The first settlers arrived in 1886 and the first ten years were very difficult. They tried several different uses of the land and also took paid work outside of farming in order to make a living. All of which is another story. Towards the end of the 1800’s several factors came together.

The track to Coffs Harbour was turned into a road, a jetty had been built and the introduction of paspalum provided a more suitable grass to support cattle and horses. Dairy farming was being successful further down the valley closer to Grafton where transport to markets was better. Dairying was to make the farmers at Upper Orara prosperous and lasted until the late 1900’s.

Delivery to Upper Orara, 1898 (01/01/1898 – 31/12/1898),Coffs Collections, accessed 05 Dec 2022,

So much so that in 1909 Amandus was able to make a trip back to Germany. By then the elder children had nearby farms and with 13 children there was no shortage of workers to run the farm. Farmers like to have children around to provide an extra pair of hands.

Following are relevant paragraphs of a longer article.  The assumption is that the milk was ‘separated’ with the cream being both valuable to sell and much less of a load to transport to the market.  The usual practice was for the skim milk to be used to feed pigs.

Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), Saturday 5 February 1898, page 3


On the Coramba road, just outside Coffs Harbour is Mrs. Shepherd’s holding. Here years of toil have rescued a considerable area of land from dense scrub which covered it. Maize has been cropped for years but does not now do so well and pig raising and poultry will in future receive more attention. Vermin are very troublesome in this neighbourhood, and wire netting has to be resorted to as a means of protecting grass, crops and poultry. Adjoining are the holdings of Messrs. R. Fuller and Wingfield. Dense scrub is on either hand of the road to Mrs. M’Cann’s where a fair acreage is tilled, and a healthy orange orchard is viewed from the road.

Down Bradley and Kerr’s road similar country is met with till the Upper Orara is reached, and a number of farms adjoin one another up and down the river, and it is evident that heavy contributions will be made from this district to the colony’s maize yield. Usually heavy crops of potatoes are grown here, but a second growth caused almost a total failure this year. Pig-raising is also to some extent entered into.

Several attempts have been made to establish a creamery here, but outside firms have not seen their ways clear owing to the scarcity of cattle. However, Mr. Hoschke has erected a separator, and will treat the milk of any of his neighbours shipping the cream to Sydney. By starting in this way, he is sanguine that the district will develop her dairy industry more successfully than if a more elaborate plant were purchased, and give those interested a chance to improve their herds for the purpose, as well as increasing the extent of their pastures.

APA citation.  ON THE TRACK. (1898, February 5). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from

The alternative to each farmer having a milk separator was to establish a processing factory.  To be viable there needed to be enough milk through cooperation of farmers living in proximity to the factory.

Raleigh Sun (Bellingen, NSW : 1898 – 1918), Friday 25 February 1898, page 3



THE pioneers of the Orara have had more than their share of trials and troubles. Most of them went into that country, with its scrub, and vermin, and isolation, with bigger hearts than pockets. It is only a few years since the first selection was taken up; but others soon followed, and, where once there was nothing but one vast mass of scrub, may now be seen comfortable homes — homes that these brave men, and women too, have made by hard work, energy, and perseverance. Maize-growing has been the principal occupation, but owing to the low price of that commodity, the farmers of the Orara came to the conclusion that they could do something better with the rich land which they had worked so hard to clear and make fruitful.

Many of them began, in a small way, dairying, which they found more profitable than they had anticipated, finding on the goldfields of Coramba and Bucca a good local market. The idea matured, find they resolved to call a public meeting, with the object of establishing a butter factory or creamery.

This meeting was held last Friday afternoon, at Mr. Colin Buchanan’s residence, Karangi. Mr. John Lee occupied the chair, and there was a good attendance of farmers and others interested. The chairman haying explained the objects of the meeting, the secretary (Mr. John O’Neill) read correspondence from the Fresh Food and Ice Company, Messrs. Foley Bros., Mr. F. R. H. Baker, Mr. A. Tyson, and the North Coast Fresh Food and Cold Storage Co-operative Company. The correspondence was received, and votes of thanks passed to the different writers for the information received.

