Norco has a history of being part of its communities and lives up to it's role as a large entity that is engaged with community members and the dairy industry. The support for its products, by locals and members, reflects the ideals and value people place on Norco. It is a mutual connection where people continue to be involved commercially and socially with the business.
For the past 127 years, Norco’s members have collectively come together for the common purpose of having their milk produce marketed. This iconic farmer owned dairy co-operative has grown and reinvented itself many times over its long history, making it a potent example of truly resilient and sustainable business.
1895-1899Jump to 1900-1924
5 June 1895
The North Coast Fresh Food & Cold Storage Co-operative Company Ltd (NORCO) began operations at Byron Bay (NSW).
30 April 1896
Bacon curing operations began at Byron Bay and the first bacon was sent to Sydney on the 21 September 1896.
25 November 1897
The Company opened first depot at Murwillumbah and processed cream into butter.
Depot opened at Casino beside the Richmond River as sea going ships could navigate inland on the river way.
1900-1924Jump to 1925-1949
2 December 1902
The Norco Coast Fresh Food and Cold Storage Co-operative opened its first branch factory at Lismore.
The original company was voluntarily liquidated and sold to a new company called the North Coast Co-operative Limited.
North Coast Co-operative now producing one fifth of State's butter.
2 May 1906
Second branch factory opened at Murwillumbah. Lismore factory now largest butter producer in the State.
14 May 1921
TSS Wollongbar | was wrecked at Byron Bay. Steam ships were used to transport butter to Sydney and were owned by the Northern Coast Steam Navigation Company.
19 July 1923
The Sydney selling Floor was opened at at 379 Sussex Street so the Co-operative could handle the sale of its own produce.
1925-1949Jump to 1950-1974
15 December 1925
North Coast Co-operative Company officially alter it's name to Norco Co-operative Limited.
4 May 1929
Clifford House was opened on the corner of Sussex and Bathurst Streets Sydney. It was named in honor of first full time Secretary, later General Manager, William Clifford who died while it was being constructed.
New factory opened in Murwillumbah and the old factory was leased to the Banana Growers Federation
Record output of butter 18,353 tons of butter manufactured.
At its peak Norco operated twenty factories - Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Lismore, Kyogle, Tweed Heads, Tyalgum, Uki, Binna Burra, Ballina, Corndale, Bonalbo, Ettrick, Mt Lindesay, Alstonville, Coraki, Nimbin, Dunoon, The Channon, Cawongla and Wiangaree.
Opening of Lismore store.
Gristing Mill opened in Lismore
Production of milk powder begins.
1950-1974Jump to 1975-1999
14 July 1950
Commencement of ice cream manufacture at Lismore.
1 December 1950
Bottled milk production begins at Murwillumbah.
New premises opened in North Sydney. Opening of Lismore Cheese factory.
1 December 1958
Takeover of Peters Milk/Foley Brothers. This reduced competition and provided a means of rationalisation in the industry. Cheese making was concentrated in Lismore.
27 August 1962
A new era begins, transfer of Head Office from Byron Bay to Lismore.
Operations and deliveries of ice cream and frozen foods, such as vegetables, poultry and fish products, commence in Brisbane and Rocklea. Norco ice cream marketed in Queensland.
Installation of continuous butter-making machine at Lismore maintained production of a high quality product.
Norco gained all top awards for canned ham at the Royal Agricultural Society Show in Sydney.
1 July 1969
First bulk milk collection in Murwillumbah and Lismore started in November of this year.
First butter manufacturer to promote "spreadibility" in marketing. Called Jersey Gold it was made by a cream treatment process in the Lismore factory.
Norco joined forces with Producers Distributing Co-operation Ltd. These amalgamations spread the company's area of influence from Gosford to the Queensland boarder and west to Moree which consolidated and improved confidence and rationalisation of the industry.
Casino Dairy Co-op. merges with Norco.
1975-1999Jump to 2000 - Present
Dairy Farmers Action Group fights Base Milk Quality monopoly of milk marketing. Norco wins Milk War - a new deal for North Coast dairy farmers and access to the whole of the states milk markets.
1 April 1981
Norco purchased the Central Dairy Co-operative Society Limited which included the Ralegh manufacturing factory and Rural Store. Inverell Dairies Pty Ltd was also taken over by Norco on this day and the bulk milk produced in the Inverell district was then transported to Raleigh.
Norco acquired agricultural business of PDS which had interests in Southern Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Tablelands.
Norco sales exceed $100 million.
Joint venture in ice cream manufacture between Norco and the large American Company, Baskin Robbins commences.
The Logan and Albert Dairying Co-operative, situated at Beaudesert in Queensland, was purchased by Norco. The factory's brick building which was built in 1931 was then used for many years by the Beaudesert Rural Store.
