Monday, October 18, 2010

Gippsland and Northern Co-operative Co. Ltd.

Gippsland and Northern Co-operative Co. Ltd.

Lately I have been digitising a collection of small adverts for Australian manufacturers of dairy machinery that was kindly passed on to me from Margaret Simpson, a curator in all things agricultural and mechanical at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

One company that kept appearing throughout the collection was the Gippsland and Northern Co-operative Company Ltd., which had me thinking about about our friends over at Old Gippstown, closer to events in Victoria. The Company are a well known produce seller, however from this assemblage it also appears that the Company was selling machines to the farmers through a dedicated Manufacturing Department (based at 607 Collins Street, Melbourne). In two other articles, the Company is identified as acting as auctioneer for real estate and cattle sales.

So Old Gippstown, have you any collection items that may tickle our interest in learning more about this important company?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trade Advertisements for Dairy Machinery

After a furious period of scanning, I can now provide a link to the depository of scanned trade manual pages which reference the machinery included in the project. The name of the manufacturers, model names and the date are tagged, so one may navigate amongst the collection via several nodes.
Trade Manuals

When one is taking a wander through the collection, they might also like to take a side step to peruse the collection of machinery illustrations, in another gallery.
Machinery Illustrations

Friday, September 3, 2010

Babcock Milk Tester

Though a little shaky, the above video provides a good idea of a hand-worked Babcock Milk Tester in motion. The tester is in the collection of the Bega Pioneers Museum, who have kindly allowed me to present this material.

As per the last post, the centrifugal machine was worked by the user rapidly rotating the hand crank for about half a minute. This machine could fit two samples at any one time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Introduction of Milk Testing

Unexpected interest from the blogosphere has transpired overnight for milk testing machinery collected in local museums. It all started with a post written yesterday on this humble blog, regarding a pioneer of the Bega area, Mr. George Guthrey. Impressive detective work by our friends at Maffra and District Historical Society and Old Gippstown Heritage Park took inspiration from a set of three babcock milk testers depicted in an image from the original post.

Three Babcock milk testers in the collection of the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre.

So what exactly were the machines testing, and why is it that they came to be taken up as industry standard so soon after the first experiments?

The problem of milk testing is, interestingly enough, a story tied to the unscrupulous behaviour of dairy farmers supplying factories and cooperatives with a tampered milk supply. The guilty farmers had been adding water to the milk to bulk out their daily amount. The action was profitable for farmers as at the time dairy factories were in the practice of paying farmers for the quantity of the milk and not its quality. Those with the expected butter fat content were paid equally to their dishonest peers, per litre. The introduction of the Babcock milk testers, a machine that tested the butter-fat content of milk, helped to standardise the quality of milk accepted at factories. It provided the scientific rigour of testing necessary to impose a floor standard on the acceptable percentage of butter-fat in supplied milk. Unfortunately for some farmers during tough periods, the standards were also a prohibitive rule which caught them off guard when the daily supply was not able to make the grade.

Milk Tester manufactured by the Vermont Farm Machinery Corporation, Bellows Falls, Vermont

The process of testing milk begin with the introduction of a small quantity of amyl alcohol into a glass test bottle. To this liquid was added a small sample of milk through a pipette, delivered into the glass bottle. Strong sulphuric acid was then added, with a wooden cork placed over the neck of the bottle to achieve a firm seal. The contents would then be shaken vigorously until it became a hot solution of a light brown colour. Before placing the glass bottle in the centrifugal machine, a small quantity of diluted sulphuric acid was added. The machine was then worked (in the early days with a hand crank) for about half a minute or until all the contents appeared as a clear yellow oil. The quantity of remaining contents were then read from a scale on the bottle's side.

The test worked on the Babcock principle- that is, that all components of milk other than fat dissolves in sulphuric acid. The centrifugal process allowed for complete separation without having bubbles present in the fat that would likely skew the final result.

