Labour History

Localism and Rochdale Co-Operation: The Junee District Co-Operative Society

Labour History (2006), 91, (1), 47–68.

Abstract

Despite the disappearance of many Rochdale co-operatives in Australia, the Junee District Co-operative Society founded in 1923 continues to thrive. The Co-op was a non-union workplace for most of its history and did not become involved in the broader co-operative movement until the late 1970s. This article examines the history of the Co-op to understand why it has survived and prospered, despite facing competition from local private-sector retailers and one major chain store. Of particular note is that the Co-op operated in a town whose population has generally declined since the 1930s. The threat of competition from large chain stores has therefore decreased over the years due to the constrained market. Recognition of the need to modernise retailing methods has also been a factor in the Co-op’s longevity. However, of central importance is the issue of localism and the reciprocal relationship that the Co-op has developed with the town of Junee. The financial survival of the Co-op became linked to economic sustainability of the town.

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Author details

Balnave, Nikola

Patmore, Greg

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