After 165 years in business, the boiled candy linked to Victoria’s 1850s gold rush will no longer be produced, as production costs become too much.
Fifth generation confectioner Peter Barnes stated that sales have been falling over the last two years, stating, “It just got to the point that I just couldn’t afford them anymore."
Barnes’ great great grandfather started the company selling lollies to the miners after moving from England to the gold fields around the Castlemaine area. In recent years, Barnes has delivered more than 35,000 tins a year across Victoria and southern NSW.
The Rock recipe – sugar, water, peppermint oil and antelope – hasn’t changed since the company started, and neither has the very non-mechanised manufacturing process, from boiling ingredients in a saucepan to cutting the lollies out by hand.
Although disappointed to close, Barnes has hopes that the brand will be revived and stay in Castlemaine. He stated, “I feel a lot of pride there that we have bloody gone on, in the family, for so long.”
Sweet tooths are seizing the last tins and stores with the news that the Barnes family have made the last batch.