"Official Babcock Tester", in the collection of the Bega Pioneers Museum

History of Milk Testing in Australia

Two individuals are believed key drivers in the effort to introduce machines in Australia for testing milk. They are Henry Pateson (associated with the FF&I Co.) and N. Herbert Throsby of the Berrima District Co-operative Company. These two collaborators are connected to the most likely candidate for the title of the first tester having been used in Australia, the Fresh Food and Ice Company, then located in Mittagong.

Other accounts contest the account, acknowledging the role of Mr. Hugh Sinclair, the manager of the Bengelalla factory (located in Shoalhaven) at the time, and crediting him for bringing the Babcock method into use in New South Wales. [Source: A Brief History of Co-operation As Applied to the Dairy Industry, T.C.K, North Coast Daily News Printers, Magellan St., Lismore, circa 1910, p. 16].

From as early as 1879, concern was raised in the NSW government for the declining standards of milk received at factories. In this year the Adulteration of Food Prevention Act was introduced. From this time until the introduction of the Milk Board in 1931, dairy factories oversaw the testing of milk quality. In 1931, the Milk Board was formed, charged with the responsibility to supervise the quality of milk offered for sale in New South Wales.

The Reaction of Farmers
When milk testing was first introduced, a large majority of farmers were hesitant towards the new standards. Transcripts of interviews conducted for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into food prices and quality revealed the reasons for their distrust. Mr. Harry Lewis Gobble, then manager of the Berrima District Dairy Company, suggested that often the milk of innocent farmers who had not adultered their milk failed the butter-fat standard. He expressed his greivances that farmers who failed the test were being prosecuted, suggesting that only when failed milk was sold should there be any prosecution persued. He says,
I do not think that the public, taking them generally, would pay any more for high quality milk than for low quality milk. It might also lead to endless "fake" on the part of the companies. The public are not educated sufficiently to know whether the milk is 3.2 or 3.8, and they are just as willing to pay for one as for the other as long as it is milk.
This quote was taken from a transcript of an interview conducted on the 13th of March, 1913 at the School of Arts, Robertson. The interviewer was the commissioner, T. R. Bavin, Esq.

For the transcript of the full interview, follow this link.

For the other interview transcripts, visit the main page.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mr. George Guthrey

Nestled in the collections of two museums in Bega are items of machinery and equipment used at a historical farm in Elmgrove. Their original owner, Mr. George Guthrey, was a pioneer of the region.
In 1901 Mr. Guthrey is recorded in government records as being a registered dairy farmer living at Brian Dairy, Bega. So who exactly was Mr. George Guthrey and how did he make his way into Bega?
Born on the 26th May 1855, Guthrey spent his childhood at hold diggings at Araluen and Braidwood. As a youth he worked on the construction of the railway linking Goulburn and Yass, as opportunities for education were slim. Later, Guthrey purchased a horse team and carted produce. Taking residence at Bega, he commenced dairy farming as early as 1901.

Parts from a Gane Milking Machine, used at Elmgrove in 1912, and now in collection of the Bega Pioneers Museum
Mr. Guthrey had 3 sons with his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Sproats (born in 1865 in Eden NSW). The two married on 25 May 1886 (a day short of his 31st birthday) in Bega, where they would raise their children.

Cheese Curder, used at Elmgrove, Angledale, and on loan to the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre
The children's names, as discovered by the Monaro Pioneers Project (Pioneers and Settlers Database), were:
1. Bessie GUTHREY b: 1887 in Bega, NSW
2. Oswald GUTHREY b: 1888 in Bega, NSW
3. Charles GUTHREY b: 7 Oct 1890 in Bega, NSW
4. Albert GUTHREY b: 1893 in Bega, NSW
5. Annie GUTHREY b: 1895 in Bega, NSW
6. Christopher John GUTHREY b: 1896 in Bega, NSW
7. Alice Mary GUTHREY b: 1901 in Bega, NSW
8. George H. GUTHREY b: 1904 in Bega, NSW
9. Ruby M. GUTHREY b: 1906 in Bega, NSW

