Laucke Flour Mills are the last of Australia’s industry founding family owned and operated independent Millers, and the origins of this business can be traced to the arrival of Friedrich Laucke in South Australia in 1895.
Friedrich arrived from Germany in his quest to “see the world”, ran out of money in Adelaide, and was hard at work in his trade as a miller within weeks at Edwin Davey & Sons at Salisbury. He progressed within that Company at several mills, but contracted rheumatic fever. He resigned, vowing to “seek work, how and when he could, on his own account”.
Despite his illness, he was not idle, and in 1899 with the promise by local farmers of suitable grain, acquired control of the Greenock flour mill in the Barossa Valley.
Friedrich Laucke soon established levels of hard work, quality, service and integrity that earned the respect of his peers and the loyalty of his customers, establishing a tradition that continues to this day.
Friedrich’s brother in Germany had told him of engines that ran on ‘smoke’ and when the mill steam boiler exploded in 1905 for the third time in 17 years because of poor water quality, he climbed on the rubble, lit a cigar and declared he would rebuild.
He did, installing what was then new technology being the third Producer Gas engine in Australia. It was sourced from England and soon affectionately nicknamed as ‘Old Otto’. The rebuilt mill, using charcoal made on site in an old boiler from mallee stumps and old fence posts, was a resounding if unexpected success. This “new technology” engine was not entirely trusted at first and so was never housed in a building, yet it ran perfectly for 48 years until flour milling ceased at Greenock.
Friedrich Laucke had four sons and two daughters – and a perspective that only the sons could work in and own the business. The children were Therese, Hans, Max, Werner, Charlotte and Condor.
As time passed, efficiencies and production increased and the company expanded over the years by acquiring further mills which were managed by the second generation sons – Strathalbyn in 1927 run by Hans; Angaston in 1933 run by Max; Eudunda in 1950 run by Vernie, and Stockwell also that year, run by Friedrich’s son-in-law Morris Zerna under the supervision of Condor.
Laucke continued to progress under the second generation. The original flour mill at Strathalbyn was replaced in 1961 by the first totally new mill built in SA for over 50 years, and this mill has been continuously upgraded to remain a modern efficient plant.
Then, the third generation took over. Hans’s son Mark Laucke took over management of the Strathalbyn mill. Max’s sons were involved, with Max Jnr taking over the Angaston Mill, and Christopher ‘Kip’ Laucke went to manage the mill at Eudunda. Condor’s son, Condor Jnr reshaped the old Greenock mill in to a feed mill.
The third generation elected to evolve the company further in 1990. Mark and Condor Jnr bought the company, and milling production sites were progressively rationalised such that all the original first generation Laucke Mills have now ceased production.
In the year 2000, during their Centenary year, the family company further evolved.
Mark took individual control of Laucke Flour Milling, and Condor of Laucke Feed Milling, and Laucke Flour Mills then acquired the former “Water Wheel” flour mill at Bridgewater on Loddon in Victoria. This Mill, the only functional water-driven mill in the Southern Hemisphere, has a rich history; being continuously developed on one site for over 130 years.
The Bridgewater Mill enhances the ability of Laucke to reliably supply a broad range of bagged and bulk speciality products to Eastern Australia and Export markets.
Since then, the flour mills at Strathalbyn and Bridgewater have been continuously upgraded, with the ambience of fire, stone and polished timber conceding to the efficiencies of electricity, stainless steel and electronics.
Laucke Flour Mills specialise in the supply of a wide range of sophisticated flour based food products to discerning customers in both Australia and overseas, producing a broad spectrum of speciality flours and mixes for the food industry. Each mill specialises in the milling of wheats and other grains such as Rye, Spelt and Triticale by a range of processes to create an extensive product range, where a special focus is placed on Certified Organic, Artisan flours, and home baking.
Emphasising it’s commitment to exceptional products, food safety and customer service, Laucke Flour Mills is ISO Quality and HACCP Management Systems certified.
In an industry now dominated by corporate giants, Laucke Flour Mills remains as the last of the industry-founding family-owned millers of Australia. The third and fourth generations of Friedrich Laucke’s descendants continue to work in the business and lead the industry, with the first of the 5th generation of millers now with us and growing every day. All maintain the family dedication of supporting their customers to the highest attainable standard.
The current generations of Friedrich’s successors continue his tradition of hard work and innovative thinking, seeking to be regarded by customers, suppliers and employees as the market leading and foremost provider of quality processed-grain products.