Hip Hip Horray! Norco is celebrating our 123rd birthday.
From our humble beginnings in the lush foothills of Byron Bay, we are now Australia's oldest dairy co-operative. We remain true to our co-operative roots. We continue to be 100% owned by Aussie farmers with no external shareholders!
At a meeting in the Clunes hall on 5th December 1892, Mr. WA Moses moved “That in the opinion of this meeting the formation of the Central Creamery Depot Company be undertaken.”
As a result of this meeting, the North Coast Fresh Food & Cold Storage Co-operative Company Ltd began operations at Byron Bay on 5th June 1895, which, after several name changes, became Norco Co-operative Limited on 15th December 1925.
Some of the first “Norco” factories were at Alstonville, Ballina, Bonalbo, Coraki, Kyogle, Lismore, Murwillumbah, Nimbin, Tweed Heads, Tyalgum and Uki where cream was churned into butter.
“Norco’s” main opposition at the time was from the NSW Creamery Butter Company which set up small creameries (separation stations) in localities such as Bexhill, Buckendoon, Bungawalbyn, Chilcotts Grass, Goolmangar, Lismore, North Codrington, Swan Bay, Tatham and Wyrallah.
Dairy farmers transported their milk to the separation stations and once separated the skim milk was brought back home to be fed to pigs. This was a very time consuming practice and meant time away from other farming duties.
Norco had further opposition when Foley Bros. opened the Northern Creamery Central factory in Lismore in September 1897. Foley Bros. also operated several small creameries in the local area, such as Mullumbimby, South Gundurimba and Tucki.
The introduction of the home separator spelt the end of the separation stations.
December 1958 saw the purchase of Foley Bros. / Peters Milk Industries Lismore operations by Norco. This reduced competition and provided a means of rationalisation in the industry. An important benefit was the 10 year contract to supply milk to Peters Creamery at Grafton.