Milk Can Stand, donated to Bega Cheese Heritage Centre
Mr. Charles Guthrey would go on to be a successful fodder farmer, having won a Bega competition in 1937 for product grown at Rockleigh (a property bestowed upon Charles by his father).
Although a poor swimmer, he had at times to put his team across flooded rivers. On one occasion the horses swam across the Bega River with the waggon floating behind them.
Source: Pioneer of Bega, The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 10 June 1937, page 9.
Elizabeth would pass away on the 9th of May 1929, then living at their property at Elmgrove. Mr. Guthrey would pass away in 1946, some 17 years later.

Want to know more?

A number of historical newspapers that reference Mr. George Guthrey are available electronically here.

Bega Cheese Heritage Centre
Collection Items

Bega Pioneers Museum
Collection Items

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dynamic Map of the Early Dairy Industry

The underlying data of the project exists as a relational object based database hosted on the server of the Digital Humanities Department at the University of Sydney. The database is managed through Heurist.

The database is embedded with an internal logic which involves the creation of a complex web (with standardised patterns) that ties together all of the records (or objects) in order to reveal hidden connections. The record or object varies in its type (e.g. Machinery Manufacturer, Dairy Cooperative, Dairy Farmer, Museum Collection Item, Report, Trade Manual Page, Location and Time Instance for Manufacturer, Advertisement, Illustration etc. etc.). Each record that exists in the database is linked to other resources by additional (encoded) relationship records which describe the type of relationship occurring in a specific direction between records. The combined result of these highly integrated records is that one may navigate the collection via various entry points. For instance, if a researcher is chiefly concerned with a specific manufacturer, they may seek out all available descriptive elements for that record, but they will also, if there are resources available, find identified other records that might be of interest to them. For instance, the catalogue records for museum objects related to the company, scanned illustrations or advertisements of specific machines, additional records identifying all known locations of the manufacturers, as well as links to newspaper articles hosted by the National Library of Australia, accessible online through Trove.

The first map relates to the manufacturers of machinery used in the dairy industry in Australia. The content is available in the wiki associated with the project, located here.

There is also a record of the names, addresses and known dates of operation for dairy factories operating in the study region during the investigated period. The resource (located here) includes factories which were responsible for producing cheese, cream and milk. In the individual records for the factories, the type of produce retailed is identified.

Lastly, there is a dynamic map of the dairy farmers identified operating by a study undertaken in 1901. The farmers which are included in the display include those within the study area, however a large corpus of the dataset are yet to have their locations identified with x,y coordinates and thus are not yet rendered by the map. Follow the following link.

The dynamic maps are rendered from data compiled in Heurist Scholar, referenced in a past post through a sister Tumblr blog documenting the project.

New Collection Entries for Bega Pioneers Museum

In the past two weeks I have created a number of collection entries for the Bega Pioneers Museum through eHive. These may be accessed by the following link;

Bega Pioneers Museum- eHive collection entries

These entries will be expanded over time, though in the meantime it is my hope that navigators viewing the records may post any additional information they may be able to offer by adding comments [this may be done by scrolling to the end of the entries and completing the form provided].

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cheese Presses

On the weekend I viewed two cheese presses worthy of a new post- one ornate and the other quite unique in its design. Both cheese presses are in the collection of the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, a treasure trove of over 160 items which will be keeping me busy in cataloguing mode for some time.

The first is a double screw press manufactured at the Days Foundry in Scotland in 1890.

The other cheese press of interest in the collection has the model name "The Gang" and its intriguing design has me wondering how many others of its type may be found in Australia. Please feel free to comment if you have any useful information.

