Farmers 'shattered' after 100-year history with Dennington factory

Farmers 'shattered' after 100-year history with Dennington factory

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LONG-TIME SUPPORTERS: Illowa's Norm McCosker (right) with brother Billy stand in front of a wagonette, identical to the cart the pair's parents used to transport milk in cans to the Dennington factory. Photo by Rachael Houlihan.

LONG-TIME SUPPORTERS: Illowa's Norm McCosker (right) with brother Billy stand in front of a wagonette, identical to the cart the pair's parents used to transport milk in cans to the Dennington factory. Photo by Rachael Houlihan.

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Dairy farmers Norm and Kathleen McCosker have a connection to the milk factory at Dennington that spans more than 100 years.

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Dairy farmers Norm and Kathleen 'Barney' McCosker have a connection to the milk factory at Dennington, Vic, that spans more than 100 years.

The couple can see the Fonterra factory from their kitchen window, only a few kilometres down the road at Illowa.

"We've been here since 1909 supplying the factory, since the time of horse and cart," Mr McCosker said.

"I'm bloody shattered to be honest. It's not only us the workers down there, the young families.

"Nestles was an icon for Dennington and now this has happened.

"They've made a lot of mistakes."

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Mr McCosker can still remember travelling to the factory in the cart with his father with the milk cans in the back.

"We have lost three big things in Warrnambool now - the woollen mill, Fletcher Jones and now this," he said.

"[Fonterra] should never have come over the drain (New Zealand).

"After this there will be a lot of suppliers thinking why will they stay."

Mr McCosker has spent his whole life dairy farming.

"I was pretty much born in the dairy," he said.

"Mum used to put me in the milk can while milking. That was dairy babysitting."

Mr McCosker said he had been loyal to Fonterra during the uncertainty of the dairy crisis and stuck with them when other suppliers left.

"To think they have done this and not even contacted us," he said.

"We didn't know until a few blokes rang yesterday.

"They didn't even have the decency to tell us.

"I know a bloke who was putting in a new vat yesterday. He said he didn't know what to do."

Mr McCosker said he would have to have a hard think about sticking with Fonterra.

"We just have to wait and see," he said.

"Hopefully someone might get in and buy it.

"It's one of the best factories going. They've just spent millions on it over the past year."

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