Braving the thick bush and slipperymountain slopes to live in the Illawarra“After the long journey to Australia by sea there was difficulty in penetrating the Illawarra district.. many of the early landings where accidental and wrecked ships were not uncommon .The first white intruders came without government sanction… ..in boats to plunder the red cedar trees.Then came the cattleman guided by aborigines through tracks from Appin to Bulli and beyond.The first genuine settles began farming in the early 1820’s in Bulli, around Lake Illawarra, Jamberoo, Kiama, and Gerroa.The holding sizes varied in size from 20ha to 350 ha with the land usually gifted by the government.After the 1830’s the government was instructed to sell the land and use the proceeds to assist further migrants from the UK. Many Irish families came to Kiama.By the end of the century the Illawarra was known as a good place to recommend to relatives and friends in the UK so they too could become part of the Illawarra family network.” Excerpt from forward by Dr Winifred Mitchell to “Illawarra Pioneers pre 1900” published by Illawarra Family History Group Inc. 1988
History of Dairying in the Illawarra• The word Illawarra is an Australian aboriginal word to describe the land some 125 kms south of Sydney,• With few natural harbours it remained unexplored and unused until a big drought in 1815 forced such settlers as Charles Throsby to seek new pastures.
History cont..• In the early years farmers struggled with mixed farming and soon found the rich fertile soils perfect for dairying.• With this came a greater interest in improving the types of cattle in their herds.• The farmers now began to focus on breeding cows to produce milk rather than beef.
History of Dairy Produce. • Traditionally households kept cows to supply the needs of the family for milk and butter. • Dairying was a household task done by women. The word “dairy” comes from Middle English dey, a female servant. • Butter is as old as history itself with recorded use of butter dating back to 2,000 years BC. • The word butter comes from bou-tyron, which means “cow cheese” in Greek.
From Farm to Factory• The transition from butter made by individual farmers’ wives, to creameries that collected milk from local farms and made butter on a larger scale using machinery, began about 1860.• The factory system of butter-making made rapid strides through the introduction of the centrifugal cream separator and the invention of a simple method by which the exact butter fat content of milk and cream could be determined by the creamery operator.• Modern firkins, tightly-made oak barrels, kept butter fresh for up to four months without refrigeration, and permitted shipment to distant markets.
From Farm to Factory in the Illawarra• Up until the mid 1880’s most of NSW butter was produced in the Illawarra. It was made at the farm with the cream that had been skimmed from the milk which was allowed to stand in broad flat dishes for about 24 hrs.• Churned butter which was highly labour intensive (muscle building work) and was heavily salted and originally placed in wooden kegs for transport to Sydney on packhorses and bullock drays• The market for dairy products began to expand and became very profitable during the 1850’s.• In the 1850’s the building of the Kiama Wharf changed all this and the trade in dairy products was extensive enough to keep a fleets of steamships in constant employment.
Bringing the Purity of Country Milk to the City.• In 1871 a road to Sydney was opened• The world’s first freezing works “NSW Fresh Food and Ice Co” was set up at Darling Harbour in 1875 and this led to much prized fresh milk from the Illawarra being sent to Sydney in 1882.• The milk was stored in cans and then placed in tanks packed with ice and taken by steam ship to Sydney 3x weekly.• Then in 1888 the railway from Kiama was connected to Sydney and farmers then switched to this much faster and more reliable mode of transport.
Illawarra Centre of Innovation• Experiments in exporting butter from the Illawarra began in the late 1860’s when 2 farmers from Jamberoo succeed in sending salted butter to England.• In 1864 the first attempt was made to introduce a milking machine.• The new technology of the cream separator from Europe led to the concept of a farmer owned butter factory.• The local farmers could then control both the production and marketing of their produce and share in the profits.
Illawara – the home of many firsts1. Home of the Cooperative Movement2. The Kiama Pioneer Cooperative Butter Factory was built at Spring Ck and opened in 18843. In 1885 another first when the first shipment of Pioneer Coop butter reached English tables4. Birthplace of Australia’s first true blue dairy cow the Illawarra
Growth of the Cooperative Movement• Hard times were ahead for Illawarra dairymen in the 1870’s when prices paid for butter dropped dramatically and the farmers had no idea how to solve the problem of surplus butter in the summer.• It became imperative to resolve the butter price problem which stemmed from the existing corrupt market system and the Sydney commission agents who ran it.• Some visionary farmers saw a solution in exporting the excess butter and establishing a large central produce market in Sydney.• A radical unknown lobbyist who wrote under the non de plum of the Dairyman started to agitate in the press for the formation of Australia’s first cooperative movement in the Illawarra.• Under the cooperative system farmers would be both the only shareholders and board members and would have control over marketing of their produce and benefit from the profits.
The Kiama Pioneer Cooperative Butter Factory The factory cost £300, the separator £95 and the steamengine to drive the separator £260 as well as running costs like wages 35 shillings per person.
Thriving processing community• In 1888 the Jamberoo Central Dairy Co Ltd was established with capital of £4000. •Another factory at Woodstock and Druewalla was established all within a 5km radius• By this time the region had 7 dairy factories with in a 35km radius.
