History Matters || The spread of dairy: Glen Innes' first butter factory

Worthwhile enterprise: Glen Innes Butter Factory was opened in 1894.
Worthwhile enterprise: Glen Innes Butter Factory was opened in 1894.

The late Jeannie Ross Fraser, a descendant of JF Chaffey compiled these notes:

"The year 1894 was ushered in with a small advertisement in the Glen Innes Examiner advising the district of the opening of the Glen Innes Butter Factory.

"The above will begin operations on Monday next, 15th January 1894 instant.

Persons wishing to supply milk can obtain all information from the manager at the factory.

Two pence per gallon will be paid for the first month. J F Chaffey, Chairman.

The Examiner newspaper published early in January 1891 had carried an informative article on the possible establishment of a butter factory in Glen Innes.

It emphasised the worthwhile prospects that the development of dairying would have on the district.

Mr Christopher Legh took the matter up and on March 17th 1891 proposed "that it is desirable to form a butter factory on the cooperative principle, in this district and it was seconded by Mr Simpson.

More articles followed and as a result of a meeting in the town, shares in the project were issued...

[However] A severe financial depression overseas and in Australia caused a general lack of confidence in business matters throughout district...

Dairying was eventually to prove a very useful industry because it provided worthwhile regular employment for the whole family with a reasonable living.

The wives and daughters of dairy farmers often carried on with milking of their cows while their husbands and older sons would find seasonal work on the roads, railway line, mining or work associated with the larger sheep and cattle runs.

In 1893 the paper published "Peeps around the District", one of the first was about "Lilydale" a small property of then 24 acres owned by local coach builder James Frederick Chaffey on the Furracabad creek.

This famer was making provision on the property for carrying dairying on it in a modest scale and on lines that are proving so advantageous in other districts..."

Is there anyone in the district still milking a cow?