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King Island Dairies

King Island Dairies were built on a century of dairying for which the island's climate makes it ideally suited. A co-operative butter factory operated at Loorana from 1902, and there were also private cheese factories on the island. Following difficulties in the 1970s, the butter factory was bought in 1978 by WJ Kirk who began to make a new range of products, including Mozzarella cheese and Emmenthal cheese curd. By 1984 it was clear that the company should fill niche markets rather than compete with the huge production of Tasmanian and mainland factories. Under new ownership, butter production ceased three years later, and the factory concentrated on producing specialty cheeses and other products such as triple cream which have been successfully marketed around Australia.

Further reading: J Cassidy, The dairy heritage of northern Tasmani, Launceston, 1995.

Jill Cassidy