21st October 2023
Menangle Rotolactor Park Opened
It was my pleasure to open the new Rotolactor park at Menangle.
The Rotolactor was an automated circular milking machine. Established in 1952 by Edward Macarthur Onslow, inspired by a similar machine in the USA. It was part of the agricultural modernism movement, aimed at improving dairy operations. The Menangle Rotolactor was the first of its kind in Australia and the third globally. It could milk 1,000 cows twice a day, holding 50 cows at a time and rotating every 12 minutes.
The Rotolactor quickly became a significant tourist attraction, drawing visitors to Menangle village. In 1953, it attracted up to 2,000 visitors a week, making it a vital part of the local economy. The Macarthur family, owners of Camden Park, decided to sell, including the Rotolactor and Menangle village. The Rotolactor operated until 1977 before remaining unused for several years. It was eventually purchased by Halfpenny dairy interests from Menangle, who operated it until its closure in 1983.
Locals created the “Save Menangle” campaign to preserve the historic character of the town including the Rotorlactor, in response to a radical development proposal that would have changed the character of the area. We should recognise the fundamental work done by a friend of many here, Maurice Blackwood, who's vision is in part today celebrated by the survival of this amazing Rotolactor.