Aeroplane Jelly is an Australian favourite eaten by children and adults alike. It has become a national icon and part of Australian culture due to Bert Appleroth’s hugely successful and long running advertising campaign featuring the popular Aeroplane Jelly song.
Aeroplane Jelly was created by tram conductor Bert Appleroth (Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman Appleroth, 1886-1952).
Bert produced the jelly crystals in the bathtub in his parents’ home using gelatine and sugar. An enterprising man, he sold his jelly crystals along his Sydney tram route. (Aeroplane Jelly is similar to what American’s call Jello.)
So popular was his invention that Bert quit his job and began full time jelly production. He originally marketed some jellies with the name “De-Luxe”. In 1926 Traders Ltd was formed with Albert Francis Lenertz (1891-1943). Over time Traders became one of Australia’s largest family-operated food manufacturers.
In 1927 Bert, a fan of aviation, chose “Aeroplane Jelly” as the name for his product. Three years later Lenertz wrote the words and music for the now famous Aeroplane Jelly song. It’s become the longest-running ad jingle in Australian history.
Aeroplane Jelly Song
The original 1930 recording of the famous jingle was not sung by a child. It was sung by Amy Rochelle, an actress who did child imitations. Eight years later a competition was held to find a child to sing the jingle. Seven year old Joy King (later Joy Wigglesworth) won and the song was recorded in 1938 with 2SM orchestra conducted by John Dunne.
The jingle was even recorded in Russian, Greek, Italian, and Yugoslav in 1966
Girl on the Swing
Seven-year old Barbara Ann Llewellyn was the little “girl on the swing” in the original Aeroplane Jelly TV commercial. However, it wasn’t her voice you heard in the TV ad. She mimed the well-known jingle sung by Joy King.
The 1938 version sung by Joy King has been used in ads for over 70 years. In fact, it was so popular that in the 1940s it was broadcast on Sydney radio up to 100 times a day.
Bertie the Aeroplane
Lenertz left the company in 1934. Bert began making his very popular rural deliveries in a chartered Tiger Moth aeroplane with Aeroplane Jelly written across it. Always a fan of flying, it was inevitable that in 1942 Bert introduced Bertie the Aeroplane as the company mascot. Animated commercials were made featuring Bertie, but as always, the Aeroplane Jelly song sung by Joy King was played too.
The first Aeroplane Jelly factory was located in a suburb of Sydney called Paddington where Bert’s parents lived. It then moved manufacturing to West Ryde where it stayed for 33 years. The company was run by Bert’s family. First by Bert II and then his grandson Bert III. Eventually ownership passed to Bert III’s wife Val in 1985.
Ten years later in 1995 the company was sold to McCormick Foods Australia, the Australian subsidiary of the US-based McCormick & Company. In 2006 productions was moved to Clayton, Victoria by McCormick Foods Australia in order to to centralise their manufacturing operations.
Today over 18,000,000 packets of Aeroplane Jelly is sold annually making it the market leader in Australia’s jelly market. What’s the best selling flavour? Raspberry.
Also on our website Aeroplane Jelly Song
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