Since the 1890s

The Dairy Industry Association of Australia Ltd

In July 2019, the DIAA changed its status to became a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

The Dairy Industry Association of Australian Inc.

The DIAA was incorporated on 24 March 1986, through the amalgamation of the Australian Dairy Institute (ADI) and the Australian Society of Dairy Technology (ASDT).

The two organisations had similar goals and a significant cross-membership. Amalgamation was seen as a way to combine resources and deliver value to members at the time of industry rationalisation.

Lawrie Muller, representing ASDT, and Kevin Sinot, from ADI, were tasked with blending the rules of the two organisations to develop the DIAA’s first ‘constitution,’ Statement of Purpose and Rules.

New rules were put to members in 1986 and adopted at a special council meeting in Adelaide. Lawrie Muller became the first National President of the DIAA Inc.

Australian Dairy Institute

The Australian Dairy Institute began life in the 1890s, as the Butter Factories’ Managers Association.

The Association was conceived by Robert Crowe of Koroit and Tower Hill Butter Factory at the time when the Victorian countryside was under threat from drought, overgrazing, overstocking and plagues of introduced pests.

The Association’s founding members were Robert Crowe, John Weatherhead from Camperdown, farmer and factory executive James Goldie, local dairyman James Eccles and Mr Hassell from the Western District.

Guided by the Association’s slogan, ‘Strive to Excel’, dairy factory managers banded together to tackle the problems of product quality, economic conditions, supplier relationships and threats from emerging dairy substitutes such as margarine.

The Association’s first annual conference was held in 1893 at Parer’s on Bourke Street. The 30 delegates included Korumburra’s Jonathan Proud, Trafalgar’s Ed Knox, and Great Northern’s J.S. Graham. The conference’s theme was the responsibilities of factory managers.

In 1895, the Association sponsored a highly competitive cheese contest, which still continues in the form of the DIAA Dairy Product Competitions.

Another early accomplishment of the Association was its push to found a dairying school at Werribee, with seed money pledged from member Victorian factories.

With other States joining the Association – NSW in 1906, Tasmania in 1911 and Queensland in 1919 – its name was changed several times, to eventually become the Victorian Dairy Factory Managers and Secretaries Association.

The first ‘official’ meeting of the four member states was held on 25 May 1927, presided over by President Elect, D.V. Evershed.

In 1936, under the leadership of A.J. Fraser, factory manager at Foster, the Association became a registered company under the name Australian Institute of Dairy Factory Managers and Secretaries Incorporated.

In 1942, the Institute launched its official journal, Butter Fats and Solids, edited by Percy Turk. The Institute took full control of the magazine in 1959, under editor Stanley Green.

In 1979, the Institute changed its articles and became the Australian Dairy Institute, with machinery agents welcomed as members. The official journal became known as Australian Dairy Foods magazine.

The full history of the Australian Dairy Institute is in Norman Godlbold’s ‘100 Years of Co-Operation’ (pdf 200Kb).

Australian Society of Dairy Technology

The Australian Society of Dairy Technology (ASDT) was founded in 1945 by food technologists who took the long-term view of the dairy industry.

The society’s goal was to advocate for ‘best possible use of all milk’ by improving processing methods and finding better ways to use skim milk as food.

Renowned dairy technologist, John Bryant, had seen the usefulness of the Society of Dairy Technology in England as an industry platform for educating personnel and passing on technical information.

Together with industry visionary, Geoffrey Loftus-Hills, Bryant convened a meeting in Sydney on 22 May 1944, to found the NSW division of ASDT.

Other States soon followed: Victoria with 44 members on 21 July 1944; Queensland with 32 members on 2 August 1944; Western Australia with 50 members on 22 October 1944; South Australia with 25 members on 21 November 1944; and Tasmania with 13 members on 25 May 1945.

The inaugural members of ASDT’s governing body, the Federal Council, were:

  • President – G. McGillivray
  • Vice-president – W.J. Wiley
  • Secretary – W.A. Murphy
  • Treasurer – S. Birrell
  • Councillors –  G. McGillivray, S. Birrell, W.A. Murphy (NSW); W.J. Wiley, F.H. Daniell, D. Scott (Vic); E.B. Rice, O. St.J. Kent (Qld); V.R. McDonald (SA); J.T. Armstrong (Tas); and M. Cullity (WA).

ASDT’s official publication, the Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, was first published in 1946. The society also held regular conferences and technical meetings.