1st Edition

A History of Australian Co-operatives 1827–2023

    272 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Co-operatives provide a different approach to organising business through their ideals of member ownership and democratic practice. Every co-operative member has an equal vote regardless of his or her own personal capital investment. They take a variety of different forms, including consumer co-operatives, agricultural co-operatives, worker co-operatives and financial co-operatives.

    Patmore, Balnave and Marjanovic provide a perspective on Australian co-operative development within a conceptual framework and international context since the 1820s by exploring the economic, political and social factors that explain their varying fortunes. Drawing upon the Visual Historical Atlas of Australian Co-operatives, a significant database of Australian co-operatives and a variety of historical sources, this book provides a detailed historical analysis of their development, from their inception in Australia to today. Australian co-operatives were heavily dependent on state sympathy for their growth and vulnerable to ideas that challenged collective organisation such as Neo-liberalism. Despite these challenges, the co-operative business model has persisted and since 2009, there has been resurgence of interest and organisation that may provide a platform for future growth.

    A useful resource for practitioners, students, educators, policy makers and researchers that highlights a significant alternative business model to the Investor-Owned Business and state enterprise.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

    Table of Contents


    Figures and Tables




    Chapter 1 - What is a Co-operative?

    Chapter 2 - An International Co-operative Movement

    Chapter 3 - An Australian Overview – Insights from the Visual Historical Atlas of Australian Co-operatives

    Chapter 4 - The Early Years until 1860

    Chapter 5 - The Long Boom 1860–1890

    Chapter 6 - The 1890s Depression and its Aftermath 1890–1914

    Chapter 7 - Wars and Depression 1914–1945

    Chapter 8 - Post-War Prosperity 1945–1975

    Chapter 9 - The Challenges of Neo-liberalism 1975–2009

    Chapter 10 - A Revival? 2009–2023

    Chapter 11 – Conclusion



    Greg Patmore is Emeritus Professor of Business and Labour History at the University of Sydney Business School. He is author of The Innovative Consumer Co-operative: The Rise and the Fall of Berkeley (Routledge, 2020). His primary research interest is the history of co-operatives and mutuals.

    Nikola Balnave is an associate professor in the Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. Her primary focus of research is on co-operatives and the co-operative movement over space and time. Nikki is the co-author of A Global History of Co-operative Business with Greg Patmore.

    Olivera Marjanovic (PhD) is a professor in the Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. Her research focuses on the human side and societal impact of new technologies such as visual analytics, AI and digital platforms. She is passionate about co-operatives and their societal impact.