Rural Co-Operative closure

April 05, 2018

Directors of the Yarrawonga and District Rural Co-Op cheque presentation to Friends in Common. (L-R) Graeme McQualter, James Cummins, Graham Thomas, Leon Porter (FIC), John Lawless (Chairman), Marilyn Albert (FIC) and Graham Reid.

The Yarrawonga and District Rural Co-operative has been running for 54 years but will this year be closing their doors.

The Co-operative held their final function at the Yarrawonga Golf Club on Friday, March 23  attended by approximately 60 committee and members.
The co-op was formed in 1964 under the leadership of Horrie Prescott and operated as a hardware and fuel business to assist its 200 odd shareholders to be able to buy products at a better price out of a premises in Belmore Street known as Bowles Store until around 1975.
The premises then had a few moves before buying their own premises at 149 Belmore Street, known as Tuttle’s building and operated out of there until the 1980’s after which the building was leased out until eventually being sold in 2015.
The fuel business originally ran by Amoco and went through various wholesalers however the rebates from the fuel companies ceased in 2015 when volumes fell as many farmers negotiated their own deals with fuel companies.
It became apparent to the directors that the Co-op had ran its course and it was time to wind it up in the interest of its members.
Luckily for the members, wise investment and prudent management meant that the dividend to be paid out when wound up will be appreciated by the members.
Yarrawonga & District Rural Co-operative Chairman John Lawless said it was both sad and heartening for the Co-Operative to be closing but he would like to thank those who have been involved over the years.
“It is sad but in some way a sense of relief to write the final report for the Yarrawonga & District Rural Co-op,” said Mr Lawless.
“It was formed in 1964 by a large and enthusiastic band of local district farmers from both sides of the border and worked very well as a way to keep retail prices honest, but struggled to be a financial success.
“In the latter years it became obvious once the fuel rebate ceased that its days were numbered. Luckily for the members, the earlier Directors had invested wisely and as we wind up the Co-op, they will all receive a reasonable return of capital for their shares.
“In closing, I would like to thank all those great local people that started the Co-op and kept it going for 54 years.
“When you look back through the history of Directors and members who attended the meetings, they have all been wonderful contributors to our society and districts of Yarrawonga and Mulwala.”

Chairmen over the years
1964 – 1976    12 Years    Horrie Prescott
1977 – 1988    11 Years    Lindsay Bruce
1989 – 1995    6 Years    Graeme Thomas
1996 – 2003    7 Years    Graham Reid
2004 – 2007    3 Years    Ian Woods
2008 – 2018    10 Years    John Lawless

1964 – 1990    27 Years    HG Prescott
1969 – 1993    24 Years    LG Bruce
1964 – 1992    28 Years    PG O’Dwyer
1964 – 1968    4 Years    AH White
1964 – 1973    9 Years    FJ Keenan
1964 – 1967    3 Years    LC Lewis
1964 – 1967    3 Years    HA Cameron
1964 – 1970    6 Years    L Hargreaves
1967 – 1969    2 Years    R Buchanan
1973 – 1975     2 Years    AR Montrose
1968 – 1978    10 Years    JR Hammon
1975 – 2018    43 Years    G Thomas
1970 – 1978    9 Years    LM Quinn
1970 – 1992    22 Years    Jo Woods
1978 – 2005    27 Years    KJ Lawless
1978 – 1010    32 Years    Max Hargreaves
1992 – 2018    26 Years    Ian Woods
1992 – 1994    2 Years    F O’Dwyer
1994 – 2018    24 Years    James Cummins
1993 – 2018    25 Years    Graham Reid
1993 – 2018    25 Years    Graham McQualter
1996 - 2018    22 Years    John Lawless
2010 – 2018     8 Years    Ron Sandford

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