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Family pharmacy’s 100 years in Broken Hill

Thursday, 7th April, 2016

Con Peoples and his father Pat with a picture of the pharmacy’s founder, Con Snr. Con Peoples and his father Pat with a picture of the pharmacy’s founder, Con Snr.

On Saturday, CP Peoples Chemist will turn 100 years old and everyone is invited to the party.

Founder Con Peoples (Snr) came to Broken Hill in 1899 to manage the Medical Hall Pharmacy that was owned by Dr John Harvey.

He managed the pharmacy until 1916 when he bought a pharmacy owned by George Hodge ‘Chemist and Druggist’ at 323 Argent Street, and CP Peoples Chemist was born.

The pharmacy also included the practice of an optician which became an important part of the pharmacy in its early days and Con seconded a young boy, Edward V.C Rowe, from the local ‘Friendly Society Pharmacy’. 

Commonly known as Ted Rowe, he subsequently trained as an Optician and took over this side of the business on Con’s death in 1940. He worked in the pharmacy well into the 1960s.

Ted’s son Gordon Rowe was also a trained pharmacist and joined the business after the Second World War, working there for some 25 years.

Con’s son Pat went to the University of Sydney and on completion of his ‘apprenticeship’ returned home to work in the pharmacy in the early 1930s. In 1940 Pat took over the business and a partnership was formed with his wife Joan, his mother Mabel and his two sisters, Mary and Margaret. 

Pat worked in the pharmacy for over 50 years before retiring in the late 1980s. During this time, Con (Jnr) worked there on and off while studying woodwork at the Tech school. 

In 1960 Con’s father Pat suggested he spend a full year working in the pharmacy and he then started a pharmacy degree at the University of Sydney.

Graduating in 1964, and being the second taking of students to graduate with a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Con (Jnr) served his registration year at Kearns Pharmacy in Eastwood Sydney.

Con returned home to Broken Hill in 1965 to join the family business and eventually took over the pharmacy.

In 1977 a syndicate of tenants including C.P Peoples bought the Wendt’s building to secure the pharmacy’s location at 323 Argent Street. In 1984, Brian White (the pharmacist at ‘Tembys Chemist’) purchased ‘John Harvey Chemist’ and then later in 1991 together they bought the ‘South Pharmacy’.

In 1993 ‘John Harvey Chemist’ and ‘C.P Peoples Chemist’ merged into one at the existing ‘Peoples’ site and renovated the store.

In 2001 they decided to re-locate the ‘South Pharmacy’ to the former butcher shop on the corner of Patton and Comstock streets.

That same year Andrew Johnson became one of the partners in the business. Jason Harvey followed in 2004, along with Alex Page in 2011. The ‘Outback Pharmacies’ banner was created in 2006 when Tembys Chemist, The South Pharmacy and C.P Peoples Pharmacy merged and they still trade under this banner.

In 2014 CP Peoples Chemist won the nationally-recognised Pharmacy of the year award for ‘Excellence in Community Engagement’. Later that year, as part of the Outback Pharmacies group, they won the award for ‘Presentation and Marketing’ and were the overall winner of the ‘Outback Spirit’ award for the best overall business at the Far West NSW Business Awards. 

To recognise their 100th anniversary, Peoples will on Saturday hold a family fun day in the Town Square from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

There will be a free sausage sizzle, jumping castle, merry-go-round and face painting as well as raffles, giveaways and a 20 per cent off sale in the store.

There is also a free ‘Colour in Con’ competition, with the colouring in forms available in stores or on their Facebook page. 

A cake stall will be run with proceeds going to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Everyone is welcome to come along and have a chat with Con about this fantastic milestone.

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