A history of the Manning Valley dairy industry

Bill Beach with his book 'Bringing Prosperity to the Valley - A history of the Manning Valley Dairy Industry' which will be launched on December 9.
Bill Beach with his book 'Bringing Prosperity to the Valley - A history of the Manning Valley Dairy Industry' which will be launched on December 9.

Wingham’s Bill Beach will launch his new book ‘Bringing Prosperity to the Valley – A history of the Manning Valley Dairy Industry’ at 2.30pm on Saturday, December 9 at the Wingham Museum.

In the book Bill traces the local dairy industry’s history from the opening of the Manning Valley’s first co-operative butter factory in 1893 to today.

It is Bill’s first book, written at the suggestion of the Manning Valley Historical Society for which Bill has been a member for more than five years and has written a number of articles for the society journal.

After a career as an accountant, and no connection to the dairy industry, Bill needed to do extensive research for the book.

He cites more than 70 research references in the bibliography and said it took at least two years to research and write before the big job of inserting photos and processing ready for print.

Bill was lucky enough to hand over this part of the project to various people including Margaret Clark and Alison McIntosh.

“It was a great experience,” said Bill.

The project has also paved the way for another book by Bill, this one about the Wingham Council Housing Scheme.

The Chair of the Mid Coast Dairy Advancement Group, Tim Bale, will officially launch Bill’s book at the Wingham Museum on Saturday and historian Maurie Garland will emcee the event.

All welcome.

A history of the Manning Valley Dairy Industry

The opening of the Manning Valley’s first co-operative butter factory in 1893 ushered in a long period of unparalleled growth, and financial stability, throughout the valley.

Dairying reigned supreme as the backbone of the economy with over 1,700 family owned farms sending milk and cream to six butter factories.

However it didn’t last. Industry deregulation, commencing in the 1990s, saw many farmers leave the industry as small farms became unviable. 

The butter factories closed as milk was not sent direct to the cities.

Today, the local industry faces the challenge of surviving in an environment of low milk prices and increasing costs.