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Koala mystery is solved by readers
GAZETTE readers have answered the call to help solve Malvern Water’s great “koala mystery”.
We reported last week how Holywell Water company director Rhys Humm had been left stumped by the origins of a glass bottle found on the hills with the familiar Holywell branding but also an unexplained embossed image of a koala.
Despite possessing a huge array of Holywell bottles dating all the way back to Victorian times, he had never come across the distinctive marsupial mascot before. But fortunately help was at hand for Mr Humm when two Gazette readers recognised the koala branding from labels in their own collections.
Long-serving district councillor Roger Hall- Jones and Brian Iles, who runs Malvern Museum, both identified the furry critter as a familiar face on Holywell labels from the 1950s.
As the picture on the front page shows, the koala was used to market a number of products ranging from tonic water to dandelion and burdock.
They both said they had no idea why the koala made an appearance around that time.
But after speaking with visitors to the Holywell, Mr Humm believes the mystery marsupial may only have enjoyed a fleeting moment in the spotlight.
“We know J H Cuff & Co bottled at the Holywell from about 1900 until the 1950s but, having wound up, a new owner took charge,” he explained.
“This was a German gentleman by the name of Wenlock, who began bottling ‘Bush Baby Beverages’ using the koala bear as his logo for a year or so.
“Apparently the sift drinks were sold in Woolworths for a time.
“But Mr Wenlock was superseded by somebody called Mr Best and the operation was soon shut down.”
Mr Humm said the koala mystery has generated a huge response on the Holywell’s own Facebook and Twitter sites.
“But most people have just shown an interest in finding out what the answer is rather than actually knowing the explanation,”
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