Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Beginning the Health-Food Business

The session of the Australasian Union Conference was held in connection with the Stanmore camp meeting. Ellen White attended but few of the meetings, but the groundwork was laid there for the manufacture of health foods in Australia. While in the United States, W. C. White, at the request of the union conference committee, had made quite a thorough investigation in Battle Creek of what might be done in health-food manufacture in Australia. 4BIO 339.5

On July 2, 1897, he had addressed a communication to the executive committee of the Australasian Union Conference reporting on his findings regarding the arrangements that could be made with the Kelloggs. In this letter he stated: 4BIO 340.1

Believing that the granose [wheat flakes] was a very valuable health food, that it would find a large sale in the colonies, and that it would aid us greatly in building up the market for a fine line of health foods, I had several conversations regarding its manufacture, during which I learned that the doctor [Kellogg] had expended more than £1,000 in experimenting with the manufacture of granose and developing the method of making it, and that his plan for permitting those in foreign countries to make the product was to lease them the mill and charge them a small royalty on all that they made.... I concluded to accept the terms and have ordered a granose mill which will be forwarded with some other machinery to Sydney to be held in bond there until we shall decide where it shall be put in operation.—11a WCW, pp. 63, 64. 4BIO 340.2

Two days later he reported in a letter to the Australasian Union Conference executive committee that he had secured the services of Mr. Halsey, who was skilled in the manufacture of the Battle Creek health foods, to come to Australia and lead out in the making of the new products. White also sent samples of the foods for the members of the board to taste, so they would be better prepared to make decisions on his return (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 80). So following the union session in Sydney, W. C. White, after spending just a few days at home, was off to Melbourne, where he would give full reports to the appropriate committees, and actions could be taken in pioneering this new line of work in Australia. 4BIO 340.3

W. C. White's work in Melbourne moved slowly, and his mother grew a bit impatient. She felt he was not treating his wife and children and her fairly by being away for so long a time following so closely a ten-month absence. On December 7 she wrote first of activities at Sunnyside that involved her books in preparation, and then disclosed her feelings: 4BIO 340.4

I think you should be with me and not spend weeks just now in Melbourne. One thing, the Lord has not appointed you to be an agent in the manufacture of home health foods. You have other work to do. I seem to be hedged about on every side. In regard to the manuscript for the life of Christ, it is done, waiting for you to look it over. There are several chapters on temperance waiting for you to look over.... I have no objections to your staying in Melbourne two months if you know it is the Lord's will. But there are matters on this end of the line fully as urgent as the matters on that end of the line. But I have no more to say.—Letter 206, 1897. 4BIO 341.1

Three days later she wrote again. The opening paragraph contains an intimation that the Lord was tempering her thinking about what W. C. was doing: 4BIO 341.2

I have been in great perplexity what to do. I cannot say anything more to you in reference to our work here. There is need enough of help, but the situation of things in Melbourne has been opened to me, and I have no more to say.... If you would tell us when we expect to see you, then we could know better how to act.—Letter 208, 1897. 4BIO 341.3

This gave W. C. White the assurance that he should carry through his endeavors in the interests of health-food manufacture. As the church leaders worked in Melbourne, there emerged a “Report of the Committee on Health Foods” consisting of thirteen points, among them: 4BIO 341.4

6. That we proceed at once to establish a health-food factory in Melbourne.... 4BIO 341.5

10. That immediate steps be taken to make and place upon the market Granola, and Caramel Cereal, and that these be followed by Granose Biscuits, and a general line of healthful biscuits, and other foods, as quickly as possible.—11a WCW, p. 358. 4BIO 341.6

The Adventist-sponsored manufacture and distribution of health foods in Australia was on its way. 4BIO 341.7