BUTTER AND CHEESE MAKING
Butter and cheesemaking on a large scale took place at Pericoe Station managed by John Alexander and his family - six sons, seven daughters. John's wife was formerly a Miss Smith, of Pambula. Sons were Ted, who left early in the piece to go to Queensland, Robert ("Bo") who ran the "Hayfield" farm, Sydney, ran the "Bonnie Doon" property, Percy, ran the "One Mile", Eden had "Fairview", and Alf had the "home" dairy. Daughters were; Sarah, Annie, Mamie, Barbara, Ada, Dot and Queenie.
Most of the old-timers from Towamba and Pericoe have passed away but the old butter factory in the house yard at Pericoe has stood up to the elements these may years. The iron brands for branding the words "Pericoe Creamery" on butter kegs were there with the wooden churn and the cream vats. The circular butter pressing table bore testimony to their use and the big separator had a pulley on it for attachment of belts to the wood-fired boiler engine which was anchored to a huge block of wood.
Excerpt from "Hoof Beats & Whip Cracks from the Past" by Wilfred Ingram 1981
May 16, 1936
PIONEER DAIRYMAN, 60 YEARS SUCCESS
(Mr. William Watson, president of the Bega District Council of the P.P.U. and president of Pambula Branch. Speaking at the Agricultural Bureau Conference at Pambula.)
(Excerpt from above article)
" In the year 1883 I left the Illawarra and came south to the Towamba district, still on the South Coast. I arrived on November 20, and the district was a sheet of white clover from end to end. There were no rabbits of that time, the country had not long been ring barked and appeared to be in a hurry to produce large quantities of rich pasture. I went to work on a dairy farm and it was quite a prosperous proposition. At that period, dairying on the highlands at Towamba was definitely a success; the cows milked remarkable well. On all the dairy farms there was a good class of shorthorn, the progeny of the Illawarra brought by those who migrated south. The quantity of butter made in Towamba, Pericoe and Burragate was very large. What is it today? Rabbits and other causes are blamed for the drop but I think quite a lot of that country could be brought back to its former high productive state by fertilizing and by rabbit extermination. There are, of course, quite a few alluvial farms rich and productive in the Towamba Valley. In the early days they grew maize for pig production but today some of them are very prosperous dairies. Does anyone stop to think of the very exalted position the primary producers, which includes dairy farmers, occupy? They are builders of a nation. Their names are not written on marble or on stone but are forever written in the conquest of the soil."
'The Bega Gazette and Eden District or Southern
11 February 1885
The Eden Correspondent of the Bombala Herald says:-" Mr. Surveyor Dyer is busy at Eden with the permanent survey, but the start is the most difficult part, as grades have to be taken in various places to the nearest deep water. A few years ago Towamba was hardly known outside its own little surroundings, butter could not be bought, and very few milked more than two or three cows for their own use-now kegs of butter roll in for the Sydney market, and from two factories I saw some very good cheese, some 60 in number, bearing Perico and Perico Park brands respectively, being shipped by the I. S. N. Co's boat Kameruka. All the Marino wool has not yet been shipped as some came down on Saturday. What with work on wharf and railway, Eden will soon not know itself, for having lain dormant for so many years, the residents have got into a jog trot way which it will be very hard to break themselves of, and they will have either to better themselves of, or go to the wall. I am just informed that the terminus will be close to the present wharf, and that the station for shunting engines &c., will be near Mr. Keon's house; the line from thence will bear in a N.W. direction till it joins Mr. Robinson's survey. Mr. Dyer hopes to make the line in 38 miles to Bega, with one ¼-mile tunnel.
Pambula Voice' October 20, 1893
* There is a luxuriant spring in the grass here which causes dairymen to look cheerfully. A better season could not be wished for. Roads are not in the best of order and in the absence of maintenance men, are not likely to improve. A few days' rain would render most of the roads quite impassible.
|Old shed and yards. 'Rockleigh' Burragate
'The Shoalhaven Telegraph'
15 August 1894
The Towamba correspondent of the CANDELO AND EDEN UNION writes that it is rumoured a movement is on foot to ask the Bega electorate to co-operate with Towamba and surrounding districts to ask the I. S. N. Co. (or some other steamship company) to provide cool chambers for the transit of butter and other produce to the metropolis, thus enabling the farmers of that district to compete successfully with other dairying centres.
'Pambula Voice' February 9, 1894.
Mr. John Alexander of Pericoe milks two hundred and thirty cows on two dairies and has sent to Sydney the last two weeks, thirteen and fourteen hundred weight (cwt) of butter respectively. Mr. Alexander has the capacity for five hundred cows on the two dairies and he hopes by next year to have an increase on the present herd. Several cases of sickness are reported. Dr. Meeke was summoned last week to attend Mrs. Gower who was seriously ill. The infant child of Mr. W. Watson was taken with convulsions the other day and for a time its life was despaired of but it has come round again and is keeping better.
|LES MITCHELL WITH 'MARUA DREAMING
COUNTESS' 2ND GRAND DAM OF TOWAMBA
ROYAL KING. C. 1930's.
Possibly Burragate Show.
