The Archives of “The Store” – The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd


a.k.a. ‘The Store’


The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd circa 1914 at its Charlton (now Hunter Street West) premises where it remained for the rest of its existence. (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


In July 1976 the Newcastle Regional Cooperative (‘The Store’) made its first transfer of business archives for the years 1898 – 1930 to the University Archives in the Auchmuty Library. The University of Newcastle was very fortunate to have received the records as they subsequently assisted the work of a number of research students including Dr J. C. Docherty, who made extensive use of the records in writing his doctoral thesis and subsequent book Newcastle: The Making of an Australian City (Hale & Iremonger, 1983). In March 1984, a second transfer of permanent value business archives from 1930 to 1980s, when the Cooperative was placed into liquidation.

The business archives are set in context by a further donation of the Cooperative’s library of some 120 books on the workings of the cooperative system, and the history of the cooperatives in Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia. These were donated to the Auchmuty Library as part of the Library’s holdings.

For background on the history of “The Store” please consult The Store : a co-operative phenomenon [an exhibition organised by] Newcastle Regional Museum. Newcastle, [N.S.W.]  published circa 1988.

The Store also prepared a comprehensive history to mark its 50th anniversary in 1948. Two typescript copies are located at B10706 and B10707. We have digitised the latter in full. From the introduction the reader can gather the fervent passion which propelled this organisation and the co-operative movement across the world:

Excerpt from Introduction to Store’s History to 1948.

“The success story, while remarkable enough would be merely another history of commercial success over a period when commercial success was by no means uncommon, were it not for one salient fact which differentiates the Society from any of a dozen private competitors.

The fact is this. The Store, as it is affectionately known through the Newcastle area, is not merely a monument to the clever and judicious expansion of a capital investment, the prudent management of mercantile affairs, or the unerring eye for opportunities of trade. Such capabilities are expected of the veriest capitalist and the lack of them, the badge of disgrace in private enterprise.

But the Society is a monument and the justification of an Idea – – the Idea that the philosophy holding happiness for mankind is not self-interest and uncurbed individualism but rather community-interest and community consciousness; the Idea that, in the midst of a world plunged headlong in a cruel race for gain, individuals by voluntary combination, can erect an edifice for mutual protection that will maintain and advance the idea of a just and Christian economic system against the immoral economic principles of the age.”

B10707 [Typescript] [The Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd History to 1948 to mark its 50th Anniversary 1898-1948.] 80MB PDF File

B10707 [Typescript] [The Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd History to 1948 to mark its 50th Anniversary 1898-1948.] Reduced Size Version 37MB PDF File

[2019 Update] We have now learned that the above words were those of historian Mr. Leo Butler, thanks to Mrs Jean Guihot whose scrapbooks of history related digitised newsclippings helped solve the mystery of our anonymous writer.

Page from the Guihot scrapbooks identifying the author Leo Butler – “Affluence, apathy kills The Store” by Gavin Gilchrist. 11 April, 1981. Newcastle Herald.


If you have a great story to tell about the Store, in its heyday, please consider conducting an oral history with us through ‘The Store’ – What’s Your Story Project.

Click Here for Store related posts:


Officers and Staff Taken at Official Opening of Clyde Street (Hamilton North) Premises (Grocery Producer) 28/7/1954 (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)




B11374  Minute Book No. 1,  23 April, 1898 – 19 June, 1905.

B11375  Minute Book No. 8,  31 October, 1938 – 18 December, 1939.

B11376  Minute Book No. 9,  January – December,  1940.

B11377  Minute Book No. 10,  January – December, 1941.

B11378   Minute Book No. 23,  January – December, 1955.

B11379  Minute Book No. 24,  January – December, 1956.

B11380  Minute Book No. 25,  January – December, 1957.

B11381  Minute Book No. 26,  January – December, 1958.

B11382  Minute Book No. 27,  January – December, 1959.

B11383  Minute Book No. 28,  January – December, 1960.

B11384   Minute Book No. 29,  January – December, 1961.

B11385  Minute Book No. 30,  January  -December, 1962.

B11386 Minute Book No. 31,  January – December, 1963.

B11387  Minute Book No. 32,  January – December, 1964.

