Back in time as crowds prepare for Kenilworth's Festival
WITH thousands of residents and visitors set to flock to the popular Kenilworth Cheese and Wine Food Festival on April 4, we take a step back in time to discover how the dairy industry developed on the banks of the Mary River.
The township of Kenilworth is situated on the west bank of the Mary River, which was discovered in 1842.
In 1850, Richard Smith selected the Kenilworth cattle run of about 6470 hectares (about 16,000 acres) on the east bank of the Mary River. Eight years later, the Kenilworth run was consolidated with other runs, namely North Kenilworth, Cambroon and Cordalba, and sold.
Land on the old grazing properties was surveyed and made available for selection in 1888 under the new Homestead Act. Farm sizes in this area ranged between about 65 hectares (160 acres) and about 260 hectares (640 acres). News travelled about the availability of reasonably priced land, and encouraged dairying and agriculture.
Settlers in the Kenilworth and Belli areas developed a varied economy, and in about 1900, many more dairy cattle were introduced to the area. The success of early settler Richard Sims and his manual cream separator and its installation on his farm in 1898 proved that it was a worthwhile venture.
Seven suppliers brought their milk to the Sims manual separator, and in July 1898, the first Kenilworth cream was transported by wagon to the railway station at Eumundi to be sent to Brisbane.
The dairy industry grew steadily. The Kenilworth Farmers' Association formed in 1902. In 1905, dairymen from this association decided at a meeting on old Gympie Road that a co-operative butter factory should be established in the region.
The Caboolture Co-operative Company developed from this initiative. Cream was transported to Eumundi railway station and forwarded by rail to the Caboolture factory, which opened in 1907, and later to the Eumundi Butter Factory, which opened in 1920.
In 1952 Kraft opened a cheese factory in Kenilworth. It was closed in 1989, but was re-opened in June 1990 by a new company formed by former employees, who replaced the old cheese lines with innovative and delicious products such as yogurt and boutique cheeses.
Thanks to Sunshine Coast Libraries' cultural heritage team for photos and words.