Fonterra Australia is helping to preserve more than 135 years of dairy history through funding to the Cobden and District Historical Society.
Fonterra Australia helps to preserve more than 135 years of dairy history
Lynda Whitehead (Fonterra Cobden) and Jennifer Kripp (Cobden and District Historical Society)

Fonterra Australia is helping to preserve more than 135 years of dairy history through funding to the Cobden and District Historical Society.

Established in 1985, the society comprises of six dedicated individuals driven by their passion for preserving local history.  Recently, the society received a significant artifact – a Directors Meeting Minute Book dated 4 June 1888.

This book holds immense historical value as within the confines of its pages marks the inception of Australia’s first Co-operative Butter factory.

The decisions made on that historic day laid the foundation for what would later become Fonterra Cobden, home to Australia’s favourite butter, Western Star.

Recognising the importance of this piece of history to its employees, farmers and the local community, Fonterra Australia stepped in to provide funding to the Cobden and District Historical Society. This support has enabled the purchase of a specialised glass display cabinet, designed to preserve historical artifacts for generations to come.

Jennifer Kripp, a longstanding member of the Cobden and District Historical Society, spearheaded the efforts to safeguard the minute book. She engaged a reputable book binder and rare book expert who emphasised the remarkable condition of the document despite its age.

“He was amazed at the condition of the book after such a long period of time. His recommendation was to house the book in a locked glass case, accessible to only researchers wearing protective white gloves, ensuring its preservation.

“Our museum proudly showcases numerous historical photos and artifacts from the Cobden factory, and the addition of the minute book will undoubtedly enrich our collection,” said Jennifer.

“We’re immensely grateful that Fonterra Australia recognises the significance of this piece of local history, and the funding they have provided enables us to preserve it for future generations,” she added.

“Our museum proudly showcases numerous historical photos and artifacts from the Cobden factory, and the addition of the minute book will undoubtedly enrich our collection.”

JENNIFER KRIPP, COBDEN AND DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Fonterra Australia Regional Operations Manager, Nick Hayes, said the team at Cobden had immense pride in the factory’s longstanding legacy.

“For more than 135 years, Cobden has been known for its exceptional dairy products,” stated Nick.

“The dairy industry has been vital to southwest Victoria for decades, and it’s rare to work somewhere with such significant history.

“We understand the importance of preserving this legacy, so when Jennifer asked for support, we eagerly stepped forward to help.

“The decisions made on that historic day, which have been captured in the book, have shaped our identity today. It’s a heritage worth celebrating and safeguarding for those who follow us, ” he concluded.

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