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Ravensthorpe Historical Society

About the Ravensthorpe Co-Op

The Ravensthorpe District Co-operative Company Limited was formed in 1948 with a capital of £3,000 in shares of £1 each. The establishment followed an initial meeting between Arthur Archer and James McCulloch, in August 1947 at Max Moir’s farm. Arthur William Archer of Ravensthorpe was the proprietor of the first One Hundred shares numbered from 1 to 100 at the sum of one pound per share, paid 6th March, 1948. The certificate was signed by Hugh Smith secretary and W Clarke director.

The Co-op was on Lot 17 Morgans Street and replaced the Dunn Bros General store building. Hugh Smith was the Co-op’s first manager and was later replaced by Sam Rose in 1958. By then, the directors were Jas M McCulloch, Henry S Johnson, Leonard C Price, Arthur W Archer, W. Hugh Smith, Irwin J Chapman and its secretary Sam Rose.

In 1963 the Co-op was broken into, with a loss of £50.00 worth of merchandise. Archives do not report if the police enquiries were fruitful and the thief/ves apprehended..

Wesfarmers Stores Pty Ltd. took over the business of the Ravensthorpe District Co-operative Company Ltd. on 1st May 1964. As the Directors did not have the necessary capital to expand they had approached Wesfarmers who modernised the building, introduced self-service groceries and also stocked machinery spare parts. Sam Rose continued as the Manager of the new store.

Wesfarmers received approval for the purchase of the adjoining Lot 18 Morgans Street (former Phillips River Roadboard location) on 7 January, 1965. They erected a new steel framed Mills & Hassell shed with asbestos cladding. Fresh fruit, veterinary products, gas, welding equipment and machinery oil was for sale.

The 1968 directors were J (James) M McCulloch Chairman, H (Henry) S Johnson, AJ (Bunty) King, WH Smith, WL (Lloyd) Archer, W (Bill) A Clarke and Secretary K (Kevin) F Williams.

The Co-op finally transferred its share to Wesfarmers who then added half of Lot 17 to the property to expand. The extra space allowed for easier vehicle access for bulky merchandise such as fencing wire and gas bottles.

Nigel Hunt & Co bought the premises in 1978 and continued with the Wesfarmers Agency. They kept operating from those premises till 1989 when they sold the property to George and Helen Joynes and operated from the old stone Lansell building at Lot 83 Morgan Street.

The Joynes extended the range of services, including ELNA sewing machines, haberdashery, R&I Bank agency, lingerie, reticulation and the Hole in The Garden Wall garden centre. When Australia Post closed the Post Office and Telegraph station in 1993, Helen added to her business by taking on the service as a licensed in-store agency. The post office had been formerly run by Peter and Janice Dow, at Lots 24 and 25 Morgans Street (Post and Telegraph location). Helen sold the building in 1996 to Cathy Dennis and Bob Steele, with Sue Riseborough acting as postal manager.

In 1998 Ian and Kerry Dickinson bought the old co-op building as well as the Post office license and two mail contracts (Fitzgerald and North Ravensthorpe runs). The new business was renamed Ravensthorpe Bushcode Post. In the building, they leased out space to a hair dressing salon and ran sewing classes out the back, Kerry being a very keen quilter. Anthea Marris became the post office manager.

Changes succeeded at a fairly rapid rate from then on.

Finally, in 2018, the building is demolished. The steel frame was bought by George Alison, a Munglinup farmer, the timber went to Hopetoun Men in Sheds, and the asbestos was duly buried several metres deep at the Ravensthorpe tip.

As of 2020 the vacant site awaits a new re-incarnation and become part of the new Cultural Precinct.

© Ravensthorpe Historical Society archives. Compiled by A. Williams, archivist, August2020
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