Laucke Flour Australian owned and grown
Published on 12 May 2016
The day old Friedrich Laucke’s mill steam boiler blew up was the day he could have thrown up his hands and given it all away.
Instead, he climbed on the rubble, lit a cigar and declared he would rebuild.
Friedrich had experienced a less than ideal start to his new life in Australia.
An immigrant from Germany in 1895, he was “out to see the world”, but ran out of money in Adelaide and returned to his trade as a miller, only to contract rheumatic fever.
He resigned, vowing to “seek work, how and when he could, on his own account”.
In 1899, Friedrich gained control of the Greenock flour mill in South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Laucke Flour Mills – the last of Australia’s family-owned and operated independent millers – was born.
He had his setbacks, such as when a boiler exploded for the third time, but responded by importing a gas engine from England which burned charcoal and ran faultlessly for 48 years.
Today, the business is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Laucke family, recognised internationally for their high-quality products for the food industry and home bakers, with a special focus on artisan and organic flours and mixes.
In 2000, the company bought the former “Water Wheel” flour mill at Bridgewater.
It was the only functional water-driven mill in the southern hemisphere and boasted a rich history, being continuously developed on the one site for almost 130 years.
The original mill opened in 1874, powered by the Loddon River, and by 1970 had a silo storage capacity of 500,000 bushels (more than 13,600 tonnes).
In 2014, the old Water Wheel mill was shut down, replaced by an all-new $20 million facility, packed wall-to-wall with the latest technology.
Milling operations manager Roger Laubsch said it took more than three years to create the new plant.
“The mill now works 24 hours a day, five days a week, with 65-70 staff and contributes 60-70 per cent of Laucke’s overall output, focusing on specialty markets,” Mr Laubsch said.
“Our supply of grains is predominantly Victorian with more than 40 contracted growers providing 45,000 tonnes a year.
“However, we do go further afield – into New South Wales and Queensland – for some specialty grains such as organic.
“We have about 35 specialty lines at the moment, but the number of products is even bigger still.
“Our products are selling around the country, both in the retail market through the major supermarkets and wholesale to manufacturing companies across Australia.
“Laucke exports significant tonnage to overseas countries in an ever-growing market, focusing on value-added products to new and strategic customers across the globe.
“The gluten-free and healthy options sector of our business is obviously growing and now comprises 15-20 per cent of what we do.
“In Loddon Shire, the Bridgewater Bakehouse is a proud customer of Laucke’s and there are plenty of others close by in Bendigo.”
Laucke sells bread mixes in sourdough rye, white, German grain, wholemeal, multigrain and soy and linseed, specialties such as kangaroo flour and Special White and mixes such as ciabatta, scones, pizza and focaccia, sweet breads and gluten-free.
More than a century ago, Friedrich Laucke gained Royal approval to associate the symbols of Australia into the branding of his flour bags.
The same kangaroo, emu and crown still appear today on the company’s product packaging.
Friedrich would have liked that.