Vale: Margaret Fulton

Australian food and cooking writer, journalist, author and commentator, Margaret Fulton passed away on 24 July, 2019. As a long-time advocate, Fulton helped re-launch St George Appliances in 2004, after it was acquired by Woodland Home Products.

In January 2006, Fulton said her fondest memory was when she introduced her niece to St George appliances, and soon after using a St George oven, got rid of her relatively new European oven and replaced it with a St George.

“The most important thing I want in an oven is reliability. I want an oven that I enjoy using and know will always do the job. It is important to feel comfortable, knowing that you can cook a sponge cake, pavlova or scones for guests and know that they will turn out…Australians have grown up with St George ovens. They are award winning, look great in any kitchen and are an important investment for any home. They are well designed and it’s reassuring these ovens are Australian made. I don’t think the other ovens, that are made overseas, are as good quality or reliable.”

Pictured: Woodland Home Products managing director, Peter Woodland and Margaret Fulton circa 2004 when the 500,000th St George oven was launched

St George Appliances was founded by Stan Shuetrium in 1947 from his backyard in Bexley, Sydney. A welder by trade, Stan decided to manufacture and sell ovens to create employment opportunities for his family members.

Stan and his brother began selling the ovens from the back of a truck in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. St George Appliances grew from strength to strength, relocated to a factory in Peakhurst and at its peak, hundreds of ovens were manufactured per day.

The business was sold to Kleenmaid in 1989 and then in 2004, St George Appliances was acquired by Woodland Home Products, manufacturers of BeefEater barbecues, and distribution expanded throughout Australia with a new St George oven range rolled out in 2007. St George was then sold to an overseas manufacturer in China in 2015.

The above information was provided by Bay PR founder, Deborah Ivison, who also wrote the following tribute in memory of Margaret Fulton and David Hammer (external marketing consultant for St George Appliances).

At the last company I worked at before I set up Bay PR, we had monthly team meetings with the MD, marketing manager, sales director, sales manager and an external marketing consultant from a valued client.

David, the marketing consultant was an ‘old school marketer’ who pushed the boundaries every time. He would often throw out crazy ideas, stunts and off-the-wall suggestions that would be impractical, ineffective and expensive to roll out. But every so often, he would get it right.

One of those times was when he suggested approaching Margaret Fulton to help us re-launch an iconic Australian oven brand. However, Margaret hadn’t been in the public eye for a number of years. We didn’t think it was a good idea to try and introduce a refreshed but essentially vintage oven brand to appeal to a younger demographic with a celebrity cook that had been in retirement for some time.

But the idea stuck and David insisted it was going to work. He approached Margaret and it turned out she was just about to re-launch one of her much-loved cookbooks, re-vamped and modernised for new readers. 

At the age of 80, Margaret’s career took another leap up the ladder of success. Her ‘Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery’ was re-launched and she signed a deal with Woolworths putting her back in the public eye and revealing her culinary talents to a new, younger audience.

Margaret agreed to help us re-introduce the much-loved St George oven into Australian homes, providing us with recipes, product endorsement and signed copies of her book.

Sadly, David passed away last year and now Margaret has departed to the kitchen in the sky. She was a delightful lady who had an incredible career right until the very end.

Margaret – you were a fantastic role model and shining example to all women in their later years who may worry they’ve had their day or can’t make a contribution. David, even though you gave us grief, you had a good heart and some of your worst ideas turned out to be your best.

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