Photo courtesy M. Mitchell
Aug 10, 1894
* Another meeting was held last Friday to try to form a Co-op Dairy....
Aug 30, 1895
* Owing to scarcity of fodder, etc. during the winter the Butter Factory which has been established here is not opened yet. However, everything is being put in readiness to start when the spring has properly set in, and we hope to hear her first whistle before very long.
Jan 10, 1896
* Dairying in the district is at a standstill owing to the prolonged drought - severest for some 23 years.
'Pambula Voice' January 21, 1898
* Mr. J. T. Horne who has been managing a dairy of Mr. Morehead's at Wog Wog for some years is about to take his departure from district.
'Pambula Voice' May 6, 1898
* Rather a novel scheme has been promulgated by one of the suppliers to the local butter factory and that is the proposal to run a store on co-operative principals. The project has already met with the favourable consideration of a number of suppliers.
'Pambula Voice' June 17, 1898
The directors of the Rocky Hall Dairy Company who recently decided to run a co-operative store in connection with the factory have received their first shipment of goods. This new departure on the part of the company promises to be a big success and will undoubtedly prove a great boon to suppliers.
'Pambula Voice' July 1, 1898
* The Burragate Co-operative Dairy Co., are endeavouring to get sufficient shares taken up to warrant them building a central creamery in Burragate with a refrigerating plant. This is a step in the right direction as Burragate is so centrally situated.
'Pambula Voice' August 25, 1899
* Burragate Dairy Co. Ltd - Tenders invited for erection of Co.'s cheese factory at Burragate, E. H. Scott, secretary.
'Pambula Voice' September 15, 1899
* Messrs Waterson and Moore successful tenderers for Burragate cheese factory.
'Pambula Voice' November 17, 1899
At Burragate last week, the employees on the "Lyndhurst" Estate met together for the purpose of making a presentation to Mr J. H. Martin JP, who is about to retire from the management of "Lyndhurst" and take up his permanent abode in Pambula. The present, which was accompanied by good wishes for Mr and Mrs Martin's future welfare and happiness, consisted of a handsome watch pendant in the form of a silver match-box inlaid with gold, and inscribed with the initials of the recipient. Mr Martin has been in charge of "Lyndhurst" for 10 years and was much esteemed by the employees of the estate, who learned of his departure with sincere regret.
|Lyndhurst Butter Factory
'Pambula Voice' January 12, 1900
* Inquiry into the cause of the fire at "Lyndhurst" factory, Burragate, was to take place yesterday.
* Dry spell affecting dairying industry - Wyndham.
|Part of the old Burragate Butter
Factory 'Lyndhurst', Burragate.
Burragate Butter Factory
Mar 23, 1900
* Mr. Robinson, Inspector under the Dairies Supervision Act, is at present engaged in visiting all the dairies in the Pambula District.
'Pambula Voice' October 17, 1902
* The well-known 'Lyndhurst' estate, Burragate, is to be offered for sale at Wyndham on the 25th inst. by Messrs D. Grant and Co.
Important auction sale, 1787 acres splendid dairy land known as the Lyndhurst Estate, Burragate, at Wyndham. Sat. 25 Oct 1902. By order of the mortgagee. D. Grant and Co. have been favoured with instructions from the mortgagees to submit to public auction on Sat. 25th Oct. 1902 at 2 o'clock pm, at the Robbie Burns Hotel, Wyndham, Mr John Henry Martin's property adjoining the village of Burragate, known as Lyndhurst estate, comprising 546 a 1 r freehold, 1121 a 1r conditional purchase land and 120 acres conditional lease. Terms 1/4 cash; balance in four years, bearing interest at 5% payable half yearly.
'Pambula Voice' October 31, 1902
* No offer was made at the sale at Wyndham on Sat. for the purchase of the Lyndhurst estate, Burragate.
'Pambula Voice' July 3, 1903
* Mr Michael Behl has disposed of his farm at Nethercote to Mr R. A. Gordon of Mt Pleasant, Pericoe.
'Pambula Voice' July 17, 1903
* The well-known "Lyndhurst" Estate, Burragate, was offered for sale by auction at Wyndham on Saturday by Messrs D. Grant and Co., but no purchaser was found.
'Pambula Voice' August 14, 1903
* Tenders invited for the lease of the "Lyndhurst" Estate, Burragate. JAS Bank, Pambula.
DAIRY YARD SETUP BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION OF MILKING MACHINES
Before milking machines were used in dairies
in the Towamba district the cows were milked
by hand in the bails. The bails were in a
separate building which had sectioned off
areas with wooden rails separating each cow.
The cows stood in these sections taking fodder
in at one end while milk was extracted at
the other. The buckets of milk were then
carried over to the dairy shed where the
milk was put through the hand operated separator
and the cream put into cream cans ready to
be picked up and taken to the butter factory.
The separated milk was then fed to the calfs
|Old dairy used in hand milking days.
|Remains of the milking bales in the
days of hand milking.
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
March 14, 1904
* The Pambula A. H. and P. Society, after paying prize-money and all expenses in connection with the late show, will have a credit balance of about £40 towards the liquidation of the overdraft (now between £70 and £80). The directors of the Burragate Co-oporative Dairy Company have decided to remove the central factory from Burragate to Towamba, with creameries at Burragate and Pericoe, on the strength of the support which has been promised by dairymen in the Towamba-Pericoe district.