B11388  Minute Book No. 33,  January – December, 1965.

B11389  Minute Book No. 34,  January – December, 1966.

B11390  Minute Book No. 35,  January – December, 1967.

B11391   Minute Book No. 36,  January – December, 1968.

B11392   Minute Book No. 39,  January – December, 1969.

B11393   Minute Book No. 40,  January  -December, 1970.

B11394   Minute Book No. 41,  January – December, 1971.

B11395   Minute Book No. 42,  January  -December, 1972.

B11396   Minute Book No. 43,  January – December, 1973.

B11397   Minute Book No. 44,  January – December, 1974.

B11398   Minute Book No. 45,  January – December, 1975.

B11399   Minute Book No. 46,  January – December, 1976.

B11400a  Minute Book No. 47,  January – December, 1977.

B11400b  Minute Book No. 48,  January – December, 1978.



Board of Management Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society, Ltd. June 1929. Top Row (Left to Right): G. NORMAN, K.A. MATHIESON, J. BRENT, J.U. WILSON. Bottom Row (left to right): R.JOHNSON, J.W. LAMB, L.F.C.A. (General Manager), T. MILLER (Chairman), D. SNEDDON (Secretary) (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


B8029  Directors Minute Book,  1905 – 1908.

B8030  Directors Minute Book,  1908 – 1910.

B8031  Directors Minute Book,  1910 – 1912.

B8032  Directors Minute Book,  1914 – 1915.

B8034  Directors Minute Book,  1915 – 1916.

B8035  Directors Minute Book,  1916 – 1917.

B8036  Directors Minute Book,  1917 – 1918.

B8037  Directors Minute Book,  1918 – 1922.

B10649  Directors’ Minute Book,  1922 – 1925.

B8038  Directors Minute Book,  1928 – 1930.

B8039  Directors Minute Book,  1930 – 1931.

B10650 Directors’ Minute Book,  1932 – 1933.

B10651  Directors’ Minute Book,  1933 – 1935.

B10652   Directors’ Minute Book,  1935 – 1936.

B10653a   Directors’ Minute Book,  1936 – 1937.

B10653b   Directors’ Minute Book,  1938.

B10654    Directors’ Minute Book,  1942.

B10655    Directors’ Minute Book,  1943.

B10656    Directors’ Minute Book,  1944 – 1945.

B10657    Directors’ Minute Book,  1945 – 1946.

B10658   Directors’ Minute Book,  1946 – 1947.

B10659   Directors’ Minute Book,  1947 – 1948.

B10660   Directors’ Minute Book,  1949.

B10661   Directors’ Minute Book,  1950.

B10662   Directors’ Minute Book,  1951.

B10663  Directors’ Minute Book,  1952.

B10664  Directors’ Minute Book,  1953.

B10665  Directors’ Minute Book,  1954.


B10677 Elections for President and Directors, Register,  1908 – 1978.

B8042   Register of Directors,  1924 – 1962 and Share Transfers,  1931 – 1935.


The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd Circa 1910 (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)



B10667  General Manager’s Reports, (1), 1930 – 1933.

B10668  General Manager’s Reports, (2), 1934 – 1936.

B10669  General Manager’s Reports, (3), 1936 – 1939.

B11401  General Managers’ Reports, 4,  8 May 1939 – 23 December, 1940.

B10670  General Manager’s Reports, (5), 1941 – 1942.

B10671  General Manager’s Reports, (6), 1943 – 1944.

B10672  General Manager’s Reports, (7), 1944 – 1945.

B10673  General Manager’s Reports, (8),  1946.

B10674   General Manager’s Reports, (9), 1947.

B10675a  General Manager’s Reports, (10),  1948.

B11402 General Managers’ Reports, 11,  January – December, 1949.

B11403 General Managers’ Reports, 12,  January – December, 1950.

B11404  General Managers’ Reports, 13,  January – December, 1951.

B11405 General Managers’ Reports, 14,  January – December, 1952.

B11406 General Managers’ Reports, 15,  January – December, 1953.

B11407  General Managers’ Reports, 16,  January  -December, 1954.

B11408  General Managers’ Reports, 17,  January – December, 1955.

B11409 General Managers’ Reports, 18,  January – December, 1956.

