Reginald Callister

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Reginald Callister from a Ballarat School of Mines Staff Photo, 1921. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 214)
Ballarat School of Mines World War One Honour Roll, c1915. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 10431)



Reginald Clive Callister was born at Ballarat East on 10 October 1889 to William H. Callister and Rosetta Dixon. He was the brother of Cyril Callister (1893-1949) who invented the yeast spread Vegemite. Reginald died in 1971.

War Honors.
The New Year's list of military honors includes the names of Lieutenant Reginald Callister, of the Machine-gun Corps, to whom has been awarded the Military Cross. The soldier so signally honored is a son Mr W. H. Callister, principal, Shepparton Agricultural High School.[1]


Reginald Clive Callister attended the Ballarat School of Mines in 1909, studying Geometry, Algebra, and Land Surveying. He was a member of the Ballarat School of Mines Student Association Committee in 1909. After graduating he became an associate of the Ballarat School of Mines.

In 1910 Reginald Callister was an assayer at Hills Proprietory Gold Mining Co, Murrin Murrin.[2]


The Military Cross has been conferred upon Lieut. Reginald Callister (son of Mr W.H. Callister, Principal, Shepparton Agricultural High School), for gallantry in Northern France. He is attached to a machine-gun corps.[3]


After serving during World War One he was appointed by the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry in Melbourne, to investigate Ballarat's white earthenware. Soon after, on 27 June 1919, it was announced that Callister would be attached to the Ballarat School of Mines to carry out his duties, and to examine the possibility of establishing a pottery industry using local clays, especially the Lal Lal locality which was thought to be rich in clay deposits. [4]

The 1922 SMB Anual Report boasted:

Considerable success had also rewarded the efforts of Mr. R.C. Callister in his investigations into the suitability of clays in the Ballarat district for the manufacture of white earthenware products. His porcelain productions compared favourably, it was said, with other specimens of high grade porcelain ware of that time. In conjunction with Mr Callister's investigations into clays, additional samples of decorative earthenware were manufactured on various occasions in the Technical Art School's Pottery Class and these samples had been "fired" with satisfactory results. At this time an electrical process for "baking" pottery was being tried at the Technical Art School and it was yeilding good results which suggested the possibility of producing, at relatively low costs for clays in the Ballarat district, large quantites of porcelain ware for marketing. [5]

The Ballarat Courier on February 1927 reported:

Mr Reg Callister, who was engaged at the Ballarat School of Mines in making investigations on the subject of pottery clays, has now started work at the pottery school at Stoke on Trent, England under Dr Mellor. Mr Callister went to England on behalf of the Bureau of Science and Industry. Dr Mellor is a famous scientist, and an expert employed for research work by the British pottery manufacturers

Also See

Ballarat School of Mines

Buninyong Roll of Honour


Cyril Callister (1893-1949)

Yendon Avenue of Honour

External Sites

Enlistment papers -

Further Reading

Callister, Jamie, The Man Who Invented Vegemite, Pier9, NSW, 2012.

Paton, Kay, Yendon's World War 1 Memorial Book, Yendon History Group, 2014


  1. Shepparton Advertiser, 04 January 1917.
  2. Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, 1910.
  3. Shepparton Advertiser, 04 January 1917.
  5. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1922

--C.K.Gervasoni 17:57, 10 March 2012 (EST); --Sallyanne Doyle 14:34, 14 October 2012 (EST)

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