National Library of Australia

Apple box labels

B.A. Watson, Orchadist The Nurse Brand Apples

Castle Forbes Bay, Tasmania: 1930–35

colour print on paper; 25.3 x 28.1cm

Tasmaniana Library, State Library of Tasmania
The Nurse Brand Apples

Labels began to appear as a standard on wooden apple cases from about 1920, and were superseded in the mid-1960s by printed cardboard cartons. (However, the printing on the first cartons was so poor that many sported labels for some years afterwards.)

Many export agents believed that attractive labels often gave Australian orchardists an edge in competitive overseas markets.

However, most of the design was anonymous, and printers considered the work unimportant. Originality was rarely a prerequisite (a notable exception being the Rooster Brand label designed by Max Angus in 1952, inspired by the work of French painter, Henri Matisse).

The label featured here is from Tasmania, the Apple Isle.

The Nurse Brand label, from B.A. Watson’s orchard, of Castle Forbes Bay in the Huon Valley, was used between 1930 and 1935. Australia’s first apple case label was printed in 1913 in the United States for Geo. Heatherbell & Sons (the early labels were heavily influenced by the designs on California’s orange crates).