Robert (Bob) Lane Ferguson - A family business legend.  

Robert Lane Ferguson, or “Bob” as we liked to call him was one of the patriarchs of the Ferguson Plarre family business. Sadly he passed away in July, 2014 at the age of 90.

We'd like to take this opportunity to celebrate his achievements and commemorate the love and dedication he poured into this family business and the Australian baking industry as a whole. We remain forever grateful.

Bob Ferguson's true passion was Football

Bob hadn’t always planned to be the passionate family business man that he became; in fact his skill on the footy field very nearly had him playing this sport at the highest level.

Bob was a very keen sportsman and whilst he loved cricket and tennis his true passion was football.

Bob was primed and ready to play for his favourite team, Carlton in the VFL but a deep sense of patriotism prevailed and drove him to volunteer for the post-war occupation efforts in Japan.

Upon returning from serving in the Australian Army Service Corps in 1947, a little older and wiser, Bob decided to join the family business, J.A Ferguson & Sons (Ferguson’s Cakes) as an administrator.

In August 1949, Bob placed an advertisement in the local newspaper offering an “excellent opportunity for a female cake decorator”. Things weren’t quite as simple as just hiring a cake decorator though – bringing in female cake decorators spurred some major bakery renovations which saw (amongst other things) a special area being created for the decorators.

It was still a part of the bakehouse, but remained separated from the main area by glass walls. This meant that while the light was not restricted from the room, the young boys working in the bakehouse were separated from the young girls working in the decorating room. 

To be honest, it’s not that different now. Nine out of every 10 cake decorators looking to work for Ferguson Plarre are girls with young Mums and grand-mums topping the list!

Bob Ferguson & his Cake Decorators
Bob Ferguson on the MPA Board

In addition to pioneering a number of key advances within the family business, Bob spent decades as either President or Treasurer of the Victorian Master Pastry cooks Association.

While the Plarre family was well known to Bob, it was here that a brilliant and enduring relationship with Raymond Plarre was truly born. For a period of over 30 years, either Bob or Ray held the presidency of this great organisation and became partners in the true sense of the word.

They helped to innovate, protect and grow the great Australian baking industry that we all enjoy today.

The ultimate expression of this relationship came to fruition in 1980 when Bob and Ray’s son Ralph Plarre decided to amalgamate their family businesses to create Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses. Bob’s experience in the business and passion for baking made him the perfect choice to become Ferguson Plarre’s first ever CEO.

Bob retired from the business in 1987 and devoted the rest of his life to his children and grandchildren.

At a loving memorial in August of 2014, Bob’s children and grandchildren spoke of the incredible relationship they shared with Bob. He was a family man in every sense of the word.

Bob Ferguson - 1923 - 2014