Downs Dairy Museum A Highlight Of Australia Day At Highfields Pioneer Village

A reunion for anyone connected to the The Downs Co-operative Dairy Association (Unity) Factory in Brook St, Toowoomba will be held at the Highfields Pioneer Village, Museum & Park Inc, 73 Wirraglen Rd on Australia Day, 26th January 2014.

The Pioneer Village opens at 9:00am, nibbles at 10:00am.

The Downs Dairy Museum dedicated to the history of the Unity/Dairy Farmers Factory is located within the Pioneer Village Complex – Entry by Gold Coin Donation.

Downs Co-operative Dairy Association Limited History
Ken Dunn

by Ken Dunn


In 1901 a controlled co-operative factory, run by a handful of farmers dependant on dairying was the vision on these dairymen’s minds. A drought in 1902 ended this idea for the time being. The first public meeting was held at Westbrook on Saturday, 23rd April 1904 for all persons interested in forming a co-operative butter factory.

downs dairy co-op
Downs Daiiry Co-op’s original factory

A meeting was also held on the 14th May 1904 to discuss the name for the company. “The Darling Downs Co-operative Butter and Bacon Company” was proposed by a Mr Bullock and seconded by Mr Lancashire. With better seasons returning, a later meeting would determine the name of the factory to be “The Down’s Dairy Association Ltd”. It was to be located near the railway line at or near Toowoomba. The meeting also agreed “that the company be formed solely by dairymen and only new machinery be installed in the new factory and the best Manager suitable for the task ahead” be appointed.

The prospective was adopted on the 11th June 1904 with Capital of 20,000 pounds in shares at 1 pound each. Manufacturing operation commenced on the 16th October 1905. The Downs Co-operative Dairy Association Ltd officially opened on the 2nd November 1905. Unity and Co-operation – one is synonymous with the other.
Downs Dairy Co-op BuildingThe Downs Co-operative Dairy Association Limited celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee: 1905-1955.

Fun Facts:
Pasteurized bottle milk commenced in 1940 with a quantity of milk received at the factory. For the first full year of operation 1940-41 was 785,850 gallons, 286406 gallons sold as liquid milk and 499,444 gallons made into cheese, returning to suppliers the total value of £29,634/19/9.

There were over 300 workers employed at the factory in the 1960’s.

Submitted by:
Jody Dodds
Highfields Pioneer Village, Museum and Park Inc.
Ph 07 4696 6309


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