Grafton - Ulmarra Co-operative Dairy Company Limited was purchased by Norco Co-op in this year. The Ulmarra Butter factory was originally opened in 1892 and then was rebuilt in 1923 under the name of Pioneer Dairy Company Butter Factory. It later became known as the Grafton - Ulmarra Co-operative Dairy company Limited before being taken over by Norco Co-op.
Norco celebrates 100th Birthday - Centenary History book, Centenary Play, Parade at Lismore Showground attracts largest ever crowd. Golden Oldies dinners held in several places.
Norco sales exceed $200 million.
2000 - Present
Norco Sells the Foodservice Distribution Business to PFD Foodservices. Norco opens the Windmill Grove site in Lismore. The site houses the Lismore Rural store, Norco Mitre10 Handy store and several other speciality shops.
Norco closes down Cheese Factory in Lismore.
Australian farm gate milk price deregulated.
Norco launches Cape Byron ice cream range.
2001 - 2002
$7.03 million dollar profit recorded.
Lismore Ice Cream Factory Site is updated to meet Industry QA Standards.
Norco launches Light Prestige Ice Cream. The first Australian Ice Cream to be included in the Glycemic Index Symbol Program.
Norco Rural Stores Group purchase BGF stores at Coffs Harbour, Macksville & BGF Carton Services at Woolgoolga.
Norco Rural Stores Group purchase Goldmix Stockfeed Pty located in the Burnett Ranges of Queensland.
The Corporate Head Office moves from Foleys Road to 'Windmill Grove' 107 Wilson Street in South Lismore.
Norco completes 110 years in business by holding a public ceremony in honour of the relocation of the Obelisk of the late Andrew Carson Alcorn, the 'Father of the Creamery' which is now situated in a prominent location within the Riverside Park in Lismore.
Norco purchases Parmalat's 50% share of the Norco Pauls Joint Venture.
Norco opens a new Rural store in Coffs Harbour NSW
Norco forms a business relationship with Fonterra to sell and distribute milk products
Norco purchases $23m turnover Retail site at Toowoomba QLD
Norco purchases Meat-E-Vite business in Lennox Head NSW.
Norco opens a new Rural store in Bundaberg QLD
Old coal fired boiler system removed from Lismore Ice Cream factory and a gas fired hot water system installed to reduce pollution and increase efficiency.
Norco wins the Queensland and New South Wales awards in the Bi-annual Asia Pacific Stock Feed Competition which was held by the Stock Feed Manufacturers Association as a national competition.
Norco Ice Cream Business Unit wins the Coles House Brand Supplier of the Year Award.
Norco celebrates 115 years in business.
Norco purchase the Sales, Marketing and Distribution back from Fonterra.
Norco opens a Rural Store in Taree NSW.
Norco opens a Rural Store in Gloucester NSW.
Norco opens a Rural Store in Heatherbrae NSW.
Norco opens a Rural Store in Murgon QLD.
Joined Media Release – Norco, dairy Connect & PGS open a FreshMilk “pipeline” into China
1 November 2014
Norco opens a Rural Store in Wamuran QLD.
The NSW Business Chamber awarded Norco their "Excellence in Innovation" Award for 2014 for the Northern Rivers Region, and they will now go on to represent the region in the upcoming NSW Business Chamber State Awards in November.
Joint Media Release – Coles & Norco - Gold Coast business Norco has boosted its sales of branded milk by more than 25 per cent in less than six months at Coles as Queenslanders race to embrace local brands.
Coles Managing Director John Durkan will visited the Labrador factory for the first time to celebrate the success of its new and unprecedented five-year partnership with Norco.
The visit came as Norco that week produced its 28th million litre of private label milk for Coles in less than six months.
5 June 2015
Norco celebrates 120 years in business.
NORCO REAL ICED CHOCOLATE was crowned Australia’s Champion Flavoured Dairy Beverage in the Australian Grand Dairy Awards
Norco and PURA have shared top spot in Canstar Blue’s 2017 fresh milk customer ratings, both earning
five starreviews on packaging, taste and overall satisfaction. They also rated four stars in terms of freshness and value for money.
Canstar Blue’s annual fresh milk review has seen 13 brands rated on taste, freshness, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Norco's Rural Agri division turns 75
Norco Rural opens it's doors in Gympie Qld.
Norco Rural opens it's doors in Wauchope NSW.
Norco’s Member Suppliers & Shareholders as well as staff are thrilled with the sweep of gold medals won at the 2018 DIAA Australian Dairy Product Competition..
Norco has won the Excellence in Export Award at the Sunny Business Awards in Coffs Harbour
Norco announces immediate 5cents a litre Milk Price increase to co-operative members due to the severe drought coupled with escalating input costs on farm.
Norco Co-operative Limited is the successful recipient of funding under the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.
Coles announces that it has begun distributing $3,974,292.30 collected by their Coles Dairy Drought Relief Fund. This includes more than 190 Norco Member milk suppliers, who will receive payments from the fund
Norco increases milk price to member suppliers by 6.5 cents per litre
Norco announces drought support premium payment to member milk suppliers