New podcasts showcasing local treasures

The Old Cheese Factory in Berwick is now the subject of a new podcast as part of the Storytowns geo-located podcast series. (Supplied)

By Matthew Sims

The history and features of the Old Cheese Factory can now be listened to as the train pulls into Berwick, as part of geo-located podcast tour Storytowns.

The use of geo-located podcasts along Melbourne’s train lines is an Australian-first, with the podcasts playing automatically as you approach a landmark or point of interest across Melbourne’s one-thousand-kilometre metropolitan train network.

After the initial run of 43 podcasts were downloaded more than 14,000 times, the program now includes 126 podcasts covering the entire metropolitan rail network, including new episodes covering the Old Cheese Factory in Berwick and Little India in Dandenong.

Casey Council manager of creative communities Emily Clarke said the Old Cheese Factory team are excited to be featured as part of the podcast.

“To be given the opportunity to talk about the history and uniqueness of the Old Cheese Factory for the Storytowns podcast was a great experience,” she said.

“People often mention to me that they didn’t know such a beautiful place existed in Berwick, so to know that people will hear about the Old Cheese Factory while on their daily commute is exciting and a great way to let people know that a fantastic historical community facility exists in their local area.”

During 1864 and 1865, the cheese factory, homestead and washhouse were built by Murdoch MacDonald and from 1874 until 1900, the cheese factory was functioning, with 200 cows milked twice per day, and the combined work of 100 employees making 150 cheeses per week.

The property is under the control of the Department of Crown Lands, with Casey Council acting as the Committee of Management.

The property today consists of nearly 30 acres, about 10 of which are garden and lawns housing the original buildings and various other buildings which have been built or moved to the site.

Ms Clarke said the Old Cheese Factory has plenty of attractions on offer throughout the year.

“The site has beautifully manicured gardens, which are perfect for picnics or to find a quiet place to read a book in the peaceful natural location,” she said.

“There is a self-guided heritage trail that explains the history of the site and provides visitors with an opportunity to view the historic Cheese Factory and Wash House and learn about how they were used in years gone by.

“Kids love playing on the playground, exploring the Secret Garden and running throughout the gardens allowing them to have fun in a safe location.”

Ms Clarke said the Old Cheese Factory will also be opening a new cafe in the old homestead soon.

“We will also be looking to expand our community gardens in the coming year to provide even more gardening opportunities for our local community,” she said.

“Once the weather starts to warm up again we will be kicking off Spring with some great events, a Fairytale Picnic, our Halloween Event and the Ageing Positively Festival concert.”

Metro Trains chief executive Raymond O’Flaherty said Metro Trains are excited to be help showcase some of the city’s hidden treasures. 

“With more than 14 thousand downloads already, these new podcasts are making train travel a more unique and interesting experience for our passengers,” he said.

Storytowns founder Jarrod Pickford said the idea for Storytowns originated from global hitchhiking trips he took in his 20s and 30s, which inspired a passion to link travellers with local communities via geo-located audio, infused with local insights.

“Melbourne is like no other city and we have loved bringing the suburbs to life with these podcasts,” he said.

For more information about Storytowns, visit www.storytowns.com.au/metro