Dairy Farmers Punch above their Weight• In 1881 the South Coast and West Camden Co-op Society was formed with a membership of 800 farmers who contributed start up capital of £1000 with £125,000 worth of produce sold in the first year.• Dairy farmers had learnt a great lesson- when joined together with the right leadership they had power.
How the System Worked• Milk delivery to factories was normally made twice daily.• Each farmer’s milk was weighed and paid for at the end of the month on volume.• The whole income of the cooperative was determined, then all expenses deducted, and the balance divided by total volume to arrive at the price per gallon to be paid to the farmers.
The Emergence of the Super Cooperative• The Dairy Farmers Co-operative Milk Co. Ltd was formed on January 15, 1900.• Sixty five stakeholders, many of them dairy farmers from the Illawarra came together and agreed to run the new organisation on ‘true co-operative lines’.
Cow to Consumer• The Co-operative helped these early farmers to work together to effectively market their milk and butter directly to consumers in the city.• The Co-operative System still underpins Australia’s biggest dairy companies today.
Milking Machines• In 1864 the first attempt to introduce milking machines was made.• However the machines were met with great suspicion and cows continued to be milked by hand twice daily seven days a week for many decades to come. Strange but true!
Milking machines in the 21stcentury allow dairy farmers to milk up to 100 cows in arotary dairy in 10 minutes.
Birth of the True Blue Dairy Cow• In the later part of the 19th century Ayrshire cattle imported from Ayr in Scotland were the most popular dairy breed in the Illawarra.• A number of farmers started to cross breed to find the most suitable dairy cow for the region.• The new breed became known as the Illawarra in honour of its birthplace
History cont…..• Australia’s first true blue breed of dairy cow known today as the Illawarra appeared in the late 1880’s.• She was a cross between the most popular dairy breed of that time the Ayrshire and the Durham (Shorthorn) the popular beef breed.• This created the all purpose breed the known at that time as the Australian Illawarra Milking Shorthorn.
“Honeycomb” the inspiration• One Ayrshire bull named “The Earl of Beaconsfield” owned by Mr John Lindsay of Dapto proved outstanding when mated with cattle of the Illawarra.• The most celebrated offspring was a cow called “Honeycomb”.• Claimed to be Champion Dairy Cow of the world in the early eighteen nineties, she was also invincible in the show ring and winner of all the milk and butterfat awards.• This was the cow that inspired the Illawarras, and the breeding programs began revolving around Red and Roan Shorthorns and Ayrshire bulls. www.illawarrasqld.com.au
AIS becomes “Illawarra”• In 1899 a contingent of “Illawarra cattle” were registered in the Milking Shorthorn Herd Book.• In 1910, dairymen met at Kiama to establish another Herd Book, under the title Illawarra Dairy Cattle.• The cattle were know for many years as Australian Illawarra Shorthorns or AIS• Now the term Illawarras is commonplace and the Society is called The Illawarra Cattle Society of Australia.• The “Shorthorn” was dropped from the name because it caused confusion to some overseas buyers, who associate Shorthorn with dual-purpose animals. ww.illawarrasqld.com.au
Line up of Illawarra Cattle @ Kiama Show in 1949
Illawarra’s todayIn recent years inorder to broaden theirgenetic diversityIllawarra cattle arebeing crossed withRed & White HolsteinBulls and Red dairygenetics such asSwedish Red fromEurope.
Daisy – International Icon• Kiama’s Icon - "Daisy” was modelled out of papier- mâché after the famous Illawarra cow Meadow Haven Daisy• She was created in 1991 by local sculptor, Ernesto Murgo, through the Community Arts Program for the Kiama Seaside Festival in 1991.• To this day, Daisy continues to take her position outside the Community Arts Centre, signalling when the centre is open.• Available for painting by community art groups Daisy has taken on a variety of appearances. She has been painted red for World Aids Day, black and white for the Kiama Jazz Festival, and sported everything from stripes and paisley, to the names of famous poets for Poetry Week• In 2007 she was painted with a healthy landscape theme as inspiration for the dairy industry Picasso Cows program and environmental art education program for primary schools.Check out the video story of Daisy here ( its great fun don’t miss it)http://kiamalocalhistory.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/important-moments-in-the-history-of-kiamaas-daisy-the-cow
Holstein Friesian Cattle• Holstein Friesian cattle originated in Holland and date back over 2000 years to the oldest Dutch inhabitants - the Friesland tribe.• Their capacity to produce high volumes of milk was highly valued and they spread eastward into Germany.• Holstein Friesians get their name from the area where they originally predominated - Schleswig-Holstein and Friesland.• Like most cattle breeds the colour results from selecting only animals of the preferred colour to breed from. Holstein Friesians are hence black and white due to artificial selection by breeders.• Holstein Friesians were exported to America in the early 1600’s• In America and Canada the Holstein quickly became a specialized milk breed and grew much taller and more productive than their European counterpart.• The North American Holstein is the genetic type favoured by Australian breeders today.
