Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

Women in Dairy Farming

Presenter: Dr. Meredith Quaile
Article by Pat Earl
Photos by Owen Cooke  

On Wednesday, February 8th, Dr. Meredith Quaile gave a very inspiring talk on women’s role in dairy farming.  She entitled her talk ‘Grass and Sunshine into Cream and Butter’. Dr. Quaile, a Russell Federal government policy analyst, wrote a two hundred page thesis on this topic, focusing on the time between 1813 and 1914.

Growing up in Greely, her interest in women on the dairy farm was sparked when she worked as a tour guide at the Experimental Farm.  Dr. Quaile’s research took her to local regional museums, heritage homes, England, and New Zealand where she worked on a farm while there.  

Dr. Quaile presenting

Meredith Quaile presenting  

She spent many hours scouring farming magazines, books, old photographs, basements, barns and sheds, seeking for tools used by women on the dairy farms.   The result of all her research was put together in a delightful, and captivating presentation for our RTHS members at Knox Presbyterian Church.

Using a series of fifteen photos, Dr. Quaile introduced us to women at work on the farm.

1. The Brownlee Farm · 

2.  Mrs. Otto and her Cow.

3. An 1887 Dasher Churn. · 

Tools of the dairying trade

Meredith brought along a number of examples of tools and books used in dairy farming.  

10. Butter working · 

11. Butter Presses/Prints · 

12.  Milking Machines at Guelph Agricultural School· 

13. A Mehring foot treadle milker

14. Ads for Dairy Equipment · 

15. Milking machines 1910 -1918   · 

Dr. Quaile’s  presentation was both entertaining and informative and after a few questions and answers we all left with an appreciation of farm women of the past.  

Patricia Pratt thanks our speaker

Patricia Pratt thanks Meredith for an informative and entertaining presentation.