Kyogle used to have 25 cream carriers. And there were about 500 dairy farms.
Kyogle Museum president Peter Carlill said a dairy farmer would milk 40 cows by hand every day before machinery was used.
“You didn’t buy milk at the supermarket, it was delivered to your home,” Peter said.
Kyogle Museum has a new exhibition about the dairy history of Kyogle District.
At the exhibition opening on Saturday, July 22, former and current dairy farmers met and shared stories.
Athol McQueen said he milked the cows before walking 5km to school.
“That was the life in those days,” Athol said.
“We didn’t have a lot of money but we were well fed.”
Athol bought a cream run at Lynchs Creek and ran it for six years.
“Then milk came in and that was the end of the cream run.”
John Coghlan said he did the cream run from (almost) Woodenbong to Kyogle for 10 years.
“I remember two serious accidents where people were killed,” he said.
“It was up to the cream carrier to stay there until the police and ambulance came.”
Many spoke of how cream carriers were the backbone of the community.
They not only delivered cream, they brought bread, newspapers and meat.
Paul French said he had lived in the area for 40 years.
“My brother had an old Falcon wagon. One day it was filled with cream cans and he hit the brakes too hard. The cream spilt and the smell never left the car,” Paul said.
Paul said the last cream delivery was in the late ’80s by Reggie Holmes.
“No one took a pic,” Paul said.
Robert Gordon spent six years picking up cream cans.
He laughed about the time he spilt cream on the Wiangaree railway crossing.
Wilf Jarrett said he moved to Kyogle because, back then, it was the biggest supplier of milk to Norco.
“I saw deregulation come in. Before that we knew what our income was,” Wilf said.
“Milk went from 36 cents a litre to 19 cents a litre through deregulation.”
Tony Wilson is a dairy farmer at The Risk and he uses robotics to milk the cows.
“We’ve only had to milk by hand when there was a blackout,” Tony said.
When he decided to go robotic, there were about 20 systems in Australia at the time, he said.
“We’ve been going for 10 years and we’ve nearly got the hang of it,” he said.
On average farms have one person working for every 100 cows.
“With the help of robotics, we need one person to 200 cows,” Tony said.
Today, there are 14 dairy farms still operating in the Kyogle district.
Here’s a list from the museum of past cream carriers.
Cream carriers – Kyogle district
Ernie Riordan – 1915-1917
Cecil Scully – 1917-1920
Arthur Clark – 1920-1922
Jim Doak – 1922-1926
Gordon Wilson – 1926-1928
Reg Hasthorpe – 1928-1939
Frank Condon – 1939-1940
Gordon Kemp – 1940-1948
Ted Burton – 1948-1965
Athol McQueen – 1965-1971
Col Pederson – 1971-1977
George Collins – 1904-1910
Rae Riordan – 1947-1971
Daniel Bentley – Horse team
Daniel Bentley was the first cream carrier on Horseshoe Creek at about 1905. Daniel’s son Tom, who was born in 1910 remains with his wife on the property today (at the time of publication of the book). Tom remembers the horse teams working with their coaches drawing the cream to Kyogle. During the 1930s the carriers were paid so much per can from Norco – 10 gallon 2/6d, 8 gallon 2/-, and 6 gallon cans of cream were 1/6.
Neil Crowley – Horse team
Jim Moore – Horse team
Oscar Cooper – Horse team
Arthur Clark – Horse team
Archie Cooper – first man with a truck
Ossie & Cecil Green – horse team, 1914, first with a truck
Bill & John Anderson
Findon, Long Terrace Creeks, Bundgeam
E.R. (Ted) Smith, Bean truck with solid rubber tyres – 1930-31
Edenville and Cedar Point
Harold Buckland – Coach pulled by four horses where the cream was taken to Kyogle. When he started the run in 1917 he had nine suppliers.
Charlie Grennan – first man with truck – a Bedford
Alex (Sandy) Carlill
Edenville and Omagh Road
Tom Magnay 1924 – horse drawn
Alex (Sandy) Carlill
Back Road and Geneva
Dan Weary – 1930s horse and cart
Toonumbar, Afterlee and Eden Creek
Alf Russ and Sons
Mr Nelson and son Roy
Casino Road, Webbs Road and Hillyards Road
Grevillia and Wiangaree
Jack Anderson Snr
D and C Green
Tom, Bill and John Anderson
West Wiangaree and Wyndham Creek
Walter Gleeson – horse drawn
Edenville, Ettrick, Dyraaba Road
Iron Pot Creek, Ettrick
Rathbone Bros – horse drawn
Mr Scully – horse drawn
Len Taylor – horse team – 1930s
Employees of Frank O’Reilly: Frank Schneider, Reg Wallace, Eddie Cowley, Kelly O’Reilly
Contract Butter Carriers – Ettrick to Kyogle
Roy McPherson, Fred Snow, Jack McNamara and Frank O’Reilly carted to Kyogle from Ettrick butter factory until 1948, when John and Frank O’Reilly formed a partnership and the cream conveyed to Kyogle. Frank bought John’s share of the run and operated same until rationalisation.
George Wilson – horse drawn
George Anderson – horse drawn
Harry Payne – horse drawn
Vic Weedon – horse drawn
Bert Reeves – horse drawn
Don Wilson – horse team, then first man with truck
Kyogle Museum is on Bloore St, Kyogle. Find out more from the museum’s Facebook page.