The press was last used in 1908 at Elmgrove, a farm whose material legacy is well represented in the centre's collection.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Slice of Goodness

Each morning at tables and benches across this nation, bleary eyed contestants aspire to accomplish a task commonly blundered by amateurs. Far from a reward for some innate gift, the prize recognises in the successful a skill that has taken a lifetime to nurture. I am speaking-of course-of the elusive triumph of spreading butter on toast, crumpets or muffins with minimal wastage of their heavenly, crunchy outer coating.

Though it may sound like a whimsical premise for a blog, indeed the problem of the perfectly portioned slice of butter without an incursion of pesky toast crumbs on the remnant butter block has surely existed for millennia. The method of slicing the butter, though, has evolved.

c. 2005 The "One Click" Butter Cutter
The butter cutter (left) is one of the newest, and arguably the least necessary, of utensils crafted for cutting butter. With a simple click a perfectly portioned butter section falls from the device.

Is this the best invention since sliced bread?
I surely hope not.

Image Source:

Factory Butter Cutters

Other machines were used in the past that enabled workers at butter factories to manually slice large butter blocks into marketable portions (in imperial terms- half pound portions). These butter slicers most commonly worked by moulding the butter onto the basic, and then forcing down the upper frame which had a grid of steel wires. This would slice the block into half pound portions which could then be wrapped in waxed paper and sold. One common design of the butter cutter was sold

The Burwood Butter Cutter, pat. Caudle & Caudle, re-patented June 18th, 1915 [Pat.No. 11815].

A butter cutter with a very similar design is collected by the Berry Museum and in my experience this particular item of dairy machinery is rarely found in local museums.

Image Source:
Anthony Horden & Sons, 1924, p. 850

But the award for the most interesting butter cutter in terms of functionality and appearance undoubtedly goes to one collected by the Gippsland Heritage Park in Victoria. The butter cutter is mentioned in a recent blog titled "Commercial Dairying Equipment". See link below;

From Small Beginings - A History Of Dairying In The Illawarra (Cream of the Crop entrant)

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Cautious Takeup of Milking Machines

When milking machines were first available in New South Wales dairy farmers expressed caution towards their use. In a Royal Commission into the price and supply of food in NSW conducted in 1913, a number of those brought before the Commission reveal their hesitation towards the new machines.

1. Many farmers claimed the machines would cause harm to their herd.
Commissioner: "You prefer hand milking?"
Robert Hugh Strong, Dairy farmer from Berry, explains;
Again, unless the machines are carefully worked, and the vacuum pressure regulated, there is a tendency to inflame the udder. Of course, that can be avoided, but the average man will not do it.
2. While others believed they required milkers to be more vigilant to prevent the spread of disease throughout a herd.
Commissioner: "What results have you seen?"
Michael John Hindmarsh, Dairy farmer from Ivy Mount, Gerringong responds;
I think it requires great cleanliness in the use of the machines, and they are not kept sufficiently clean. If you milk by hand you recognise the symptoms immediately when you begin to milk.
You prefer hand milking?
……Again, unless the machines are carefully worked, and the vacuum pressure regulated, there is a tendency to inflame the udder. Of course, that can be avoided, but the average man will not do it.
But even with hand milking is it not necessary to give personal supervision if you would secure cleanliness?
Yes, and I am mostly there myself. With the machines, my impression is that there is a greater likelihood of disease being spread if they are not properly attended to.

The discussion is further furnished by the report given by another farmer in nearby Dunmore.
Commissioner: "What is your objection [to the use of milking machines]?"
Edward Richard Bigg, dairy farmer from Dunmore explains:
I think the hand milking is cleaner, because you cannot see what is in the tubes of the machines, and cannot be sure that they are perfectly clean.
3. While other farmers found the machines unnecessary for their small scale dairying activities.
Joseph Daley, Dairy farmer from Unanderra explains;
Commissioner: "Do you employ any men?"
Daley: Not at present. I can do the milking with the aid of a boy. I do not use machines, but one of my neighbours uses them and he seems satisfied. They would be of no use for a small herd. There would be no compensation for the trouble of looking after them.
4. There were many farmers who took up the milking machines due to persistent labour shortages.
Commissioner: "Generally speaking, do the farmers prefer machine or hand milking?"
Robert Hugh Strong, Dairy farmer from Berry responds;
In every case, so far as I can see, the machines are put in because of the labour difficulties.
Not because of greater efficiency?
I take it that you experience difficulty in obtaining labour here?

