Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory

The Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory was built near the railway line at Albion Park Rail to assist local farmers in the butter trade. The factory had refrigeration that helped stop the milk from souring, and was built close to the railway line for the fast transportation of milk and butter to the Sydney markets. A railway siding was built on the eastern side of the factory providing easy access for loading trains with milk cans.

The ICCD opened for business 1 September 1899 with CW Wood as Manager, and was officially opened by Mrs Fraser who broke a bottle of milk in celebration on the 27 September 1899. Provisional Directors of the ICCD included John Fraser, MJ Hindmarsh, L Raison, CED Meares, J James, CW Craig, G Couch, and H Graham. The secretary was F Fredericks.

At its height, the factory manufactured 20 tons of butter and pasteurised 140,000 galleons of milk per week. The ICCD was one of the first industries to use electricity by installing the dairy’s own steam driven electricity generator in 1903.

In September 1925 alterations were made to the Butter Department, and other alterations made to the interior to comply with new laws at that time. The Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory building was further upgraded over the years with the addition of an underwater water tank with water pumped from Macquarie rivulet.

The ICCD The factory produced butter continuously for 86 years, firstly under the ICCD brand name of ‘Allowrie’ until 1955, when it was changed to ‘Warrilla’ a derivative of Illawarra.

The factory employed hundreds of locals families through many generations until its closure in 1985 almost 100 years after it first opened. Only eight dairy farms remain in Shellharbour City today and a far cry from the 120 farms that once supplied milk to the factory.

Information – The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc resources.

Milk Carts at the ICCD, 1920s
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Alan Dawes and Audrey Jones at the ICCD, 1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

ICCD Factory, c.1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries


  1. Beautiful pictures. In addition to the old photos pulled from storage, it would be lovely to see a comparison of what the old building looks like now don't you think?

  2. I'll try to remember to take one when I drive past next Mark. :)


Leave a comment