of the McCaul Family ...
Please enjoy reading about the old wheys…
Alexandrina Cheese’s owners, Dan and Krystyna
McCaul have enjoyed lending, and building on the current brand since 2000.
Please enjoy learning a little about the paternal
side of the story with an insight into;
The McCaul Family History –
Three Generations of Cheesemaking
The old photographs depict the three McCaul brothers - Jerry, Paddy and
Dan. These three men were the first Australian generation of the McCaul
Family who started the cheesemaking tradition in the south east of Queensland
in the early 1900s.
Dan's grandfather Jeremiah (or Jeremy as he liked to
be called), Patrick (Paddy) and Daniel (Dan) are brothers who emigrated
from County Cork, Ireland in the mid 1800s.
Of farming background, they arrived in Sydney, Australia with little
or no knowledge of the country, climate, terrain and the people that inhabited
the largest island of the world. Gathering their few meager possessions,
they headed inland to the Darling Downs, Queensland …
and met with some local lassies (whose parents were also from Ireland!).
The whereabouts of their cheese making knowledge is not known, as it
didn't come directly from Ireland. However it is known that the Ramsay
Dairy Company was formed in November 1899 and cheese manufacture was commenced
in April 1902. Incidentally, Alexandrina Cheese first batch of cheddar
was made on the 10th April 2001 – 99 years since the McCaul Brothers
started in the Darling Downs. Paddy and Jerry McCaul started work at the
factory when it was opened. Paddy was appointed manager in 1906 at a wage
of 3 pounds per week. Uncle Dan went off to join the rail gang and was
part of the laying of the first rail line in Queensland.
In the 1981 Ramsay School Centenary Booklet, in the – Ramsay”
Story, Jack O'Keefe writes ... – The responsibility for
the manufacture of cheese in this region for many years revolved around
two brothers, Paddy and Jerry McCaul. No history would be completed without
mention of these two men who gave a sterling service to the economic growth
of our community.
The Ramsay Cheese Factory was burnt down in 1914 and rebuilt the same
year. Paddy remained as Manager of Ramsay until his death on 7 January
Jerry McCaul, Kevin’s father started at the Ramsay Dairy Company
in 1902, but left to go to another factory which was called Southbrook
at some point afterwards. He commenced as Manager of The Sugarloaf Co-op
Dairy Assn Ltd when it opened in 1915 and remained there for 28 years.
Jerry McCaul and Sal Darcy were married in St Patrick's Cathedral on 19th
February 1919 and they had eight children.
The Sugarloaf Factory was about three miles from Ramsay, where Uncle
Paddy was Manager and the two families went to the Ramsay School, all
the cousins were well known to each other. Uncle Paddy made regular trips
to Sugarloaf for cheese starters, but on the whole Aunty Sarah didn't
make the trip very often. Jerry McCaul used to propagate starters from
powers, and Uncle Dan and Uncle Paddy obtained these new starters from
their brother’s factory.
The Sugarloaf factory was burnt down when it was only a year old. Jerry
was having a day off, and Uncle Dan was working for him that day. The
factory was insured with the New Zealand Insurance Co and the Sugarloaf
Company received full insurance after payment of one premium enabling
the factory to be rebuilt.
Eric Luck was manager as Ramsay Factory for two years after Uncle Paddy
died and then in 1943, Jerry McCaul took over as Manager.
McCaul says “ – the cheeses of Alexandrina Cheese
Company emulate the traditional cheese making methods of that era”.
These wonderful cheese you can now taste derive from methods which have
been borrowed from the many generations of cheesemaking experience.