Want to know more?

The above references come from transcripts of interviews conducted as part of the 1913 Royal Commission. For extended transcripts of some of the interviews, see:

Guest pswd: dairycow

A document specific to the farmer's attitudes towards milking machines is also available. The document is titled: Milking Machines- Use and attitudes towards.

Also relevant to the topic, the Berry Museum has in its collection a milking machine releaser. The variety of milking machine was introduced for the purpose of minimising the harm to the cow in the process of milking by the mechanical method. An image of the releaser is available here.

Warrilla Butter Wrapper

The "Warrilla" brand of butter was produced at the Illawarra Central Cooperative Dairy Factory [see earlier post]. It was first retailed in 1955, with a change in the name of the ICCD's butter brand from "Allowrie" to Warrilla".

The butter wrapper held by the Tongarra Museum is significant in that it is has been dated to c.1956- soon after the brand name change.

Whats in a name?

The name Warrilla corresponds to a nearby suburb of the same name, but can this explain the origin of the word? Actually both the suburb and the butter brand have taken the same name, "Warrilla", which is a derivative of the term "Illawarra".

Want to know more?

Above right: Warrilla Brand Butter Wrapper, collected by the Tongarra Bicentennial Museum
Left: The former Illawarra Central Co-operative Dairy Factory in 2009. The rail siding is visible on the far right.

Image Credit: Photos of the Warrilla Butter Wrapper taken by Carly Todhunter on 9/12/2009.

Cheese Press

The Cheese Press depicted here forms part of the rural and agricultural machinery collection of the Illawarra Museum in central Wollongong.

What is a press used for?

A cheese press is used to remove excess whey by imparting pressure for an extended period, often overnight. When the cheese is removed from the press it should be firm.

For an extended description of the cheese press, follow this link.

Evolution in Design

The design of cheese presses varied considerably, in terms of their size [single or double] and the materials used in their construction. Simple cheese presses may comprise a mould with a large heavy stone placed on top to provide the necessary downward pressure. A more sophisticated design was later developed which comprised a frame of iron or wood with the stone lowered by a threaded iron bar.

Later designs replaced the use of levers and weights by having a spring that compressed to produce the necessary pressure. In simple designs of cheese presses that may be made at home, the spring press model is often used. To achieve the desired level of pressure, the springs need to be calibrated by turning the wing nuts that connect to the threaded rod.

The cheese press provided the cheese producer with control over the level of pressure being applied. This is essential in the delicate craft of cheesemaking because too little pressure results in inadequate firmness and a susceptibility to spoilage, while too great pressure will result in cheese that is too hard or dry.

Design of Cheese Press at the Illawarra Museum

The design pictured above is known as a double lever press and it is made with wood and iron elements. The cheese press is a "double" rather than "single" simply because it enabled two moulds to be pressed at any one time. The press was lowered by a metal thread which enabled a more precise tightening of the mould. Weights were hung from the ends of the press to increase the downward force. The additional weights are visible in the first image on the left end of the press and stacked on the base (not in use).

Want to know more?

A good guide to building your own spring cheese press may be found at:

Source: Information on change in cheese press design over time found in: Ingram, A. 'Dairying Bygones', Shire Album 29.

Image Credit: Photos of Cheese Press collected by the Illawarra Museum taken by Carly Todhunter on 1/11/2010 and 4/11/2010.

Alfa- Laval Cream Separator

The introduction of mechanical cream separation marked a period of rapid transformation in the early dairying industry in Australia. Pictured left is the Alfa-Laval Cream Separator, a widely used model that was manufactured in Sweden.

How does it work?

