Gostwyck Butter Factory
Above: Two iconic brands linked to the history of the Gostwyck Butter Factory. It was for a time operated by the Raymond Terrace Dairy Co-op, the parent of the Hunter Valley Dairy Co-op that introduced the Oak brand. At another time it was owned by the Peters American Delicacy Company.
Above and below: the remains of the Gostwyck Butter Factory near Gostwyck bridge (GPS: 32° 33.910'S 151° 36.380'E).
The Raymond Terrace Co-operative Dairy Co was formed in mid 1903 and its factory at Raymond Terrace was opened on 31 October that year (Gloucester Examiner 6 Nov 1903). From then it operated in direct competition with the Bowthorne Butter Factory. Cream was collected by horse-drawn carts and taken to the wharf at Paterson where the cans were loaded onto boats and taken down-river to Raymond Terrace.
In 1908 the Raymond Terrace co-op built a branch factory at Gostwyck on the banks of the Paterson River north of Paterson and it was opened in June that year. In December 1909 a manager's cottage was added to the site. For many years the Gostwyck branch factory processed cream from the area including cream for Peters American Delicacy Company that was established in Redfern, Sydney, in 1907.
In 1914 Peters agreed to obtain all its cream requirements from the Raymond Terrace co-op and in June 1915 Peters purchased the Gostwyck factory. However Peters sold the Gostwyck factory back to the Raymond Terrace co-op in 1926.
In May 1927 the Raymond Terrace co-op opened a new factory at Hexham, close to the river and alongside the north coast rail line. From then, milk from all over the Hunter area was brought to Hexham to be supplied as fresh milk to towns and cities or to be processed into butter and cheese. The brand name of 'oak' under which its milk and dairy products were sold became well known. The co-op was renamed the Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Co Ltd in 1944.
It is not known when the Gostwyck factory closed its doors for the last time, but perhaps it was not long after the new factory at Hexham opened. By then transport had improved and it was easier to transport milk and cream longer distances to the factory.
Above: Gostwyck Butter Factory while owned by the Raymond Terrace Co-op. Note the boiler house on the left.
Above: Gostwyck Butter Factory in 1921 when owned by Peters. Note the additional building in the centre compared to the earlier photo. Also the Raymond Terrace co-op name has been removed (photo: courtesy of Wayne Patfield).
Above: The side of this truck reads 'Peters Paterson River Dairies Limited, Factory No. 1, Gostwyck, Martins Creek'. Peters owned the Gostwyck factory from 1915 to 1926. The truck is a REO Model J (2 ton 4 cylinder, built between 1914 and 1917).
Above: Gostwyck Factory with a cream collection truck outside (photo: courtesy of Wayne Patfield).
During Peter's ownership, farmers had to deliver their cream to the factory three times a week in summer. If their cream went sour due to high temperatures or poor hygiene, they were paid much less because the cream was made into second grade butter that was not fit for the table. It was probably wholesaled to bakeries to make pastry. This c1920 poster issued by Peters for farmers to put on the wall of the dairy spells out the requirements (poster courtesy of Dennis Taylor).
History of dairying in the Williams River valley on-line.
Clements, Pauline. Vacy ... 180 years of History. Paterson: Paterson Historical Society, 2003.
Maitland Mercury, Sydney Morning Herald, various issues.
Scarr, PD. The Oak and the Dairy Industry from the Beginning. Self published, c1994.
Todd, Jan. Milk for the Metropolis - a Century of Co-operative Milk Supply in New South Wales. Sydney, 1994.