'Pambula Voice' September 9, 1904
* There is a marked increase in the cream supply at the local (Pambula) factory, but it is partly due to the arrival of a quantity from Burragate which is being sent here pending the completion of the new central factory at Towamba.
'Pambula Voice' September 23, 1904
* New (butter) factory at Towamba completed.
October 7, 1904
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
* The new co-oporative dairy factory at Towamba was formally opened on Saturday last.
April 13, 1906
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
* During March the Pambula Co-operative Dairy Company manufactured 24,8171b of butter, which realised £1022 gross. The working expenses averaged 1.17d per lb, and sinking fund .08d per lb. Suppliers were paid at the rate of 88d per lb net.
For the same period the Towamba Central Creamery Company manufactured 12,6491b of butter, which realised the sum of £528 Is Id, suppliers being paid 81/4 pence per lb net. The prospects for a good winter are very encouraging.
November 26, 1910
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
* For the month of October the Towamba Dairy Company manufactured 64551b of butter, which realised £290. The expenses and sinking funds totalled £48. Suppliers were is paid £242 net.
'The Farmer and Settler'
27 May 1919
* During April the output of the Towamba butter factory was 5277 lb of butter, the value of which to the supplier was £406, or at the rate of 1/6½ per lb.
May 23, 1923
* Towamba Butter Factory is to be kept going, although the cream supply amounts only to about 1 cwt per week.
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
6 February 1926
Towamba Butter Factory Closed.
At a meeting of shareholders of the Towamba Co-operative Creamery Company, Ltd., held at Towamba on Saturday, 23rd January, it was definitely decided that the factory be closed. Mr. R. Alexander, chairman of directors, presided.
The chairman explained the result of an interview by himself and co directors with the directors and manager of Pambula factory respecting the conditions under which Towamba and Burragate suppliers' cream could be conveyed to and treated at the Pambula factory. As, however, some of the Pambula directors and manager had come prepared to give the information, he suggested that they be invited to attend the meeting and state what they were prepared to do. The course suggested by the Chairman was adopted. Mr. Dare, Pambula factory manager, said that, with regard to the carting of cream, the Rocky hall people paid 2/3 per 10-gallon can, 2/ per 8-gallon can, and 1/3 per small can; Cathcart paid 8/-, 2/-, and 1/9 respectively. The same rates as Cathcart people would obtain at Towamba, so far as he knew. The cost of manufacture ran out at about 2½d, sometimes under, sometimes over. But with their modern appliances they had an over run of anything from 3 to 4 and sometimes 5 per cent. Mr. Ryan asked was it possible to get an overrun of that sort with the Towamba factory churn. Mr Dare said that at Pambula, before the long churn was obtained, the overrun was 1 percent , but since they had their modern churn their overrun had increased to 3, to 4, and up to as high as 5 per cent., giving in the first twelve months a return of £1380. At Wolumla, with the modern churn, the overrun had increased from 1 to 4 per cent. Pambula Coy. had supplied the greater part of the butter used on the Monaro during the last two years. The directors had, however, decided to become parties to the Paterson agreement, under which 1½d per lb. levy was made and sent to the Commissioner, Sydney, and used to pay a 3d per lb. bounty to the men who exported. The man with a local trade was doing better than the exporter, and this scheme evened things up. Under this agreement all would get the one price, according to the grade. The directors realised that they would be sacrificing £10,000 worth of local trade but that would have its compensation, and by exporting they were helping to provide the price for producers. The price, instead of coming back from 141/ to 120/, was now 172/ about. 1 /6½d per lb. Every factory was losing local trade, but was getting a higher price through the general uplift. The main essential was to have a modern factory and modern appliances. Pambula directors did not want to break down Towamba factory. Rather they would see it built up, if that could be done. The Government Department advised concentration and it looked as if, with modern transport, cream could be carried any distance. At Panbula 95 percent of the cream arrived in good condition. The gains from overrun helped appreciably to pay the cost of cartage. The Paterson scheme was working well and looked like being a huge success. Mr. Walter Godfrey described in detail the transport service carried on by him under agreement with the Pambula Dairy Co. He said that the cartage rate from Towamba to Pambula would be the same as from Cathcart to Pambula. Mr H. J. Ryan suggested a uniform rate applicable to Towamba and Burragate alike. After further discussion and explanation, it was resolved that, in the event of Towamba factory being closed and suppliers sending their cream to Pambula, Pambula directors be asked to fix a uniform cream cartage rate for Towamba and Burragate suppliers. Mr. Godfrey said that if suppliers decided to send their cream by his service to Pambula and would give a reasonable guarantee of back loading, he would maintain a regular motor lorry service and make a uniform cream cartage rate for Towamba and Burragate, of 2/9, 2/- and 1/6 for the three sizes of cans. The charge for back loading from Eden would be 30/- per ton. - 'Magnet.'
