Poor fish sales and bad debts put Fishermen's Co-Op in financial hole

 In hot water: The dredge H.E.Street had to be rescued by Port Macquarie Fire Brigade before it could reach its mooring at Hibbard wharf, 1966.

In hot water: The dredge H.E.Street had to be rescued by Port Macquarie Fire Brigade before it could reach its mooring at Hibbard wharf, 1966.

Dredge needed help

Port Macquarie’s Fire Brigade figured in an unusual role on Saturday evening, soon after the dredge, H.E.Street, had crossed the bar.

The dredge was found to be leaking badly and was in danger of settling into the mud of the river bed when the brigade engine was called. Pumping reduced the water below the critical level and a canvas packing was used to support an old patch which had shaken loose.

The dredge was eventually safely moored at the Hibbard wharf. Patching of the hull is expected to delay the commencement of dredging for a few days.

It is thirteen years since a dredge (the Neptune) was last here on July 29, 1953. She stayed for 20 days, dredging in the river.

In this once busy shipping port, a ship of any consequence is an unusual sight these days and interest already shown in the H.E.Street is bound to continue throughout her stay.

Fish Co-Op loss

Hastings River Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited recorded a loss of $2246 for the financial year 1965-66. Last year’s loss was $1533. 

Auditor Mr. C.B. Tompkins described the co-operative’s position as “rather alarming”. He mentioned that a review of the co-operative’s finances over the past eight years showed total sales in 1959 were about $93,000 compared to only $30,371 this year.

He stated that sale of merchandise, petrol and oil had also dropped. He attributed this to fishing craft leaving the district, and to boats not getting out over the bar as often. He stated that gross profit was an improvement over last year’s figure, but was not enough to compensate for expenses.

Mr. Tompkins disclosed $500 was written off for bad debts this year, compare to none last year, and an amount in the depot supply was also written off. He thought that the only way the co-operative could improve was by increasing its income. “The position is now getting serious and it is up to the fishermen themselves to attempt to improve it,” he said. “The whole industry must get behind the co-operative before these losses can be turned into profits.”

Secretary-manager Mr. Milton Leabeater said there was not enough production of the right kind of fish and, as this depended so much on nature, little could be done about it. “It was a very hard battle all the year, and I thank those fishermen who have stuck to the co-operative, trying to keep it together,” he stated.

In showing what the co-operative “was up against”, Mr. Leabeater read Sydney prices received for fresh fish during a recent week. He made special mention of the fact the market could sell only four out of five boxes of fish on a Friday in Sydney.

Mothers’ Club

Great attendance: The Port Macquarie Infants School final Mothers’ Club meeting for 1966 was attended by more than 30 women.

Great attendance: The Port Macquarie Infants School final Mothers’ Club meeting for 1966 was attended by more than 30 women.

Over thirty women enjoyed a special afternoon tea after the final general meeting of the Port Macquarie Infants School Mothers’ Club. President Mrs. Garlick spoke of the generous response of the mothers. She said this made the raising of funds a pleasure and with the new building on the list for 1967, the need for the mothers’ club will continue. Headmistress Mrs. Irwin thanked the mothers on behalf of herself and her staff.

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