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Taylor Family

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Extract from ‘Bunyip’ 6th November 1914

The history of Messrs Taylor Brothers, Crystal Butter and Ice Factory situated in Gawler West is the tale of two young men who without any special training but by sheer grit, pluck and perseverance, and from the humblest beginnings as dairymen, gradually overcame difficulties, and raised up in the town a large industry which has brought honour to themselves and the State in which they live and work. There are no harder workers in Gawler than Mr A G Taylor and his brother Mr F A Taylor, and their success in the butter world has been watched with satisfaction and pride by their numerous friends.

The story starts on the western side of the Barossa District in 1894 where the three brothers, A G Taylor, F A and C Taylor started dairying and contracting with only a few pounds in their pockets. As Mr Arthur Taylor remarked to ‘The Bunyip’ representative they turned their hands to almost everything from pick and shovel work and road making to dairying and sheep-farming. They had worked and lived at Two Wells for seven years when Messrs A G and F A Taylor obeyed their country’s call and went to South Africa to take part in the Boer War.


On their return from South Africa the three brothers took a lease of 1,000 acres of the Late Hon James Martin’s land east of Gawler, known as ‘The Wheatsheaf’ and went in for mixed farming – dairying, agricultural and pastoral.

Not long after this Mr C Taylor, who did not enjoy good health dropped out of the triple alliance and went north.

Being alive to the possibilities of the milk trade the two brothers started a milk round, and were the first to open out in that business in a large way in Gawler. Success attended their enterprise immediately and they were soon selling 60 gallons a day. They had two milk carts and milked 70 cows before 5 o’clock in the morning.


Their first attempt at butter-making was only in the shape of an experiment, and was rather amusing. Just to try the quality of butter their cream would make, and because suitable butter for table use was unobtainable, they knocked up a bit in a bucket with a big stick (to put it in their own words). It was a case of a bucket of cream and a big stick instead of a basket of eggs and a big stick. The experiment proved so successful that they continued to make butter in this primitive method until they were able to get a small churn, which held 7lbs. This was in 1902. They introduced their butter to some of the storekeepers and residents in Gawler, and the latter were so taken with the quality that they started making and delivering regularly from the milk they did not require for sale. They labelled their butter ‘Crystal’. That was the start of the now famous brand of butter which has taken the highest awards in Australia and in London.


It was not long then before they found it would be necessary to get cream from outside and they selected a few farmers they knew to have good quality cream, and made up to 1,000lbs a week at the ‘Wheatsheaf’ homestead.

Even thus early in their butter career Messrs Taylor Bros took several prizes in the Adelaide Shows in both Factory and Farmers’ classes. Up to this time all the butter was churned by hand, but their business grew to such an extent that they found it too much for them and with the foresight that has materially assisted them right through the chapter they could see that it was only a matter of getting a central and suitable place where they could carry on as a factory to make a big concern out of it. They hunted round and were offered several sites, but finally hit upon the spot in Water Street, Gawler South, where they are now entrenched on the banks of the South Para. These premises were used for a Flax Mill which was carried on by the late Mr G C Roediger in the seventies, but the place was partially burnt out in 1874. Later Messrs D and R J Fotheringham carried on an aerated water and cordial factory on the property for several years.

It was in 1906 that Messrs Taylor Bros moved into the factory. They procured a small plant consisting of a 10hp oil engine and a two ton refrigerator. At that time they bought cream from 15 suppliers, who all live quite close to the town, and also churned what they could from their own cows.

In those days there was no sure supply of ice for business people and private residents, so Messrs Taylor Bros grasped the opportunity to increase their usefulness to the public and started to get up ice from the city and sell it.

Mr Arthur Taylor relates with a certain amount of pride, how he and a lad looked after the factory by themselves then and how he used to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and go to the works an hour later; also how they used to boil a billy of tea for breakfast. “We did not go in for a clerk or for systematic book-keeping then”, said Mr Taylor with a wink at his staff of clerks and pointing to the shelves full of ledgers and journals.


