Narrabri West is home to dynamic businesses
Narrabri West is home to some of Narrabri Shire’s biggest businesses and to dynamic family enterprises of all sizes. Their customers are from across the shire and the region. Narrabri West residents have long acknowledged the West as an identifiable and cohesive community in its own right.
The West has its own post office, school, hotel, supermarket, lake, tennis courts, netball courts, rugby union ground, the home turf of Narrabri’s Blue Boars, and in the future, a big competition size skateboard and BMX park.
The West is proud of its traditions - it was once a separate municipality - and proud of its progress.
Apart from a thriving residential population - predicted to grow on the West’s flood-free lands - Narrabri West is home to a significant number of successful, independent, locally owned small businesses, and large corporate entities. Service industries, retail, recreational and high tech - all are represented in the West business community.
These pages illustrate the depth of expertise, knowledge and services that Narrabri Shire residents are very fortunate to have at their doorstep.
Many people are employed in these Narrabri West-based businesses which serve the local and extended regional communities.
These days, more than ever, running a business has huge imposts, but also many rewards, certainly not always financial. The businesses featured here are run by people who care and derive satisfaction from meeting the challenges of doing business in their community. Their contribution in servicing the needs of residents of Narrabri West and the wider area and keeping it alive and vibrant is considerable.
AGT exports from the West to the world
One of the largest West-based enterprises is AGT Foods which employs a workforce of up 40 people who pack and transport product from the region’s farmers for export to the world.
AGT Foods is the receival and export point for pulses from a wide swathe of the north west, processing, value adding and exporting the grain to burgeoning global markets.
“The core business of AGT Foods Australia is sourcing and supplying premium-quality pulses and cereals,” said NSW business manager David Kneale.
Pulses are the food of the future and Narrabri is the pulse capital of NSW.
Global demand for pulses is growing each year and the region’s farmers are embracing the opportunities offered by crops like chickpeas, lentils and mung and faba beans.
AGT Food and Ingredients, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada, is a global leader in value-added processing of pulses, staple foods and ingredients for export and domestic markets.
AGT Foods was founded on the principle ‘From Producer to the World’, buying pulses and speciality crops from farmers around its facilities in Canada, the US, Turkey, Australia, China and South Africa and processing and exporting its non-GMO, gluten-free and non-allergenic products to over one hundred countries around the world.
AGT Foods Australia, a division of AGT Foods, is headquartered in Toowoomba, Queensland — one of Australia’s largest production areas for pulse crops, with state-of-the-art production facilities in Horsham, Victoria; Bowmans, South Australia and Narrabri, as well as cleaning and exporting facilities in Kadina, South Australia.
These facilities feature cleaning, sizing, splitting, colour-sorting, and packaging capabilities for lentils, chickpeas, yellow peas, faba beans, broad beans and speciality crops
The AGT Foods complex at Narrabri West is a packing, handling and export facility which draws product from across the west and North West.
“The core business of AGT Foods Australia is sourcing and supplying premium-quality pulses,” said NSW business manager David Kneale.
As part of a major global organisation, AGT Foods is meeting the challenges of feeding a growing world. Pulses are a key protein food for large numbers of the world’s population.
With up to 40 employees, the Narrabri West plant is a major player in the Narrabri Shire economy.
Mr Kneale, the son of Robert and Helena Kneale, graduated from Narrabri High School and moved into the grains industry.
He is married to Ashley (McInnes) with two children, Zander and Xanthe. He is an enthusiast for the role of pulses in feeding the world.
“I am very excited to be part of the next step, moving forward with pulses,” he said. “The future push has to be towards pulses. It is a versatile and reliable food source for a big part of the world’s population.”
Metaland serves the district
Narrabri West based Richards Metaland is supplier of steel and other metal products to the builders, businesses, farmers and homeowners of Narrabri and the district.
Metaland is a long-established Narrabri family business run by Jeff Richards and his team and has
operated from its Morath Street address since 1989.
The business was launched by the late David Richards and his wife Judy.
“Metaland is part of a national network, but our focus is very much local,” said Jeff Richards.
“We supply steel, stainless steel, aluminium. We are mainly re-sellers of steel, and we have a big range of products.
“We aim to stock the kinds of steel and metal that is needed locally and look after our customer’s needs. We offer a cutting service for steel, and cater for those who only need a small quantity or length of steel.”
Richards Metaland sells roofing products, pool and garden fences, stainless steel and aluminium.
The business provides plate and sheet steel, pipes, RHS beams, round bar steel, steel for cattleyards and fencing, galvanised sheets,
aluminium sheets and grid mesh.
“And we are agents for BOC gases, supplying industrial, hospitality and medical customers,” Mr Richards said.
“We operate our business based on customer service, and we care about what we are doing."
Narrabri BP Roadhouse a popular stop for food and service
The busy Narrabri BP Roadhouse is famed for its food and its friendly service.