The mechanical method of separation would soon become an industry standard. Based on the principle of centrifugation, the cream separator enabled the rapid separation of fat globules that are suspended in fresh milk from the less dense skim-milk by product.

The separator worked by having milk introduced into the centre of a bowl that would be spinning at a high speed by the rotation of a hand crank. The bowl consisted of a column of circular narrow discs with a narrower space in between (through which the milk passed). The centrifugal force separated the fat globules which rose to the top of the bowl assembly and was released from a collection spout, while the skim milk of lesser density was collected from another spout situated beneath the cream spout.

Source: Darracot McBarron Hatch, Shellharbour Library Manuscript, 1987 [available: Tongarra Museum]

Production Notes

Invented by Carl Gustav Laval, a Swedish engineer, the first cream separator was manufactured by the Alfa-Laval company which had been established in 1883 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The agency for the De Laval separator was acquired by Mr. D. L. Dymock on behalf of Waugh and Josephson engineering firm based in Australia. Mr. D. L. Dymock travelled to Europe and America in 1883 to enquire into the latest methods of manufacturing and marketing butter. He held a commission from the NSW Government for the Amsterdam exhibition. Before leaving, he was banqueted at Kiama and Broughton Creek (Berry) and presented with about £500.

History Notes

The introduction of the mechanical method of cream production replaced previous methods of manual separation. In the past, cream would be separated by pouring milk into wide shallow pans (most pans were made of tin) for a period of 48-72 hours. After this time the cream would be skimmed off from the underlying skim milk with a wooden or metal skimmer with perforations. This manual method was slow and the quality of the cream produced varied according to the condition of the dairy building.

Want to know more?

Read more about De Laval Cream Separators at:

View the cream separator in person at the following museums:

+ Tongarra Bicentennial Museum, Tongarra
+ Illawarra Museum, Wollongong
+ Berry Museum, Berry
+ Gerringong Museum, Gerringong

Images Credit: Photos of the De Laval Cream Separators taken by Carly Todhunter on 11 April, 2010.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ebenezer Russell's Branding Iron

Walking around regional museums in the Illawarra one will often come across a collection of branding irons that are reminders of the pastoral heritage of the area. More often than not their original user is not well known, even though the owner's initials may be clearly seen.

At Tongarra Bicentennial Museum there are a collection of three branding irons, one of which can be identified as belonging to a prominent dairyfarmer and pioneer of the local area.

Ebenezer Russell purchased a property in present day Croome in 1840. The property was bought for five shillings an acre. After clearning the land in anticipation for cultivation, it was used by Russell for growing wheat and potatoes. It was only later that Mr. Russell turned to dairying and decided to subdivide his property to establish tenant farming.

In the present day Ebenezer Russell's original homestead may be seen in its original place in the Croome area. Farm buildings also at the property include a stables, dairy and wheat mill. The property is also noted for the use of a hall at the property in 1860 as a polling place for the second Shellharbour Municipal Council elections. Ebenezer is the father of John Russell, another leading historical figure in the area.

Want to read more?

Want to see more?

Why not visit a museum which has Ebenezer Russell's branding iron in their collection? The item may be viewed at the Tongarra Bicentennial Museum.

The museum is located at Russell St, Albion Park NSW 2527, and may be contacted by calling 4256 6698.

Opening Hours are Wednesday 10am - 4pm & Saturday 9am to 12pm

We all scream for ice cream

It may look like a strange oak bucket salvaged from a well, but this intriguing object collected by the Berrima Museum is in fact an early model of an ice cream maker. It had been in use before the turn of the 20th century, but remained in popularity for some time. Manufactured in the United States, the machine was worked by the manual rotation of a side handle-an effort that for those versed in the process would be well aware- took considerable time. Perhaps the model name "Lightning" may have been a little generous.

