Rochdale consumer co-operatives in Australia: Decline and survival

Nikola Balnave*, Greg Patmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The Rochdale co-operative model was imported from the United Kingdom to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. Prior to 1945, the Australian Rochdale movement experienced waves of interest largely related to economic conditions and British immigration. While many Rochdales successfully traded for many decades, the movement failed to consolidate, experiencing internal and external political tensions and problems with wholesaling. In the post-war period, the movement went into permanent decline as individual co-operatives faced a range of challenges including competition from capitalist retailers, incompetent management and poor credit control. Defying these trends, a number of Rochdales continue to prosper in rural Australia today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1003
Number of pages18
JournalBusiness History
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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