WCS. 11 May 1926. Twenty-six years ago the store of WH Betts was opened in the old wool store overlooking the harbour at Murat Bay. In July 1910, the company of WH Betts Limited, purchased from the late Mr WH Betts the goodwill of the business. The old store was burnt, completely gutted on Saturday 12 Nov 1910, recorded by SA Davies, manager of Mr WH Bett’s store at Murat Bay. Since he began the store business has increased, branches have been opened at Fowler’s Bay, Penong, Denial Bay, Thevenard, Streaky Bay, and Yaninee, and altogether the company has played a leading part in the progress of the west coast. The company has financed some hundreds of pioneers, many of whom have successfully established themselves in west coast districts, and particularly the surrounding districts of Murat Bay. It has made itself felt to such an extent that the directors of this company found it necessary to increase the capital from £25,000 to £50,000, retaining a reserve fund of £12,350 and to deal with the business on entirely different lines. We have authentic information, to the effect that the directors have deemed it essential to allot shares to their customers with a view to consolidating the future of the business by developing and maintaining the true spirit of co-operation. The scope of operations will be extended by adding wholesale and indenting departments to the Streaky Bay and Ceduna branches, and the farming community will be encouraged to place, through local channels, business which, in the past, has gone to enrich the city at the expense of the country.
6 Feb 1952. Ceduna. After more than half a century of trading, Ceduna’s oldest general store, the Ceduna branch of W H Betts Ltd, will close down on February 29. At present the store is in the process of selling at sale prices, the balance of the stock in all departments.
The general supervisor of the Betts stores, Mr R J Betts, will take over and conduct the agencies at present connected with the Ceduna branch of the firm. Although all business will conclude at the O’Loughlin Tce store at the end of this month, arrangements are being made for the Poynton Street store to continue trading under new proprietorship.
In 1931 FW and R Betts opened this business in Poynton Street, with the opening performed by pioneer Con McInerheny, one time manager of the Ceduna Hotel.
The Streaky Bay branch of the company will continue to operate as usual. Established in 1884, by the late W H Betts, the Streaky Bay store was the first of a chain of Betts stores. In the years which followed, branches were established at Denial Bay, Murat Bay, Fowlers Bay, Esperance Bay, Yaninee, Thevenard, Poochera and Warramboo. When the company was established under a new directorate about three years ago, there were four stores in the group, Streaky Bay, Ceduna, Penong and Warramboo. The two latter have since been sold. After the end of this month Streaky Bay’s will be the only W H Betts Ltd store on the Coast and for the first time in history there will be none of the Betts family employed by the company. Many people in Ceduna and district have expressed deep regret at the closing down of a local store which “was born and has grown with the town and district, and has always served its people loyally and well.”
Coloured photo shows Betts Stores in later years, 1969.
Thanks to Lorna Schwarz and Janita Eckersley for these photos.
HISTORY BITS AND PIECES Some stories and photos of our district by Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger. See Ceduna Old Photos on Facebook for more local history and photos.