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.
“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.
“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