Regulars arrive early to pick up their breakfast and coffees on their way to work and a steady flow of customers stop to fuel up all day.
Billy’s Better Rolls are a firm favourite.
After 11 years in business Bill Tick’s BP Roadhouse is a well known local business, employing local people and with further growth in mind.
“We have increased our range of services to the Narrabri Shire community and travelling public steadily over the past decade and are now finalising new development,” said
The Narrabri BP Roadhouse is a major business in Narrabri, employing 12 people.
The core business is the service station, catering for cars and semi-trailers with petrol and diesel sales, but the convenience of a one-stop shop for many lines is a boon for locals.
“As a large proportion of our business comes from out of town we are bringing ‘new money’ into Narrabri and employing a large local workforce,” Mr Tick said.
The opening hours of the BP Roadhouse, from 5am to 10pm seven days a week, ensured that customers’ expectations were met.
“We are confident in the future of Narrabri and believe in investing in our town and helping it grow by doing what we can to make this a favoured stopover place on the Newell Highway as well as providing service for our local community,” said Mr Tick.
Calli brings a world of hairdressing experience to the West
Narrabri West based hairdresser Calli Druce has brought a world of professional experience to her salon.
Ms Druce launched her Meelee Street business 11 years ago after travelling in Australia and across the world, gaining experience in all aspects of men’s, women’s and children’s hairdressing.
Narrabri West is nowadays home for Ms Druce, and she operates her professionally set up salon at her residential address (see advertisement this page) catering for clients from throughout the shire.
The journey to owning her own salon has taken Ms Druce from her training with qualified hair dressers including Fay Kerr, Kylie Pitt and Michelle Smallwood in Narrabri to Cairns and further afield.
Ms Druce has cut, coloured and styled hair in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Gold Coast for men and women.
“And of course, kids,” Ms Druce said. “Everyone.”
West’s own supermarket - newsagency and lotteries
Bell’s Westland Supermarket is Narrabri West’s one stop shop for the community, with a full range of supermarket services, famed for its delicious takeaway food and coffee.
As well as being a supermarket, Westland offers a full Lotto and lottery agency.
“We have all the lottery products here,” said proprietor Keiley Bell.
“We are a long established lotteries and Lotto agency.”
And Westland is a sub newsagency with a full range of newspapers and magazines on the shelves.
Westland is conveniently open early to make shopping easier - from 6am on weekdays and 7am on Sundays.
replaced gas street lighting at the West in 1934
Narrabri entered the ‘electric age’ in 1922 but it was not until 1934 that electricity reached Narrabri West. Prior to this, gas lamps lit the street corners and a Mr Adams’ job was to go from corner to corner each evening at 7 pm to light the lamps. The lack of electricity was a drawback to the West’s development.
The small township had a population of 600 in 1900 and the West’s loss of status as a busy railway terminus in 1897 saw growth stall.
In 1920 Bill Francis (senior) began a bus service between Narrabri West and Narrabri.
Business gradually shifted to Narrabri and the area became more residential. However the pendulum swung back. Businesses began to establish in the West and along Cooma Road and the population grew.
Narrabri West gained its public school in 1884 after much lobbying (including evidence that 60 children were going without schooling). The first school was housed in a ‘beehive’ building - a replica of which now stands in the grounds of the modern Narrabri West Public School which is an integral part of the West community.
Petroleum serves region from Narrabri West hub
Woodham Petroleum Services has now been established in the Narrabri Region for more than four years.
Woodham’s aim has been to service the growing demand for on-farm and on-site bulk fuel in the Narrabri region and also to use the Narrabri depot as a hub for its operations further West including the Wee Waa, Pilliga, Burren Junction, Collarenebri and Walgett districts.
With the opening of its 24-hour self service retail fuel outlet at the Narrabri West depot, Woodham has been able to service the vast amount of local and passing traffic that comes through Narrabri daily.
Diesel, AdBlue, unleaded and premium unleaded are all available at very competitive prices from modern bowsers at the front of the depot, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all with just the swipe of a card.
Recently, Woodhams also became an agent for Fuchs Premium Oils and Lubricants, stocking the full range of Fuchs products.
With the company in a period of rapid growth, the centrality of the Narrabri depot has proven crucial to the company’s success at achieving one of its primary goals, service.
“Without this state-of-the-art bulk fuel depot in Narrabri, the viability of Woodham’s operations further afield would be placed in jeopardy,” said business development manager Dom Ward.
“By using our Narrabri depot as a central hub for our operations, we are able to achieve our three primary objectives as a business, quality, affordability and service.”
Woodham Petroleum Services delivers bulk fuel to Narrabri district, Baan Baa, Boggabri, Maules Creek, Edgeroi, Bellata, Spring Plains, Burren Junction, Yarrie Lake, Pilliga, Coonamble, Come-by-Chance, Walgett, Collarenebri, Rowena, Brewarrina, Mallawa, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge customers and everywhere in between.
