Skip to main content

Please be advised: this website contains the names, images and voices of people who are now deceased.

Collections WA has a responsibility to preserve and make accessible the history and culture of Western Australia in all its various forms. The intention of Collections WA is to support research, and to reveal actions of the past that have impacted upon communities, families, and individuals.

In doing so, Collections WA acknowledges the need to respond sensitively and appropriately in cases when accessing this material may be confronting to Aboriginal visitors and clients.

Please also note: Some historical materials within this portal may include language or opinions that today are considered inappropriate or even offensive. Collections WA does not endorse this language and apologises for any distress caused.

Continue
Continue showing cultural advice
Stop showing cultural advice
CWA Logo Collections WA brings together collections from libraries, galleries, museums, archives, historical societies, cultural organisations, community groups and other collecting organisations across Western Australia.

Milk Bottle

Overview

Glass milk bottle

Historical information

Far from being a conspiracy to put a whole generation off drinking milk forever, school milk was conceived as a benefit. The State Grants (Milk for School Children) Act was passed by the federal parliament in 1950 and by the end of 1951 most states were inflicting this benefit on children up to the age of 13. A report to the government in 1973 deemed school milk poor value for money and the Whitlam government abolished it.
School milk plans had been in existence in many states prior to the introduction of the federal scheme. The idea originated in Britain in the 1920s and some schemes, funded by private benefactors, were operating in Sydney as early as 1924.
Several early schemes provided cheap, rather than free milk. From 1925 the Ashfield Dairy in Sydney operated a school milk program where each child paid sixpence a week and received the equivalent of a breakfast cup of milk each day. In its first two years, the dairy dispensed more than a million bottles, complete with straws. At a time when the objective was to fatten children up rather than slim them down, it had dramatic results. As the proprietor of the dairy wrote:
Examples of children gaining five to six pounds in weight in the first three months, as well as improving mentally, is almost daily brought under my notice: in one case, in particular, of a weakly boy who gained 7 ¼ lbs. in eleven weeks and became much brighter in his class.
During the 1930s there was an increasing call for school milk. In New South Wales, both the Fresh Food and Ice Company and the Dairy Farmers’ Co-operative Company indicated that they were willing to supply milk to schools at specially reduced rates if the cooperation of teachers could be secured. The Co-operative proposed to supply the milk in cans with taps, with mugs for each child to use and protested that the need to supply bottled milk would require a large-scale, expensive remodelling of their plant. In Victoria, a Government-funded scheme supplied milk to schools, but only in winter. School milk schemes were proposed in Queensland, but not implemented.
The federal scheme for free milk required the cooperation of state governments to arrange for distribution. Victoria initially refused to participate but, by the end of 1951, the program was operating in all states except Queensland. Queensland eventually implemented the school milk program in 1953. Milk was distributed to creches, kindergartens, nursery schools and private and public schools. In total, close to a million students aged up to 13 received one-third of a pint of milk each school day.
Recollections of the scheme vary. While some remember it fondly, most seem to have unpleasant memories of milk left to become warm and unappetising. Many claim it put them off milk forever. Personally, I would rank the abolition of school milk as one of the crowning achievements of the Whitlam government.
https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/school-milk/

Details

Details

Registration number
cwa-org-124-2022.94
Item type
Material
Width
55 mm
Height or length
130 mm
Inscriptions and markings

Embossed on neck: 200 ml 18
Embossed on base: THE PROPERTY OF THE MILK BOTTLE RECOVERY CO PTY LTD

Related Objects

Related Objects

Parent records
Busselton Historical Society

Busselton Historical Society

Organisation Details
View Collection
Item Feedback

Milk Bottle

Scan this QR code to open this page on your phone ->

Full size unavailable (you're already seeing this image in its highest resolution available on Collections WA)
Loading...