For almost 75 years, a huge property measuring 25,000 hectares, located at Ouaco, was considered one of the jewels in the crown of the Caledonian food processing industry. Few vestiges remain from this hallowed but long-gone time, but they do include the railway which used to transport canned products to the sea port.
Before the mining industry was the main provider of employment, this region had its hour of glory with an unusual industrial venture, which began in the 1880s.
The Digeon Company, which had recently purchased a huge property at Ouaco, measuring 25,000 hectares and on which thousands of cattle grazed, was transporting and reassembling, piece by piece, an industrial canning plant which would employ up to 100 people.
Almost 100 tonnes of jellied beef was produced each year in the 1950s...
In the 1930s, after being bought by Franklin Singer and becoming the Ouaco public limited company, the organisation underwent huge development, under the drive of its charismatic director, the very British Colonel Dix (the remains of whose colonial mansion are visible to this day...).
The legendary red-labelled cans of jellied beef, tripe and tongue enjoyed an excellent reputation. The famous cans are in fact still on the market, although they are now packaged in Nouméa following the total halt in production at Ouaco in 1962.