Image of Darlia Loula Argyris courtesy of West Village.
Whilst the history of Fred Peters’ rise from backyard ice cream maker to household name is well preserved and readily observable, little is known about the Peters factory workers themselves, and even less about the women and migrant women who occupied a great number of roles on the factory floor. Since its opening in 1928 the Peters Ice Cream factory in West End provided employment to a number of female and migrant workers opening opportunities and drawing in a diverse and under-represented population, ultimately contributing to the vibrant diversity of community in West End as we know it today. This project explores a time in which women’s role in the labor market was particularly significant and illuminates the contributions that female workers made to the products and the culture of the factory. The influence of migrant workers employed by Peters will richly inform this exploration, revealing their contribution to the eclectic social cultural community of West End and the relevance of the factory to today’s community.
The findings then form the basis of new creative work, using dynamic art-based place-making activities to respond to and reinterpret images and stories into a new collection of images. The display and dissemination of this work in and around the original site will encourage a depth of personal responses from present and future occupants of the space, providing historical narratives as platforms to explore their own connections to the place, space and its products.
Both the research and the outputs will have a significant contribution to Queensland heritage and community identity through the gathering of oral stories from a range of individuals with intimate knowledge of the factory. The documentation of their insight to the role of the factory workers’ development of Peters products and/or role as social benefactors of the community around the factory will add to the legacy of the company and the space it occupied. These personal narratives will also in turn allow insight into the ongoing engagement of the space and the products socially, economically and culturally.