Coffs Harbour Butter Factory: Swings and Roundabouts (Part 6)

FROM the profits of 1910, horses and a van were purchased, small additions and alterations were made to the factory building, concreting was carried out on the well and the newly-wed manager enjoyed minor improvements to his onsite residence.

By 1911 the factory was producing over five tons of butter and ½ ton of ice per week.

When news of a planned railway reached the district, it brought the promise of improved transport of cream and butter to the factory and port, along with a new ‘impetus’ throughout the area.

Throughout 1912 the newly formed Coffs Harbour Bacon Company began talks to amalgamate with the Coffs Harbour Dairy and Refrigeration Company but despite each company’s directors uniting to devise an amalgamation plan, the idea did not eventuate.

That year, due to a rainfall shortage, the factory suffered a loss with much butter graded second class and mid-year the factory manager left the district.

Complaints were also received by the Health Department on ‘unsanitary conditions’ in a drain near the factory.

Investigations found the drain was not unsanitary but as the factory used it to dispose of excess buttermilk into Coffs Creek, the smell was somewhat overpowering.

Despite the adverse weather, in June 1912 it was announced the company’s overdraft was almost paid off and a new manager, Mr A Bennett was employed.

A few months later he began promoting the improved quality of the company’s butter by entering a number of competitions.

Amongst a number of placings in various competitions, the butter factory won second prize in the 1913 Royal Agricultural Show’s butter exhibition in two sections and fourth in another.

The trophies, a large silver cup and silver tea and coffee set, both inscribed, arrived in Coffs Harbour two months later and were put on display in a High Street (Harbour Drive) shop window.

The factory also received high scores in London’s Royal Dairy Show, however butter was becoming increasingly under threat by margarine, especially in warmer weather.


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