Amongst a number of interesting items recently donated to the Avoca & District Historical Society Inc was a leather-bound volume which is gold-embossed on the spine with the words Minute Book and The Avoca District Butter, Cheese & Freezing Co Limited.

This Minute Book contains the record of all meetings of the Company from inception in 1894 to liquidation in 1903. Set out here is a transcription of the Minutes of the formation meeting.

Minutes of a General Meeting of Shareholders in the Avoca District Butter, Cheese & Freezing Company Limited, held at the Shire Hall, Avoca, on 10th May, 1894.

Present ~ Mr E Snell (in the Chair) and Messrs. Rayner, G. Mills, jnr., Townsing, Smith, Dr. Johnson, Downton, Morish, Lambert, Lohise(?), Field J.W., Field C., Lamont, Kaye, G. Mills sen., Chellew, Towl, Benjamin Caron(?), Mitchell, Impey, J. Mills, W. B. Helliar, Jones, Reid, Keam, Firns, J. Opie, Campbell A.P., Ford, Paten, A. F., Ebeling, A., Helliar sen., Elliott, Ebeling C., Clark, Benett, Wilkins, H. Mills, Wise, Wiltshire, O’Donnell, Daly, Gray.

The following Shareholders were represented by proxy:- J. Streeter, E. Seater, S. Seater, Mrs H. Andrews, J. Harbour, F. Ross, J.T. Cain, W. Evans, Mary E. Yates, J. Henderson, J.H. Evans, T.S. Evans, W.I. Robinson, T. Scott, F.P. Doherty, T. Moore, W. Harvey, Mrs. B. Mockett, O.F. Thomas, Dr. C.G. Grimmer, T. D. Gregory, Howell & Pinch, T. Simmons, R. Moodie, W. Merritt, J. Lusby, C. Castleman.

Mr. A. Ebeling moved – That a company be formed to be called the Avoca District Butter, Cheese and Freezing Company, Limited, to consist of 3000 shares of one pound each; and that the same be registered under the Companies Act as a Limited Company. Seconded by Mr Morish and carried.

The Articles of Association were read to the meeting by the acting Secretary and Mr Morish moved – That the number of directors be nine (9). Seconded by Mr Lambert.

Mr Firns moved, as an amsndment – That the number of directors be seven (7). Seconded by Mr Cain and carried.

Mr Campbell moved – That at the annual meeting to be held in May 1895 all the directors retire and in the following year three directors retire, in the year following two directors retire, and in the next year following the remaining two directors retire. Seconded by Mr Downton and carried.

Mr Ebeling moved – That the Articles of Association as read be adopted by the Company. Seconded by Mr Downton and carried.

The following gentlemen were nominated for the positions of directors :- J.W. Field, Avoca River; W.H. Morish, Avoca River; G. Cain, Natte Yallock; Gordon Abbott, Bung Bong; A. Ebeling, Avoca; E. Snell, Avoca; H. Mills, Natte Yallock; M.M. Wise, Avoca, I. Keam, Elmhurst; H. Mitchell, Lilicur; T. Rayner, Amphitheatre; G. Mills, jun, Bung Bong.

A ballot was then taken for the election of seven of those nominated with the following result :- W. H. Morish 72 votes; E. Snell 71 votes; I. Keam 66 votes; G. Cain 60 votes; J.W. Field 50 votes; G. Mills, jun, 48 votes; A. Ebeling 47 votes; H. Mitchell 42 votes; H. Mills 34 votes; G. Abbott 29 votes; M.M. Wise 28 votes; T. Rayner 11 votes. The first named seven (7) gentlemen were thereupon declared elected by the Chairman.

Mr Snell moved – That any director coming 8 miles or over be allowed five shillings per day expenses for each meeting for the first twelve months. Seconded Mr Downton and carried.

Messrs. M.M. Wise & Co offered to the Company (through Mr Wise) an old mill on the west side of the Avoca River for factory purposes on the following conditions :- 2/6 per week rental for the first 12 months with the right to purchase at the end of that time or the right to purchase the Mills and property for two hundred pounds or the right to purchase the Mill, Cottage and property for four hundred and fifty pounds and if the Company is unable to purchase at the end of that time the Mill to be let to it at a weekly rental of five shillings with the same right to purchase at the end of the second year.

Mr Downton moved – That the offer of Messrs. M.M. Wise & Co be accepted. Seconded by Mr Kaye and carried.

Mr Downton moved – That a hearty vote of thanks be accorded the Chairman. Seconded by Mr Mills and carried.

The meeting then terminated.

In the course of transcribing these Minutes, there was some doubt in my mind regarding my interpretation of the handwriting with several of the names mentioned. If any reader of this item can throw some light on possible corrections, their comments would be welcomed. Likewise, if any reader has in their possession photographs of the Mill, Cottage and property mentioned above, or any other form of documentation, the Society would appreciate the opportunity to borrow and copy same.