In 1883 James Cross Gibbs arrived in Adelaide, South Australia from Dunbar, Scotland with his wife, three sons and two daughters. After working at a brewery for some years for six shillings a day he had saved sufficient money to buy a pie stall. James’ brother Jack had established a bakehouse and residence in Rundle Street in the busy retail centre of the city and it was there where James baked his pies and pasties. James continued to work at the brewery by day, selling his pies at night until the pie business increased to the extent that he left the brewery and purchased his own bakery in George Street, later to be called Hallett Street. All James’ three sons learnt the bakery trade in their father’s bakery and James junior, after working in several country bakeries, returned to Adelaide where his father loaned him some money to buy a bakery, residence and pie stall.
James Gibbs junior’s pie stall was located at the Black Diamond Corner at Port Adelaide, a busy intersection of roads serving the bustling wharves and factories in the area. James Gibbs junior’s stall featured a charcoal stove and hanging tarpaulins to provide warmth and keep out the cold winds blowing off the river.
About 13 years after starting the business at Port Adelaide, James Gibbs junior sold out and moved to Adelaide where he bought the de-licensed Shakespeare Hotel at 123 Waymouth Street which he converted to incorporate a bakery, shop and dwelling. At these premises James Gibbs junior carried on a successful business for 12 years and in later years branched out into the wholesale trade.
James Gibbs junior had four sons, the eldest being Harry Gibbs, who, during the depression in the early 1930s had been in the electrical business, the opportunity presented itself for Harry to take over the family business and having done so, Harry immediately proceeded to investigate the possibilities of mechanising the production of meat pies and pasties. The production line was making business more competitive throughout the world, not least in the food industry and Gibbs were one of the first to recognise the advantages and the necessity for a streamlined bakery. It took five years to fully mechanise with parts from both of its machines being manufactured in Adelaide and assembled by Harry Gibbs.
Today the Gibbs brand still remembers its heritage, with its products still being made in Adelaide to the highest quality standards.