Leon Magree has written a tribute to Australian YCW and cooperative pioneer, Ted Long, who was farewelled at St Thomas the Apostle Church Blackburn on 11th September 2008 in the presence of over 400 friends and family.
In 1921, Leon writes, Ted was born into a farming family at Knowsley
near Bendigo and, after education at the local State School and later
at St Patrick’s Ballarat, he moved as a young man to Kensington, an
inner suburb of Melbourne. Employed in the Commonwealth Department of
Air, he joined the newly formed Young Christian Workers Movement (YCW)
where he became not only involved in the many sporting services
available but moved through the ranks of the YCW to become National
When his good friend Frank McCann took ill, Ted assumed the role of National Secretary in 1943, giving up his public service career and also abandoning his VFL football pursuits having played about 10 games with North Melbourne.
In 1942 the YCW conducted an enquiry into the needs of young workers revealing a need for financial support in the purchasing of homes and household goods and services.
Together with other interested groups, the YCW was at the forefront in achieving the necessary legislation in Victoria that enabled the formation of co-operative housing societies. From the YCW group grew twenty six terminating co-operative housing societies and one permanent building society.
The YCW Co-operative Trading Society was formed in 1948 with Ted Long assuming the secretarial duties in 1951. This Society went on to provide household furniture and white goods, insurance and later school furniture and clothing.
Also in that era, influenced by the work of the Antigonish Movement of Nova Scotia Canada, the YCW Housing and Trading Co-operative personnel investigated consumer finance co-operatives. As a result, the YCW Central Credit Union was formed in 1952 and became the first co-operative credit society to be registered under the Co-operation Act of 1953.
By 1957 three parish based co-operative credit societies along with the YCW Central Co-operative Credit Society formed the Association of Catholic Co-operative Credit Societies (ACCCS) with Ted Long as its first Secretary.
This Association, in addition to acting as an advisory and representative body, offered a central bank function to its member societies as well as insurance and a fledging stabilisation fund.
Ted travelled through out Victoria promoting the formation of co-operatives in the 1950s and 1960s. His polite, mild mannered, yet determined personality helped to make many friends and inspire others to continue his work.
In 1961 Ted Long was the foundation secretary of the
Co-operative Development Society, formed to develop educational
programs and promotional materials for all forms of co-operatives.
He was also appointed to the Co-operative Advisory Council formed under the Victorian Cooperation Act. He was also a founding director of the Co-operative Federation of Victoria in October 1970.
He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1984.Ted also attended the first post-war international congress of the YCW held in Montreal, Canada in 1947.
Ted Long's pamphlet Helping Each Other Through Co-operatives, A.C.T.S. Publications, Number 1375, 10 August 1965 is available here.
SOURCE: Farewell Edward James Long OAM