'Pambula Voice' September 23, 1927
Pambula Dairy Co-operative half yearly meeting. Between sixty and seventy shareholders were present. The Chairman stated that output compares unfavourably with the previous half year but when one reviews the season passed and still passing through, it would not be out of place to say we have done remarkably well. Suppliers were from Rocky Hall, Towamba and Cathcart. The quantity of butter exported for the period under review was 1,090 boxes which is a very small proportion and goes to show that the quality of butter is up to standard and suitable for both NSW, Australia and the London market. The Board of Directors decided that the cost of transport was too high and consequently purchased one Thornycroft and one A.E.C. motor lorry. They have also purchased the goodwill of the Merimbula Supply Co., together with their latest lorry, at a very satisfactory figure. The question of a new factory and finance has not been lost sight of and with that object in view an extraordinary general meeting will be held to authorise the Directors to make a levy which is the usual custom nowadays in financing such Butter Factory problems and as a large quantity of machinery has been installed the question of bank overdraft will also need attention. Mr. George Hart said he would like to see the cost of carrying the cream from each centre. He considered that they would drop the long distance supplier, such as Cathcart, Rocky Hall, Towamba and even some at Nethercote.
'Magnet' September 20, 1930
HAND VERSUS MACHINE MILKING - INTERESTING DEBATE
Few subjects of moment to farmers escape the attention of the New South Wales Agricultural Bureau Conference which takes place annually at Hawksbury Agricultural College and among the many matters discussed at this year's gathering was the question of hand versus machine milking. Both methods had their advocates, the pros and cons being presented in the form of an organised debate. A team representing the Singleton Sub-district Council of the Bureau affirming that machine milking was superior to hand milking and one representative of the Illawarra Sub-district Council taking the opposite view.
Mr. A. S. Pankhurst (leader of the Singleton team) likened the opposition to milking machines to that which opposed any other improved method. He advanced three main points in favour of machines:
1. They solved the labour problem on the dairy farm in that nine men could be found to take a job on a farm where machines were installed to every one offering of work where hand milking was the system - the machines did away with the drudgery.
2. The machines were more sanitary; dust, etc., could not be prevented from getting into the buckets when hand milking.
3. The cows were more tolerant to machines than to hand milkers. This, he believed, was due to the fact that the machines more nearly imitated the sucking action of the calf.
Mr. R. H. Hudson (leader of the Illawarra team) said that his chief aversion to milking machines was because the heavy initial cost ( about £200) running expenses, and upkeep. Moreover, machines were difficult to sterilize and if this were not done thoroughly they would spread contaminants, contagious mammitis and perhaps other diseases. It was extremely hard to get paid labour to work machines efficiently and although, perhaps in theory, "machine" milk was purer than "hand" milk, in practice the opposite was the case. Moreover, in the "off " season when the machines had to be hung up because it would not pay to run them, depreciation went on just the same.
Mr. F. J. Pankhurst (Singleton) admitted that upkeep etc., on a machine would run to £1 per week but as an offset to that, one man with a machine could do the work of three hand milkers. As far as cleanliness was concerned, bacteriological tests had proved conclusively that machine milk was much purer.
Mr. O. Guthrie (Illawarra) claimed that most second grade cream in his district came from machine milk. He had installed machines but found that unless he attended to them personally, there was always some trouble. He could not entrust the ordinary farm hand with the care of the machines and consequently, had to get rid of them.
Mr. W. W. Waddell (Singleton) contended that as the machines were much quicker the cows spent more time in the pastures and less in the yards. In New Zealand where ninety percent of the herds were milked by machine the quality of butter was superior to that made in New South Wales.
Mr.Lindsay Evans (Illawarra) said that the best pure bred herds in the State were seldom milked by machines and that the unreliability of the machines was against their use.
The Chief Dairy Instructor of the Department who acted as adjudicator declared in favour of the Singleton team.
'Magnet' August 8, 1931
* Mr. F. McPaul renovating his dairy. Dairying once more popular here.
|Later style dairy at 'Model Farm' Towamba
'Magnet' October 3, 1931
* Alex Law dairying at Nungatta.
* Good rain has fallen locally in consequence whereof crops are doing well and dairies are flourishing. Messers R. J. Goward and H. S. Harris are getting their herds tested and some very good results have so far been recorded. Test of one cow in particular has only been equalled by that of a cow near Pambula.
* Extension of the cream producing industry is proceeding. Two more dairies are to be in readiness to begin by New Year's Day. This will make eight at Kiah River and that number will be materially added to with the extension of our riverside development road.
'Magnet' January 23, 1932
* Dairy men have had to make big outlays this previous year. Paid high prices for their herds, erecting new dairies, buying new separators, cans, buckets, etc., Now driest season for years and a low price for their butter.
'Magnet' February 13, 1932
* Mr. H. Rolfe taken over the working of Mr. A. B. Alexander's 'Hayfield' in succession to Mr. L. Nicholson. The dairy is now in full swing.
* Mr. McPaul recently recommenced dairying at Pericoe.
|Cream shed. 'Limerick Vale' Towamba.
'Magnet' April 2, 1932
* Mr. Walker and family who have been working Mr. F. McPaul's dairy, are about to leave, and their place is to be taken by Mr. Edwin Love of Lower Towamba.
