Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Buffalo soldier

Buffalo soldierWith purposeful determination and more than a dash of irreverence, Victoria's Roger Haldane is bringing the art of making cheese from buffalo milk to new heights in Australia.

Story Richard Zachariah Photos Lizzie O'Conner

Roger Haldane jumps out of a battered truck held together with hay bands and stands on the banks of the Shaw River at Yambuk, west of Port Fairy, Victoria, as dusk falls around his brave new $3 million dairy. It is a collection of classic off-white buildings, like those of early Australia, specifically built for the ancient art of processing water buffalo milk by hand – of stretching and rolling the curd and whey into cheeses and yoghurts. The cool, slab sided structures are rendered Mt Gambier stone and although they have been here only a couple of years, there is a timeless quality about the place. Roger is here for the evening inspection of the sterile 'state of the art' dairy factory, dressed in antiseptic hair nets and plastic shoes. It is all part of the process of making his fine cheese.

Buffalo soldierNext morning, on the rich coastal flats just up the road from the dairy, a herd of water buffalo trudge towards the milking shed with their unmistakable gait, heads turned upwards. The buffalo are much larger than your average dairy cow, and with horns like Salvador Dali's moustache, they are quite capable of wrecking havoc. Yet these gentle, amiable beasts with brown, soulful eyes file in as quiet as choir boys. Story end

Full story Issue 34 April/May 2004

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