“With Narrabri locals, Neil Foster and Andrew ‘Jock’ Smith doing deliveries out of the Narrabri depot, Woodham’s considers themselves part of the local community and more than happy to help with any of your bulk or retail fuel requirements,” said Mr Ward.
Auto electrical, air conditioning services, to the region
C L Dickinson Auto Electrics services the region from Narrabri.
The business expanded from its Fitzroy Street site to its Cooma Road premises in January 2015.
The locally owned business, under the proprietorship of Clayton and Cassie Dickinson, employs 10 qualified tradespeople, trainees and administration staff and provides auto electrical and vehicle air conditioning expertise across installation, repairs and service to customers across the Narrabri Shire and the north west region.
All things automotive
Repco Narrabri is home to all things automotive.
The Repco team has the right advice and product knowledge to help customers choose.
Repco is the largest reseller and supplier in the automotive parts and accessories aftermarket in Australia. The Repco brand stands for quality, expertise and knowledge.
“We have a passion and dedication to all things automotive,” said the Repco team. “Whether for your car
itself, or something attached to it like a boat, we’ve got it covered. Repco has a huge range - over 175,000 parts available.
Repco benefits from preferred supplier relationships, great buying power and the ability to provide a huge range of products and services.
West proud to have its own local Post Office
Narrabri West community enjoys all the services of a Post Office right on its doorstep.
And the service has been there for a long time. “The PO opened on February 19, 1883,” said Skye Redding who helps Cathy Redding with the daily running of the Post Office.
At a time when Post Offices have disappeared from many country centres, Narrabri West Post Office is thriving and providing the full range of services to the local community.
A steady flow of customers comes and goes at the Post Office, which is a social as well as a business hub for locals.
Post Office customers are enthusiastic advocates.
“If we didn’t have our own PO at Narrabri West we would have to drive over to town, then find a park,” one said.
“With our own PO I can be here and back home quickly - it is so convenient for us in Narrabri West.”
Post Office operator Cathy Redding has run the Narrabri West Post Office for 14 years and nowadays is assisted by her daughter Skye.
“We offer all the services and products available at Australia Post,” said Mrs Redding. “And anything which appears in an Australia Post catalogue can be obtained through the West Post Office overnight.”
West signage a helpful pointer for travellers
More signage has often been sought by Narrabri Chamber of Commerce over the years with members calling for signs, just like the one in Mooloobar Street, Narrabri West, listing services available in the precinct. Signs indicating shops and services, industrial and commercial areas are a useful guide for travellers, the Chamber has said.
of auto electrical work
Jamie Charlton has been 20 years in the auto electrical trade and two years ago took over the family business B and C Auto Electrical after the passing of his father, Brian Charlton.
Mr Charlton is kept busy attending to customers’ needs across the spectrum of auto electrical work - from cars to trucks to four wheel drives, quadbikes, boats and recently rewiring two hot rods.
“The variety makes it very interesting” he said. “Every day is different.”
Mr Charlton can be contacted at B and C Auto Electrical on 0427 328 099.
Hydraulics busy across shire
GTS Hydraulics is based in Mooloobar Street Narrabri West and its work takes the team across the shire. “We go as far as customers want us to,” said Glenn Stanford. “We moved the business in to town from our Yarrie Lake Road workshop 16 months ago and haven’t stopped” said Mr Stanford, pictured left with technician Kyle Thurston. Todd Stanford and Brock Richards are fellow team members. The GTS Hydraulics team’s expertise and experience covers the range of hydraulic and mechanical repairs.
Nandewar Motel restaurant popular venue
The Nandewar Motel restauarant is a popular venue for local and visiting diners.
Popular chef Cynthia Smith’s fusion of Asian and European dishes has won her many loyal fans.
Mrs Smith brings 25 years’ experience to the Nandewar kitchen and the menu features tradittional favourites alongside her unique special dishes.
The Nandewar only buys in the very best quality meat into the kitchen, which is Mrs Smith’s speciality.
“If you are someone who is very particular about your steak, this is the perfect place for you,” she said.
The personal touch of Mrs Smith and her ‘secret recipes’ have been given the tick of approval by famous identities who have passed through town such as James Morrison, Liz Hayes, Ray Martin and even Angry Anderson.
Familiar faces at Burke’s
Noel and Margaret Burke, above, have been in business at Narrabri West for more than 20 years.
Noel Burke Motor Repairs is a long established, trusted and iconic Narrabri West business, providing the full range of automotive repairs and maintenance services, delivered by their team of qualified mechanics and technicians.
Life hasn’t got any less hectic for the Burkes and demand for repair and maintenance work keeps them and the workshop team busy.