* Mr. George Arnold, who has for many years worked Mr. A. E. Alexander's dairy, will shortly retire from this work and a Mr. A. Tasker of Pericoe has been selected to fill the vacancy.
'Magnet' September 1, 1934
We understand that despite a clause in the Dairy Act which says that no structural alterations shall be ordered where a dairy is producing choicest cream, police in some centres at least have been instructed that no dairy within thirty feet of the cream room is to be registered in future. Bimbaya P.P.U. (Primary Producers Union) Branch has entered a strong protest and dairy men generally contend that commonsense, not cast iron rule, should prevail in the administration of the Act.
'Magnet' November 17, 1934
* The district is experiencing a delightful spring. Dairy farmers are quite jubilant about everything except the price of butter.
'Magnet' January 19, 1935
* dairying down to once a day milking.
|Old Roberts farm house 'Parkside' Towamba
Photo K. Clery
|Old cream separator
|Later style dairy. 'Parkside', Towamba
|Milking bales in later style dairy.
Mr. W. A. Green, Towamba: Suitability of fodder for dairy stock- 29 points.
Appearance of fodders- 31.
Access and economy for feeding - 18.
Protection: weather, stock, pests, fire, etc., - 17.
Economy in production and storage costs - 22
Carrying capacity - 60 .
Surplus for market - 8.
Total points - 185.
Fodders conserved: Silage 51 tons.
Lucerne 16 tons.
Maize grain 5 tons.
Carrying capacity 16 head.
W.R. Roberts, Towamba: Suitability - 29.
Appearance - 32.
Access - 15.
Protection - 15
Economy in production - 22.
Carrying capacity - 60.
Surplus for market - 8.
Total points - 181.
Fodders conserved: Silage 92 tons.
Lucerne hay 42 tons.
Maize grain 17 tons.
Carrying capacity of property 42 head.
A.C.Clements, Towamba: Suitability - 26.
Appearance - 32.
Access - 16.
Protection - 17.
Economy in production - 23.
Carrying capacity - 60.
Surplus for market - 1.
Total points 175.
Fodders conserved: Silage 40 tons.
Red clover 35 tons.
Maize grain 3 ½ tons.
Carrying capacity of property 47 head.
J. N. Harris, Kiah: Suitability - 25.
Appearance - 29.
Access - 16.
Protection - 16.
Economy in production - 22.
Carrying capacity - 60.
Surplus for market - 4.
Total points 172.
Fodders conserved: Silage 32 tons.
Lucerne hay 7 tons.
Maize grain 9 tons.
Mangolds 20 tons.
Carrying capacity of property 25 head.
R. J. Goward, Kiah: Suitability - 18.
Appearance - 28.
Access - 16.
Protection - 17.
Economy in production - 22.
Carrying capacity - 60.
Surplus for market - 1.
Total points 162.
Fodders conserved: Silage 15 tons.
Lucerne hay 1 ½ tons.
Pasture Hay 1 ½ tons.
Maize grain 13 tons.
Carrying capacity of property 27 head.
D. Laing, Towamba: Suitability - 19.
Appearance - 33.
Access - 17.
Protection - 17.
Economy in production - 22.
Carrying capacity - 47.
Total points 155.
Fodders conserved: Lucerne hay 3 ½ ton.
Oaten hay 3 tons.
Maize grain 2 ½ tons.
Carrying capacity of property 14 head.
J. C. Roberts, Towamba: Suitability - 22.
Appearance - 31.
Access - 16.
Protection - 17.
Economy in production - 22.
Carrying capacity - 35.
Total points 143.
Fodders conserved: Silage 17 tons.
Lucerne hay 6 tons.
Maize grain 4 tons.
Carrying capacity of property 34 head.
'Magnet' September 21, 1935
At a public meeting held a few days ago local dairy farmers decided to agitate for the extension of the Pambula-Towamba cream lorry service to Pericoe. At present the cream is conveyed thrice weekly from Pericoe to the Towamba depot - an arrangement which shareholders regard as very unsatisfactory.
'Magnet' September 28, 1935
Pambula Co op Creamery and Dairy Co. LTD.
Tenders are hereby invited individually or collectively for the company's haulage for the period of three years as follows:
1. Cream and butter cartage on the Mount Darragh, Cathcart, Rocky Hall, Wyndham run, picking up all cream enroute from existing depots and delivering to factory and delivery of butter to rail Bombala and stores enroute.
2. Eden, Kiah, Towamba, Burragate to Honeysuckle turn-off on Wyndham road, picking up all cream enroute and delivering to factory and delivery of butter to stores on the run.
Alternate tender for the picking up of Pericoe cream at McPaul's gate, a distance of four miles past Towamba is also asked for.
By order of the Board, the Pambula Co op Creamery and Dairy Co. LTD.
Foss Robinson, secretary.
'Magnet' October 19, 1935
Suppliers to Pambula Butter Factory received nice little additions to their factory cheques in the form of a bonus 1 penny per pound for butter manufactured for the last six months.
'Magnet' November 30, 1935
* Cream supplies are increasing rapidly, necessitating delivery to Pambula factory every alternate day.
