First milk flows as new Stanhope cheese plant prepares to open


Stanhope’s new state-of-the-art cheese plant is a step closer to making cheese after the first milk flowed through the lines. The milk, collected from local dairy farms in Northern Victoria, will be made into cheese destined for the domestic and global markets.   

To celebrate the milestone, Fonterra is sharing some special moments from the farmgate in a video released today. 

Stanhope dairy farmer Rob Schloss says the new cheese plant will have a very positive impact on the local community, who are looking forward to seeing Stanhope cheese on supermarket shelves again.

“For the community, I think it’s going to be a big plus to have the cheese plant operating again, and it will put some positivity back into the industry in the north,” said Rob.

Fonterra commenced its A$140 million dollar rebuild and expansion of its Stanhope site in Northern Victoria in 2015, after the cheese plant was destroyed by fire in December 2014. 

Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker said this begins a new era at Stanhope.

“Today is an important milestone for our Australian business and a key pillar of our strategy. Our investment in the long-term future of the Stanhope cheese plant will help us meet growing global demand for cheese and have positive flow-on effects for the local community and our farmers,” said René.

“The plant will process millions of litres of milk from across Northern Victoria each year to make cheese and whey. This means certainty for our farmers that they will have a home for their milk.

“Everyone involved in the Stanhope rebuild and expansion has done an exceptional job readying the site for first milk. Before long we’ll be making mozzarella at Stanhope for the first time, which will soon be topping delicious pizzas in China.”

Over the next eight weeks, the new modern plant will ramp up production in readiness to supply Fonterra’s full range of cheese for domestic and global markets.

The cheese plant will be officially opened at an event in mid-August.