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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 2

I Technology Transported; 1788-1840

II Technology Established; 1840-1940
i Meat Preserving: Heat Processing Introduced
ii Horticultural Products: Heat, Sugar and Solar Drying
iii Refrigeration and the Export of Meat
iv Milling and Baking
v Dairy Products
vi Beverages
vii Sugar: Supplying an Ingredient

III The Coming Of Science

IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years

V Products And Processes

VI Conclusion

VII Acknowledgements



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Even though butter had quickly replaced cheese as the major dairy product, there were still many cheese factories in the various Australian dairy areas, and they all made Cheddar cheese. There were three reasons; it was familiar, it was easy to make, and it stored and carried well. So Cheddar was the Australian cheese, for both local consumption and export until the 1950s. It was made in the traditional back-breaking way, with tinned steel equipment in small factories and was sold in the old familiar cylindrical form, 80 lb, 40 lb, 20 lb, 10 lb, in weight. There was no change until after the Second World War.

Early in the twentieth century, secondary cheese products appeared, in particular, club or potted cheese made by grinding well matured Cheddar cheese with sodium metabisulphite as preservative. Packed in ceramic jars with a wax seal or in hermetically sealed cans, the product had a very limited shelf life but was an attempt to prolong the life of cheese. The heat processing of cheese had been achieved in Germany and Switzerland in the 1890s and some was exported. In 1916, James L. Kraft, a Canadian who had gone to Chicago, obtained a patent for a method of processing cheese with heat and emulsifying salts by which ripening was terminated, spoilage prevented, and the fat emulsified so that it did not bleed in hot weather. [84]

Following experiments by his chemist, C. P. Callister, Fred Walker, a Melbourne food processor, in 1925 secured an agreement with J. L. Kraft for the manufacture of Kraft cheese in Australia and in 1926, cheese processing began in South Melbourne. Walker supplied the premises and the management, Kraft the technical background, and the specifications for suitable raw material cheese led Callister to carry out a systematic chemical and microbiological study of various Cheddar cheeses, the first such scientific study in Australia.[85]

Other Dairy Products

Other manufactured dairy products began slowly to appear; ice-cream, milk powder, (produced mainly by roller drying) and dried whey products, which from 1935 were produced by the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. in a novel process devised by F. H. Daniell. Whey was concentrated in a single effect vacuum pan to high solids and the thick liquid dumped into steel trucks. As it cooled it solidified and stood over some days to allow the alpha-lactose crystals to change to the more stable ß form. This solid was then fed to a hammer mill and the powder dried to about 3 per cent moisture in a rising column of hot air analogous to the modern fluid bed drier. Spray drying has long since replaced this process which for some years recovered whey as an ingredient for human foods and stock feed.

Also in the 1930s the 'vacreator' was introduced for the removal from butter under vacuum of volatile substances responsible for taints. This defect was only one of several which beset Australian dairy produce on which practically no scientific work had been done.[86] Attempts from the mid-twenties to set up dairy research in CSIR met strong resistance from the smugness of State departments of agriculture and an industry organized in co-operatives which would rather make second-best products than face the capital and R & D expenditure necessary to make the best. Early in 1939, CSIR set up a Dairy Research Section and the Victorian Government established a School of Dairy Technology at Werribee. It took a war to change a lot of attitudes.

Margarine [87]

The butter analogue, margarine, was invented in 1870 by the Frenchman, Mége-Mouriès. In 1885, a factory was established at Yarraville, a Melbourne suburb. The owner, F. J. E. Phillips, imported an American experienced in the manufacture of margarine, which was first sold as 'butterine'. Biscuit manufacturers were enthusiastic but, unfortunately, retailers sold it as butter and the Margarine Act 1893 was passed to control it. Quotas throughout the country on the manufacture of margarine limited production severely and there was no incentive to do more than used derived technology. An edible oil industry was virtually non-existent.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - CSIRO; CSIRO Dairy Research Section; School of Dairy Technology, Werribee

People in Bright Sparcs - Callister, C. P.; Daniell, F. H.; Kraft, James L.; Phillips, F. J. E.; Walker, Fred

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 103 - 104, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher