Vegemite was invented in 1923, in the beachside suburb of Albert Park, Melbourne. Visit 76–82 Kerferd Road today and you’ll find a plaque commemorating the spread’s creation.

In the very next suburb over, Port Melbourne, you can smell the salty black spread being made – a pungent waft recently considered for heritage protection. The current factory began operating in 1947 and now produces more than 20 million jars of Vegemite each year.

With the iconic brand celebrating 100 years in business, we put together a timeline of its greatest cultural moments, from temporarily being banned in Victorian prisons to stirring controversy on major US talk shows.

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Getting inside the mysterious Willy Wonka-esque factory (which even has a brick chimney like Wonka’s) also felt like a must, if only to satisfy our own curiosity. Owner Bega keeps the actual recipe and production process under close guard, but readily showed Broadsheet photographer Jamie Alexander what else is behind the curtain.