We’re 100!

Dubbo Photo News - - Front Page - PHOTO: WENDY MER­RICK.

DUBBO’S Vil­lage Bak­ery as un­der­gone many evo­lu­tions over the past 100 ears At ar­i­ous times the busi­ness as een known as steven­son’s ak­ery, Goss’s bak­ery and Vil­lage Hot Bake. Now, he de­tail busi­ness is re­brand­ing as vil­lage cake­house and the whole­sale side s the Early rise Bak­ing om­pany

What wasn’t changed is he ded­i­ca­tion o ser­vic­ing the re gion with lo­cal, qual­ity and fresh prod­ucts sing old and se­cret recipes handed down he gen­er­a­tions and treat­ing cus tomers like ex­tended am­ily.

Pic­tured here are three gen­er­a­tions of the Steven­son clan which has kept Dubbo sup­plied with r ad cakes, pas­tries and pies for th past 100 ears

In­side to­day’s pa­per en­joy a walk own mem­ory ane with our spe­cial fea­ture to con­grat­u­late this great Dubbo busi­ness.

A 100-year-long dream to bake qual­ity prod­ucts for Dubbo res­i­dents started with a bag of flour in 1918 when Fran­cis Oswald ‘Ossie’ Steven­son met and mar­ried Dorothy Wright, of Coon­abarabran, and was of­fered a chance to learn the bak­ing trade a lit­tle out of town, at Tooraweenah.

“Ossie” built a suc­cess­ful busi­ness to sup­port his wife and five chil­dren at the time – Dorothy, Robert, Joan, Au­drey and Dou­glas.

In 1923 he moved to Dubbo to sup­ply his baked goods to a larger mar­ket where he bought a small shop in Mac­quarie Street from Phillip Kieler.

Steven­son’s Bak­ery

“Ossie” named it Steven­son’s Bak­ery and de­vel­oped a large net­work of cus­tomers, par­tic­u­larly in West Dubbo, and ser­viced the Army Camp which was lo­cated where Taronga West­ern Plains Zoo is to­day.

“He was de­liv­er­ing the bread by horse and cart. The roads were not sealed which was very slow work,” lo­cal busi­ness­woman and Ossie’s grand­daugh­ter Helen Mclean said.

In 1933, he re­lo­cated to Tal­bra­gar Street near the Civic Ho­tel, then fur­ther west next to the Pas­toral Ho­tel.

Dur­ing these times, Ossie’s sixth child was born in Dubbo; a boy, John Fran­cis Steven­son. The fam­ily worked hard to en­sure Dubbo had freshly baked goods un­til 1944 when “Ossie” sold the bak­ery to his chil­dren Bob, Au­drey Steven­son and Au­drey’s hus­band, Jack Goss. Au­drey & Jack were Helen Mclean’s par­ents.

“Mum worked at the bak­ery with her three broth­ers, Bob, Doug and John Steven­son, in the evenings, and then went to work at a gro­cery store called Moneysavers dur­ing the day,” Helen said.

Goss’s Bak­ery

“In the four years that Dad was away at war, he also helped the pri­est ad­min­is­ter the sacra­ments when­ever pos­si­ble, as well as be­ing a trader of sorts, and with any money he saved, he sent home,” Helen said.

“There was a rea­son for this. There was a hope that af­ter the war our grand­fa­ther would teach my dad to be a baker.”

When Jack re­turned from the war in 1947, af­ter serv­ing in New Guinea, he and Au­drey bought Bob’s share and started trad­ing un­der J.E. and A.L. Goss, and the store was named Goss’s Bak­ery.

The next 40 years con­tin­ued to be a fam­ily af­fair, with Au­drey’s broth­ers Doug and John Steven­son, and Au­drey and Jack’s chil­dren Helen (Mclean), Ted and John, all work­ing in the bak­ery.

“Our grand­fa­ther was a ter­rific worker and I re­mem­ber how hard he would push us kids to fin­ish our jobs at the bak­ery. My job be­fore I went to school was re­ally early in the morn­ing, to slice and wrap the bread,” Helen re­called.

“Ossie Steven­son would be the one feed­ing the chute with bread, push­ing it down to where the blades would slice through evenly. Then my turn was to wrap it in wax pa­per, and place it in a heated ma­chine that would seal the pa­per.

“I was al­ways late for school, and sent to the prin­ci­pal, Mr Glee-

son, who would ask ‘cut­ting bread again?’

“There are so many stories that us kids would lis­ten to from our Pa and we were re­ally blessed to have had him, not only as the hard task mas­ter to show us the ropes, but also be­cause Ossie was gen­uinely a great hu­man be­ing. He had noth­ing handed to him on a sil­ver plat­ter, but took his life and his fam­ily in his own two hands and made a re­mark­able job of it,” she said.

South Dubbo Bak­ery, Bound­ary Road

In 1960, Helen’s un­cle John Steven­son fell in love with Christina Kosseris when she started work­ing at Goss’s. She was the daugh­ter of another Dubbo baker, Nick Kosseris.

John and Christina mar­ried in 1965 and in­evitably their chil­dren, Bill, Robert and John, who run the busi­ness to­day, would learn about the art of bak­ing from a very young age.

Nick would of­ten take Bill and Robert to his bak­ery on week­ends to help him, and they also learnt from their fa­ther John whilst at Goss’s.

