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K887 Butter cooler with lid, galvanised metal, Willow, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1930-1939. Click to enlarge.

Galvanised metal butter cooler made by Willow

This is a galvanised metal butter cooler made in Melbourne by Willow in the 1930s. In the hot climate of Austalia before people had fridges, they used ice chests, meat safes and butter coolers to keep food fresh and cool. Ice was delivered several times a week in most suburbs in the cities and placed in the top of the ice chest. Butter was kept cool with a butter cooler like this one. The space between the walls of the perforated container was filled with water. Meat was kept in a ventilated …


Object No.


Object Statement

Butter cooler with lid, galvanised metal, Willow, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1930-1939

Physical Description

Butter cooler, galvanised metal, made by Willow, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1930s

Butter cooler with cylindrical cover with wired and rolled lower rim, indented top, central pierced moulded dome 1.5 high under strip metal handle. Lid fits over a shaped dish, with raised centre platform for the butte. Indentation on top would have carried water which seeped through the cloth to the channel around the dish below.



Willow Ware began as a partnership between Ralph and Richard Wilson in 1887. They established the Wilson Bros in 1889 in Flemington before moving to North Melbourne. They began by making tinned plate tea and biscuit canisters. Later they printed metal kitchenware with the blue willow pattern, under the Willow brand, a name they applied to the company in 1965. Willow Ware Australia Pty Ltd is currently located in Tullamarine. It is a great example of a company that began operating in a family backyard and has grown into a company exporting to over fifty countries. Willow Ware have won a Commonwealth Export Award (1972), design awards for their microwave cookware range (1987) and an award for manufacturing excellence (1987).


Credit Line

Purchased 1983

Acquisition Date

30 June 1983

Cite this Object


Galvanised metal butter cooler made by Willow 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 December 2022, <>


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