May 29, 1936
'The Southern Record and Advertiser'
SIXTY YEARS OF DAIRYING
A Paper contributed by Mr. William Watson (Pambula), district president of the P.P.U., at the recent Agricultural Bureau conference at Pambula: - - To begin, I wish to say that I am a native of Illawarra, the cradle of the dairying industry in Australia. Illawarra dairy people migrated north, and south, and everywhere were successful as a general rule; their district was so closely settled that even the dullest could acquire sufficient knowledge to make them reasonably successful. Here I wish to emphasise that to be a successful dairy farmer you must find joy in your work. An old saying is 'Ride your hobby, but don't let it ride you.' Find out what you would like to be and take off your coat and make a dust in the world. The busier you are the less harm you are likely to do. It makes me smile when I hear dairymen and others say that only within the last few years has testing of dairy cows been carried out. They are right as regards testing under Government supervision, but even in the early days in Illawarra most of the herds were tested. We used to set the milk in dishes; each pail or dish was numbered, and so we knew each cow's milk. This milk was skimmed and churned by itself, and we could soon see whether a cow was a boarder or showing a profit. Another way was to put the milk in separate glasses, take the best cow's milk as a guide and see how near the other's could come to the winning post. Illawarra Shorthorns are a distinct class on their own. In the early stages of Illawarra dairying there were quite a few different breeds, of dairy cattle, but the wise old pioneer did not mind what breed they were as long as they did the high production trick. But as time went on, the leading breeders evolved a type of Shorthorn which has become famous nearly all over Australia and which has been exported to other parts of the world. That great genius, the late J. T. Cole, of Jamberoo - later manager of Daralara - bred Melba, one of the world's wonder cows, which put that breed on the map. I was personally acquainted with Mr. Cole, one of nature's gentlemen; also with Mr. Hugh Dudgeon, a noted breeder. The 1875 drought hit Illawarra dairymen a severe blow. About half the dairy stock died. But it woke the farmers from their slumbers; many went in for intense feeding and understocking. I say right here that overstocking has been the cause of more stock dying than has drought. A combination of three goods spells success: a good farm, good dairy cows, and last, but not least, a good manager. Nature has been very generous to many parts of the South Coast, and Illawarra in particular. It is only about 7 or 8 miles from the ocean to the dividing range, and the country is rich, warm, and sheltered. It is an ideal strip of country for dairying, and those who went in for improved pastures and intense feeding of dairy cows made their mark. In the early days there, the milk was set in pans and the cream skimmed and made into butter. But - -'Advance with the times, and get ahead of them if you can.' The cream separator completely changed dairying from drudgery into a gentleman's job. Factories, hand in hand with co-operation, sprang into existence. Mr. D. L. Dymock, of Jamberoo, a noted pioneer, who had a big auctioneering business at Kiama and Jamberoo, went for a trip to the main dairying countries of Europe to examine the systems of co-operative butter factories. He brought the first separator to Australia. It was exhibited at Kiama, but few had any faith in it. The first butter factory in Australia was built at Spring Hill, Kiama, and the leading light in its erection was Mr. Dymock, who now, aged 96, resides in Queensland. He came from Scot land to Jamberoo when he was six years of age. An incident worth re cording: When the late Governor Duff was banqueted at Kiama, some of the speakers referred to the many Scotsmen domiciled in Illawarra, and Kiama in particular. The Governor replied that it was no surprise to him to hear it, for whenever God sent a good thing a Scotchman was never far away. It was men such as D. L. Dymock, William Stewart (a Jamberoo store keeper), and other noted dairy farmers who started the cooperative selling floor in Sydney known as the South Coast Company. Out of its ashes, when it failed, that genius Mr. Meares established the South Coast and West Camden Co., now the P.D.S. Co-op. Co. Before the co-operative selling floor came into existence the dairy farmers were the sport of speculators and those parasites they call agents, who rose and dropped the market to suit themselves. They grew fat by picking the sweet patches that rightly belonged to the farmers, who fought fire, flood, pestilence and disease of all kinds. Of course, it must be said that they served their time; but they had to make place for a new order of things. The old pioneers of Illawarra were an industrious, hardy lot. They went in to jungle country and made it blossom like the rose. Many parts were too rough to plough, and the seed had to be hoed in. I have seen 30 or 40 acres in one block chipped in with hoes and rye grass and clover sown; and on such beautiful pasture dairy cows milked at high production. Another thing worth recording is the long life of many Illawarra dairy farmers- some of them 97 , and over. 