They got a butter-maker after they had been about two months in the new premises, and business continued to increase until in October they secured the services of their present foreman butter-maker (Mr H A R Turner). Although a young man, Mr Turner had had considerable experience, both in southern factories and in the Government works. It might be said here that Mr P H Suter, the Government Dairy Expert was of great assistance to the firm when they launched out in their factory.

In addition to all this the progressive firm found that the old method of cooling the cream was not entirely satisfactory, so they made a further improvement in this direction. They put in a cream pump and some large vats in an insulated room elevated about 14 feet. The cream is now pumped from the ground floor to this room, which is kept at an even temperature of about 50 degrees. The cream is taken from there the next morning through specially constructed pipes into churns. When the cream is received in the first place it is graded, sampled and weighed. Each grade of cream is then pumped into separate vats. By standing in the insulated room the cream is allowed to get to an even temperature and the pumping of it breaks it down to one solidity.


The method of testing the cream is very interesting and the foreman (Mr Turner) explained it very carefully to the ‘Bunyip’ representative. A sample is drawn from the top of the cans to the bottom in order to get an even sample. This is put into a bottle which is numbered with the equivalent to that on the supplier’s can. The sample is heated up so as to bring it all to an even density. A proportion of the cream is then taken out and put into a flask. A certain amount of sulphuric acid is put on to it, and it eats up all the cream and foreign matter and leaves the butter-fat. The sample is next put on to the Babcock Tester and whirled round for five minutes. That done, scalding water is put into the flask up to the neck, and the whole given another three minutes in the machine. The flask is finally filled right up with hot water and the butter-fat shows on the top and is measured by the scale of percentages marked on the neck. That is calculated out according to the amount of cream the supplier sends in. The results of the tests are proved by the churn.


The Ice business, which Mr Arthur Taylor refers to as a ‘by-product’ is extensive as the following figures indicate. The storing capacity in the factory is approximately 200 tons and this amount is made during the slack season in readiness for the hot weather. Now that the refrigerator plant has been duplicated the danger of a breakdown is non est.

The ice is distributed in Gawler, Salisbury, Cross Keys, Smithfield, Lyndoch, Murray River steamers, Burra and intermediate stations. Wallaroo, Moonta and numerous other places in lots from ½ cwt to 2 tons. For transit in the train the ice is packed in sawdust in bags and carries remarkably well, as their many customers have proved to their advantage.


Needless to say Messrs Taylor Bros still hold ‘Trevu’ which comprises over 300 acres of freehold. In addition to farming, the agricultural parts in halves, the butter-makers also go in for pig raising and at the present moment about 70 swine of all sorts and sizes are thriving on the butter-milk from the factory, pollard and hay.


Of course the biggest feather in the cap of Messrs Taylor Bros and a feat of which they are justly proud, is the winning of two first prizes at the British Dairy Farmers Association Show in London in 1912. There were 56 competitors for the salted butter and the number of points obtainable was 100. Taylor Bros not only secured the first prize and Silver Medal, but were awarded the maximum number of points showing that they had reached perfection. The same year in the unsalted class they annexed the Silver Medal from 53 competitors with 98 points. On that occasion the Governor (Sir Day Bosanquet) sent them a letter of congratulation. The successful exhibitors tried again the following year and secured a certificate of high commendation. They were the only South Australians to be mentioned. In addition to the above undeniable proof of the quality of their butter, Taylor Bros have run off with numerous prizes at the Royal Show in Adelaide and at the principal country Exhibitions.


In a short visit to a factory like Messrs Taylor Bros the man in the street finds it difficult to grasp the full importance of such an industry or to take in the details, but the ‘Bunyip’ representative picked out a few points.

