Collecting is something anyone can do and collecting bottles is a cheap, easy to find and an interesting item to collect.

The first thing you will notice about the Ipswich Historical Society’s bottle display is that there are a lot of local ones.

We asked bottle researcher Olivia McMahon to tell us about some of them.

“The shape, colour and contents bring back memories,” Ms McMahon said

“It evokes times past. People might say ‘that was my favourite soft drink. We had every Sunday when we were allowed to have a bottle of McMahons sarsaparilla on the table’.”

The Ipswich Historical Society welcome donations and their displays are regularly rotated.

Image Courtesy: Picture Ipswich

McMahon’s soft drink bottle

McMahon’s Fruit Drinks was started by Frank McMahon in 1934 in a small rented building in West Street, Ipswich.

With eight pounds in the bank and four pounds needed to connect electricity to the premises, Frank began his business with outdated machines and a large amount of hope.

Combining ingredients, Frank would then bottle the mixture using his first bottling machine which filled only one bottle at a time. The price of a shilling would get you three large bottles of soft drink.

As war broke out in 1939, Frank was fortunate enough to land an offer to supply soft drinks to the Army and later the U.S. forces at Amberley which enabled him to purchase the factory premises that he had been renting.

In 1977 after the resulting flooding and damage of the Woodend premises in the 1974 floods, Frank’s two sons, Jim and Peter moved the soft drinks business to the newly established Wulkuraka industrial estate.

In its prime, the McMahon’s business became the second biggest home delivery operation for soft drinks in Queensland and were early pioneers in terms of recycling because of their returnable bottles process. The Factory was sold to ‘Just Juice’, then ‘Pepsi Cola’ and then to ‘Schweppes’.