Dairy Farming Down Under

Dairy cows are not native to Australia. They first arrived in Australia in 1788, when the First Fleet landed in New South Wales. Two bulls and five cows made the long trip from England and escaped into the nearby bushland not long after they arrived! The seven animals survived, however, and after six years they’d become a herd of 61.


Australia’s first dairy farmers adapted quickly to their new environment, making butter and cheese during spring and summer – when cows produce most milk – and preserving these products with salt for autumn and winter.


The dairy industry quickly grew. By 1800, through breeding and importing, Australia had a population of 322 bulls and 712 cows.

Down under is an ancient land of extraordinary contrasts. Welcome to Australia, the driest continent on earth and a significant exporter of cheese and milk products. Dairy farming began here after the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove in 1788, with just five cows and two bulls. The precious herd escaped into the surrounding bush only to be found seven years later at a place called Cow Pasture. The arrival of these bovine migrants in the young colony, along with thousands of European settlers, established the foundation of today's thriving cheese industry.