Not that they needed much rounding up as, by 3 o'clock in the afternoon most of them would be standing, waiting patiently for the gate to be opened to let them out of their paddock (field).
Our herd never numbered more than about 85 cows, very small by today's standards, but then it was only a 100 acre farm. Imagine being able to raise seven children on a farm that size today, without income from an additional source.
.... and into the cowyard.
This is the diesal engine that powered the milking machines and charged the batteries for the 32 volt power plant. It was later replaced by an electric motor when the State Electricity Commission connected the 240 volt power to the house and shed. This engine, with its mass of flywheels and belts had to be crank started, and there was a real knack to it, too. On cold winter mornings it had to be primed with warm oil before it would kick over.
Due to health problems, Dad was unable to start the engine for several years, which meant that I had to be there for every milking to start the engine. I think my sisters learned to start it after I got married and left home, although we did have a share-farmer working for us by then.
The shed could accommodate 6 cows at a time, one against each end wall and two either side of those steel 'fences' in the middle. This photo is taken from the yard in front of the shed where the cows waited to be let in to the shed.
(I described in my posting 'The Personalities of Cows' how some cows wanted to be milked first and others last, some would only go into a specific bail, and how so many of them had their own personality traits and idiosyncrasies.)
It looks like the first six are under way, with Annette leaning on the gate at far right waiting for the first one to finish. As each cow finished milking, the teat cups were removed, dipped into a bucket of water and disinfectant and hung on a hook to await the next cow. At the turn of a handle a gate opened beside the cow and she walked forwards (after the legrope was removed...lol) and out through a passageway into another yard at the side of the shed. The gate was closed and the next cow brought in.
The blue buckets contain warm, soapy water to wash the cow's udder, firstly to ensure that it is clean and secondly to encourage the cow to let down her milk.
I'm sorry about the quality of this photo but I think it's the only one I have. As the cow is being milked by machines, which are held on to her udder by a vacuum, the milk is then carried through overhead pipes into the dairy.
Here you can just see towards the top of the photo the milk being released into the stainless steel vat. It then runs through two strainers onto the cooler which is like a series of horizontal pipes joined together. As the milk flows down over the pipes it is cooled by the cold water pumping continuously through them. It flows down onto a tray with three holes, beneath which are twelve gallon milk cans.
At the end of milking a truck would come to collect all of the milk from a number of farms and take it to the factory about 15 miles away, where some of the milk was sent as fresh milk to Melbourne, and the rest was processed into butter, cheese, casein and other dried milk products.
When all of the cows were finished, buckets of cold water followed by hot water and disinfectant were pumped through the machines to clean them, all of the equipment in the dairy was scrubbed, the shed floor was swept and sluiced with water, the cowpats were shovelled up from the yard and it was hosed clean with water.
Now you must understand that this was more than 40 years ago, and this method of milk collection, ie. using small milk cans, was being phased out even then. Refrigerated vats were being installed which meant that the milk could be collected by tanker at any time of day or night. In summer it was usually once a day but in winter it was on alternate days. The fact that farmers no longer had to milk at a certain time in order to be ready for the milk truck took a lot of the pressure off and made life a bit easier. We never did install a refrigerated vat, as only two or three years after these photos were taken, Dad gave up dairying and changed over entirely to beef cattle.