Times Gone By: Coffs Harbour Butter Factory – Business Beginnings (Part 4)

EXPECTATIONS for the new butter factory were high, especially when a good quality water source was found on-site in early June 1909.

A well and other land improvements were estimated to cost £415 and building construction would be around £700, with the factory fully operational by early spring.

The factory’s account was transferred from the New South Wales Bank to the City Bank for their lower interest rates and confidence in the new factory’s success was boosted when the Bonville suppliers to the Raleigh Butter Factory decided to ‘throw in their lot’ with the new Coffs Harbour factory.

The plans for the factory were amended by the board to reduce the building size and costs, before tenders were again called.

Mr A Lonsdale of Dorrigo succeeded with his tender of £735 with building work to be completed in four months.

By mid-July timber had been delivered to the site and work was to commence on Monday, 19 July.

At the well-attended July shareholder’s meeting the directors were unanimously authorised a £2,500 mortgage using the company’s property and vacant positions filled, with a vote of thanks to the retirees.

In September Mr G A Grant of Grafton was appointed the factory’s manager, Mr A J Reed became the engineer and a tender for buttermilk was accepted from Mr M P S Griffin.

The Coffs Harbour Co-operative Dairying and Refrigerating Company’s factory began production on 1 December, officially opening on 11 December 1909 with much ceremony and many speeches.

The factory was producing three tons of butter a week, along with the manufacture and supply of ice and butter storage for outlying factories.

Congratulatory telegrams were received and Mr P J Macnamara auctioned the first box of butter which went to Mr W Seccombe for £3, while the first single pound of butter to Mr J F Macnamara for 6s 6d.

Throughout the day people came to view the machinery and the directors took guests to dinner at the Pier Hotel.


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