This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Friday, 22 June 2018

Butter factory spreads

Back in July 1893, the Horsham Town Hall was the venue for a meeting calling for the establishment of a shareholder butter factory in Horsham.
Following the promise of milk from 300 cows, cream from a Natimuk factory, and Burnt Creek and Green Lake district support for the supply of cream, the dream was realised.
On 11th October 1894 the Horsham Butter Factory was officially opened by the Mayor Cr W.F. Osborn. Built for £1,350 a “commodious, sightly and highly convenient building” was erected on the corner of Hillary and Urquhart Streets.
As a butter factory, milk arrived in cans on suppliers’ carts, it was hoisted to the upper storey, weighed, and run into a large receiving tank. The milk was then conveyed to the separator for the cream and buttermilk (the buttermilk was pumped by centrifugal pump to tanks at the rear of the building for sale or return to suppliers). The cream went to a large Cherry churn, where salt was added, then it was washed and pressed into pats. The factory’s power came from a Tangye vertical engine.
The Opening ended with 3 rousing cheers for the Horsham Butter Factory.
Move on many years and diary and butter production has declined across the region, and the factory building becomes the Horsham Italian Social Club. In the post war years the building was a centre for many migrant Italian families. About 120 families were involved with the club at its peak. The building was important for the Italian community who migrated to the Wimmera in the 1970s and 1980s.Members of the Italian community would come together to play cards and socialise, but now many have passed on or moved away. The building was used for weddings, birthday parties and other functions.
Now, the property includes a large building with a formal entrance that leads to a hall. The building has a commercial-grade kitchen, bar and restrooms. And the Club felt that the time had come to sell the building and to donate the money from the property’s sale to charity.
From Wimmera Mail Times: Former Horsham Italian Club treasurer Lorenzo Manserra Photo: Elijah Macchia
On 20th April the building went to auction, and in negotiations afterwards it was revealed that the Horsham Table Tennis Association has found a new home.
After years of searching for a permanent place and playing out of the Maydale Pavilion at the Showgrounds, the Association has purchased the building, for an undisclosed price.
The Association’s president Leon Forrest said the purchase was a big move forward in helping grow the association’s numbers and viability, as it had grown out of the facilities at the Maydale Pavilion.
 “We want the place to be for the community. We cover all age groups, from juniors to seniors, and we want to provide a hub for enjoyment.”
“The place will be used for our tournaments, think seven to eight tables can fit in. The dance studio currently uses the building, but they are looking at other options for what the space could be used for, eg. other community clubs that want to hire or rent it.
The Association are holding a Community Open Day on Sunday 24th from 2pm to 4pm.
So the Butter Factory gets another lease on life.

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