A matter of Co-operation

I was looking through the collection and discovered an index of street names and the history behind them, so I thought I’d pick a random street and then dig through the photo collection and match the picture, with the name, and with the history.

Image: “Aorangi” Beal Street c.1907 Source: Max Bacon

Image: “Aorangi” Beal Street c.1907
Source: Max Bacon

Beale Street: Joseph William Warmea Beale (1852-1906) purchased a portion of the Westbrook Station in 1899. Beale is also known for pioneering the dairy industry in the Oakey district and was instrumental in establishing the Oakey District Co-Operative Butter Association.

The original Oakey District Co-Operative Butter Association butter factory was a timber structure located near the railway station in Bridge Street but was burnt down around 1908. Its replacement operated from 1913-1929 and in its first year of operation just over 260 tons (264172kg) of butter was produced. The “new” factory was built in 1929 and still stands today. I found an interesting note that mentions that the only time in the history of the factory that women worked in the production area was during the war years.

Image: Oakey District Co-op Butter Association Ltd. General Store c.1935 Source: Department of Defence

Image: Oakey District Co-op Butter Association Ltd. General Store c.1935
Source: Department of Defence

The Oakey District Co-op Butter Association Ltd. also ran a general store which was established in 1915 in Campbell Street, Oakey. The Co-op also operated as a Shell fuel depot which supplied the whole district. The Co-op had the contract to supply the CSIRO’s rainmaking plane with fuel. Denny Mason recalls that the plane would circle the town twice to let them know that is needed a refill and Denny would accompany a senior out to the base to pump fuel into the plane. The Co-op building still stands today and is occupied by Oakey Electrical.

That’s me for this week, next week is our last official week for the Country Roads Project so I’ll be back with more historical details then.

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