Where is it from?

Association locations map

Similar items over time

Bottle - Kornies Food Co, Turban Brand, Essence of Coffee & Chicory, 1940s Object Reg. No: HT 23837

Bottle of 'Turban' brand Instant Coffee and Chicory essence. Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd, Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne. Approx. 8 fluid ozs. The label features three images of Turkish men wearing the turban, kaffiyeh and other traditional clothing.

Kornies Food Co. appears to have operated from Carlton from the 1920s to 1940s while the Turban brand of coffee and chicory essence appears to have been produced through the 1930s and 40s with bottles very similar to this item appearing in advertisements in the Argus in 1945. The promotion of the Turban brand is particularly strong in the 1940s with Kornie Foods producing a picture book based on the character in 1946: 'Turban Tim says win big prizes with this Kornies painting book'.
Bottle of 'Turban' brand Instant Coffee and Chicory essence. Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd, Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne. Approx. 8 fluid ozs. The bottle is made of brown coloured glass and is cubic in shape with a rounded neck. It has a blue painted metal screw cap lid.

The label features the bejewelled turban worn by a head of dark skinned and dark moustached Turkish man at the front. Around to the right, the label image is of a man wearing traditional Middle Eastern / Turkish dress sitting on a camel beneath a palm tree, with a building and minarets in the background. Beneath this image is text under the heading "Flavouring" and directions to make 'Coffee Cake' and an image of a coffee cake. Around to the left of the front image is the image of a black skinned seated man wearing a kaffiyeh. He is seated beneath a palm tree and is holding one cup of iced coffee while another cup and the pot sit beside him. The man is facing a large white and red building in the background.
Beneath this is the text 'Instant Coffee & Chicory' and a recipe for iced coffee.

The bottom of the bottle has: 1SM 69 stamped in the centre. Below this is number 5. And above the 9 is the number 228.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Karen Schamberger, 2009
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 210 mm (Height), 48 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: food drink preparation, bottles, coffee, advertising, cultural stereotypes
Themes this item is part of: Domestic & Community Life Collection, Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, Immigration Museum Exhibition, 2011-2021, Objects & Cultural Stereotypes in Museum Victoria Collections, Advertising, Branding & Cultural Stereotypes in Museum Victoria Collections
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity
Inscriptions: Text on the front of the label reads:
Instant Coffee & Chicory Essence
Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd. Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne
Approx. 8 fluid ozs.

Text on the left side of the label reads:
Instant Coffee & Chicory
Use one teaspoonful to a cup of boiling water or hot milk.
Iced Coffee
Use one or more teaspoonfuls according to taste to a glass of iced milk. Extra delicious with cream or ice-cream added. The true mocha flavour.

Text on the right side of the label reads:
Use according to taste as a flavouring for cream fillings, cakes, icings, ice-cream, etc.
Coffee Cake
Beat 2 tablespoons butter with 1 cup sugar to a cream, add 2 well-beaten eggs, beat mixture well then add 1 1/2 cups S.R. flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon Turban & lastly 1 tablespoon boiling water. Bake in moderate oven about 1/2 hour. Ice using a little Turban mixed with icing sugar and a dessertspoon butter.
Manufacturer: Kornies Food Co Pty Ltd, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1940s
References: The Argus, Melbourne, Friday 22 August 1930, p.7.
The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 8 September 1945, p.13


Rob McConnell Posted on 24 Sep 2010 11:39 AM
Well I was born in 1945, and I remember this brand up until I was about 10yo., so I think it must have been around until at least 1955. I later used Ricory brand, which was a powdered coffee/chicory blend, until it went off the market about mid 70's, and today I still drink the Bushells liquid coffee & chicory.
Nicholas Francis Posted on 22 Jan 2011 4:14 AM
I think the jingle went "Ain't it disturbin' when you got no Turban" or "Ain't it disturbin' when you ain't got Turban".I can't recall which.
John Gough Posted on 07 Feb 2012 10:57 AM
As I recall (a radio jingle? a caption for a picture advertisement in a newspaper or magazine? -- I am not sure of the source of my "memory") the slogan for Turban coffee-and-chicory-essence was "It's most disturbin' when there ain't no Turban".
The visual image on the bottle label was of the head of a bearded Sikh (Indian) wearing, of course, a turban.
Bushell's current equivalent coffee essence bottle has a visual image on its label of an Arab-looking gentleman, wearing a fez.
A quick Google search uncovered a Scottish brand, dating back to the 1880s, with the brand-name "Camp", and a similar image, this time of two men, a white colonial being served iced coffee, and a turban-wearing Indian doing the serving.
I knew Turban and Bushells during the late 1950s, and these were still available in the mid-1970s, long after coffee enthusiasts had embraced the idea of buying fresh roasted beans, and grinding them freshly at home, and similarly long after Italian restaurants (such as Pelligrinis', in Melbourne) had imported expresso machines and begin popularising genuine bean coffee.
Before that, as American visitors such as Tommy Hanley, Junior (a popular TV host in the 1950s and 60s) lamented, "coffee" in Australia was a hot mix of the coffee-chicory essence.
However it was (and still is) possible to buy powdered roast coffee beans, sold in jars as "Turkish coffee" (just pour on boiling water, and stir, then let the grounds settle -- but the drink was, authentically Greek or Turkish in style, gritty-pasty).
John Gough jagough49@gmail.com
EDWARD ASHMORE Posted on 09 Jan 2013 4:24 AM
I think in this present day and age, there has never been such a choice of wonderful coffees available, but I ask, where has that mellow, compforting, feel-good-inducing aroma gone that I remember as a young lad growing up in the 1940's. Mum would have the perculator going by the time I would be getting up on Christmas morning, and that magical aroma would already be wafting through the house.
The saying, "Wake up and smell the coffee", really meant something then. Todays coffee, however excellent, just over powers one with a smell of smouldering rubber. I think the change may have happened by the early 70's. Has the EU meddled again and taken something out of the noble coffee bean?
Neville Mitchell Posted on 21 Jan 2014 10:16 AM
I found one of these bottles in the ground yesterday. It was lying on it's side in the soil after being exposed from under a fallen tree on the property where I am living. The large large tree was blown over in the recent high winds and this bottle was recently exposed from it's hiding place under its roots. The bottle is very much like the picture in this article, dark brown, cubic shaped with one face scalloped, with a round neck. The cap is painted yellow and the bottles label is missing. It still has its screw cap in situ. On this aluminum cap written in red I can read the word ''Turban'' with the head of a man wearing a turban beneath. There is a small amount of liquid still inside the bottle. This area before the main house was built used to be a sand quarry many years ago. It was also a sheep farm with the Cabin they used nearby to this tree. If this bottle hails from the 1940's it may help us put a date on the Quarry and Sheep farm that used to be here.

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.
Yes No