Advertisement for the Shepard's "Lightning Ice Cream Freezer" from 1911. Source: Anthony Horden & Sons, 1911, p.600

The manual process of preparing ice-cream has attracted interest from many in the community that are attracted by the homemade method and taste. The 'return to basics' movement has captivated more than a niche circle, and is likely to continue to rise in popularity into the future. Making ice-cream from scratch is not difficult, and more importantly it doesn't even require the use of a ice-cream maker.

I remember as a child preparing ice cream in a can with ice, salt and a good dose of elbow greese. Perched over the can, the ice cream was made by rolling the can up and down an incline which in my case happened to be a driveway.

With this in mind, seeing the Shepards' Lightning Ice Cream maker at the Berrima Museum was a cruel reminder that even back so far as 1890 they had access to more sophisticated technology than what was available to me.

Berrima Museum is located southwest of Bowral in Market Place, Berrima. Its opening hours are listed below:

Saturdays and Sundays
10am - 4pm Public Holidays
10am - 4pm School Holidays daily
10am - 4pm

Closed Good Friday
Closed Christmas Day

Phone: (02) 4877 1130

For those that are interested, the Internet is a treasure trove for advice on making homemade ice-cream. A good place to start is:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The cream of the coast

What do the Paddle Pop, the Cornetto and the Golden Gaytime share in common, other than the fact they are all ice cream and delicious? It's a question I would have been stumped by a few months ago. The answer? These products are all sold by the Streets Ice Cream company. I became interested in the two main Australian ice-cream producers (Peters and Streets) after starting a project on the history of the local dairy industry. I wanted to know if there may have been any factories local to the Illawarra, but what I found out was so much more significant. The first ever ice creams under the company name of Streets were in fact sold in Corrimal, N.S.W. [located north of Wollongong City]. To sweeten the deal, the company's creator had been a local.

The history of the company reveals a humble beginning. It was first established in 1920 in the small suburb of Corrimal. The first Street ice creams were sold by Edwin (Ted) Street [left], the company's namesake, and his wife who together owned a fruit shop. The first customer was a Corrimal native, Mr. Pop Winks. Before owning the fruit shop, Ted Streets had sold buttons, needles and cotton in the area.

The ice-cream was prepared with a small churn attached to a motor, and after the Depression Streets began selling them in his milk bar. The ice-cream was popular amongst locals and soon enough other businesses in the region began stocking the ice creams.

In 1932 Streets most popular ice-cream was known as the ‘Penny Pinky’. It was a strawberry ice cream offered in a cone which sold at the time for a penny. The Peters Ice Cream company was a long-standing competitor of the company, particularly in the Sydney market.

The history of individual products of the Streets brand is interesting, with the first of its stick line, the "heart" dating back to 1947. In 1950 the paddle pop was developed, and in this year a second factory was opened in River Street, Moruya. The factory would ultimately have only a brief history, having been closed in April 1954 when the collapse of a local bridge cut the factory off from its main suppliers [the Tuross bridge]. The paddle pop line was followed in 1962 by the "Splice" and then in 1963 the "Gaytime". Though like the Bubble O'Bill these products were developed after the sale of the company to Unilever in 1960, the ice creams continue to be sold under the company name "Streets".

Paddle Pops and Polar Bear
The works located in Corrimal boasts the first moving neon sign displayed in Wollongong. It was an iconic sign which featured a polar bear licking an ice cream with the slogan "Bear in mind Streets Ice Cream" [left]. The factory sat vacant for many years until it was demolished to make way for the Illawarra Retirement Village opened in April 1994.

In his later years Mr. Edwin Streets was awarded an OBE but not wanting to be called Sir Ted politely declined the offer. He passed away at the age of 85 in 1975.

[Above] IMB Star for Edwin Streets
[Right] The boulevard of local stars- located at the entrance of the IPAC; the back of Wollongong Town Hall in shot.

Want to see more?

