Farmers share memories of hand milking and horse-drawn cream carters at museum exhibition

Bill Anderson with his cream lorry at Wiangaree in the 1930s. Photo: B Clarke

Susanna Freymark

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.

Kyogle Museum president Peter Carlill opens the dairy industry exhibition.

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 (with mic) and Athol McQueen spoke about the days of the cream runs.

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.

Robert Gordon talked about spilling cream on the railway line.

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.

Tony Wilson and Peter Carlill at the dairy exhibition opening.

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

Lynchs Creek

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

Tom Rogers

Ted Burton – 1948-1965

Athol McQueen – 1965-1971

Col Pederson – 1971-1977

The crowd at Kyogle Museum listened to the dairy memories.

Collins Creek

George Collins – 1904-1910

Bill Hale

Ernie Hennessey

Alex McDonald

Archie Cooper

Arthur Clark

Bill Clark

Jess Claydon

Rae Riordan – 1947-1971

Roseberry Creek

Jack Anderson

Kevin Felton

Charlie Blackwood

Edie Cowley

Barry Towns

Equipment on display at the museum.

Horseshoe Creek

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

Darkie Malone

Frank Robinson

Jack Rutley

Arthur Maidment

Errol Martin

Col Pederson

Museum display.

The Risk

Ossie & Cecil Green – horse team, 1914, first with a truck

Jack Anderson

Bill & John Anderson

John Coughlan

John Wotten

Findon, Long Terrace Creeks, Bundgeam

Arthur Hogan

Vic Elliott

Ted Lavelle

Horan Bros

Nelson Bros

Wes Bailey

Vic Goodwin

Randolph King


Cecil Timbs

Sam Timbs

Mr Clark

E.R. (Ted) Smith, Bean truck with solid rubber tyres – 1930-31

Charlie Hayes

Norm Green

Allen Bros

One of the exhibits at the Kyogle Museum.

Green Pigeon

Jim Heffernan

Dan Bentley

Neil Crowley

Tom Russell

Jim Moore

Harry Dollan

Saucer Robinson

Eden Laycock

Mervyn Walters

Alec Jackson

George Walters

Denson Clark

Arthur Dennis

Bert Heyman

Col Pederson

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

Clyde Brain

Bill Clark

Alex (Sandy) Carlill

Dean Wall

Percy Bartlett

Merv Brown

Bruce Smith

Edenville and Omagh Road

Tom Magnay 1924 – horse drawn

Bill Clark

Bert Heyman

George Collins

Alex (Sandy) Carlill

Dean Wall

Merv Brown

Back Road and Geneva

Dan Weary – 1930s horse and cart

R. Latta

Jack Arnold

Toonumbar, Afterlee and Eden Creek

Lou Dagg

Andy Goodall

Alf Russ and Sons

Harry Mitchell

Roy Nelson

Snowy Mitchell

Murphy Stanfield

Col Tasker

Bob Scarborough

Upper Eden and Wyneden Creek

Mr Nelson and son Roy

Cyril Battelina

Bill Summers

John Moore

Ken Moore

John Robson


CJ Smith

Percy Young

Jack Jones

Casino Road, Webbs Road and Hillyards Road

Alan Ford

Harry Mountford

Percy Bartlett

Neil Gillespie

Woodenbong, Urbenville

Frank Frederikson

Charlie Hill

Jimmy Lawrence

Charlie Blackwood

Hugh Fleming

Errol Smith

Peter Crethary

Neil Warburn

Grevillia and Wiangaree

Jack Anderson Snr

D and C Green

Tom, Bill and John Anderson

Alan Masterson

John Coglan

John Wotton

West Wiangaree and Wyndham Creek

Walter Gleeson – horse drawn

Hale Bros

Gordon Wilson

Harry Collett

Dean Wall

Fred Smith

Michael Ward

Lawrence Ward

Edenville, Ettrick, Dyraaba Road

Fred Snow

George Heyman

Roy Smith

Merv Hughes

Bruce Smith

Iron Pot Creek, Ettrick

Rathbone Bros – horse drawn

Mr Scully – horse drawn

Len Taylor – horse team – 1930s

Jack McNamara

Ray Schneider

John O’Reilly

Frank O’Reilly

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.

Gradys Creek

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

Mr Kirkland

Kevin Felton

Charlie Blackwood

Edie Cowley

Barry Towns

Kyogle Museum is on Bloore St, Kyogle. Find out more from the museum’s Facebook page.

Kyogle Museum secretary Gail Hillery stands next to an old milk vat.

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