Friendlies staff Leanne pardoe, Sophie Schmidt, Julie McCaughey, Hayley Buckler and Kerrie Lockett.
Friendlies staff Leanne pardoe, Sophie Schmidt, Julie McCaughey, Hayley Buckler and Kerrie Lockett. Adam Hourigan

100 years of friendly service to the Clarence Valley

COME along to The Friendlies Chemist in Prince St, Grafton today to celebrate 100 years of pharmaceutical service and support.

>> RELATED: Modern pharmacy with tradition at its heart

The official function will take place from 12 noon and everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy a piece of centenary cake and some refreshments.

The first 200 party goers will receive a free Friendlies Chemist gift bag.


Chemist at Friendlies Chemist Grafton John Dawson.
Chemist at Friendlies Chemist Grafton John Dawson. Adam Hourigan

A pharmacy is born

(As it was announced in The Daily Examiner, June 1, 1916, pg4)

The Friendly Societies' pharmacy will be opened to-day in Driscoll's premises, Prince street. The pharmacy was formed for the purpose of dispensing medicines, etc., for the lodges in Grafton and South Grafton. The general public will be catered for also, both in this respect and in regard to the supply of the proprietary lines usually stocked in an up-to-date pharmacy. In the case of the business referred to above, it commences with every assurance of success, and will have the support of the lodges, whose membership numbers something like 1000, on either side of the river. Mr. Hugh Ross, who has been appointed manager, has had experience in Great Britain and other parts of the world, and will give his personal attention to the wants of customers.

In order to finance the venture, shares were made available to all members of the various Friendly Societies at five shillings per share and by the meeting of September 3, 1915 application had been received for 1541  shares.


Business notice from April, 1917

The Grafton & South Grafton Friendly Societies' Pharmacy is now well-established in Driscoll's Premises, 43 PRINCE ST, GRAFTON and caters for the general public in addition to members of Friendly Societies.

We solicit your business, and try by courtesy and attention to retain same.


When your Physician writes a prescription, bring it to us and we will prepare the medicine for you as he intends, from the Purest Drugs.


You can depend on our Prescription Work, as well as everything else in our establishment. IT IS RELIABLE.

The Friendlies Chemist, Grafton.
The Friendlies Chemist, Grafton. Adam Hourigan

Initial Groundwork

THE Friendly Societies Pharmacy Ltd serviced both sides of the river in Grafton and South Grafton when it first opened its doors on Monday, June 1, 1916.

Before then, there had been various lodges formed providing assistance to members in time of need.

In 1914 and 1915 representatives of the various Friendly Societies operating in Grafton held a number of meetings to discuss the feasibility of opening and running a Friendly Societies Pharmacy.

Mr WJ Gunnee, a fire brigade officer, played a leading a very active role in promoting the possibility of running a pharmacy.

On September 3, 1915, Messrs WJ Hawthorne, J Reid, TL Orr, EJ Pollack, WJ Gunnee and H Crisford met as provisional directors at the Nymboida Shire Council Chambers in South Grafton, and at that meeting Mr Reid was elected as the provisional chairman and Mr E Owen as provisional secretary.

It was resolved that the name of the company be Grafton and South Grafton Friendly Societies Pharmacy Ltd.

In order to finance the venture, shares were made available to all members of the various Friendly Societies at five shillings per share and by the meeting of September 3, 1915 application had been received for 1541 shares.

Subsequent meetings were held at either the Nymboida Shire Council offices or at the office of Barton, Bogan and Harrison.

On October 14, 1915 the meeting discussed the Articles of Association which had been prepared. They were adopted, and then submitted to the assistant registrar of Joint Stock Companies for incorporation. The certificate of incorporation was issued on May 8, 1916.

On November 23, 1915 a five-year lease was signed for Driscoll's premises in Prince St, Grafton which were at that time occupied by WM Hazelhurst.

The rent was to be three pounds ten shillings per week and was to provide for occupancy from May 1916.

Up and running

Following the receipt of advice that the Articles of Association were to be registered, arrangements were made to commence operating as a pharmacy on June 1, 1916.

The first manager was the be Mr Ross. A cash register was purchased with a deposit of six pounds, and 11 monthly payments of four pounds.

A depot was also established at South Grafton for the purpose of receiving prescriptions. If lodged by 11am, the medicines would be forwarded to South Grafton on the 3pm bus.

The first annual general meeting of the pharmacy was held in the Protestant Hall, Queen St at 8pm on August 3, 1916. Fifty-eight shareholders were present.

The meeting elected nine directors to handle the pharmacy's affairs for the next 12 months.

Those elected were: Messrs J Reid, TL Orr, H Crisford, EW McCann, LW Bowtell, HC Maxted, J Rider, W Quinn and E Perrin. Mr Reid was elected as the first chairman of the board and Mr Owen as secretary.

On November 18, 1916 the board of directors appointed Mr AC Small as auditor. Mr Small had commenced practice in Grafton on April 13, 1916 joining the partnership of Barton, Bogan and Harrison.

After Mr Small's withdrawal from the partnership, the Friendly Societies Pharmacy remained with Mr Small.

Initial trading by the pharmacy was fairly slow and the first 13 months showed a loss of 70 pounds/13 shillings/8 pence. A small loss was also recorded for the next 12 months, then the business commenced trading at a profit.

In 1919 it was proposed to change the name of the pharmacy to Unity Pharmacy Ltd, however at a subsequent annual meeting in 1920, it was decided that no action be taken to change the name.

On the move

On September 27, 1923 the board of directors was informed that the premises occupied by the pharmacy had been sold to a tailor, Mr WT Strauss wished to occupy the premises himself.

Enquiries revealed that a Mr J Morrison tobacconist, intended to vacate his premises which he owned in Prince St. Negotiations with Mr Morrison resulted in a lease being signed for the Friendly Societies Pharmacy to rent these premises from February 1, 1924 for a period of 10 years. The rent to be four pounds per week.

On February 18, 1925 Mr Morrison offered to sell the premises to the pharmacy for 2500 pounds. The directors considered the figure too high and rejected the offer.

On May 6, 1940 premises occupied by Maurice and Johnson and JA Norris were offered to the pharmacy for 5000 pounds.

The directors showed interest in purchasing these premises, however they were unable to raise a loan large enough to complete the contract.

On October 23, 1952 the board of directors approved the purchase of the pharmacy premises for the sum of 6900 pounds.

The pharmacy has occupied that same building at 18 Prince St, since they first moved in there more than 90 years ago.

Former Friendlies pharmacist Glynn Bodimeade .
Former Friendlies pharmacist Glynn Bodimeade . Adam Hourigan


Grafton Friendlies Chemist today is a true community pharmacy. It is owned by community (customers) members and is governed by a board elected from the membership.

The valued support from the community and the members has resulted in the success of the pharmacy operation over the past 100 years and the future of the pharmacy is dependent on that continued support.

Thank you to every member and customer who have contributed in that support over its century of service to the Grafton area.

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