When Bill left school he went to work full­time with his fa­ther at the South Dubbo Bak­ery in Bound­ary Road.

This gave Bill the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­take a bak­ing ap­pren­tice­ship, and his broth­ers a chance to gain ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter school, on week­ends and dur­ing school hol­i­days.

Tragedy sees Bill, Robert and John Steven­son take over

Their re­solve to be bak­ers was tested how­ever in 1982 when their grand­fa­ther died on Jan­uary 2, and their fa­ther died from a heart at­tack on De­cem­ber 26.

Bill was 16, Robert, 15, and John was only 10 years old.

“It was pretty tough times and we had to stick to­gether and it didn’t re­ally mat­ter what hap­pened, there’s noth­ing as bad as that. So it’s been a case of let’s just get on and get the job done. We’ve been able to carry that through for the last 36 years,” Bill Steven­son said.

“It was like, I went to work with Dad on Boxing Day and that was it,” Robert said. “He had a ma­jor heart at­tack and it was all over. His birthday was on Christ­mas Day. Things changed pretty quickly.”

They had al­ways thought they would fol­low in their fa­ther’s foot­steps and af­ter his death this goal be­came con­creted in their minds.

Their fa­ther’s words that ‘once the flour gets into your veins it is al­ways there’ has stayed with them, and urged them to strive fur­ther.

“We were brought up with a very good work ethic and we knew at the time that Dad had al­ready taught us enough bak­ing skills to carry the busi­ness on. The busi­ness side was some­thing that we had to learn by ex­pe­ri­ence over time – we just had to learn. We’re still learn­ing,” Bill said.

Vil­lage Bak­ery Café

In 1990, Bill, Robert and John and their wives Carol, Wendy and Kelly pur­chased the Vil­lage Hot Bake in Dubbo, gut­ted the build­ing, and made way for sig­nif­i­cant ren­o­va­tions to cre­ate the city’s first bak­ery café.

In 1998, the Vil­lage Bak­ery Café opened the doors to decades of suc­cess, pro­duc­ing award­ing-win­ning prod­ucts, pop­u­lar with res­i­dents and trav­ellers alike.

“We mar­ried three good ladies. Rob met his wife in the bak­ery, and I met mine through the bak­ery by do­ing de­liv­er­ies – I used to take her lunch ev­ery day,” Bill said.

“We couldn’t do what we’ve done with­out the girls. They work in the bak­ery, not as much now, but they did in the early years. They’d be there on a Sun­day morn­ing at 6am.

“They’d have the bassinets in the of­fice and the kids were in there, and they were out in the shop serv­ing cus­tomers or bak­ing the bread. Once one kid was old enough to look af­ter the rest, that’s what they did. They’ve grown up in the bakeries. We all grew up in the bakeries,” Bill said.

Ear­lyrise Bak­ing Com­pany

One hun­dred years on from the fam­ily busi­ness’s hum­ble be­gin­nings, Bill, Robert and John are proud to be re­gional coun­try bak­ers – born and bred in the coun­try – and re­main com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties with the fresh­est prod­ucts daily.

In 2001, as the de­mand for their fresh baked prod­ucts grew, the need arose for the re­tail and whole­sale busi­nesses to be split, and they es­tab­lished the Ear­lyrise Bak­ing Com­pany lo­cated here in Dubbo, where more than 250 de­li­cious va­ri­eties of prod­ucts are made daily.

Over two decades the broth­ers have grown the busi­ness greatly. It now dis­trib­utes their bak­ery prod­ucts right across ru­ral, re­gional and metropoli­tan NSW, ACT and Queens­land sup­ply­ing to shops, cafes and su­per­mar­kets. Even Qan­tas!

They also op­er­ate a Vil­lage Bake­house store in Orange and the group em­ploys a staff of 180.

Ear­lyrise Bak­ing Com­pany has now en­tered its fourth-gen­er­a­tion and in true fam­ily tra­di­tion the brother’s chil­dren are now mould­ing ca­reers in the fam­ily bak­ing busi­ness.

Emma and Tay­lor Steven­son are the man­agers of Vil­lage Bak­ery Dubbo, Nathan Steven­son is the Head Baker at Ear­lyrise, and Beau & Brady Steven­son are in sales and ad­min­is­tra­tion roles within the busi­ness.

Where does Ear­lyrise Bak­ing Co. de­liver to?

They de­liver their fresh baked goods daily to Dubbo, Nyn­gan, Co­bar, Bourke, Light­ning Ridge, Coon­am­ble, Coolah, Orange, Bathurst and all towns in be­tween. The bak­ery op­er­a­tion’s in­gre­di­ents are sourced from Aus­tralian farm­ers.

The use flour and canola that is grown by lo­cal farm­ers around the Cen­tral West, Parkes, Forbes, Trangie, Nyn­gan and Nar­romine, eggs that are laid at Mo­long, and beef that has been bred through­out the ar­eas they dis­trib­ute to.

Us­ing the high­est qual­ity in­gre­di­ents, com­bined with se­cret tra­di­tional Steven­son fam­ily recipes that have been handed down through gen­er­a­tions, has seen the busi­ness win more than 150 awards for their prod­ucts.

The Vil­lage Bak­ery is the re­tail arm of Ear­lyrise Bak­ing Com­pany and its large team serves Dubbo seven days a week with guar­an­teed freshly baked goods and meals

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