenue East, Eagle Farm; and Bryden Street, Windsor.

In one case, the nicked plates were later found attached to an allegedly stolen vehicle in East Brisbane.

Police are urging residents to be vigilant and to take steps to prevent their number plates from being pinched.

Here’s some tips to help you protect your vehicle:

  • Fit anti-theft screws to your number plates. These screws are harder to remove, making it less likely that your plates will be pinched.
  • Park in well-lit areas. This will make it harder for thieves to operate under the cover of darkness.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended for long periods of time. If you have to leave your car, take your number plates with you.
  • Report any suspicious activity to police. If you see someone tampering with a vehicle’s number plates, or if you see a vehicle with obviously pinched plates, report it to police immediately.

By following these tips, you can help protect your vehicle from number plate theft.

Don’t let your number plates become a liability. Take steps today to protect your vehicle from theft.

Order your free set of anti-theft screws by clicking on this link.

Published 28-June-2023

An Australian First! Northgate’s Valiant Space Sends Components Into Orbit

Valiant Space, a Northgate start-up company, is set to send Australia’s first in-space chemical thrusters for satellites aboard Elon Musk’s Space X. 

The space components, designed by three young Queenslanders — Andrew Uscinski, Michael Douw and Benjamin Dodd — are meant to help manoeuvre small satellites into orbit using non-toxic propellants. Their invention can help satellites remain in “optimal orbit” and last longer in space, whilst coming online at a faster rate to be monitored on the ground.

The trio from Valiant Space has identified a market gap for space propulsion options that are not carcinogenic, easy to handle, and cost-effective to develop with the support of the  Queensland Government’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Northgate.

“Our thruster runs on nitrous oxide and propane – like what you would use in a barbecue, but slightly more pure – which gives a comparable performance to the toxic options, but without the need for high-cost handling infrastructure,” Mr Uscinski said.

“Our solutions will save money at every step of the mission lifecycle, by leveraging a simplified design, rapid manufacturing methods and low-cost propellants.”

Valiant Space has been a tenant of the ARM Hub since November 2020 and has taken advantage of the staff support, flexibility of leasing, and the large warehouse space. The company also secured a $750,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Moon to Mars Initiative to develop its prototype.  

The trip with SpaceX is the first step of the validation process that the Australian-made components can withstand the violent conditions of its journey into space. A full thruster launch will follow in mid-2023. 

“The Valiant Space team is just one business based here at the hub in Northgate and I’m looking forward to seeing the fantastic advancements and products to come from this Palaszczuk Government initiative,” Nudgee MP Leanne Linard said.

“We know our Queensland manufacturers are some of the best in the world and now – perhaps – some of the best in space!”

“Our Government provides support in many ways and in this instance, the Queensland Government-funded ARM Hub, at Northgate, helped these young entrepreneurs out by providing a workspace to start this fantastic business, as well as assistance in applying for the critical grants that have made this SpaceX opportunity a reality,” Minster for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said.

“We manufacture things for Queensland, we manufacture things for Australia and now we’re manufacturing things for outer space.”

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

On the hunt for budget-friendly but top-quality grocery items? Did you know that the popular discount store, The Golden Circle Pineapple Pantry, has re-opened in Northgate?

Several years ago, mums frequented The Golden Circle Pineapple Pantry for good deals on a range of non-perishable goods.

With its return at Brisbane’s northside, families will again be able to shop for surplus products, pulled-out goods from larger retailers, or items that may be nearing their “best before date”.

Items on offer vary every week but budget-conscious shoppers can definitely score bargains like $2 for a dozen yoghurt pouches or 50c for a large juice box. All foods sold at the pantry are guaranteed safe to consume. 

The Golden Circle Pineapple Pantry
Photo Credit: The Pineapple Pantry/Facebook

“Golden Circle has been a major employer and training company in Banyo for decades. There are employees there who are third generation and some who have spent their whole career at the company,” Cr Adam Allan said

The Golden Circle Pineapple Pantry will be open at limited times only but the store is exploring changes to its trading day or time. 

  • Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Currently, there are no plans to open a restaurant on-site similar to the one they used to have.

Golden Circle recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Follow the Facebook page for updates. 

The Grand Kedron Lodge in Kalinga Defined the Beginnings of North Brisbane

Photo Credit: Queensland Heritage Listing

Originally built for the first judge in the QLD Supreme Court, The Kedron Lodge is one of the grandest houses ever built in Brisbane. Found on Nelson Street in Kalinga, the magnificent residence was also the first Gothic-style dwelling designed by Brisbane architect Christopher Potter.

