The story of Lilydale

Free Range Chicken South Australia

Where it all began:
In 1916 with Celestino Baiada – a man who valued family above everything else and who found success in poultry and property started a legacy that would live on for generation to come.

Celestino Baiada a 14-year-old boy at the time moved from Malta to Australia to start a new life. A quiet but determined Celestino went to work, knowing there would be opportunities ahead. It could be said that his name somewhat determined his destiny; ironically enough, the Maltese occupational name ‘bajjad’ means ‘egg-seller’.

On arrival in Australia, Celestino’s father found work with NSW railways in Lithgow, leaving Celestino to lodge and work in Sydney. He worked as a kitchen hand for just 15 shillings a week. Gifted with an acute business mind from an early age, it wasn’t long before he realised if you do a man’s work, you get a man’s pay and so he negotiated his wage to 25 shillings a week. Of course, entry into the Australian workforce did not come without a nickname. From then on, Celestino was known as Charlie.

Between the 1916-1939 depression hit but as soon as the depression stated to lift Charlie saw an opportunity to take advantage of the slow but consistent economic recovery to increase his land holdings. By the second half of the decade, he was on a roll both buying and selling property. This is when he saw an opportunity poultry and jumped at the opportunity to feed the army during World War II tendered a contract with the government, the military had their doubts but Charlie’s determination was unwavering. This was his first move towards poultry processing.

A passion for poultry was born

By the early ’40s, Charlie had numerous irons in the fire, selling produce to the markets and continuing to invest in land. The poultry industry grew nearly seven-fold during the ’50s and Charlie’s business grew with it. He was like a father to his employees; firm when necessary but a joker at heart. Unfortunately the ’80s was significant for Baiada. In November 1983 the family, the company and its employees lost a great man when Charlie passed away at the age of 81.

John Camilleri

This is when John Camilleri his son stepped in and kickstarted a period of growth for Baiada as he took over the business of 160 employees at Pendle Hill and Tamworth. Under his leadership, the growth of the company intensified.

John was just 24 years old when he took over the business of 160 employees at Pendle Hill and Tamworth. Under his leadership, the growth of the company intensified. A breakthrough for Baiada came when a fast food chain that had previously sourced their chicken from other suppliers approached Baiada (KFC). This gave the business the room to invest in innovation and range extension.

It was over this same time the food world was starting to trend for a premium range to be introduce to the market and it became clear that there was a place in the market for further expansion and for Baiada to introduce a premium range.

This lead to launching a hatchery and two breeder farms in South Australia contributing to more growth.

Lilydale Free Range

And entering the market with a premium offer called Lilydale Free Range named after the little town at the entrance of the picturesque Yarra Valley region of Victoria, a place known for its bountiful produce. So now after nearly 20 years, passionate Lilydale farmers have been perfecting free range farming. Being proud of Australia and home grown, Lilydale South Australia can now be found in major retail stores. Producing locally and employing more than 880 employees across more than 25 small businesses farmer members with approximately 80 employees per farm.

As the business grows so does Lilydale’s vision for safeguarding the future of the world grow too. We are proud to say that Lilydale South Australia is actively working on eliminating waste rather than manage it via landfill. Zero waste as a business is our aim and not only is this beneficial for the environment but also the economy and broader community.

Today, our commitment to quality and to the welfare of our chickens is what sets us apart and we are happy to supply across South Australia and be able to help and support the local community through employment and supporting local initiatives.

Dedication you can taste available in South Australia

Dedication you can taste available in South Australia

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