old drawing of amarti building

Amarti at the Heritage Listed Cowwarr Butter Factory.  The original Butter Factory was built in 1896 and opened 1897 and 20 years later the Directors commissioned Charles I Rice to design the new factory which was built in the Arts & Crafts style in 1917.

Amarti Blue Flower Branding

Amarti at the Heritage Listed Cowwarr Butter Factory

The Cowwarr Butter Factory has a long history dating back to 1896 when the original Cowwarr Cheese and Butter Company Ltd factory building, chimney and boiler house was built, opening 1897. Work commenced manufacturing cheese and butter in 1898. The 1896 chimney and boiler house still stands proudly in the Walled Courtyard to this day.

1917 saw the Directors of the original Cowwarr Butter Factory commission Charles I Rice, “a gentleman of considerable experience in factory architecture” (quoted from Rosedale Courier Thursday 20 June 1918) to design the new Cowwarr Butter Factory in a mixture of the Arts & Crafts style of architecture, Queen Anne and French Chateau.  This is the building you see today which was constructed by a Melbourne based builder, Mr G McAlpine and his gang of 8 men.

The current Cowwarr Butter Factory is built using local river stones and pebbles mixed with sand and cement, formed up in a rammed earth style of construction named Pise walls and were rare in an industrial building, unusual for that period. The walls are anywhere from 300mm up to 600mm thick in some parts of the building, being constructed for the purpose of holding butter and milk it was made to keep cool in the summer months. Inside the building today the now named Conservatory room, which once was The Ice Room (Cool Room) shows the exposed original walls and concrete ceiling that the entire building is constructed from.

A renovation was commenced on the building in 1950 to accommodate for the manufacturing of milk powder. The Cowwarr Butter Factory manufactured cheese, butter and milk powder over its long running history which ceased operation in 1959 due to a drop of over £100 per ton in the price of milk powder. The valuable machines were taken out of the factory and sold and the building was then left empty and unused.

After 2 decades of neglect, where local farmers would house their cows inside the factory during the cold Gippsland winters and store their hay in the Main Hall, in 1980 Geoff Hines and his family purchased the property and took on the challenge of restoring and renovating the building into a family home and Art Gallery. 1992 Carolyn Crossley along with her 2 children purchased the Butter Factory and continued on the Art Gallery, naming it the Cowwarr Art Space. Accommodating Artists from all over the world and displaying their art for the following nearly 30 years.

March 2020 the Cowwarr Butter Factory changed ownership to the current owners and underwent extensive renovations for over 2 years to turn the factory into a Wedding and Events Venue with a Restaurant.

old butter milk factory amarti