Image Sources: The historic images have been accessed through the local history section of Wollongong Library. The searchable collection 'Illawarra Images' may be accessed online by the link below:

The first image was taken at the Illawarra Museum located at 11 Market Street, Wollongong. The image depicts a Streets sign hung in Corrimal. The museum has a large collection of items related to the dairy industry, including a horse-drawn farm cart and large cheese press. The museum also has collections of war propaganda, a blacksmiths workshop, stockman's hut and a historic schoolroom. The museum has an interesting history of its own, being used as a post and telegraph office dating back to 1882.

[Above and Left] Illawarra Museum, 20th July 2010

[Below] Sidewalk fronting Illawarra Museum, 20th July 2010

Phone/Fax: 02 4228 7770

Museum Inquiries: 02 4283 2854

Museum Bookings: 02 4228 0158

Illawarra Central Co-operative Dairy Factory

The South Coast of NSW is credited with being the birthplace of co-operative enterprise in Australia. These early dairy co-operatives took advantage of their collective power to counter the market domination of the commercial vendors based in Sussex Street, Sydney. With the extension of the Illawarra railway and the introduction of mechanical cream separation the scene was set for the unity of dairy farmers through the co-operative initiative. This period would see market power shift back to the farmers who were increasingly coordinating themselves along the co-operative line.

The Illawarra Central Co-operative Dairy [ICCD] factory was an influential co-operative with strong linkages to the extension of the south coast railway line. Formed in 1898 at the Commercial Hotel in Albion Park, the Illawarra central co-operative commenced work on the construction of the factory in the following year on land donated by G. L. Fuller. The factory was designed by C. D. Meares, a leading figure in the development of the early dairy industry in NSW who would later become a government dairy adviser.

In 1903 the factory became the first industry in the region to generate its own electricity. Over time modifications were made to the factory to adhere to stricter hygienic regulations. In 1912 this saw the installation of a Babcock and Wilcox boiler and chimney stack to enable testing of the milk fat standard. The factory was closed in 1985 and all machinery was removed, however the building continued to be used for dairy related purposes having been purchased by the Australian Country Farmers for use as a supplies store. Since the factory's closure in 1985 the site has been administered by Railcorp. In this time the external site fabric has been significantly restored however the internal structure possesses significant interpretive value having been left largely intact.

The former ICCD factory is located on land owned by the State Rail Authority that fronts Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail. The complex is bordered along its western perimeter by the rail line, and on this side of the building the rail siding is still extant. The factory is of local and state significance for its social record of the lives of local farmers and factory staff who rallied together against great hardship over the extended period of its operation. A number of prominent advocates of co-operative enterprise in the early dairy indstry served as chairmen or directors of the factory, including J. Fraser, A. H. Weston, M. J. Hindmarsh and George Couch. The factory also has strong associations with G L Fuller, an early settler of the area, who had offered his land to be the site for the construction of the factory.

For interested persons there are a number of collecting bodies with artefacts and photos associated with the factory over its extended history. The Tongarra Bicentennial Museum has in its collection a pair of Avery platform scales used at the factory, as well as a butter roller and wrapper of the "Warilla" brand of butter that was manufactured at the factory after c.1956. In addition to these items, a number of historical photographs may be accessed through the Wollongong Library's local studies collection. These images are electronically available through their website, [].

Want to know more?

An introduction to the Company is available on the companion wikispace, by following this link. In this resource, one may discover the related records to objects related to the factory in the collection of regional museums in New South Wales and also a link to information about the company's building in Albion Park, New South Wales.

An interview with John Charlton Graham, Manager of the Illawarra Central Cooperative Dairy Co. Ltd is available by following this link.

Also on the site is an interview with Michael John Hindmarsh, a dairy farmer from Ivy Mount, Gerringong who was a supplier to the ICCD factory. Follow this link.

Image Credit: The image depicts the processing of butter at the ICCD factory in 1950. The individual on the right is Kevin Raftery and to his left is Brian Walsh. The author of the photograph is unknown, and it is available online through the above link.

The first image was taken by Carly Todhunter on 11/12/2009.