Golden Circle

It’s the product that is known Australia wide, pineapple products by Golden Circle. The Golden Circle cannery was founded in 1946 and was established at Northgate (9 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD) in 1947. A second cannery opened at Koongal near Rockhampton in January 1953, however it closed in April 1957 and all fruit was transported to Northgate for canning.

The company was originally called Queensland Tropical Fruit Products Pty Ltd, with ‘Golden Circle’ used as their brand name. Golden Circle was initially part of the Committee of Direction of Fruit Marketing in Queensland (COD).

In 1964, under the leadership of Bernard Flewell-Smith and Percival Savage, the cannery was established as a separate business and began trading as ‘Golden Circle’. It was split off from the COD by an amendment to the Fruit Marketing Organisation Acts.

In November 1947, a gift of approximately 500 cases of Golden Circle canned pineapple was presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth as a wedding gift.

Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 10575

It operated as it was until takeovers bids came out of the woodwork in the late 2000’s. The first was by Coca-Cola Amatil in 2007. Followed up by a bid in 2009 by Kraft Heinz of $1.65 per share ($288 million in total) which was ultimately successful. The Heinz takeover bid was finalised on the 19th of December 2008. It was on that date that Queensland lost an icon. On the flipside, the factory in Northgate wasn’t immediately offshored and is still running to this day. However, it did lose a locally produced Aussie icon, the humble canned beetroot to New Zealand in 2011.

Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 1076737

Golden Circle manufactures more than 800 products including shelf-stable fruit and vegetables (in cans and glass jars), fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks, jams, conserves and baby food. Funnily enough pineapple products now account for only 24% of the company’s total product range.


“Heinz launches Golden Circle takeover bid”, 6 October 2008, accessed 26 January 2018.

“Golden Circle Ltd” Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. 2010. Accessed 26 January 2018.

“1500 See Cannery Opened At Northgate”. 29 October 1947, accessed 26 January 2018.

Cover image: Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 13877

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12 Responses

  1. Jackqueline

    thank you for this article, my dad worked there from 1962 until 1998, and my husband from 1984 until 2012, went to school at Nudgee State School and we used to walk to the Cannery as a field trip at least once a year, every grade! Just loved the ice cold pineapple juice!

  2. Anonymous

    I lived in Rockhampton, albeit I was only nine years old, when they closed down the cannery at Koongal. I remember news reports about truckloads of pineapples dumped in Limestone Creek at Yeppoon which angered locals. Many locals turned up to get free pineapples but the company called in the police to turn them away. I can also remember riding my bike past the empty buildings which soon appeared run down and abandoned.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi l was 8 yrs old in 1965 and was in a TV comercial roughly about this time for Golden Circle , we were running on a beach with surf lifesavers on a sydney beach..would love to show my grandchildren if its still around
    Thanks for reading
    Carolyn Cowan ..nee Merritt

  4. hideyoshi matsuyama

    Worked at Golden Circle from 1986 to 1998 and would have been the only person who ever loved working on the pineapple lines; I absolutely loved it; everyone else made excuses because hauling those trays was hard yakka.
    Figured out a way to deaden the heavy weight of those full trays – and the rest is history. 1988 presented a self initiated Report to the Chairman and Managing Director regarding the Business, the second Managing Director was in awe (I actually came from a heavy construction and mining background); as I had no background in FMCG.

  5. Hideyoshi Matsuyama

    Worked at Golden Circle from 1986 to 1998 and would have been the only person who enjoyed working on the pineapple lines; everyone else made excuses to avoid such. In 1988 presented the Chairman and Managing Director with a self initiated Report about the Business; the second Managing Director was in awe ( as I came from a heavy construction and mining background); as I had no prior FMCG experience at all. To this very day I salute the great icon.

  6. Phil

    Worked at the Golden Circle Northgate Plant as a Maintenance Worker fixing the stainless steel Cages for the Baby Beetroots and other Items, for 12 Months in 2008, First time worked at the Premises, was impressed, however not much fun welding the Stainless tube Cages that had Pin Holes, when still had Beetroot and old juices still in the tubes. Plenty of Forklifts and good workers also. Sorry to see that it went over to NZ though.

  7. Richard Turpin

    I worked there from 1979 thought to 1989 . Mainly worked in Despatch but did in my stint on the jam lines as well on the pine lines . Front cookers and back. . Drove forklifts there and ran the despatch desk at different times. We had a few sheds for outside storage that I help run with in and out of Products to and from the cannery . They also unloaded fruit at Rocklea . These were pears and peaches back to golden circle . We had such great crew back then as well as great leaders in Despatch. Noel Forester as our despatch Forman And Denis White as the senior Forman mange . So many great staff who work there back then . Such a shame it’s gone the way it has. It’s a icon of Qlds

  8. Ernest Harris

    Worked in office 54/59. GC together with T and G had the 2 first computer office systems in QLD.. British Tabulating Machine Co.

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