History & Milestones

On 15th December 1909, Bryant & May is Australian first match factory at Church Street, Richmond, Victoria. It was opened by The Honorable Alfred Deakin, Prime Minister of Australia, and Mrs. Deakin.

It was heralded by the first Commonwealth Government of newly-federated Australia because the government of the day was anxious to encourage secondary industry and pledged tariff protection of local manufacturers.

The Australian arm of Bryant & May has weathered various levels of tariff protection, industrial action, two world wars and competitors to take its place as a stalwart in Australian Commercial History.

Milestones

  • 1909 - Australias first match factory

    On 15th December 1909, Bryant & May is Australian first match factory at Church Street, Richmond, Victoria. It was opened by The Honorable Alfred Deakin, Prime Minister of Australia, and Mrs. Deakin.

    It was heralded by the first Commonwealth Government of newly-federated Australia because the government of the day was anxious to encourage secondary industry and pledged tariff protection of local manufacturers.

    The Australian arm of Bryant & May has weathered various levels of tariff protection, industrial action, two world wars and competitors to take its place as a stalwart in Australian Commercial History.

  • 1946 - The infamous "Redheads" logo was created in 1946

    The infamous “Redheads” logo was created in 1946 and first used on matchbox packaging in 1947. She then proceeded to carve out a place for herself at the forefront of Australian match awareness. The logo has become affectionately known as “Miss Redhead” and is instantly recognised by the majority of Australians.

    The name Redheads was derived from the red striking head of the “Safety Match” and was introduced to Australia when Bryant & May started manufacturing matches.

    These new red “Safety Matches” were much welcomed as they presented fewer health risks than earlier matches and greatly minimizes the risk of accidental fires.

    The earlier “Strike Anywhere” matches were made with poisonous white phosphorous. Sensitive to friction as the name suggests, it could be struck on almost any surface.

    The Safety Matches could only ignite if struck on the prepared surface made of non-poisonous “red” or “amorphos” phosphorous that was painted on the side of the matchbox.

  • 1958 - First change to the Redheads label

    The first change to the Redheads label was in 1958 with a new hairdo; all other details are basically the same as the original. At this stage Redheads was predominantly a Victorian brand.

  • 1971 - The 1971 design

    The 1971 design saw an update of both the Redheads face and hairstyle to match the fashion look of that period. Labelling changed from horizontal to vertical display at this time. This was the first Redheads pack to go into national distribution.

  • 1975 - Red background pack

    In 1975 the red background pack was developed to overcome the problem of rapidly changing hairstyle fashions and to give the product greater visibility on retail shelves. This design, with minor typestyle and positioning variations, continues to be used today.

  • 1990 - The 90s saw the growth of matches

    The 90s saw the growth of matches and fire related categories under Bryant & May. The growth was driven by innovation, with Bryant & May the first to launch many products never seen before in the Australian marketplace. For instances:

    • 1990: Redheads Handypack Matches & Redheads No Smell Firelighters
    • 1992: Redheads Extra Long Matches
    • 1994: Redheads No Touch Firelighters

  • 1998 - Swedish Match purchased Bryant & May

    On 30th of June 1998, Swedish Match purchased Bryant & May in Australia. The acquisition leads to a 100% purchase of the matches, lighters and firelighters operations from Byant & May.

    Redheads Safey Matches are now imported from Swedish Match factory in Sweden.

    For more information about Swedish Match please visit they website www.swedishmatch.com.au.

  • 2004 - Redheads packaging given makeover

    Redheads packaging was given a makeover and the brand was re-launched with a range of new and exciting fire needs related products. Concentrating on a complete range of fire assist products, the brand identity is more than matches and has global appeal.

  • 2009 - Redheads is re-launched

    Redheads is re-launched with a more contemporary look and a new position statement – The Start Of Something Good – is introduced to signify the intrinsic value Redheads bring to consumers.

  • 2015 - Redheads and BBQ festivals


    In 2015, Redheads dove into the world of BBQ festivals by heavily sponsoring The Yaks Ales BBQ Festival in Melbourne and the Creekside BBQ Battle in Warracknabeal.

    These festivals were the perfect platforms for displaying the features and benefits of Redheads natural charcoal products.

  • 2016 - Redheads turned 70

    Redheads celebrated turning 70 with a golden logo across all products and creating great plans for the future.