Originally built with at least 20 rooms in the 1860s, the house was built of solid sandstone by John Petrie. The residence, built for Alfred James Lutwychem the first judge in the Queensland Supreme Court, remains intact even today. 

Kedron Lodge
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Mr Lutwyche not only had a grand house but also tended to a viable farm and a beautiful orchard on his property. He also maintained stables for horses as a racing enthusiast. 

Judge Alfred Lutwyche
Judge Alfred Lutwyche and Thomas Claybourn, inspecting a horse at Kedron Lodge, ca. 1871
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Eventually, he donated a block of his property to build St Andrew’s, a new Anglican church, where he was an active member. A decade after his death in 1880, John King, a local shopkeeper and postman, adopted “Kedron” for a burgeoning locality. 

His estate was further subdivided and sold at auctions from which the locality of Kalinga emerged. Subsequently, Kedron Lodge was rented out for many years from the 1930s to 1989, when the Catholic Church owned the property as a convent and refuge for troubled young people.

Today, the house is four-bedroom four-bath private home and has been off the market since 2004.  It was entered into the State Heritage Listing in 1992.

Who was Alfred James Lutwyche? 

Alfred James Lutwyche was born in 1810 in the West Midlands of England and established his practice as a barrister in Oxford, London. He immigrated to Australia in 1853 due to poor health and he almost didn’t make it as the ship bound for Melbourne was wrecked in the Indian Ocean. It was a miracle that most of those aboard the ship survived for 12 days before they were rescued. After the incident, Mr Lutwyche then boarded the Emma Colvin to arrive in Melbourne in December 1853. 

Alfred Lutwyche
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A few years later, Mr Lutwyche became a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and was appointed the Representative of the Government in the Legislative Council. In 1858, he became the Attorney General and was named the Queen’s Counsel. However, in 1959, Mr Lutwyche left his job in favor of a judicial appointment in Moreton Bay

Two years after his judicial appointment, Mr Lutwyche was appointed the only judge of the new Supreme Court in Queensland until Sir James Cockle, the first Chief Justice, arrived in 1863.

Mr Lutwyche died at his house after suffering from gout and was buried in St Andrew’s. The suburb of Lutwyche as well as the Lutwyche Cemetery was named in his honour. 

Northgate Starbucks With Drive-thru Gets the Green Light

Something’s brewing at the corner of Toombul Rd and Holland St in Northgate, where a new Starbucks cafe with drive-thru may soon be built.

Read: Guzman Y Gomez on Sandgate Rd, Boondall Opens With Record-Breaking Sales

This comes after a ‘fast food outlet with drive-thru,’ presented as Starbucks in the planning documents, was given the green light by Council in early 2022. 

Plans indicate that the Starbucks restaurant will measure 200 sqm. The establishment will be housed in a single-storey building with an alfresco area, provision for single-lane drive-through, and boundary landscaping.

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

In addition to a pedestrian pathway to Holland Rd, the developers are planning to provide shared car parking spaces and a shared loading bay.

The upcoming establishment in Northgate forms part of a bigger plan which includes an existing service station, and two more buildings earmarked for the research and technology industry.

starbucks northgate
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

Planners stated in the application that the placement of the approved Starbucks venue, which will be on the northeast corner of the site, is in accordance with traffic advice. It will ensure safe pedestrian and vehicle manoeuvring is achieved, whilst maximising efficiency for the development.

toombul road
Proposed floor plan (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council)

In 2020, developers applied for a material change of use and reconfiguration of one lot into two at 185 Toombul Rd, Northgate. The reconfiguration of the lot, however, was not carried out.

Based on the amended proposal, the applicant is seeking a reconfiguration of one lot into two, to separate the Service Station with its associated reciprocal easements.

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

As part of the development, the applicants demolished the Northgate Foundry building on site, which occupied the space since the 1950s.

The proposed development will include 86 car parking spaces, with four for PWD along with eight fuel pump spaces.

Further details about the recently approved development can be viewed at Council’s PD Online, with the reference A005868233.

Northgate Engawa House Named 2021 Dulux Colour Awards Finalist

A beautiful house in Northgate, dubbed the Engawa House, has been named a finalist at the 2021 Dulux Colour Award for successfully assimilating two concepts to create an interesting architectural space. 