Holstein Cattle in Australia• Frederick Peppin imported the first Holstein into Victoria, Australia from New Zealand in 1886 and this foundation herd was sold to David Mitchell in 1892. David Mitchell is credited with bringing the breed to prominence in Australia.• David Mitchell recorded the amount of milk produced and exhibited his cattle at shows and it wasn’t long before he started selling them to farmers in other states.• The NSW Government started importing Holsteins from Holland in the 1890’s.
Holsteins in Australia cont..• Importations continued from UK, Canada, US and New Zealand giving Australian Australian breeders access to top Magpie bloodlines.• The introduction of Artificial Insemination into Australia in the 1950’s broadened their genetic diversity very quickly.• Originally nick named “Magpie Cattle” Holstein Friesian cattle are now known in Australia as Holsteins following the lead of North America.• Holsteins have the capacity to produce the highest milk volumes of all dairy breeds and have the broadest genetic diversity and now make up over 70% of the dairy cattle in Australia.
Holstein Cattle in the Illawarra• Dr John Hay of the Shoalhaven region imported Holsteins from Holland in the late 1890’s and this “Coolangatta” nucleus herd underpins many of the famous local and Queensland Holstein herds today.• In the Illawarra, Ayrshires and Illawarra cattle remained the two predominant breeds.• Holstein cattle did not have a major presence in the Illawarra until the 1950’s• With the rising popularity of artificial insemination many of the local Ayrshire breeders moved to Holstein cattle with Illawarra breeders remaining intensely loyal to the breed they had developed.• Illawarra cattle predominated in the Illawarra region up until deregulation of the Australian dairy industry in 2000 with Holsteins now the preferred option for most dairy farmers in the 21st century.
Changing Face of Holsteins in Australia1880’s 1950’s 2005
Jersey Cows• Jersey cattle are a small breed of very attractive dairy cattle. Originally bred on the British Channel Island of Jersey,• They apparently descended from cattle stock brought over from the nearby Norman mainland, and were first recorded as a separate breed around 1700.• They are prized for their ability to produced high percentages of butterfat (6%) and % protein (4%) however Jersey bulls are notoriously aggressive.
Jersey Cattle in Australia.• The first sale of Alderney ( cattle from channel islands) and Jersey Cattle is reported to have been held at Windsor New South Wales in 1829, when Mr. John J.T. Palmer`s herd comprising 200 head was sold.• The man to whom the credit should go for being, probably, the first importer of registered Jerseys to Australia was Hon John Baker of Morialta, South Australia. He arrived from England in 1838 and took up breeding in the Gawler district.• Jersey cattle make up 13% of the Australia dairy herd and this makes them the second most popular breed of dairy cow in Australia.
Guernsey Cattle• The Isle of Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel off the coast of France, is the birthplace of the Guernsey cow.• About 960 AD, besieged by buccaneers and sea rovers, the Island came to the attention of Robert Duke of Normandy. He sent a group of militant monks to educate the natives to cultivate the soil and defend the land.• The monks brought with them the best bloodlines of French cattle - Norman Brindles, also known as Alderneys, from the province of Isigny and the famous Froment du Leon breed from Brittany - and developed the Guernsey.
Guernsey cattle in Australia• Guernsey cattle produce milk that is high in protein and high in beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which gives the milk its distinctive yellow colour and flavour.• Guernsey milk is used in Australia to make quality white and flavoured milks, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream and other dairy delights.• The most famous local Guernsey stud was “Meadow View” at Albion Park• Though their numbers are few Australian Guernsey cattle are found in a wide range of climatic and farming conditions, from tropical Queensland to cool Tasmania.
Learn more about Guernseys in Australia - www.guernseyaus.com
More breeds of Dairy Cows• Other Australian breeds of dairy cattle are Brown Swiss and Aussie Red Breeds• Information about these cattle in Australia can be found at• www.brownswissaustralia.com/history• www.aussiereds.com.au/
Interesting factsSad but true:• Pure-breed Alderneys were smaller, more slender boned animals than the cattle of the other Channel Islands and in some ways they were more deer-like than bovine. They were docile animals and would even follow children passively to and from pastures. Their milk was copious and produced very rich butter.• Most of the pure-breed Alderney cattle were removed from the island to Guernsey in the summer of 1940, because the island was then occupied by the Germans (during World War 2) and it was difficult for the few remaining islanders to milk them. On Guernsey, the cattle were interbred with local breeds.• The few pure-breed cattle remaining on Alderney were killed and eaten by the Germans in 1944.
Want to go back to your dairying roots and learn how to make butter ?Videos on making butter at home can be viewed here:• www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/490392/• www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ4Q9obbc-4
From Small Things Big Things DO Grow• In 2009 Australian dairy farmers produce 9.3 billion litres of milk from 1.7 million cows.• 45% of Australia’s milk worth $2.9 billion is exported.• This is 9% of world dairy trade and our main customers are Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China and the Philippines.• Average Australian milk consumption is 104 litres of milk and 12kgs of cheese per year.
AcknowledgmentsSources1. “Kiama on Show 1848-1998” Karen Beasley2. “More than Milk” Jan Todd3. “Dairying Industry in Brief…” WH Boxsell4. David Jupp COO Holstein Australia5. “Pioneers of the Illawarra pre 1900” Illawarra Family History Group
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