Farewell to one of the faces of Norco

Ken Wadsworth (pictured below) has been one of the “faces of Norco” appearing in several Norco milk advertisements on TV and in print. Ken has been very generous giving his time to promote the Norco brand and has been a “natural” on the television screen.

Ken and his brother - Jeff, recently decided to retire from their dairy farming enterprise at Coorabell, in the Byron Bay hinterland of NSW.

The Wadsworth family has had a long association with the dairy industry. Ken & Jeff’s grandparents, Bill and Amy Wadsworth share farmed on the South Coast of NSW and then in 1911 walked their dairy herd of about 30 Jerseys all the way to the North Coast to take up another share farming position at Possum Creek, milking the cows at dairies along the way. What an arduous undertaking;  unthinkable today!

The milk was given to the farmers who helped in exchange for their kindness in allowing them use their dairies and letting the cows have a rest. 

On the 100 acre Possum Creek farm, the milk was separated and the cream taken to the Norco Binna Binna Creamery by horse and cart.

Bill and Amy share farmed on various dairies in the Byron region such as Brooklet and Newrybar where they raised their family.

Their son Reg, after returning from the Second World War, bought the 100 acre Coorabell farm in 1953 and carried on the family tradition with his wife Pat. In 1976, Reg’s and Pat’s son, Jeff, joined the dairying operation.

Reg and Pat decided to retire from dairying in 1981, so their other son Ken, gave up teaching high school agriculture and returned to the farm to run it with his brother Jeff.

When the dairy closed in March this year, it signalled the end of four generations who have worked on the farm, including Jeff’s son Owen, who filled in while the other family members took a break.

The family has seen many changes in the dairy industry. The most memorable have been:

Ken and Jeff have been strong supporters of the local dairy industry and are very proud of their association with Norco especially as it is a local industry that has remained a supplier-owned co-operative. “We have enjoyed supplying Norco over the period”, Ken said. “Norco has always helped and supported its dairy farmer suppliers”.

What now?

Jeff has a passion for collecting and restoring old farm machinery, especially engines and tractors and has been collecting since the early 1980’s. Some tractors can take about four months to restore but others can take a year or two, depending on their condition and how many parts need to be replaced.

Jeff currently has approximately 150 restored tractors, 150 stationary engines and he relies on a collectors’ network to source rare parts.

He is looking forward to spending more time restoring his prized antiques.
Jeff Wadsworth
Jeff Wadsworth (pictured above)

Ken came back to the farm because he always wanted to be his own boss, but I would image that cows dictate your life to a certain degree. He describes his dairying day as “milk – breakfast – work – lunch – work – milk OR milk – run – swim – coffee – lunch – rest – milk”. 

So, now in retirement it is hoped Ken can do more of the latter (except the milking bit) and truly be his own boss.

We wish Ken and Jeff all the very best in their retirement and thank them for their loyalty and support of the Co-operative. We also sincerely thank Ken for his participation in the Norco advertising campaigns and for his dedication to promoting the Norco brand.

It is very difficult to farm without the backing of family and so we also thank Ken’s wife Jean and Jeff’s wife Eleanor and their son Owen, for their support in the dairying operation.