From early beginnings in Australia the legend of Ophir Soap took root from the seeds planted by Elizza and Thomas Dickerson in a village of the early gold miners of the Australian Gold Rush. The tent village was called Ophir, in New South Wales. Thomas arrived there in 1867 where he met Elizza Ryan from Bowenfells and they were married that same year. Thomas was paddling for gold, and at Elizza’s calling began another enterprise on the side. Using the principles of steam distillation of the local plants, and making Eucalyptus oil from the local gums trees. Known as a “eucy still” this primative iron boiler was filled with leaves and sealed with mud, the fire was set and the resultant steam directed by pipe to a clay urn. The “eucy oil” was added to a crude soap mixture made from tallow and ash in a large iron pot called a “Dutch Oven”, resulting in a very effective laundry soap that became known as Ophir Soap. The nearby valley was named “perfume valley” because of the smells eminating for this small time industry setup there. Thomas and Elizza had the first five of their eleven children there in Ophir before moving on to Ironbark (now called Stuart Town).
This little township called Ironbark was the feature of Banjo Patterson’s poem “The Man From Ironbark”. Thomas and Emma purchased 2 acres there and built a “wattle and daub” house where they raised their five children and had six more. Elizza was called “Granny” and became the local midwife of the area. Always producing Ophir Soap in the kitchen and later producing other apothecary products for the efficacy of patients and newborns in the midwifery she practiced there with the help of her daughter Alicia and the other children. Alicia learned her skills from “Granny” and was also a practiced midwife there when the need arose.
Alicia married Fred Barker in 1887 and together they had 16 children. Fred had a puddling machine down by the creek. Amongst other enterprises they continued the business of making Ophir Bar Soap and round soaps, liquid soap and laundry scrubbing blocks, all valued commodidties to the family and the local community. Emma their 2nd daughter grew up with the soapmaker skills and brought them to Sydney when she married Sydney Moore. Emma was Anoni Mor’s mother and passed these skills and these stories on to Anoni during her early years.
Alicia & Fred Barker
Anoni Mor was born in the early 1920’s, the daughter of Sydney and Emma, that girl from Ironbark descended from the gold miners of the Ophir goldfields. Anoni’s loving father, Sydney worked hard in his trade as a cabinetmaker, during the depression years he supported his family making small wooden toys.
Life for Sydney from Sydney, Australia was hard however it was fulfilling with good friends, good family and a place where hard work paid off. Sydney built a home in the affluent suburb of Haberfield and life was good. Sydney and Emma had three children, Anoni was the first born.
Anoni always dressed impeccably and she possessed a look that was fashionable during these times, being sought out by photographers keen to show off their skills with a good model, with an appealing face.
That face hung proud in Sydney’s Central Rail Station in an advertisement for Lemair Studios for their outstanding portrait works.
Beauty as a way of life
When Anoni grew up she married a handsome Beau. She spent a lot of her time making fine ceramics and delving into cosmetics like cold cream and other makeup products with the help of her dotting father-in-law “John Kensington” who worked in the profession of Analytical Chemist.
Guided by the memories and stories told to her by her mother and going by the Name of Anoni Mor she began selling her beauty products to friends and acquaintances from the Haberfield Rowing Club where her Beau and also her father-in-law John Kensington were legendary sports men rowers.
Further guided and endorsed by her pharmacist cousin Owen who himself formulated products of efficacy in his Bondi Pharmacy and Apothecary. Owen and Anoni continued to formulate compounds and emollients in the Bondi practice for years and Owen loved to recommend Anoni Mor’s products to his clientele. The ladies of Bondi and Waverley especially loved the cold cream night mask preparations by Anoni Mor. Another big seller was Owen’s Wound emollient.
Anoni Mor’s love of Arts, Ceramics, Fragrances and Skin Care Products continues into the future through her sons. Qualified in Aromatherapy, Aromachology, Anatomy and Physiology. Also bringing to the table a firm grounding in many areas of design and Business Development and product marketing. Cheerfully heading up this honourable business venture and guiding the development of unique and modern apothecary treats to bring to you the high quality products that Anoni Mor is famous for…..
Aromachology is defined by Wikipedia as the study of the influence of odors on human behavior and the examination this relationship to feelings and emotions such as relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and well-being brought about by odors stimulating the olfactory pathways in the brain and, in particular, the limbic system. (Link to Wikidedia.org – Aromachology)