On the corner of Arcadia Road and Fagans Road, Arcadia, there is a factory shaped building. What is the story behind this place? This part of Arcadia Road had originally been called Two Rod Road, and ran from this corner up to Arcadia School. The Bennet family owned the large citrus orchard on the southern side of this road, opposite to where the Benedictine Monastery is now.
Frank Wangman bought this orchard from Hilton Bennett in 1942, and just after the war built this factory on two acres. During the war there was a Government requirement that fruit growers had to supply 13% of their crop to the war effort towards feeding the Fighting Forces.
Wangman owned and operated the factory, employing about 8 or 9 locals, mostly woman. They extracted the juice from the Valencia oranges to make cordial and “fizzy”drink, and then cut up the rind to make preserved peel. John Ross worked there for one week and was paid £1-16-0 ! Mr. Rest was the cooper employed to make and repair the barrels used in the factory. He had come from Germany and lived at the end of Smalls Road. Michael Bell remembers visiting him one morning at breakfast time. Mr. Rest had one dozen eggs in the frying pan!
The name over the main door proclaims “Arcadia Products” and is still visible. There was a good market for this product and they displayed their goods at the Royal Easter show for many years, and won prizes Researching the “Juice Factory “ has been difficult. If you have any old photos, old bottles or labels or anything to add to this story—or any other stories of our district please connect the Dural Historical Society. We are open on Wednesdays, from 1-4 pm, or Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.
If you ask any of the long-term residents if they have any memories of the Juice Factory, they will all say “we remember the terrible stink in the creek !”. Yes, the effluent from the factory had caused pollution in the creek that runs down the back of where Cameron’s Nursery is now, and goes under Arcadia road just near Ross Common Rd. The factory closed in about 1968-9, not only because of the pollution, but citrus orchards in the district were being pulled out, as the growing of citrus was not profitable once the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area could produce good quality fruit cheaper.
Noel Russell bought the factory and operated Arcadia Automotive with the help of a mechanic, and then started Arcadia Tyres in 1978. He died in 1982, but the building has been used for Automotive and Arcadia Smash Repairs ever since then.
This year the June Roughley Memorial Lecture will be given by Prof. Garry Tromph, and his subject will be “Aboriginal Spiritualty in the Worlds History of Religions“ and will be held in the Arcadia Community Hall, next to Arcadia School, at 2pm on Saturday, 19th August. Free entry and everybody is welcome.