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Cyril Callister

Cyril Callister

Birth and Nationality

Born in Chute in Victoria on February 16, 1893, Cyril Percy Callister was the man behind the famous Australian food Vegemite. Cyril Callister was a chemist by profession and worked as a food technologist.


Cyril Callister was enrolled at the Ballarat School of Mines. He was granted a scholarship in University of Melbourne where he finished Bachelor of Science in 1914.� Cyril Callister completed his Master of Science degree in 1917.


The food manufacturer Lewis and Whitty hired Cyril Callister in 1915, but his stint there did not last long for he was enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Later, he was assigned to the Munitions Branch where he worked as a manufacturer of Britain explosives. After the war, he returned to his post in the food manufacturer Lewis and Whitty.

It was in 1920 when he was asked to develop yeast extract since the yeast’s import from United Kingdom was derailed due to the war. This was the time when he discovered Vegamite, which, in 1923, was first distributed by Fred Walker and Co. In 1926, he became the chief scientist and production superintendent of Kraft Walker Cheese Company Ltd.

In 1931, Cyril Callister got his Doctorate from the University of Melbourne. That year, he also became a significant member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.


Towards the end of World War I, Cyril Callister married Katherine Hope Mundell, whom he met when he was pulled out from the AIF to work in Scotland as a manufacturer of Britain explosives. The couple had three children, one of which was a pilot who died in the Pacific while on a mission.

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