The end of free milk in schools

On this day in 1967 the provision of free milk in schools ended.

It had been introduced in 1937 as part of the Labour government’s plan to boost the health of children.

By the time it finished it was costing the government about 840,000 pounds a year.

At Oamaru South School the milk was delivered to the gate where it sat in all weathers until the milk monitors – some of the bigger standard four boys – brought it in and delivered it to each classroom.

In winter it was freezing, in summer it was warm.

This was long before the days of homogenised or skim milk and each half pint bottle was topped with a large glob of cream.

In all seasons it was awful and the end of the daily torture by milk was celebrated by my generation of school children.

6 Responses to The end of free milk in schools

  1. gravedodger says:

    Ours ravelled to Waiau from Christchurch in the back of the New Zealand Railways Road Services Bedford bus, shaken not stirred, no refrigeration of course and in the days before A G W and it still wasn’t cool enough for the milk to arrive in any sort of consumable condition. I remember on one occasion it arrived so curdled it could not be drawn through the straw and that is the only time we were excused from emptying the bottle before we could go to afternoon playtime. Miss Burnett would stoically drink her’s down with no visible reaction, maybe she had acquired a taste for Yoghurt. We just knew it was off as only a few families had refrigeration at home and our parents tossed anything that was at all suspect. Aargh, not a pleasant memory.


  2. kismet says:

    It was that green tint on the cream that used to just about make me want to throw up. Can vividly recall the misery of being six and having a teacher stand over me to make me drink that milk (I was lactose intolerant too). So pleased when they stopped it.


  3. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    In my day it was full cream milk powder and it was my job to chop the wood each morning, boil the copper, make the luscious brew and have it lined up steaming in mugs at 10.00 for the one hundred or so kids in the school.


  4. JC says:

    I went to a Catholic boarding school, so the milk was all that stood between us and looking like Twiggy.



  5. pdm says:

    It wasn’t until I went to high school that I saw free milk – only the town schools had it. Seeing I was on occasions milking the cow at home we had fresh milk every day, sometimes warm from the udder – none of that bottled stuff.


  6. alex Masterley says:

    I do recall the daily milk ration at linwood North school in christchurch, but can’t recall if I liked or disliked what we received in our ration. I had a vague sense of disappointment when the daily ration stopped.
    What I do recall was the daily winter coca ration we received as well. That was a lottery between the dispointment of a thin stew of coca and the delight of a rich sugary creamy coca custard! That pleasure stopped when we left Christchurch std 3.


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