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Glen Ewin

In 1843, Scottish horticulturalist and landscape gardener George McEwin arrived in the Tea Tree Gully area to work for George Anstey on his estate, 'Highercombe'. McEwin was a horticulturist of some note; he was a life member of the Arboricultural Society of Edinburgh and in South Australia he produced a book, The South Australian vigneron and gardeners' manual, with which he aimed to guide colonists who were facing vastly different climatic conditions found in the colony compared to Britain. McEwin left Anstey's employ and established his own property, 'Glen Ewin', near Houghton in late 1844. Here he planted vines from cuttings obtained from the nearby property 'Hermitage' owned by Thomas Williams, established orchards of fruit trees, grew wheat and produced butter.

McEwin established a nursery for trees, vine cuttings and various berries. He commenced commercial production of wine in 1854. In December 1862 he commenced the jam making which would make the Glen Ewin name famous. Glen Ewin was the first large scale jam factory in South Australia. The business flourished and before too long McEwin was using fruit bought from other growers in the area as well as his own. McEwin initially packed the jam in glass jars, but in 1867 began using tins manufactured by another longstanding South Australian company, Simpson (then known as the Colonial Tinware Manufactory). Alfred Simpson himself taught McEwin's workers at Glen Ewin how to solder the lids on to the cans.

Jam manufacture continued at Glen Ewin under the management of various members of the McEwin family until 1988 when the Houghton factory closed. In the 1990s the Glen Ewin name was revived by the company Glen Ewin Fine Foods which manufactured jams and sauces with the Glen Ewin name but was not associated with the Houghton site. In 1999 Glen Ewin Fine Foods made an agreement with UK company JA Sharwood to manufacture Indian spices and sauces in Adelaide for the local market but went into receivership the following year. From mid-2000 jams were marketed under the Glen Ewin name by the internationally owned Henry Jones IXL and the rest of the Glen Ewin Fine Foods business was taken on by San Remo. Henry Jones IXL was bought by SPC Ardmona in 2004.

The Glen Ewin homestead and factory at Houghton is now used as a function centre and wine storage facility. The connection to the fruit industry has been re-established with the property being home to one of Australia's largest commercial plantations of figs managed by Willabrand Australia.

Advertisement for Glen Ewin tomato sauce
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Mr. George McEwin
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The 'Glen Ewin' factory
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