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MORUYA CHEESE FACTORY HISTORY

In November 1892 the Moruya Cooperative Butter and Cheese Factory was established with the first factory opened at 38 Hawdon Street in Moruya, taking milk from twelve shareholding farmers. Within months, that number had increased to twenty-six, supplying 800 gallons (3,000L) of milk daily. The first batch of Moruya cheese was despatched on the SS Trident to Foley Bros in Sydney on November 11, 1893. 

 

For eighty years, the 'Co-op' Butter and Cheese factory was a major industry in Moruya. Moruya cheddar cheese won both National and State awards. 

Figure 1: The Moruya Co-operative Dairy Factory
Figure 2: The Moruya Co-operative Dairy Factory

Figure 1: The Moruya Co-operative Dairy Factory at 38 Hawdon Street Moruya, c1900 (closed 1930) 

 

The current site housed the Moruya Co-operative Diary Factory from its second iteration in the early 1930s until it ceased its operations in 1971. The current building dates from the 1930s with additions and changes which have occurred in the following decades.

Figure 2: The Moruya Co-operative Dairy Factory at 57 Hawdon Street Moruya, c1970 (closed 1971)

The lot slopes away from Hawdon Street such that now when viewed from Hawdon Street the building appears almost single story. The larger rooms that were the main part of the factory are obscured from the road by the original loading area. This loading area and the original offices have been converted into the GraniteTown CafeBar and the owners residence, which gives an impression from the street of a California Bungalow.

The site is significant as it had very modern machinery and the Moruya Cooperative continued to improve the technology on the site over the decades of its operation. When the factory closed in 1970 it remained vacant for a over a decade before being purchased and converted into a number of residential dwellings. 

The present owner, Suzanne Melotte is renovating, restoring and preserving the heritage listed building. The residential use of the buildings is complemented with a brewery and a plan to return cheese production to the site as well as other artisan produces. As part of this there is a modest CafeBar returning a small level of commerce to the building. The owners intention is to generate additional income that will facilitate the future protection of the sites heritage and enable a sharing of and build a better understanding of the heritage of the building. 

The portion of the building that remains industrial in nature comprises of a large factory/hall, the original curing room, a corridor, a cool room and a room that was the milk processing room. The main commercial access to the industrial portion of the building is via a roller door on the south elevation of the building. This leads into a corridor which leads to the large hall/factory space. 

To the West of the corridor is the cool room, with plans to house a Cheese Cave and function centre in 2024. The original cool door provides entry into the cool room and a small hatch to the cool room adjacent to the door. The door is labelled with the original makers mark, and was part of a 1960’s addition to the original portion of the building. To the East is the milk producing room, now housing the GraniteTown CafeBar kitchen.  

As you progress through the corridor you enter the main hall completely enclosed by the other rooms. the main hall was the production room containing the cheese vats and now houses the Quantum Brewery brewhouse, fermentation maturing and brite dispensing tanks.  The original wall covering of white tiles with a patterned black and white border is mainly intact. The walls above this are painted green, with the ceiling and gables were painted pink. A wall has been left to showcase this, whilst hygiene requirements of the brewery have lifted this room. The roof structure is exposed in the form of large trusses and the ceiling is sheeted with FC sheeting with expressed joints. At the apex of the ceiling is the original stack ventilation system which is mentioned in the heritage listing. 

There are two original doors leading into the old curing room. These doors have been designed for thermal properties and seal shut. The curing room is to the west of the main factory hall. This has a flat ceiling and is plastered. There are areas of the ceiling that have square timber patches on them, evidence of the cooling system before refrigeration was introduced in 1956. This room has evidence of the original racking system that would have been used to store the cheese. This is evidence by a number of remaining posts and also evidence of where posts were once installed. Some of the posts have horizontal timbers which would have been used to store the cheese. 

The Official reopening
June 2023

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