B11410  General Managers’ Reports, 19,  January – December, 1957.

B11411  General Managers’ Reports, 20,  January – December, 1958.

B11412  General Managers’ Reports, 21,  January – December, 1959.

B11413  General Managers’ Reports, 22,  January – December, 1960.

B11414  General Managers’ Reports, 23,  January – December, 1961.

B11415  General Managers’ Reports, 24,  January – December, 1962.

B11416  General Managers’ Reports, 25,  January – December, 1963.

B11417  General Managers’ Reports, 26,  January – December, 1964.

B11418  General Managers’ Reports, 27,  January – December, 1965.

B11419  General Managers’ Reports, 28,  January – December, 1966.

B11420  General Managers’ Reports, 29,  January – December, 1967.

B11421   General Managers’ Reports, 30,  January – December, 1968.

B11422  General Managers’ Reports, 31,  January – December, 1969.

B11423  General Managers’ Reports, 32,  January – December, 1970.

B11424  General Managers’ Reports, 33,  January – December, 1971.

B11425  General Managers’ Reports, 34,  January – December, 1972.

B11426  General Managers’ Reports, 35,  January – December, 1973.

B11427  General Managers’ Reports, 36,  January – December, 1974.

B11428  General Managers’ Reports, 37,  January – December, 1975.

B11429  General Managers’ Reports, 38,  January – December, 1976.

B11430  General Managers’ Reports, 39,  January – December, 1977.

B11431   General Managers’ Reports, 40,  January – December, 1978.

B11432  General Managers’ Reports, 41,  January – December, 1979.


B10675b  Manager’s Diary,  1941.

B10676   Register of Nominations,  1908 – 1961.

B8040  Education Committee Minute Book,  1931 – 1940.

B8041   Register of Property and Assets,  1927 – 1936.

B8043   Balance Sheets and Directors’ Reports,  1899 – 1934.

B8044    Applications for Membership,  1919 – 1925.

B10666  Shareholders’ Minute Book,  1933 – 1956.


The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd Circa 1910 (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)



B11303  Hospital and Medical Fund General Manager’s Reports,  1965 – 1977.

B11307  Hospital and Medical Fund Minutes and General Managers’ Reports,  1978 – 1981.

B11304  Hospital and Medical Fund Minutes,  1965 – 1981.

B11305  Hospital and Medical Fund Minutes,  1965 – 1977.

B11306  Hospital and Medical Fund Minutes,  1978 – 1981.


The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd circa 1910 at Charlton Street (now Hunter Street West) (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


A6205 (i) [Metal Box]  Legal documents, land surveys and correspondence concerning land at Wickham,  1902, 1904 – 1914.

A6205 (ii) Legal documents relating to Section A, Lot 9, Wickham, 1878, 1890, 1909, 1927.

A6205 (iii) Legal documents, 1907, 1918, 1921, 1927, 1942; Correspondence from Shell Company of Australia Limited amending the rebate on motor spirit,  1969 – 1970; Agreement of Wallsend and Plattsburg Co-operative Society relating to Cardiff land,  March, 1960 [and correspondence].

A6205 (iv) Legal correspondence relating to a motor vehicle accident,  April, 1953.

A5231  Share transfer books, 1908 – 1922, 1930 – 1932;

A6205 (v) Bank statements,  1960 – 1961; Bank books,  1912 – 1914; Share pass book,  1950 – 1959.

A6205 (va) MS copy of First annual report,  20th January, 1899.

Original Envelop housing the copy of the first annual report, [in  ink] “Coop Society First Annual Report” addressed to “Mr W. Swindells, Hamilton” [in blue pen] explaining that he was the “(father of Mrs Channon Senior and the man who influenced W. J. Channon Snr to [commence?] the founding of the Cooperative. Mr Swindells originally came from Rochdale, England – he arrived in Australia with 5 daughters his wife and 30/-)” 22/5/1974 Mr Harrold Channon, eldest son of the late W.J. Channon (the original founder of the Cooperative) found this document in his own personal possessions and decided to relinquish same to the Store for inclusion with other historical documents. (Signed) W.H. Channon and Mr R. O. Wright Secretary.
Newcastle and Suburban Co. Society Limited. First Annual Report 20th January 1899 Page 1 [A6205(va)]

Newcastle and Suburban Co. Society Limited. First Annual Report 20th January 1899 Page 2 [A6205(va)]
A9019 (iv) Newcastle & District Co-Operative Limited Share Pass Book

B11301 Rules,  1923 – 1941; Acts,  1923 – 1938.

