Rivers Boats and the early dairy industry

In the early days of dairying in the Richmond Valley, river boats played an important role in the transport of cream from dairy farms to the factory and conversely the transport of a range of goods back to individual farmers and their families.

Cream boats provided a service to farms that were often in areas difficult to access by road and easily isolated in times of flooding, even minor flooding.

In the 1930s the cream boats were also a means of transport for children attending high school in Lismore, particularly for those billeting for the week at a hostel.

The cream boats traversed the Richmond River from Woodburn to Coraki as well as upstream to Tatham before returning to Coraki and travelling up the Wilson River to Lismore.

Farmers provided a very small wharf on the river bank which was accessed by the cream boat crew using a plank to connect the boat to the wharf. It was not an uncommon occurrence for a can of cream to end up in the river.

The cream boats were able to operate in minor to moderate flooding conditions.