Centennial milestone for United Fruitgrowers’ Co-op

By Sonia Isaacs Clark

APRIL 16, 2022, marks 100 years since the formation of the United Fruitgrowers’ Co-operative Association at Glass House Mountains. An impressive achievement by any standard, the co-operative is still to this day owned by its shareholders and is believed to be the oldest registered co-operative still trading in Queensland.

A special meeting was first held at the Beerburrum Soldiers Settlement on April 16, 1922, with a motion moved to establish a branch of the United Fruit Growers Association. A committee formed, and three weeks later a meeting was called at the Glasshouse Mountains School of Arts. With 19 people in attendance, a committee was appointed to carry out details for the construction of a building on land leased from the Railway Department.

Within two weeks meetings were underway to organise and dispose of pineapples grown in the area to the State Cannery. During the following months progress was swift and well supported by local farmers. The original building was located near where Glasshouse Country Auto Body Repairs sits today and was opened for occupancy in January 1924. At the direction of the Attorney General, in May 1924, the association was registrated under the Primary Producers’ Co-Operative Association Act 1923.

While the functions of the co-operative may have evolved over the last few decades, prior to the mid 1970’s the co-operative not only supplied the needs of the farmers and handled the fruit being sent to the Golden Circle Cannery, but it also acted as two distinct but vitally important voices for the local community. The co-operative acted as secretariat for the Glass House Mountains Local Producers Association as well as an instrumental voice actioning local community improvement for the local progress association. In 1971 a new building was completed, and the entire operation which currently trades as a franchise of Mitre 10 was moved to its current location.

Member for Glass House Andrew Powell MP said the milestone was an astonishing achievement, and one he planned to mention in Parliament next month.

“The Co-op came at an important time for our local fruitgrowers and has been an asset to the community, owned by the community, ever since. I love the fact that its existence was so vital to our local economy,” said Mr Powell adding that the Premier himself, Sir Frank Nicklin, opened the current building back in 1972.

“My sincere and heartiest congratulations to all involved with the Glasshouse United Fruitgrowers Co-op on the outstanding achievement!”

Main image: The current building of the United Fruitgrowers Co-op was officially opened in 1972 by Premier Sir Frank Nicklin