The last-named company advocated co-operation and urged on the people to erect their own buildings and plant. It also gave a detailed list of prices it paid for butter for the past 12 months, averaging nearly 9d. per lb. Mr. C. A. Clarke said that he had been recently among the dairying districts, that our district was essentially a dairying district, and that from his experience and observations he would suggest a creamery for Karangi.

Mr. W. Gale said he thought the best thing to do was to form a large company, which he had no doubt could be done, and establish creameries at Karangi, Coramba, and Nana Glen, and to send the cream to Byron Bay, Sydney, and Grafton in turns. Mr. Jas. Marles expressed, his sympathy with the object. He said he did not pretend to know which was the more profitable a creamery or a factory, but he promised liberal support. Mr. J. J. Boultwood was in sympathy with the movement. He believed a creamery would shortly be established on the Upper Orara, but considered that Karangi was the most central place for a factory.

After a long discussion of a conversational character, it was proposed by Mr. Mitchell, seconded by Mr. P. McCann — “That a creamery be established at Karangi.” Mr. P. O’Neill moved as an amendment — “That a butter factory be established at Karangi.” Mr. F. O’Grady seconded, and it was carried. It was then decided to form a company of 1000 shares of £1 each ; that as soon as 150 have been subscribed the company to be declared floated : that the calls be 2s. 6d. on application, 2s. 6d.on allotment, and the balance in calls of not more than 1s. per month. About 100 shares were taken up during the afternoon. Mr. John O’Neill was appointed broker to the Company. Votes of thanks to the chairman and Mr. Field, who gave some valuable information re the formation of companies, brought the meeting to a close.

APA citation.  PUBLIC MEETING AT KARANGI. (1898, February 25). The Raleigh Sun (Bellingen, NSW : 1898 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from

SS St George berthing with a rowing boat taking cable to a buoy, 1904 (01/01/1904 – 31/12/1904),Coffs Collections, accessed 05 Dec 2022,

Following is part of an article that details imports and exports to and from Coffs Harbour.  It is an interesting list and note the gold.  There were several mines in the area around Coramba.  There was an expectation of an increased volume of dairy products.

Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), Saturday 14 January 1899, page 2

Coffs Harbour.

The following is a list of the imports and exports, also names of steamers, and the number of trips made to the Coffs Harbour jetty during 1898. 

IMPORTS.-Flour 134 tons, sugar 1345 bags ; drapery 160 cases, bales and parcels; grocery 2733 cases and packages ; wines, spirits and beers 720 cases and casks; hardware 1726 cases and packages, boots 50 cases, fruit 124 cases, galvanised iron 30 cases, machinery 27 tons, chaff 1450 bags, coals 23 tons, hay 8 bales, bricks 5500, potatoes 216 bags, bran, pollard and oats 219 bags ; iron, steel and piping 464 bars and bundles, lime and cement 58 bags and casks, salt 198 bags, kerosene oil 408 cases, seeds 46 cases and bags, beef 31 bags, sheep 78, timber 2415 feet, sundries 418 packages.

EXPORTS. -Timber (sawn and log) 480,510 feet, maize 3280 bags, pigs 641, eggs 668 cases, poultry 97 coops, hides 422, potatoes 42 bags, concentrates 698 bags, fruit 67 cases and bags, tallow 5 hogs-heads, ironbark girders 24, palings 4,850, cream 32 cans, horns and hair 6 bags; sundries, empty cases, etc., 412 packages, gold 3800 ozs.

Steamers inwards, calling each trip at jetty to unload cargo – Excelsior 44 trips, Orara 6, Wollumbin 3.

Outwards to load cargo each trip – Excelsior 43 trips, Orara 6, Wollumbin 15, Passengers, 255 and 200.

Both the imports and exports for this year show a large increase over the previous year, and I believe there will be a substantial increase in the coming year, as a much larger area of land is being put under cultivation, and the late rains came just in time to save the maize. Dairying is likely to have some attention shortly. Mr. A. Hoschke, of the Upper Orara, is working a small separator, and takes the milk from the surrounding farmers. A plant is also being erected at Karangi, and it is intended to ship cream to Sydney via Coff’s Harbour.

APA citation.  Coff’s Harbour. (1899, January 14). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 2. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from