The Queensland Farmers Co-operative was founded in 1899 after Peter Larsen a resident of the Ma Ma Creek area proposed the establishment of a Butter factory in the local area. It was a popular idea with many of the locals and before long the association was formed and Directors were appointed. The establishment of a local Butter factory was high on the association’s agenda and for many months proposals were put forward and examined. There was much debate as to where the factory should be located and many people suggested Brisbane as the appropriate area. However after a year of discussions it was decided that the factory would operate out of Ipswich.
It took 15 months to decide on a site in the area of Booval and then build and install the machinery necessary to run the new butter factory. It was finally completed in 1901 and the first batch of milk was successfully processed in April of that year, although the factory was not opened until May. The first year of the factory’s beginnings were hard as drought plagued the town of Ipswich and its surrounds, however it was still a successful endeavour and talks were already underway on establishing further branch factories in other areas to cope with the rising need.
Between 1904 and 1909 four more Queensland Farmers Co-operative Association butter factory branches were established, working in conjunction with the main factory in Booval to produce 2 3/4 million pounds of butter per year. It was not until 1942, however that the butter factory also became a producer of milk. Later in 1953 the Queensland Farmers Co-operative Association supplied milk for free to students under 13 years of age in schools in Ipswich and the surrounding areas. Forty-five schools were listed to receive the free milk service and changes were made to the Booval factory so that machinery could handle the smaller one-third pint bottles and the extra supply of 10,000 bottles of milk that was to be delivered to schools daily.
In 1962 it was reported that the factory was filling and capping 7000 bottles of milk per hour and producing 60,000 gallons of milk weekly, of which half was delivered to homes and stores in Ipswich and another 16,000 gallons was shipped to Brisbane. The factory was also producing 50 tons of cream a week, butter, unsalted butter, flavoured milk and skim and butter milk powders.
Information taken from The Ipswich Adviser “QLD. Farmerss Co-op. Assn. Ltd.” (1962) and The Queensland Times “15 Ipswich Schools get milk” (1953)