The place is kept scrupulously clean and it was noticed that in the course of its preparation, the butter is not touched by hand from the start of the process, to the finish. Again it was very pleasing to observe the excellent feeling that exists between the brothers Taylor and their employees who number a dozen. If one did not know the proprietors it would be difficult, on walking through the factory, to say who was the ‘boss’. This perhaps is one of the secrets of the success of the concern.

Mr Arthur Taylor in answer to a question replied “We do not wish to take the credit of the success of the business all to ourselves, but attribute it to the fact that we have the right class of machinery, the right stamp of men, and have had the loyal support of the people of Gawler and district. We could not have gone on without that. We pay our men a fair thing and they, on their part, give us a fair return. The best of feeling exists between us all, and there is none of this continually bossing business.”

We might add to this that one of the principal causes of the advancement of the business is the tremendous amount of work the principals put into it, and the good quality of the produce turned out. They fully deserve the success that has attended their efforts and enterprise, and we have no doubt that bigger business awaits them. It is rather interesting to note the additions that have been made in the direction of vehicles. They started with none and they can well remember, and no doubt look back with amusement, to the time when they wheeled the cream up in a barrow to the carriers. At the present time they have a two-ton motor lorry, a three horse trolley, a two horse trolley, three or four carts, and a motor car. (One of the members of the staff is anticipating the purchase of an airship).

In conclusion it is safe to say that no district is better catered for in the matter of butter than this, and those dealing with Messrs Taylor Bros know that they are getting the best. It might be mentioned that Taylor Bros have built up this industry in the face of strong city competition, and unlike some firms in more distant centres have had to pay top prices for their cream. Every fortnight between 400 and 500 cheques are drawn in settlement for cream received, and complaints on either side are rare. The factory is fitted up with electric light. They have their own dynamo, and also use the town supply. The pressman was invited into the cool chamber and stepped from something like 100 degrees in the shade, into something below zero. There were 80 tons of half cwt blocks of ice in the cool chamber, and 60 tons in another, and Mr Taylor said they intended to work overtime to fill the rooms. An opportunity was also given the visitor to watch 850lbs of butter churned in one lot.

It is a big and thriving business, and under the present management will continue to thrive.


Last week, following up a reference in ‘Fifty Years Ago’ that Taylor Brothers of Gawler, had won first prizes for salted and unsalted butter at the London Dairy Show in 1912, Mr Jack Taylor brought in to show me the handsome silver medallions, at the request of his father, Mr Arthur Taylor, living at 3 Pier Street, Glenelg, partner in Taylor Brothers butter factory with his late brother Frank.

The man who made that butter, Mr H A R Turner, still lives at Gawler; he recently retired as manager of the factory acquired in 1946 by the SA Farmers’ Union.

The inscribed medallions were made by Elkington and Cole of Regent Street, London, SW.

A farm scene shows a milkmaid with stool and pail standing near a cow, milch goat, cock and hen, fantail pigeon.


Read more on the Doings of the Taylor Brothers - Deduced as the writing of Arthur Gerald Taylor - Here...

Please click here to view photos of the Taylor Family, of Taylor's Butter Factory.

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Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 15:16:29 +1030 From: To: Subject: Re Taylor Family remembers: Hi I don't know where the actual photo was taken, but it was the soldiers that caught my attention. Richard Taylor married Mary T. Mullany at St Patricks Church, Adelaide on 22nd April 1873. The boys in the picture all born Morphett Vale I believe may be Arthur Gerald born 20th June 1874 (6th Imperial Contingent Sth Africa War) Service No. 547 - Trooper Francis Augustine born 28th March 1876 (5th Imperial Contingent, Sth Africa) Service No 456 - Lance Corporal Cyril Patrick born 27th Feb 1886 (WW1 service No 230) Wilfred Charles born 14th October 1894 (WW1 service No. 3489) When Cyril & Patrick enlisted their address was given as Morphett Vale. Hope it is of some help Cheers Beth

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