The Downs Co-operative Dairy Association Limited Factory, also known as Dairy Farmers Factory, is a heritage-listed factory located at 57 Brook Street, North Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Toowoomba Region, Queensland, Australia. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 18 April 2008.
The factory was originally constructed in 1905 as a timber butter factory. It was rebuilt in 1929 with brick and concrete and extended at a later date. Additional structures were erected on the site during the 1930s and 1940s, including an administration building, laboratory, engine and refrigeration building, generator, sub-station, and boiler room, and a milk and cheese processing factory.
The factory is associated closely with the development of the Queensland dairy industry and with the emergence of the Darling Downs as a principal dairy producing region during the early to mid-twentieth century. The Queensland Government identified the expansion of agriculture, especially dairying, as a key means of encouraging closer settlement and boosting the Queensland economy. The expansion of dairying as a commercial activity was made possible by a number of advances in technology in the late nineteenth century, including the availability of refrigerated shipping in Queensland from 1883; the introduction of mechanical cream separators to Queensland in the late 1880s; and the development of the Babcock butterfat test. Queensland Government intervention to encourage commercial dairying took a variety of forms. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Queensland Department of Agriculture established Travelling Dairies that toured Queensland via the railway network, demonstrating and promoting techniques and equipment to potential dairy farmers and butter and cheese producers. Government grading of butter was introduced, and a series of Meat and Dairy Produce Acts between 1893 and 1904 facilitated the establishment of co-operative butter and cheese factories.
The Downs Co-operative Dairy Association Limited Factory is a testament to the rich history of the Queensland dairy industry and the role of government intervention in its development. It is a significant heritage site that provides a glimpse into the past and the evolution of the dairy industry in Queensland.