Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Milko Milko

Time Spanner wrote of the milk divide cartel in Auckland in days before you could buy milk in supermarkets.

As a kid on a dairy farm, I had to often get the billy of milk from the dairy. I was quite proud of my billy can swinging skills. I could swing the billy can in all directions including over my head and never a drop was spilt. Oh, I just remembered throwing a can of milk at my brother. He was very sticky. I am sure he deserved it.

In early farm days milk cans were used and simple dip of the billy into the can resulted in a lot of cream which would settle on top in the billy can. While I like a pavlova and cream on my tinned cling peaches, I hated the cream on top of the milk. Later came the modern refrigerated milk vat. My brother would dip the billy can into the milk vat and if the agitator hadn't been working for a while, yes, more greasy cream. I used to take the milk from the tap at the bottom of the vat and again if the agitator hadn't been working, not a drop of cream. So much nicer.

My grandparents for a time had their milk delivered in bottles, sealed with foil caps but in my memory, they walked to the local milk bar daily to buy bottles of milk.

A friend grew up in Calcutta, oh, Kolcata , whatever. The delivered milk was not to be trusted. It did not come in cartons from a factory in the sixties but in a container, probably a billy of sorts, and direct from the dairy.

My friend used to get their milk straight from the cow's udder. Well, sort of. A man and a cow would arrive and the cow would be milked in front of my friend's mother into a container she supplied. There was no chance of milk dilution to increase profits with filthy water that could cause them to become ill. (just occurred to me that the person milking could have water pump up his sleeve)

I would guess that milk dilution was a problem in both Australia and New Zealand before the heavy regulation of milk supply began and believe me, in the sixties and seventies is was very regulated.

We drink skim milk at home, mixed in jugs, but if we are having visitors we buy a carton of fresh milk. I hunt the fridge shelves at the shop for just plain milk. It is terribly difficult to find a carton of 'just milk'.

One thing about milk hasn't changed though, as I have noticed with Little Jo. Kids still end up with milk moustaches.


  1. Now what brought this delightful little essay on?

    From 1956 until 1961 (aged 8-13) I lived on a farm in the Hunter Valley. We milked out own house cows, kept some milk for the house and separated the rest for the animals, retaining the cream to make into butter.

    Mum milked the cows, the kids separated the milk and made the butter. The separator was on one corner of the tank stand and the churn on the other.

    I can remember coming up all lumpy on some 'prick' test at school because I drank unpasteurised milk. Although, I am not sure when pasteurised milk came in, but think it was abut this time.

    The small bottles of milk we drank at primary school had foil tops. Different colours and writing for different occasions, sometimes gold or red, but mostly silver.

  2. Anonymous8:05 am

    'I hunt the fridge shelves at the shop for just plain milk'

    It's the bottles that say Milk. All the others with addatives etc can't be branded as Milk.

  3. We made our own butter and that wonderful taste sensation scalded cream.

    Forget your caviar, your truffles and lobsters today I'd die for a thck slice of fresh bread with strawberry jam topped with lashings of scalded cream.

  4. I also grew up on a dairy farm in the Macksville area. It was just a simple and happy time of my life.

  5. I horrified one of the "we aren't Indigenous" rellies when I found in the newspaper archives that Dad's uncle and aunt (brother and sister who ran the family dairy) were fined for too much dilution of milk (apparently a certain amount was allowed) and the article named and shamed them *snort*

  6. *snort* ... love this emoticon(!!?)

    This is just one of the myriad of things that irritate. A certain amount diluting is allowed. Just as additives and sugars and fats only have to be over a certain % to have to be included on the label.

    I have been over to 'Timespanner' for a wee read. Lovely blog ...

  7. Getting the childhood reminisces down Julie. The centrifuge. It was fun for kids to play, but probably not very safe. Maybe cow pox? Mother did make butter a few times, but not after little brother used as a potty chair. School milk, I feel sick. Worthy of its own post.

    Anon, it is just so hard to find milk.

    LS, I know little of scalded cream. But I do like bread, jam and cream. Now what is for lunch.

    Hi Irene. I remember days and days of drizzle, cold winds, flies, mud and cow dung. Different climate to NSW.

    Too much water Jayne! Must have been condensation.

    Julie, I have been assisting Timespanner on this which might be of vague interest to you: http://timespanner.blogspot.com/2010/12/wellington-trams-cable-cars-trolleys.html

  8. Checked that one out, Andrew. Now want to read the one about cemeteries that Jayne referred to.

  9. I don't think Jayne has written about it. *nudges Jayne*

  10. Anonymous12:02 am

    I LOVED the milk we got at school and would always ask for seconds if there were any going. It was the highlight of my morning! V.

  11. V, ones attitude to school milk rather depends on the time gap between when it was delivered and when it was consumed.

  12. ... and how long it had been left sitting in the sun.

  13. LS, V was a city girl. She wouldn't know about school milk and what the blazing sun could do in hour or so to the milk.

  14. I don't think that the sun affected milk of school days only applied in the country, Andrew.

    All my schooling was in Sydney and I couldn't bear to drink plain milk (as distinct from chocolate flavoured milk) for many years because of the memory of drinking sun warmed milk.

  15. Sorry, Andrew. Jayne's comment was over there, not here.

  16. I was just having a go Victor. Generally, school milk in summer was not great.

    No idea Julie. I'll wear mea culpa confused.