'Early to bed,' etc.; dairying is conducive to long life. Science has done wonders for the industry and is still trying to give us more light. Of course, there is still a lot to be done. Improved pastures and dairying should go hand in hand. When I lived in the Illawarra about 52 years ago a rust hit quite a lot of the rye grass pasture. The hill land had to be sown about every 7 years, more or less, according to seasons and class of soil. The dairy farmer should dairy off the plough or go out of business. If he has land that will grow English grasses and neglects to do so he is losing hard cash. In the year 1883 I left the Illawarra and came south to the Towamba district - still on the South Coast. I arrived on November 20, and the district was a sheet of white clover from end to end. There were no rabbits at that time. The country had not long been ringbarked, and appeared to be in a hurry to produce large quantities of rich pasture. I went to work on a dairy farm, and it was quite a prosperous proposition. At that period dairying on the high lands at Towamba was definitely a success; the cows milked remarkably well. On all the dairy farms there was a good class of Shorthorn - the progeny of the Illawarra breed brought by those who migrated south. The quantity of butter made in Towamba, Pericoe and Burragate was very large. What is it to-day? Rabbits and other causes are blamed for the drop, but I think quite a lot of that country could be brought back to its former high productive state by fertilising and by rabbit extermination. There are, of course, quite a few alluvial farms, rich and productive, in the Towamba valley. In the early days they grew maize for pig production, but to-day some of them are very prosperous dairies. Does anyone stop to think of the very exalted position the primary producers (which includes the dairy farmers) occupy? They are builders of a nation. Their names are not written on marble or on stone, but are for ever written in the con quest of the soil. In 1910 I moved from Towamba to the Pambula district. There is some very rich high land in this district - rich chocolate soil that will grow crops in abundance, especially oats. Indeed, I have seen on the hills crops of oats equal to the very best on the alluvial flats. Here is a case where pasture improvement and abundant oats did the financial trick: Seventy acres were sown down with cocksfoot, rye grass, clover, rib grass and prairie, and about half an acre of oats per cow. Under these conditions, instead of less than £300 for one year, over £900 was made on the same farm - only by improved pasture and oats. I say 'Tickle the soil and it will laugh into an abundant harvest.' One acre of laid-down pasture on suitable soil is, in my opinion, equal to 3 or 4 acres of natural grasses. Everyone has his own ideas about the quantity of seed to sow per acre. But if you want to draw money out of the bank you must first put it there - and the same applies to sowing pastures. I sow 1 bushel of cocksfoot, 1 of rye grass, some rib grass or lamb's tongue, some white clover, a little red clover and prairie grass, per acre. No bald patches for me. I paid 30/- per bushel for cocksfoot a few weeks ago; during the war I paid as high as £2/5/-, and would pay it again if necessary. Some high-class Jerseys are bred in the Pambula district - equal in quality to the high standard of that breed in much larger districts. The Pambula flats are ideal for dairying. If rugging or stabling in winter was adopted it would pay the owners. I have been a dairyman all my life, and I know the trials and tribulations of the game from A to Z. I also know that God has sent many good things and the devil has romped in and managed them. More attention should be given to the length of dairy cows' teats than has been given in the past. Two and a half to three inches is, to my mind, the right length. As to treatment of cows, I was never well enough off to allow anyone to dog or flog a cow, and I never did it myself. She should be treated as a lady. I would sooner touch my hat to a good dairy cow than to some of the cows who own them and re fuse them a square deal. As to the bull, it must be remembered that he is half the herd, and I would pay every attention to the selection of a dairy sire. I cannot close this very imperfect paper without paying a high tribute to the part played by Kameruka Estate for over half a century to the dairy industry at this end of N.S.W. I am sure that if figures were available they would astonish most of us. Its Jerseys such as Lucius and Twylish have given us some of the greatest money producing dairy stock in the world.
The 'Magnet Voice' March 24, 1960
BOX RANGE CHEESE FACTORY
"One of the few private cheese factories, and perhaps the smallest in NSW, is the Box Range Cheese Factory, situated a few miles from Pambula on the road to Bombala. It is a two-man venture conducted by brothers W.A (Wal) and J.A. (Jack) Smith. Milk for the cheese making, comes from the herd of A.I.S. on the property at Six Mile. Cheese has been made at Box Range since 1913 (previously butter was manufactured) then in 1930 new premises for cheese making operation were erected.
Box Range cheese is in wide demand throughout the Far South Coast and Tablelands, and even Sale in Victoria. It is a full cream cheese of mild flavour and maturity. Prizes have been won at the Royal Easter Show with 6 X 1sts, between 1952 and 1957 and over 50 awards at local shows since 1958.
Cheese maker is Jack who has won continuous grading competitions conducted in association with the Dairy Factory Managers & Secretaries Institute. Work on the property is divided between the two brothers. Jack attending to the cheese manufacture and Wal the farm operations.
The Box Range property consists of 700 acres, of which 600 is netted and free from rabbits and has been in the hands of the Smith Family for over 70 years, The soil is rich basalt, but unlike most of the Pambula district suffers from irregular rainfall. Average size of the milking herd is 70, they are AIS (with occasional Jersey) mostly by Dudgeon or Lemon Grove Bulls and the butter fat average is usually in excess of 4%. Since the milk for cheese making is not standardized (that is reduced to the same butterfat content for all batches), it can vary in the fat content: nevertheless this is generally above that to be found in cheese from larger factories.
Jack has been making cheese for 37 years and spends most of his day in the factory with the average quantity of cheese made in a day being 145 lbs. This is put up in loafs of 13 to 15 lbs. plus a few 2 lbs. “Picnics”. Total annual production is about 35,000 lbs. Cheeses are stored for maturing in a separate building, which is insulated by charcoal. Demand for the cheese is so great that perhaps a reasonable criticism is that it is not sufficiently matured for some tastes.
