Little Flinders St (alternatively known as Flinders Lane or “the Lane”), was one of Melbourne’s east-west “little streets” and always had a strong association with the city’s wholesale trade.
The Oriental Tea Company established this building in 1877. Here it imported mainly Indian tea and then blended and packed it for sale in grocery shops around Australia. The company’s labels included Royal, Universal, Victory, Oriental and standard brands.
The top floor was the “breaking-out store” and the blending room where the tea was unpacked, ground and mixed in long wooden racks according to its blend. It was then stored in bins to mature.
When it was considered ready, it was fed through shoots to the second and first floors where the largely female workforce packed the tea. Working hours were from 8.30am – 5.30pm. The ground floor was where the stock was held.
By July 1879, the company despatched 40,617 lbs of tea.
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