The one billionth jar of Vegemite has rolled off the production line, proving that Australians really do enjoy the yeasty spread for breakfast, lunch and tea.More off-beat stories
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AAP, SBS
6 Oct 2008 - 8:26 AM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2013 - 11:52 AM

The one billionth jar of Vegemite has rolled off the production line, proving that Australians really do enjoy it for breakfast, lunch and tea.

Since hitting Australian shelves in the 1920s, the salty yeast spread has been popular not only on sandwiches, toast and biscuits, but also in soups and casseroles.

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Among the people who gathered at Kraft's manufacturing plant in Port Melbourne to mark the occasion of the one billionth jar were two of the girls from the original Happy Little Vegemites television commercial.

When the ad first went to air in 1959, Margaret Hole and Trisha Cavanagh were just school-aged children.

Nearly 50 years on, they still have fond memories of their first television campaign.

"It was... very exciting for us as kids in the school holidays to be making an ad," said Ms Cavanagh. "Who would have thought that ad would still be popular today?"

'International icon'

Rodney Alsop, who is the grandson of Kraft Walker Cheese Company Australia founder, Fred Walker, said it was "amazing" that a billion jars had been produced.

"Australians really love their Vegemite. Around the world they may not be so keen on it, but it is one of those things which is an Australian icon."

Christina Siciliano, who worked at Kraft for 31 years as a librarian, has studied the history of Vegemite closely.

"It's part of the Australian ethos, the spirit of Australia, and that's what makes it special."

"What began as a breakfast spread has become an international icon," said Victorian Premier John Brumby. "It's a great Victorian and Australian success story."

According to Kraft, Australians spread about 1.2 billion servings of Vegemite on toast, bread or biscuits every year.

A special Vegemite jar, containing 22 and 18 carat gold, has been created to commemorate the billion-jar event and will go on tour throughout the country.