Nedlands resident writes story of the Mills and Wares Biscuit Factory

Nedlands resident and grandniece of William Mills, Mary Marshall. Photographer: Andrew Ritchie
Nedlands resident and grandniece of William Mills, Mary Marshall. Photographer: Andrew Ritchie

THE Biscuit Factory: Stories of a Fremantle Family tells the story of the iconic Mills and Ware Biscuit Factory and was written by the grandniece of William Mills.

Mary Marshall started piecing the story together but it took 16 years for her vision to be realised.

The author, like many people in Perth, had the famous biscuits at home.

“Every year (Royal) show time was the highlight of the year, the first stall the kids went to was the Mills and Ware,” she said.

“It was served either in a paper bag or a little case, and everyone in the family had a little case.

“Back when I was a child they weren’t sold in packets but were served in bulk at the grocery store.

“They weren’t all the same, some had pink and white icing, different shapes and sizes.”

Ms Marshall said it was hard for her to pick her favourite biscuit.

The book spans two World Wars and traces the history of William Mills, who fled from England to find a better life, culminating in his friendship with Henry Ware and the setting up of an incredibly successful business.

The Nedlands resident said she wanted to record the story for her family.

“I wanted to write about my grandmother’s life, trying to let my children know,” she said.

“I realised there was a lot more to the story, things I had never heard of, thing she’d never spoken about.

“Once I started looking into that I thought ‘wow, this isn’t just going to be about my grandmother at all’.”