GONE NUTTY: Peanut Van's general manager Rowena Dionysius is celebrating the popular Peanut Van's 50th birthday with 12 months of new products.
GONE NUTTY: Peanut Van's general manager Rowena Dionysius is celebrating the popular Peanut Van's 50th birthday with 12 months of new products. Matt Collins

50 years working for peanuts

WHEN Peanut Van founder Ruth Davis started working in the business in 1969, her take home pay for the month wouldn't have been enough to pay for lunch.

Fast forward to today, 50 years later, and the Peanut Van is a successful business with 20 staff, multiple locations and customers all over the globe.

Not bad when you consider Ruth bought the van for $100 when Arnotts Snack Foods decided it was not worth keeping.

Back then, the van was known as The Murrumba Star and it only operated on weekends at a Kingaroy service station.

Kingaroy's Peanut Van
Kingaroy's Peanut Van Matt Collins

General manager Rowena Dionysius said 50 years in business meant a lot of changes through the decades.

"We used to hand pack all our nuts in the bags,” she said.

"These days we have machines that do all that.”

Kingaroy's Peanut Van as it stands in 2019.
Kingaroy's Peanut Van as it stands in 2019. Matt Collins

With locations in Kingaroy, Childers and a business headquarters, Ms Dionysius said their growth was testament to the great staff and processes.

"We have had tourism organisations from Canada come over to ask us about being innovative and lasting so long,” she said.

"Our mail order business is getting more and more popular as people move into the digital age.

"We have a massive Facebook and Instagram presence.”

Kingaroy's Peanut Van celebrates it's 50th year.
Kingaroy's Peanut Van celebrates it's 50th year. Matt Collins

The 50-year anniversary coincides with when founder Ruth Davis first started working in the van back on December 28, 1969.

"We are making 12 new products for every month of our 50th year,” Ms Dionysius said.

The passionate GM said it was no surprise Kingaroy peanuts were so popular.

"We have the volcanic soil here, it gives the peanuts a much better flavour,” she said.

"I think when people come here and try our peanuts for the first time they are blown away.”

To celebrate the Peanut Van's golden jubilee, Ms Dionysius is organising a reunion of all past and present staff.

"It is a lot of work, but it has been good,” she said.

When asked what the next 50 years holds for the popular tourist attraction, Ms Dionysius said she probably won't be here to find out.

"I won't be here, but I'm sure we will go from strength to strength,” she said.

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