News

Bottle tops mystery lifts lid on McMahon's soft drinks

RARE FIND: Choices Flooring owner Steve Mallet and Peter McMahon, whose family owned McMahon’s Soft Drinks, marvel at the unusual discovery of McMahon’s bottle caps found in the store’s ceiling.
RARE FIND: Choices Flooring owner Steve Mallet and Peter McMahon, whose family owned McMahon’s Soft Drinks, marvel at the unusual discovery of McMahon’s bottle caps found in the store’s ceiling. David Nielsen

RENOVATING an historic Ipswich building has uncovered a link to the city's proud past and posed a fascinating history mystery.

Top of Town businessman Steve Mallet and his wife Jaye recently bought the floor above his Choices Flooring business on Brisbane St.

When the ceiling in the back left-hand corner was lifted up, it revealed hundreds of McMahon's soft drink bottle tops scattered across the beam.

Mr Mallet was quick to tell Peter McMahon, whose family owned the famous soft drink business in Ipswich for many years.

McMahon's soft drinks operated from 1934 and Frank McMahon ran the original plant at Martin St, Woodend, where Peter McMahon's Swim Factory now stands.

"My wife Jaye and I have a lot of Ipswich pride and I just love to know where things came from and where they go to," Mr Mallet said.

"We also found two left hand boots. Someone mentioned to me it could have been a sign of good luck.

"But the bottle caps is what we're a bit confused about; what they mean."

The building was owned by the Faulkner family who ran a motor garage there before starting a car yard on the block where the medical centre opposite Ipswich Hospital is now.

Before Steve Mallett started his carpet business 10 years ago, it was a TAB agency with a gym upstairs that closed several years back.

He's now looking for a business to rent upstairs once it's renovated - and after the bottle top whodunit is solved.

"We would love to talk to former employees of Faulkners to see if they could shine a light on it," Mr Mallet said.

The soft drink bottle tops are as much a mystery to Peter McMahon but it set off a torrent of sentiment.

"We had vending machines where we sold the drinks. I don't remember with Faulkners; they might have had a refrigerator and they bought drinks off us," Mr McMahon said.

"There would have been the small, seven-ounce bottles.

"We called them nip bottles.

"And the variety of flavours there; my heart cries because they've got horehound and other items that were part of my father's life - and part of mine too.

"This would have to be early 70s, so more than 40 years ago.

"It was when crown seals were a way of life.

"Later on we went to a more generic cap with, like, sarsaparilla on the cap and McMahon's on the label.

"There was no such thing as plastic bottles and things like that or screw tops.

"It was all returnables."

The advent of shopping centres was the beginning of the end for McMahon's and soft drinks in other towns.

"There was also the Coca-Cola people and they also had their own brews but once people started shopping centres it changed our way of selling and buying," he said.

"It was the decline of our world.

"The brand of McMahon's ended in about 1989."




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Neumann notes the reasons why voters get in early in 2016

INFLUX: Shayne Neumann, pictured at the 2013 pre-poll, says more voters are availing themselves of pre-poll booths in 2016.

Pre-poll voting on the rise as school holidays beckon

Force women work hard to boost state league hopes

Ipswich Force head coach Brad George flanked by his players and assistant coaches.

Double victory at the right time

Hospital expansion adds 81 new beds

HEALTHY INVESTMENT: Mayor Paul Pisasale with St Andrews Private Hospital CEO Chris Went looking over building plans for the new section of the hospital which will see capacity double.

Private hospital's $64 million revamp brings more services

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

Hey Mumma Exercise

Do you think kids these days need more exercise?

Do you think kids these days need more exercise?

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

Rockhampton property in a lull, but a change is coming

Rockhampton's housing market in "pre-election mode"