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Dymock, David Lindsay (1839–1937)

by Ken Macnab

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

David Lindsay Dymock (1839-1937), co-operative dairying promoter, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, son of John Dymock, solicitor, and his wife Margaret, née Waugh. In 1845 he migrated to New South Wales and by the early 1860s had established a dairy farm at Jamberoo, on the Minnamurra River; soon after he set up a highly successful auctioneering business centred in near-by Kiama. In the 1870s he promoted a road over the Jamberoo Mountain to Moss Vale via Robertson, and became captain of the Jamberoo Volunteer Rifle Corps. In 1873 he served on the Church of England school board; he was a leader in the erection of the Jamberoo Presbyterian Church, opened in January 1876, and in 1878 gave the presidential address to the revitalised Jamberoo Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society.

In the late 1870s the south coast dairymen began to consider the 'idea of co-operation' as an alternative to the unsatisfactory system of commission selling of produce through Sydney agents. In the next decade, with Dymock as its leading public advocate, the movement took advantage of the Mort-Nicolle refrigeration advances and the invention of the mechanical separator to revolutionize dairying. In November 1879 at Kiama he presided over a meeting to consider a central co-operative marketing project. The campaign culminated in 1881 with the formation of the South Coast and West Camden Co-operative Co., the first of its kind in New South Wales. Dymock was chairman of directors until its forced voluntary liquidation in 1899 and takeover next year by (Sir) William McMillan. A breakaway group formed the Farmers Co-operative Society in 1900, parent of the modern Producers' Distributing Society, in whose board room in 1937 was unveiled a tablet stating 'Dymock was the father of co-operation in Australia'.

In the 1880s Dymock promoted the establishment of a 'Herd Book' to tabulate dairy cattle breeding, and introduced a new light tin-lined butter keg. He also helped to introduce overseas developments in milk condensing and separating.

On a holiday trip in 1884, Dymock was commissioned to survey co-operative butter manufacture overseas, particularly in Denmark. He returned with the sole agency for the revolutionary De Laval mechanical separator, which he handed over to a Sydney firm of engineers, Waugh & Josephson. In 1885 he called meetings, explained the Danish factory system, and demonstrated the separator at the Kiama showground. He became a director of the pioneer Albion Park Co-operative Butter Factory, which treated 1700 gallons of milk daily (7728 litres) with six De Laval separators. By the end of the 1880s more than a dozen such factories had started in the area, with Dymock a director of at least two, Waughope and Woodstock, both founded in 1887.

In 1890 Dymock took part in a separatist movement against the Kiama Council and served as an alderman on the new council from 1892 to July 1900. He was also president of the Kiama Agricultural Society for many years, an elder of the Presbyterian Church, and secretary of the Kiama district school board in the 1890s.

In 1864 at Jamberoo Dymock had married Grace Maria Menzies, and before 1914 he retired to Brisbane where he died on 6 August 1937, survived by two sons and two daughters.

Select Bibliography

  • F. McCaffrey, First Century of Dairying in New South Wales (Syd, 1909)
  • W. A. Bayley, Blue Haven: Centenary History of Kiama Municipality (Kiama, 1960)
  • J. Jervis, ‘Illawarra: A Century of History, 1788-1888’, Journal and Proceedings (Royal Australian Historical Society), vol 28, part 2, 1942, pp 65-107
  • T. C. Kennedy, A Brief History of Co-operation as Applied to the Dairy Industry (typescript, State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Ken Macnab, 'Dymock, David Lindsay (1839–1937)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dymock-david-lindsay-3461/text5291, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 17 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

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