Transport to district stores nowadays presents no problems as it is taken north, south and west by carriers, quite different from earlier days when most of the cheese was shipped to Sydney.
Living in semi-retirement on the farm is their uncle Mr. George Smith though getting well on in years, still takes an active interest in the welfare of the property."
Above is an article about the Box Range Cheese Factory which was reprinted from the Country Life Newspaper 12/2/60.
In the early 1970’s Box Range Farm was a collection of properties, owned by C.G. Parramore, they were Leamount (Ruggs), Six Mile Creek (Six Mile), Box Range Farm (Range Farm), and Schriek’s Gully & Moores. By the end of the 1970’s, two more properties were purchased they were Cusacks and Hazelgrove, although Cusacks was sold to J. Lynch in 1980’s.
The first owners recorded on early maps were Jno CONNELLY, Jas. HICKEY, Edward CLARKE, Michael SCHRIEK, W. BOW, Clement J. W. STILES, Jas GAHAN, Jas CLARKE, W. T. BURTON, R. HAZELGROVE, Anastasia May KEON, S. SOLOMON Ltd. Eden, Michael SMITH, Andrew SMITH, Terence SMITH, William J. SMITH, Mary W. COLE, Mary J. CUSACK, Michael CUSACK, J. CUSACK, J.J. SILVERS.
As time went by, other family members took over the ownership of the land and many other people worked there as well, some of their names were J. KEON, Tyson DONNELLY, Fred SMITH, John A SMITH, Walter A. SMITH, George A. SMITH, Frank, THOMAS and Amelia CUSACK, John LONGHURST, Henry and Peter HYDE, Francis SMITH, Lucy SMITH, Albert E. RUGG.
Article courtesy of Elizabeth McIntyre present part owner of 'Box Range'.
|Box Range Cheese Factory (2nd) Built in 1930
'Magnet' February 24, 2005
The old Rocky Hall Butter Factory, on Mr. Fred Whitby's property at Rocky Hall, used for many years as a hay shed, succumbed to wild weather and was reduced to a collapsed pile of timber beneath a roof, in the last high winds to hit the Towamba river flats on which the building stood.
The butter factory stood as a landmark to people travelling through Rocky Hall for years: even visitors passing though on their way to and from the Monaro via the South East National Park would comment on the building and stop to take photographs.
It was constructed by the Rocky Hall Dairy Company in 1896 and operated for 30 years.
Cream from the dairy farms of Rocky Hall then went to the Pambula factory until that, too, closed.
Mr. Whitby said it was one of the oldest dairy co-operatives in NSW; older than the Bega Dairy Co-operative.
Mr. Whitby still has ledgers from the factory in his care, along with many old photographs that date from a time when Rocky Hall was a thriving village. The ledgers date from 1896 and record deliveries and payments to the dairy farmers who supplied cream to the factory.
Names that are synonymous with Rocky Hall, Wyndham, Burragate and their outlying regions include Whitby, Grant, Kerr, Robertson, Rixon, Sherwin, Ryan, Underhill, Collins, Knightly, Travers and the Elphick brothers.
Regular Cathcart suppliers included Crotty, Stewart, Mawson, O'Reilly, Griffiths and Baker.
However, in 1918 the factory that most Cathcart suppliers sent their butter to must have closed temporarily, because there was a sudden influx of suppliers from the Monaro. They included Gerathy, Vernon, Murphy, McMahon, Madden, Stove, Solomon, Kimber, Ingram, Gaunson, Overend and many more names that are well known throughout the region.
During the month of November, when the numbers of suppliers was swelled by the Cathcart influx, two amounts of butter produced are recorded; 15,903 and 32,425 lbs of butter.
While the factory was not among the region's biggest, it was among the best.
Mr. Whitby ways butter produced at Rocky Hall was sent to London and took prizes there. A letter slipped into the pages of one 1918 ledger from Foley Bros, Australian Merchants based in Sydney, states: "We have the pleasure to hand you herewith account sales for 80 boxes of butter which we had stored on your account and have forwarded cheque for the profit -£43/14/- to your bank as usual and we trust this will meet with your approval. You see that for the butter we sold in Melbourne we secure 150/- and 160/- per cent and we feel convinced that no other factory in your district has done better than you have with their government butter. Trusting to have larger consignments from you and thanking you in anticipation, etc.,"
However, times were changing. A big drought in 1923 and the Whitby family, backbone of the Rocky Hall dairy industry, stopped supplying the factory.
"The factory was under severe stress from then on," Mr. Whitby said. "By 1924 the motor lorry transport had progressed and farmers could send their cream to Pambula."
A paragraph from the Bombala Times in 1924 states that the Rocky Hall Dairy Company building, plant and machinery were for sale. The building continued to provide cover for large quantities of hay, invaluable to the farmers in times of drought. It stood as a link to the times when Rocky Hall boasted a general store, pub, post office and church as well as the school, hall and butter factory.
Now that link with the past is gone, and only the school (now a pre-school and community centre) and hall remain to indicate the village that Rocky Hall once was.
The Rocky Hall community is indebted to Mr. Whitby, whose knowledge of the area is extensive, for keeping the history of a bygone time alive.
|Rocky Hall butter factory on delivery day.