Leading Victorian industry association, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) turns 100 today.
To mark the start of a three-day celebration, a bronze memorial plaque will be installed on VACC’s founding home, Cahill Chambers, formally known as the Bendigo Chamber of Commerce at View Point.
Additionally, the VACC Executive Board will sit for a special board meeting at Bendigo Town Hall, welcomed by the City of Greater Bendigo Mayor, Margaret O’Rourke.
VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym said all VACC’s centenary celebrations will take place in Bendigo.
“We were determined to do so in acknowledgement of where we come from, and to say thank you to the people of Bendigo. Regional Victoria is very important to VACC, with half of our members residing there. Regional members have also been incredibly loyal over the years.”
Long-standing VACC members include Wilson Bolton of Horsham, which has just renewed its membership for the 100th time, Edneys of Leongatha which joined in 1920, and Donalda Motor Service in Maffra, which joined in 1925. Wangaratta Toyota has been a VACC member since 1927 and Bendigo business, Innes Motors joined VACC in 1927.
Formed on 20 September 1918 in Bendigo by three local motor dealers, brothers Henry and Percy Rickards, and Montague Simes, VACC was created to protect the local automotive industry from being overwhelmed by larger, overseas competitors.
One-hundred years later, VACC is one of Australia’s largest and most influential employer associations, with more than 5000 business-owner members.
While celebrating it’s past, VACC is also looking to the future. The association recently sold its St Kilda Road home of 60 years, VACC House, and has purchased land in North Melbourne where a new head office will be built.
“VACC’s new headquarters will be modern, fit for purpose and a statement of the chamber’s future focus,” said Gwilym.