A5969 (vii) Certificates of Incorporation,  1961, 1975, 1977.

B11302  ‘The Store’ Credit Union Co-Operative Limited File,  1962 – 1981.

A8516 (ii) Booklets relating to Newcastle & District Co-Operative Limited (The Store), Rules.

A7252 (xv) Liquidator’s Report and Accounts and Notice of Meeting of Members and  Creditors,  June, 1982.  [2 copies.]

A5969 (vi) Rules of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Manchester, England,  1920, 1924, 1931, 1941, 1971, 1974, 1977.

Christmas Function [n.d.] at The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


A6205 (vii) Staff lists and wages sheets,  1903 – 1949; Staff education notebook,  1952 – 1957; Staff guides, magazines and related correspondence,  1945 – 1950.

B10678   Staff Register,  1909 – 1945.



A6206 (i) Fourth half-yearly report and balance sheet,  1904;

A5969 (v) The New South Wales Wholesale Co-operative Society Limited Hunter Street, Wickham : half yearly report and balance sheet,  1925, 1928.

A6206 (i) Half yearly balance sheets and reports,  1937 – 1964.

A5231 Annual report and accounts for the year ended 2nd August, 1980.



A6206 (ii) Letter to A.W. Markham,  May 30th, 1898.

A5231 Correspondence file, 1916 – 1917;

A6206 (iii) Correspondence and invitations,  1954 – 1956.

The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd first two storey rented building at the corner of Charlton (now Hunter Street West) and Florence Street. Circa 1898? (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


A6206 (iv) MS on Stanley hand drill.  [n.d.].

A6206 (iv)(a) First Victory Loan Voucher,  1944.

A6206 (v)(a) Leaflet:  Agricultural credit by A.J. Boyazoglu.

A6721 (v) Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society “The Store”.  [Typescript history,  1948.]

A8775 (v) Co-operatives, Newcastle, N.S.W., clippings. 1898-1986

B10705   The New South Wales Co-Operative Congress,  1937.

B10706    History of ‘The Store’, The Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society,  1898-1948.

B10707    As above. [B10707 [Typescript] [The Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd History to 1948 to mark its 50th Anniversary 1898-1948.] 80MB PDF File]

Christmas Function [n.d.] at The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)

A8783 (xxiii)  2 milk tokens (Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd.

Milk Token 1 Pint Bottled Milk


Milk Token 1 Pint Bottled Milk


Single Storey building next to The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd buildings circa 1910  (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


A5969 (iv) Early photographs of Newcastle and suburban stores and staff photographs.  [c. 1940s and c. 1960s.]  (Donated by J. Sloggett.) Photograph of Board of Management,  1929.

A8798 (v) Printers block – Newcastle and Suburban Co-operative Society (The Store). Five photographs. Staff group, The Store building, Blacksmith shop, Stables, Row of The Store delivery carts.  Note: block marked quite a bit.  15x23cm.  [1910?]

A8805/P00508 Wickham. Vacant area [near Hannell Street]. Note the Co-operative Store in the background. [1960’s?]



B10679  Boolaroo Co-Operative Society Minute Book,  1957.



A6205 (vi) Rules of the Wallsend and Plattsburg Co-operative Society Ltd,  August, 1925.

B10680 Wallsend and Plattsburg Co-operative Society Ledger,  1954 – 1960.

B10681  Wallsend and Plattsburg Co-operative Society Ledger,  1961 – 1964.

B8046  West Wallsend Co-op. Society, Quarterly Reports,  1903 – 1916.

B8047  West Wallsend Co-op. Society, Quarterly Reports,  1917 – 1930.

A5231 Two sets of five pieces of token money of West Wallsend Co-operative, c.1930 (Threepence, shilling, sixpence, penny and halfpenny tokens.) (Donated by G. Sutherland, Lambton.)



