The Gypsum deposit was first discovered in Cooke Plains in 1876 by surveyors, although first production was not until the 1920’s, when the lease was purchased by the Smith family. At that time the Gypsum was shovelled into bags, hand loaded onto horse wagons and then loaded onto rail at Cooke Plains.
In 1958, Norm Paterson became manager of the Gypsum works. At this stage, the Gypsum was carted by a single truck carrying only 16 tonne and used to load into rail trucks at the local siding.
As demand and efficiency became more specific the company turned to road delivery in favour of rail. Over time, Preston, Norm’s son, grew and developed the business, including the expansion to a fleet of trucks, introducing and incorporating the General Freight component of business.
Then in the late 80’s the Gypsum leases were purchased and the business was given the name ‘Cooke Plains Gypsum’. With an array of heavy machinery being used to break away at the mine facing, screen and load Gypsum, as well as aiding in rehabilitation of the mined land.
Norm has since retired, with Preston and his Family continuing on where he left off, with Preston’s Son, Sam being the 3rd generation to grow the business working side by side to develop the bagged product and blends. The mine is currently open and operating all year round with the peak season being between December and April.