Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

Joshua Dyason

c. 1815 - 1888

Cordial manufacturer

Personal Photo 1
Personal Photo 2
Eliza Dyason

Joshua Dyason established a cordial business which became very well-known in Collingwood and throughout Melbourne. The business, eventually known as Dyason and Son, and later Dyason, Son and Co., was started by Joshua Dyason in a small way in 1869, possibly in Carlton, although in the 1870s he had a business address in Eastern Arcade in the city. 

Joshua, his wife Eliza, and their baby son Edwin arrived in Sydney on 31 December 1837. Here he worked briefly for the police force before resuming his trade as a baker, and eventually established himself as a manufacturer of blacking, but was declared insolvent in 1849. He moved to Melbourne in the early 1850s and set up as a baker in Sydney Road Brunswick. He was declared insolvent in 1857, which he explained as partly due to the loss of 14 horses. These had been impressed by the police to chase some bushrangers, and when returned six weeks later were unfit for work. He was again insolvent in 1860, by then described as a ‘general merchant’, and later obtained an auctioneer’s licence in 1861.

The rest of the 1860s is difficult to track. According to the Dyason entry in Melbourne and its Metropolis (noted more for boastfulness than accuracy), Joshua spent at least part of this decade in New Zealand. The next heard of him in Australia is 1866, in business with Mr Harris in NSW, then in 1869, the firm Dyason and Harris is insolvent in Sydney. Melbourne and its Metropolis suggests that Joshua had been involved with cordial and jam making in NSW and New Zealand.

Family sources claim that he returned to Melbourne in 1869 and started a small cordial business in Carlton (again, documentation seems hard to find).  However Joshua certainly ran a general store in Elgin Street Carlton around 1870. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, cordial and soft drink production and consumption peaked, in part due to the rise of the temperance movement. Joshua secured the sole colonial agency for Prescott’s Parramatta Lime Juice. The English firm Prescott and Co was the proprietor of this famous West Indian lime juice, a refreshing and supposedly antiscorbutic drink.  He gave his son John the middle name of Prescott, reflecting his pride in this agency. 

In 1874 Joshua obtained a patent for the manufacture of a new refreshing drink called Exo. ‘As a sparkling beverage that cheers but not inebriates, it … has all the appearance of Champagne, without causing the real pain … its tonic qualities are of great value, and is therefore good for Flatulency, Nervousness, Debility, and morbid fancies. As an unfermented drink it can be strongly recommened to the entire Temperance community.’ He  published encomiums from a number of scientific gentlemen regarding ‘Exo’, which was prepared from the native cherry tree (Exocarpus Cupressiformis). These gentleman included William Johnson, Government Analytical Chemist, Thomas McMillan, Physician to the Alfed Hospital, and William Guilfoyle, Director of the Botanic Gardens.  At the 1875 Intercolonial Exhibition he obtained a First Prize for his tonic drink.

While the Dyason brand was to be found in several other states, managed by Joshua’s older sons, it was his second-youngest son John Prescott Dyason who became the mainstay of the Melbourne operation. Joshua took him on as a partner in 1877, by which time Joshua was renting a shop in Stanley Street, Collingwood. They made lime cordial, raspberry vinegar, and all manner of syrups. Lime juice was advertised on a weekly basis in the Mercury and Weekly Courier as a ‘pleasant wholesome & refreshing beverage … highly beneficial to rheumatism, and strongly recommended for heat in blood and skin.’

By 1882 Joshua had purchased two timber houses at 61-63 Cambridge Street and re-located the business there. John soon after bought a timber house, known as 16 Oxford Street, later re-numbered 44, which backed on to the Cambridge Street property. John and his wife lived in the house but from 1886 this address was also used in advertisements for the cordial factory, suggesting that the side passageway was utilised to access the factory and store at the rear, or that office wotk was carried on in the house.

In June 1887 the partnership was dissolved but the company name remained Dyason and Son. Joshua died in May 1888 before the construction of the new factory at 44 Oxford Street, completed by 1889, and which remains standing to this day. His wife Eliza later moved from 102  Oxford Street to 5 Abbot Grove in Clifton Hill, near the residence of her son John, and  died not long after.

Joshua’s legacy remained in the firm which continued to expand under his son’s management.

Work Photo 1

Dyason's cordial bottle

Work Photo 2

Dyason's lime juice bottle

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
1815 Canterbury, Kent, England
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Eliza Dyason, 1816 - 7 November 1893 Edwin 1837, John 1839-1839, Afra 1840-1860, Eliza 1843, William 1844, Joshua 1846, Henry 1848, Elizabeth 1851, Christina 1853-1853, John Prescott 1855, Alfred 1857-1860.
Home Addresses
Home Street Home City Status of Building
Sackville Street Collingwood Not identified
102 Oxford Street Collingwood Demolished
Work Addresses
Work Street Work City Status of Building
36 (previously 48) Stanley Street Collingwood Demolished
61-63 Cambridge Street Collingwood Re-constructed
44 (previously 16) Oxford Street Collingwood Re-constructed
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
9 May 1888 Collingwood Melbourne General Cemetery

Dyason, Dyasons in Australia: the family tree; Dyason, Melon and lemon jamMelbourne and its metropolisIllustrated Australian NewsThe ArgusThe AgePunchThe Mercury and Weekly CourierNorth Melbourne AdvertiserThe Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser.

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Exocarpos cupressiformis

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