© Clan Munro (Association) Australia v03012021kjb


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© Clan Munro (Association) Australia v27082022kjb

Ancestor Archibald Chisholm Munro

Meantime Colin III’s fortune was taking a downturn. He had been involved in working with milk products and to this end had joined forces with McConnell of Cressbrook. As mentioned in Newsletter No 11, Colin Munro III was the founder of the condensed milk industry in Queensland, the first factory being in Drynie in 1886. A few years later, the factory was shifted to Toogoolawah and was the foundation of the “Cressbrook” brand.

About 1901, Charles Sealy and Bruce Malcolm set up a milk condensery at Wilson’s Plains (in the Fassifern district) producing condensed milk under the “Eagle” brand, and about 1905 this condensery was bought out by the Cressbrook Dairy Company (involving McConnel and Colin III). AC was appointed manager at Wilson’s Plains. While there, AC would undoubtedly have met the four daughters of local farmer Walter Brown whose property was close by Wilson’s Plains. His eye lit upon Jessie Mabel (my mother) and they were married in Harrisville on July 14th, 1908.

At around this time, the Nestlé Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Company was buying freehold land in the area and finally by 1909 had gained control of the Cressbrook Dairy Company. In 1910 Nestlé closed the Wilson’s Plains condensery, moving part of the plant to the Toogoolawah factory where Nestlé had bought out Colin III and McConnel. AC was transferred to Toogoolawah as manager. Thus was produced the well-known “Cressbrook” brand. With the outbreak of war in 1914 Nestlé saw the implication of a need of milk in the trenches etc. so they set about the manufacture of condensed milk, cocoa, coffee etc. to send to the troops. About this time Uncle Will (brother to AC) had been sent overseas to study the manufacture of milk products etc. and was the manager of Nestlé at Dennington, Victoria.

AC was popular with the staff and in the community generally. Toogoolawah reflected the prosperity that the Nestlé factory brought. A new manager’s home was built and residence there was taken up in 1920 – it was called “Inverness” after the area in Scotland from which the family had come. In 1924 Uncle Will (still manager at Dennington, Victoria) and my father exchanged positions for twelve months. It really was to accommodate Uncle Will who wished to build his home on his property “Braemore” five miles outside Toogoolawah– with his eventual retirement in mind. I can remember the excitement of the trip to Victoria, and living there, and the difference in climate! And what the cousins had done to our toys when we returned! Soon after this the economic downturn became obvious and finally the Great Depression was raging – unemployed men tramping through the district! Nestlé closed the factory. AC was offered the managership at Dennington, but he turned it down. We left the district and AC decided to set up a milk product factory (owing to a bond with Nestlé not to produce condensed milk he was obliged to manufacture other products). He moved to Lowood where he established a butter factory. Working through the winter when milk and cream supply is not so great, it was absorbed by the butter production. In summer when the supply was considerably increased the surplus was used for the manufacture of concentrated milk from which ice cream was made.

Meantime my brother Colin IV finished school and joined his father in constructing the adjustments to the factory building. Later he studied and obtained his qualification for the making of concentrated milk. This became his area of expertise. Meantime my mother, sister Jean, and I moved to Brisbane, we rented a house in Stephen Street, Annerley, about fifty yards from the Junction Park State School. This was for the benefit of my education which was taking a battering!

The men lived very “rough”. AC had gathered some of the Toogoolawah Nestlé staff – Charlie Peel, the engineer, and Jack and Bill Young – and what stalwarts they were, and as loyal as anyone could wish. They gave wonderful support – and that is an indication of AC’s character and personality too. My brother Neil who by now had obtained his pharmacy qualification and had fairly constant employment, joined forces and took over the office section and administration about 1931. My father was in his early fifties and working harder than most men at twenty. He was just beginning to make financial headway when a law requiring private enterprises pay for a license to operate was enacted It is believed that at this time AC was the only independent manufacturer of butter in Queensland. AC considered this an infringement of his right to make a living. AC’s health was beginning to falter under the strain of these last few years. About March/April 1934 he took time off and holidayed in North Queensland visiting his old haunts and family still living. Looking back it is clear to me he had warnings of heart failure and was having some enforced rest. Finally in September he developed pneumonia. There were no drugs then to combat the disease, and although he survived the crisis, his heart gave out and AC died on October 1st 1934. AC was a fun loving man, devoted family man, had a tremendous sense of humour, with a great respect for the rights of the individual, and was a wonderful father.

© Ailsa Stubbs-Brown Queensland Australia 2006