Clare's Main Street Bakehouse
Formally the H.C. Jones Bakery
Note: As first published in 2001...
When Hartley Clifford Jones (Illustrated left) first envisaged moving to Clare to open a bakery, he could not have foreseen that 60 years later the bakery would be a flourishing and expanding business, with a tradition of excellent bakery products and first class service backing it.
Hartley's bakery had originally begun on 1st November 1925, in Truro. However, Mr Arthur Boer of Stockwell Flour Mills in Eudunda (now Laucke's) encouraged Hartley to move to Clare and financed him with an interest free loan.
Hartley's sons, Neil and Brian, became the proprietors of H.C. Jones, together with Neil's wife; Evon, said their father and mother, Ruby, loved Truro but realised that opportunity seldom knocks twice and made the move to Clare. It was a move they would not regret.
Illustrated at left: The first four bakers of the H.C. Jones business in Clare
L to R — Frank Edwards, Con Skeen?, Pop Snashall, Dud Snashall.
To celebrate their 65 years in business and 60th birthday in Clare, H.C. Jones held a party for all their employees, past and present, family, friends and associates.
The party was held on 10th November 1990, the actual birthday, and was a way of saying thank you to all those who supported the business over the years.
Loyalty has always been a part of the Jones' business maxim and the help and encouragement received from Mr Boer in those early days have been continuously acknowledged over the years as the firm still only ever used Laucke's flour in their products.
Local businesses too have benefited from the tenacity of the Jones' in keeping their business and improving and expanding it over the years.
Neil was born in November 1931 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the month, only one day after his parents celebrated their first anniversary in Clare.
He started work in the Clare bakery in 1946.
Meanwhile the Jones' were also operating another bakery in Saddleworth.
Economically though, it was not potentially viable to operate more than one bakery, so the family decided to consolidate their operations in Clare during the early 1970's.
In those days baking was no easy task. The ovens were heated with sheoak and stringy bark wood and in summer the hundreds of tonnes of wood necessary to maintain an even temperature certainly helped to keep temperatures soaring.
Wood was used until just after the Second World War, when the Jones' changed their wood ovens to oil.
In 1986, with the demise of Golden North from Clare, H.C. Jones decided to diversify their business and began to offer a wide range of frozen foods.
Above left: The First H.C. Jones Delivery Van
Above right: H.C. Jones — Baker and Grocer store in Main St. Clare
Left: Billy Beames, the Breadcarter, on his cart c1940
H.C. Jones had always delivered their products house to house, albeit often by horse and cart in the early days.
In later years they had seven vans delivering throughout the Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, Wirrabara, Burra, Eudunda, Dublin and the Yorke Peninsula.
H.C. Jones have also held two successful trade fairs which Neil said was the only way to let customers know what is available.
Both fairs have been extremely well attended with visitors travelling from all parts of South Australia to familiarise themselves with H.C. Jones' extensive range of products.
Neil, Evon and Brian believe in personal direct contact with their customers and the trade fairs are an excellent way of maintaining personal contact.
Above left: H.C. Jones Float 1936 Christmas Procession - Brian Jones is sitting on top
Above right: H.C. Jones Float 1960s Christmas Procession
Twenty-six staff were employed by the firm by the 1990's, a far cry from their humble beginnings, when a staff of four brought sumptuous bakery products to the people of the Clare Valley.
Bakery practices have changed immensely over the years.
Bread dough needed a long time for the yeast to ferment, which slowed down the bread-making process considerably.
Today, the bread dough rises instantly, saving many hours and streamlining the baking process.
Neil and Evon had considerably expanded their knowledge and both were firm believers in accessing experts and specialists for advice.
This willingness to listen and change where necessary showed in every aspect of H.C. Jones' business where quality always prevailed.
Many different types of bread were available in a range of all types, shapes and sizes.
Long recognised as one of the most important staples in the diet, bread is continuing to play an increasingly important nutritional role.
Breads baked at H.C. Jones reflected this consciousness and were available in
white, wholemeal, rye, whole grain, high fibre, low cholesterol and sugar free, which is suitable for diabetics.
The firm also endeavoured to accommodate their clients' needs according to their dietary requirements.
Lunchtime hunger is easily assuaged with a mouth-watering range of pies and pasties. Those who enjoy sumptuous cakes and buns will almost always find what they are looking for.
Cream filled cakes and buns, yeast buns, rock buns, fruit pies, sultana cakes, chocolate cakes, plain cakes and slices were all available at very reasonably prices.
All were baked on the premises and quality and freshness were assured.
H.C. Jones' frozen food line was extensive with over 1,700 lines servicing individuals, shops and the catering industry.
2001 Footnote — With none of the younger generation interested in running a bakery, the Bakery was sold in 1992 when Neil, Evon and Brian retired.