B10682  Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. Minutes,  1971 – 1974.

B10683  Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. Minutes,  1971 – 1975.

B11433  General Managers’ Reports C.W.S.,  1971 – 1975.

B8045  History of C.W.S. of N.S.W., by E. O’Neil,  1912 – 1948.


The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd circa 1910 at Charlton Street (now Hunter Street West) (Photograph digitised from A5969(iv) University of Newcastle (Australia) Cultural Collections)


B10684  The Co-operative News,  1921-1922.

B10685  The Co-operative News,  1924-1925.

B10686  The Co-operative News,  1925.

B10687  The Co-operative News,  1926.

B10688   The Co-operative News,  1926.

B10689   The Co-operative News,  1927.

B10690a  The Co-operative News,  1929.

B10690b  The Co-operative News,  1930.

B10691  The Co-operative News,  1931.

B10692  The Co-operative News,  1932.

B10693  The Co-operative News,  1933.

B10694  The Co-operative News,  1933.

B10695  The Co-operative News,  1934.

B10696  The Co-operative News,  1935.

B10697  The Co-operative News,  1936.

B10698  The Co-operative News,  1937.

B10699  The Co-operative News,  1937.

B10700  The Co-operative News,  1938.

B10701  The Co-operative News,  1940.

B10702  The Co-operative News,  1941.

B10703  The Co-operative News,  1944.

B10704  The Co-operative News,  1950.



C055  CO-OPERATIVES c.1951 – 1973 (Newsclippings)

C2779(xvii) Hamton P, Retail Cooperatives in the Lower Hunter valley, Newcastle History Monograph No. 12, 1986

C2841(v)  Correspondence: John Brown to William Brown re: Co-operative Societies  1902-1904

M4752  D1998/90 Apprentice’s Indenture for Wilfred Wrightson, with the Newcastle & Suburban Co-op. Society Ltd., as a baker.1st September, 1932 ;

M4762  Collection of clippings from The Newcastle Herald. Subjects – ; The Newcastle Co-op Store.



A6901 (iv) Seminars and proposed thesis outline,  1974 – 1977.  [Includes a history of the Co-op Store.]; Typescript on consumer cooperation.

B11759  Co-operatives and co-operative Societies 1924



A6967(ix) Newcastle & suburban Co-Operative Society– Esme Allan – 12 Sept 1989

A7466A(iii) Women at ‘The Store’ & the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) – Melissa Cameron – Interviewer Maureen Tobin

A6731(23) Driving a Store Bread Van – Charles Watters – 1987

This online Finding Aid was compiled by Gregg Heathcote in March 2018, and later edited and prepared for Online Distribution by Gionni Di Gravio in January 2019 to support the Oral History ‘The Store’ What’s Your Story project sponsored by Doma Group, and managed by Artefact Heritage (, in association with GLAMx Living Histories Digitisation Lab at the University of Newcastle Library ( and the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund (, and supported by Newcastle Region Library (


Interview with Les Gibbs, Manager of “The Store” – The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd. He talks about the Co-operative Movement and his association with the Movement in the Hunter Valley for 34 years. NBN Television program ‘The Valley’s People’, October 25th 1981.  Interviewed by Ron Hurst. VIEW THE PROGRAM HERE. 


Benton, Lynne. Edit – Benton, Lynne – ‘Each for all and all for each’Lynne Benton. Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) Degree in the Department of History, University of Newcastle. October 1992. [PDF 22.5 MB)

2 thoughts on “The Archives of “The Store” – The Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society Ltd

  1. Hi
    My name is Diane Ashton, my mother in law was Jean Forde who worked in the Personnel Dept for over 20 years until it’s closure.
    Jean passed away 8 years ago and in her possession was a great deal of Store memorabilia, including minutes of meetings, many photo albums of the Annual Store on Stage where staff would carry out full musical productions and these were usually held at the Civic Theatre.
    I have been wanting these items to be protected and looked after as it is so much a part of Newcastle’s history. I approached the museum a while back and they weren’t very interested.
    If you would like to see the items, please contact me and I would be happy for the University to have them .
    Thank you

    1. Thanks so much Diane, One of our Cultural Collections GLAMx Team will be in touch shortly.

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