Lactos Cheese Factory

Lactos Cheese Factory was begun by Czech refugee and dairy technologist Milan Vyhnalek (b 1925), following a failed attempt in the early 1950s to begin cheese-making at Marrawah, when the butter factories opposed him getting a licence. By using the licence and surplus milk of Betta Milk at Burnie, and leasing land next door, he was able to start production in 1955. He was one of the first to produce the specialty cheeses for which Australia's new migrant population provided a ready market, rather than the usual cheddar cheese. Through skill in cheese-making and clever marketing, Vyhnalek built Lactos into the largest manufacturer of specialty cheeses in Australia and a considerable exporter as well. In 1981 Lactos was bought by the giant French firm, Bongrain.

Further reading: J Cassidy, The dairy heritage of northern Tasmania, Launceston, 1995; J Nermut, Lactos, Burnie, 1991.

Jill Cassidy