School Milk

School Milk was provided to Australian schools in the 70’s & every kid HAD to drink it! After all the government was providing it free.

It came in small glass bottles (about 1/3 of a pint) & the entire class had a milk moustache for hours after wards. It used to get delivered outside the classrooms early in the morning & sat there getting nice & warm before it was distributed to us (by the milk monitors). These were always the good kids! In the warmer months, the milk was just about developing some biological film of butter or yogurt before consumption! The smell of 30 children drinking warm milk, permeated the class room, & then there was the sound of 30 straws all sucking up air when the bottles were empty.

I think I hated milk from the moment i was weaned & I have school milk to thank for that. It used to make me puke, and I remember being forced by the teachers to drink it. Warm, rancid smelling milk remains vivid in my childhood memories as does the panic, when the milk monitors arrived. Thankfully my mum had sympathy for my aversion to school milk & I was given a “note” for the teacher to say I was not allowed to drink the milk as it made me sick. Thanks mum!

A few years later the glass bottles were phased out & the milk came in little triangular cartons. It made no difference, it was still revolting.

13 Replies to “School Milk”

  1. I remember School Milk back In Preston West ( Victoria) in the late 60’s. I also remember the revolting warm summer milk, and yes the bird pecked bottle caps. I remember the Milk Monitors and fought hard to become one until I had to carry the crates to the classroom which reeked of old sour milk. Unfortunately the job was yours for the entire school term as ‘you asked for it’.

    To this day, milk has to be ultra fresh and freezing cold before I will drink it straight. Once milk has reached its use-by date its gone. The smell of milk that is off or very nearly off makes me feel nauseous. For this I thank you Victorian Primary Schools.

  2. In Darwin during the 1960s, our school milk sat in n the territory heat until it curdled. They also added some sort of foul smelling and tasting liquid from a eye dropper. Depending on how good you were, decided how many drops your little bottle of rancid vomit received. Mine. Always a full twerker. To this day my stomach churns at the Smell of sour milk. I get nasty explosive dioreah… And the stench is horrid.. YUCK..

  3. I remember the milk used to be delivered around Karingal by horse and cart. Yes, even in the 1970’s. The horses used to come up from Arthur’s Dairy down where Middendorp is on Beach Street. Early in the morning you would hear the clip-clop of the horse and the glass bottle rattle of the milkman putting the milk on people’s doorsteps. Very amusingly the clip-clop would turn into a clippety clop and you’d hear the milkman yelling and whistling for the horse to come back!

    1. Yes, as a parent with small children in the 1970s I remember all that vividly. About 6.30 a.m. I’d hear the horse and cart coming down the street, then I’d hear the milkman trot across our front lawn, put down the full bottles, pick up the empty ones and trot out to the road again. One morning he arrived at the front porch as usual, but I was puzzled because I didn’t hear him trot away. Later in the day I discovered why. The day before I had been working on the porch and had accidentally left a good wrench there. The milkman had spied the wrench, decided he’d take it and sneaked away like any good thief would.

  4. I loved the shcool milk too – those cute little bottles
    with the cream on the top if they’d been sitting for a
    while – just like the milk you had delivered at home on
    the front doorstep. That was in the 50s and 60s.
    Milk was just milk then as compared to now – too many
    milks with this and that added or taken out – would the
    real milk please stand up!

  5. I used to have a problem with milk, so I was excused from drinking it – until one of the teachers forced me to have it. She was set straight by a very angry mother!

  6. I loved my milk at school as I love milk. Tough on the kids who hated it. Government would not dream of doing it now with so many kids being lactose intolerant.

    Love your blog. Do you know anything about the Inn Shoppe [spelling?] near the Eureka Stockade, across from Myer Bourke Street Melbourne? I would love to show pictures of it to my daughters. The only store it could compare to would be City Beach I guess.

  7. school milk was a lifesaver for me at school . my family were very poor and we didnt always get a decent breakfast or lunch so i looked forward to the school milk supplied and would always have seconds if there was any left over.

  8. I was born in 1957 & remember having milk at school in glass bottles in the 60’s. My Mum obviously spoiled me because she used to give me a “Junket” tablet to flavor my milk, and later on I remember using chocolate flavored paper straws.

  9. Many years ago, my Dad claimed he had manufactured the metal trays and support stands (used at FEPS) to contain the milk bottles/cartons before they were carried to each classroom.
    In his job he had to access metal fabrication and welding equipment (though this was not his primary role), so I give credance to his claim.

  10. I remember the milk used to freeze in winter and a core of ice had the foil cap perched on top. The water in milk went to ice and we had to drink the foul tasting liquid that didn’t freeze. In the summer the birds used to peck through the cap and drink the cream, if you complained that yours was open you were told “Drink it, it won’t hurt you”.

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