Sixty-six years of Coca-Cola bottling at Thebarton comes to a halt today as the last production run rolls off the line at the Amatil site around midday, marking the end of a manufacturing era.
While the site has been a major employer over the years, it has become increasingly constrained and was identified in 2017 as no longer suitable for modernisation.
Bottling at Thebarton has progressively been relocated to new or expanded Amatil facilities in Western Australia and Queensland.
The facility which started with the century-old ‘contour’ bottle in 1952, was once the sole bottler in Australia for Powerade and Jim Beam.
At the time of closing, the longest serving manufacturing employee was Craig Bollenhagen who started on site fresh out of school on December 5, 1977. His father Ross also worked at the site when it first opened in Adelaide. Between the two of them, they have accumulated a total of 76 years of service.
General Manager for Sales, Jarrad Mortimer said CCA worked closely with all employees over the two year transition period, to help them find new work or be redeployed elsewhere.
“The wellbeing of our staff is our top priority, and most of those who’ve left have achieved their goals in employment, study or retirement,” Mortimer said.
“We’ve had good support form the South Australian Government through this process, including financial support through a co-payment to help staff transition to new jobs. That’s paid off with the solid rates of re-employment we’ve seen since February 2017. ”
He added that CCA would retain strong employment in the state.
“After 66 years and around 10 billion bottles produced, it’s time for this plant to retire. But despite that, we’re here to stay in SA,” Mortimer said.
“We’re keeping a local team of more than 150 including in sales, distribution, warehousing, cold drink equipment and IT, plus Statewide Recycling. So we’re proud to have been a big part of South Australia’s history, and equally proud to be a big part of its future.”
Some equipment from Thebarton has been redeployed to other Amatil sites including the ‘blowfill’ line to Papua New Guinea and other equipment to Richlands which now supplies all glass bottled beverages for Australia. Thebarton’s alcohol tank farm will be relocated to Moorabbin Victoria next year.