Rochdale consumer co-operatives in Australia: a case of rural survival

Nikola Balnave, Greg Patmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historians have largely ignored the role that Rochdale co-operatives have played in the lives of many Australians. When considered by historians, Rochdale co‑operatives in Australia are generally dismissed as being insignificant to the plights of the labour movement and the needs of wider society, apart from those situated in coal mining districts. This paper challenges such assumptions by providing an historical overview of the extent and incidence of Rochdale co-operatives in Australia. It primarily focuses on consumer co-operatives at the local level, and maps the extent and impact of the Rochdale movement based on the typology of coalfields, rural and metropolitan co-operatives developed by W K McConnell (1929). While the Rochdale movement in Australia has largely collapsed, Rochdale co‑operatives still survive in some rural locations, despite McConnell’s grim predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of co-operative studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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