Historical information

This pair of milk bottles, produced for the Model Dairy in Cotham Road, Kew, were donated by Vik Sabaliauskas. They belonged to his father who worked at Model Dairy in the 1950s and 1960s. Vik wrote about his father: "As for my father, his whole life story is interesting. He was part of the big immigration program after WW2. He was a displaced person in Germany like lots of others who came out looking for a new life. Our family name is actually SABALIAUSKAS which is of Lithuanian descent. My Dad was also named Vik (Viktoras). He was known as Big Vik and I was little Vik. He arrived in Australia in 1947 and then did his 2 years of work organised by the Government and then he came to Melbourne. We lived in Tyler St Preston and he rode his pushbike to and from Kew every working day for years. In my estimation that was about 13 kms for about 6 or 7 years. Imagine that happening today. Freezing Winter mornings and hot Summer afternoons. His English was poor but he had a great work ethic like all European immigrants. His duties related to maintaining and operating all the machines. One story that he told me about was that after I was born (in 1959) he made friends with one of the drivers who delivered milk to the dairy. He asked him to get a container of milk from the farmer everyday which was just for me. I remember going to the Model Dairy Family Christmas parties which were always well patronised. I also remember visiting him in the PANCH Hospital (Bell Street Preston) where he was treated for kidney stones caused by drinking very creamy milk. He wasn't happy when he was told by the doctor to cut back on milk. My Dad was one month short of his 95th birthday when he died and he lived a pretty healthy life." (2019)


Kew was a major milk producing district in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, with three major dairy farms lining the Yarra between Studley Park in the west and Burke Road in the east. In addition to these dairy producers, there were also a number of accredited dairy retailers in the suburb. The largest and most enduring of these was the Model Dairy founded by the Kew pioneer James Venn Morgan. Milk bottles that include the name of the producer or retailer are historically significant as they represent a period in Kew's history before the mass production of milk in the second half of the Twentieth Century. A number of these named bottles have the additional attribute of rarity.

Physical description

Pair of plastic milk bottles, designated on the front as to be used in the refigerator on on picnics. One bottle has a red screw on lid and the other a green lid. The bottles are semi-transparent. [The record also includes a photograph of Vic Sabaliauskas, provided by his son. The photograph dates from the period when he was employed at the Model Dairy].

Inscriptions & markings

Impressed on the front of both bottles: "Unbreakable picnic and refrigerator bottle made expressly for Model Dairy Pty Ltd Cotham Rd Kew"