Merino Butter Factory
Southwest Victoria, Australia
In 1910 the Merino Co-Operative Butter Factory Co. Ltd. was not proving a financial success, so the Chairman of Directors, Mr. A. M. McLEOD, approached the late Mr. J. E. HANDBURY, of Messrs. J. E. HANDURY and Sons, with a view to purchase. After inspecting the property, Mr. HANDBURY was so impressed with the district that he agreed upon a lease for three years, with the option of purchase.
The plant was modernised, and it is recorded that the first output was only 4 tons, but through successful management and support from suppliers, the output has now risen to 27 tons a week.
The first twenty years of management occasioned continuous alterations and additions to the plant, to adopt the most modern appliances. In 1931, Mr. H. E. HANDBURY, who had succeeded his father as Managing Director of the Company, decided upon remodelling the entire factory to cope wih the growth of dairying in the Merino district and the largely increased supplies. Consequently the factory was rebuilt, and all the latest and most up-to-date butter factory equipment installed. This was done at an expense of £6,000.
Since the factory was taken over by Messrs. J. E. HANDBURY and Sons, 12,722 tons of butter have been produced.
To-day, Merino Downs brand of butter is the hall-mark of quality. It is the common stipulation with interstate merchants when ordering Victorian butter to request: "It must be Merino". In the overseas markets, London butter merchants to-day stipulate Merino Downs butter when ordering from Australia. This, of course, very creditably reflects upon the dairying sense of the dairymen of the district.
To-day, Merino Downs butter factory, established on the most progressive lines, is a world-wide tribute to the capabilities of the district, and an outstanding advertisement of the foresight of the early settlers who took up their homes in the district in view of its possibilities.
Prevoius managers were:- Chas. JOHNSON, H. SUNDERLAND, J. MONTGOMERY, and D. GREENLAW (manager for J. E. HANDBURY and Sons).
"Historic Souvenir of the Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations",
November, 11th to 15th, 1937