Margaret Thompson is determined to keep her late husband’s dairy venture going.

Story + Photos Kerry Sharp

As soon as she could walk, Margaret Thompson was hanging out with dairy cows in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. And now, while others her age are taking life easier, the gritty 82-year-old is up at dawn every day milking her precious girls on the same farm her grandfather Alfred Cooke established in 1903.

Three generations of the Cooke family grazed mostly Guernsey cattle on this Witta property near Maleny until 2004, when Margaret’s husband Mal Thompson proposed a dramatic upheaval in the form of a buffalo dairy venture. 

“This was Mal’s dream and, after he died in 2016, we had to keep it going,” Margaret says. She now maintains 120 riverine buffalo to supply growing consumer demand for the Italian breed’s renowned pure-white, creamy milk and Omega 3-rich meat. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #134

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2021