In April 1979 the last can of cream left Walpole & Districts.
Gordon Brass was the dairy farmer who firmly pushed down the lid on the can and joined the ranks of bulk milk producers in the area. Gordon and his family farmed on a North Walpole property which was taken up in 1941 by his parents.
When the Group Settlement Scheme began—Tingledale in 1924, Hazelvale in 1927, and the Walpole farming district in 1930—the main aim of the settlers was to make their holdings productive.
When pasture was established and a few dairy cows obtained, cream was sent to factories. At first only a small quantity of cream, skimmed off the top of the milk, was sent in billycans.
As the region developed, butterfat became one of the main industries, with the skim milk byproduct used to feed pigs. The industry experienced fluctuating fortunes.
Finally dairy farmers were granted bulk milk quotas and the era of butterfat production and pig farming came to a close in Walpole & Districts.
Bulk milk was more lucrative for the farmers and noticeable changes were evident in the district after its introduction; improved dairies, new homes, etc.
Sadly the dairying industry has almost disappeared from Walpole & Districts.
It was an industry that involved the whole family. Before heading off to the beach or a sport, the cows had to be milked. The dairy industry taught our kids to work!
This post is based on an article by Molly Smith that appeared in the February 12, 2014 edition of the Walpole Weekly as part of her “Looking Back with Molly” series.