Deposit N402 - Timber Merchants Association

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Timber Merchants Association


  • 1883 - 2017 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

11 boxes (9 type 1 boxes, 1 type 2 box and 1 type 10 box)

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Biographical history

On 14 September 1883, twenty one merchants attended the inaugural meeting of the Timber Merchants Association of Melbourne. The objects of the association were to represent the firms interested in the timber trade of the Port of Melbourne “with the view of united action in all matters bearing upon the welfare and satisfactory working of such trade, and to obtain an approved and decided opinion upon any points of policy or alteration in trade arrangements that may present themselves”.
The co-founders of the Association were John Sharp of John Sharp & Sons in South Melbourne and James Wright of J Wright & Co, also in South Melbourne. They established offices at 38 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne and invited annual subscriptions at a price of 3 guineas. The Association’s initial activities focused on cartage rates, prices and credit.
December 1888 saw the beginning of the Association’s involvement in union negotiations, with the majority of members opposing the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners’ request for a reduction of working hours from 48 to 44 hours per week. Throughout the 1900s, the Association would regularly oppose moves to legislate for a 5 day week and a 40 hour week.
In 1905 the Association changed its name to the Melbourne & Suburban Timber Merchants Association. Shortly after, in 1910, a Bendigo & District Timber Merchants Association was formed.
Throughout the early 1900s the Association moved premises several times before finally finding a more permanent home at 51 William Street, Melbourne in 1925.
In 1940 Fred O’Connell of Junction Joinery was appointed Manager of the Association, holding this position for 18 years. In 1941, he and President Eric Aitken held talks with the Prices Commission in Canberra regarding price control and the difficult position the industry was in, successfully negotiating a set price for timber. Also in 1941, the Association organised a Timber Trade Advisory Committee to oversee petrol rationing.
In 1959 a Geelong Branch of the Melbourne & Suburban Timber Merchants Association was formed, however it wasn’t long before the idea of merging the country and city associations emerged and in 1965 the branches merged to form the Timber Merchants Association (Victoria).
In 1971 the William Street building that housed the Association was sold and the Association built new offices in Whitehorse Road, Blackburn.
In 2017 the TMA was absorbed by the Master Grocers Association of Victoria (MGAV). The TMA is now known as MGA Timber Merchants Australia (MGA TMA).

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Scope and content

Minute books, share transfer books, price lists, printed material, certificates, photographs and slides relating mostly to Victorian branches (Melbourne, Bendigo) and a small number of records relating to South Australia.


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Researchers must sign an access agreement.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Processed by Rachel Armstrong in January 2019.




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