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Got milk?

Briefly prime minister in 1939, Dr Earle Page was minister of health in the Menzies government from 1949 to 1956. Page introduced the free milk scheme for schoolchildren in all states in 1951, but Queensland did not join the scheme until 1953, and initially only in the greater Brisbane area.

A large crowd of young schoolchildren drinking 1/3 pints of milk outside a Melbourne milk bar.

A large crowd of young schoolchildren drinking 1/3 pints milk outside a Melbourne milk bar.


NAA: A1200, L79215

Primary school children drink their daily milk at their desks, Australian Capital Territory.

Primary school children drink their daily milk at their desks, Australian capital Territory.


NAA: A1200, L70235

Cabinet records show Page was determined to make this a nationwide scheme. Cabinet authorised him to negotiate with the Queensland Premier to ensure the scheme was implemented throughout the state.

The scheme was administered by the states, with the Commonwealth reimbursing the cost of the milk and of delivery to all schools. The free milk came in either half-pint or one-third pint bottles.


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Did you know ...

In 1930 James Scullin insisted King George V accept Australia’s right to name the Governor-General. Ten years later Prime Minister John Curtin wanted Scullin to take the post, but he declined.

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