Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Butter and Cheese Factories - Part 2

Cora Lynn Cheese Factory (taken 1998)

As we discovered in the previous blog post, in 1888 the Victorian Parliament allocated money to establish creameries, cheese and butter factories in the Colony and in the 1890s there were over 140 such factories in Victoria, including some in the Casey Cardinia. Up until around 1930 the area could sustain several factories for a number of reasons. Firstly, dairy cattle numbers were at their peak in the 1920s. It is estimated that the Parishes of Koo-Wee-Rup, Koo-Wee-Rup East and Yallock had 12,000 dairy cattle in early 1920s. Secondly, most farmers were still using horse and cart for transport, so local factories were necessary. Lastly, the factories had slightly different purposes in that whole milk could be was received at Iona and Cora Lynn, whilst farms with a separator could deposit cream at Drouin, Lang Lang or Bayles.

The Rouse farm at Cora Lynn, in 1928. Typical of many small dairy farms in the area.

At Iona, a Creamery run by the Fresh Food and Frozen Storage Company, was opened in 1897 and by 1900 it had 500 suppliers. The Creamery operated until around 1907. In 1906 Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory established a factory in Iona on the corner of Little Road and the Main Drain. It closed in October 1928 and was demolished in 1930. Another butter factory, operated by Holdenson and Neilson, operated in Iona from 1912 or 1917 (depending on sources) and was taken over by the Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory in April 1921. At one stage the Fresh Food and Frozen Storage Company operated 70 butteries and creameries in Victoria. Holdenson and Nielson operated at least 20 and in the early 1890s they produced over 2 million pounds of butter, most of it being exported.

The Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory was established in 1904 and expanded under the leadership of their aptly named General Manager, Bill Kraft. This Company should not be confused with the Drouin Co-Operative Creamery which was established in 1891, went into liquidation in 1895, and was taken over by the Victorian Creamery and Butter Company, who were another big player in the dairy industry, at this time.
The Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory also established a factory at Cora Lynn in 1910. This was extended in 1932, partially to compensate for Iona closing down, when the factory had around 500 regular suppliers, however it was closed in the late 1940s. Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory took over the Bayles Butter Factory in 1944, which had been established in 1922. It was re-built and enlarged in 1966 and operated until January 1980. This gave Drouin access to the Melbourne market as Bayles had a City distribution licence. It was for this same reason that Drouin had obtained shares in the Croftbank Dairy in Cranbourne in the 1930s.

The Bayles Butter Factory, taken in 1923.
Photograph from the Bayles Fauna Park collection.

In the next blog post we will take a look at other Butter factories in the region.

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