“Engawa” is a Japanese term for a covered communal space fronting the garden and serves as a sitting area or a passageway. For Queenslanders, this design concept applies to a veranda, where families converge in an extended space that seamlessly connects the outdoor area to the indoors. 

Matt Kennedy of Arcke, the architectural company behind the Northgate Engawa House, said that they redesigned a typical two-bedroom Queensland home to reflect the desires of its Japan-loving homeowners, who have extensive knowledge and passion for Japanese garden landscapes.

“In this project, we’ve peeled away the rear of this Queenslander to create multiple spaces occupying the edge and expanding the habitable threshold between inside and out.

“This space and its relationship to the garden provides for social interaction between the family, without particular ownership from either upstairs or downstairs.”

Arcke also created a sunken garden, which used to be a bathroom, and opened up the rear side to create a serene green space that the homeowners could look out to and enjoy from the inside.

Photo Credit: Andy MacPherson Studio/Matt Kennedy/Arcke Instagram
Photo Credit: Andy MacPherson Studio/Matt Kennedy/Arcke Instagram

Because of its striking exterior, the Engawa House was named one of the nine finalists for the Single Residential Exterior category of the 2021 Dulux Colour Award

Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux Colour communications manager, said that this year’s finalists have not only made excellent use of clour but also improved the designs by using more natural stones and finishes, reflecting a strong return to nature during this challenging pandemic period.

“Thrilled to be a national finalist in the Dulux Colour Awards. Our Engawa House is in the single residential exterior category. Green on the outside, and sustainably green through-out,” Mr Kennedy wrote after the finalists were announced in June 2021.

Winners of the Dulux Colour Awards will be revealed on 31 August. 

Metagenics: Northgate Health Products Factory Expands With More Jobs, New Facility

Metagenics, an established vitamins and supplements producer, is expanding its production line and facilities in Northgate, creating more job opportunities for Queensland. 

The manufacturing company, known for health products like Metagenics, Inner Health and Ethical Nutrients, recently received $1.1 million through the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund, which will be used to improve its tableting production and coating facility at its Nudgee Road site. 

The expansion is projected for completion in April 2021 and will open 24 new jobs once it’s up and running. 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Metagenics has been producing health products here in Queensland for 35 years and this funding will help them expand – building a state-of-the-art tablet coating production line to create local jobs,” Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said

“The vitamin, minerals and supplements sector has grown by $2 billion over the past five years. This is a growth industry. We want to partner with the private sector to tap into this huge potential for growth in this industry in years to come.” 

Metagenics has 365 staff in Australia and New Zealand with 80 percent of its workforce employed at the Northgate facility. 

“Currently our operation primarily uses external contract manufacturers for our tableted product, and this funding will help us to remove that reliance and decrease our company’s risk,” Managing Director Paula Hann said. “It will give us more control over our operations and bring more manufacturing capabilities to Queensland.”

Northgate Ventilator Manufacturer to Deliver Large Volumes to Help Fight COVID-19

Olitek, a manufacturer based in Northgate, has committed to deliver large volumes of high-quality, functional, TGA-accredited OzVader ventilators in the fight against COVID-19.  

The company is one of three other Queensland businesses to receive part of the $50 million funding to boost the manufacturing capabilities of the country. 

The money will allow Olitek to prioritise and expand OzVader ventilation production to meet the demands at various healthcare facilities, as well as create more jobs in the midst of a crisis.

“As part of the Queensland Government’s strategy to Unite and Recover for Queensland jobs, we’re continuing to support Queensland businesses and manufacturers to expand their production capacity, especially in the area of health PPE and medical devices,” Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said.

“By continuing to back our mighty manufacturing sector, we’re further boosting Queensland’s ability to respond quickly at a State level and to also join the global pandemic response.”

Prior to the pandemic, Olitek concentrated on robotics engineering for the mining industry. Realising that long supply chains from across the world could break down, as seen in this pandemic, the company partnered with a team of intensive care specialists at the Queensland University Technology (QUT) Medical Engineering Research Facility (MERF) to make more affordable locally-made ventilators at a rapid pace. 

Photo Credit: OzVader/Twitter

“The response from manufacturers and medical experts in this state to the COVID-19 crisis has been magnificent,” Minister for State Development and Manufacturing Cameron Dick said. “We’re continually impressed with the innovative way Queensland’s best minds in tech, engineering and medicine have risen to the challenge to tackle COVID-19.” 

OzVader ventilators will be distributed to ICU wards, Australian hospitals and even remote field hospitals across the world.