Pig­dons turns 100 years

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

Mo­tor ve­hi­cle and farm ma­chin­ery cus­tomers of Pig­dons Holden Yar­ra­wonga and fam­ily friends joined in an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony on Satur­day, April 14 to mark the fam­ily’s out­stand­ing achieve­ment of 100 years in busi­ness.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions on 100 years and be­ing part of this com­mu­nity,” an­other well-known lo­cal iden­tity from a well-known long-time lo­cal fam­ily, Brian Keenan, told the Pig­don fam­ily in front of an es­ti­mated 130 peo­ple wit­ness­ing the mas­sive, mile­stone achieve­ment at 11am on Satur­day.

“I hope you go on serv­ing the com­mu­nity well into the fu­ture. It’s a great an­niver­sary. The Pig­dons have been great in­no­va­tors, ini­tially in Wilby then Yar­ra­wonga.”

The for­mer mayor of Moira Shire and four­decade long fire brigade cap­tain re­called con­sid­er­able his­tory of the Keenan and Pig­don fam­i­lies, and com­mented about the pi­o­neer spirit of men and women, in what they had to en­dure.

“I re­mem­ber Jack Pig­don ran the busi­ness. Bruce’s fa­ther was at war. Dad (Frank Keenan) got in­volved with Pig­dons,” Mr Keenan said.

“What was al­ways very no­tice­able to this day was their staff who would go the ex­tra yard what­ever it was you wanted - whether a mo­tor bike, Dodge, Stude­baker, Mor­ris, Plymouth or Holden, or Head­ers, Ploughs, McKay, Massey - you name it. Dur­ing the war years I don’t know how they kept go­ing.”

In re­fer­ring to the much ear­lier times, Mr Keenan talked about lo­cal fam­i­lies 100 years and be­yond, and sol­diers in­volved in war con­flict and what they had to en­dure. “We owe a lot to our fore­bears for their guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” he said. And that praise was in­deed ap­pro­pri­ate to the Pig­don fam­ily whose busi­ness “be­came an im­por­tant stop-over for farm­ers of the district” Mr Keenan said.

That tough­ness men­tioned by Mr Keenan was em­pha­sised by the cur­rent owner’s (An­drew Pig­don) fa­ther, Bruce Pig­don OAM.

“My Grand­fa­ther (John Pig­don) was a teenager when his fa­ther died in a farm ac­ci­dent in 1889. He then found him­self car­ing for his mother, learn­ing the black­smith trade, then work­ing at the Wilby But­ter Fac­tory, pur­chas­ing and op­er­at­ing a Trac­tion En­gine, then fi­nally open­ing the busi­ness in 1918, the busi­ness that we are com­mem­o­rat­ing to­day in its Cen­te­nary Year,” he said.

Mr Pig­don de­scribed his grand­fa­ther “a man of vi­sion” and “a good friend to farm­ers es­pe­cially dur­ing the De­pres­sion Years when banks re­stricted credit”.

“The pur­pose of this com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony is not to pat our­selves on the back but to re­mem­ber the in­cred­i­ble ef­forts our an­ces­tors made to over­come and to help make not just this busi­ness, but Yar­ra­wonga/Mul­wala a bet­ter place to work and live - to hon­our those who have gone be­fore us,” he said.

The orig­i­nal phi­los­o­phy and pur­pose of Pig­dons still stands ac­cord­ing to Bruce: to be eth­i­cal in trad­ing, gen­er­ous when re­quired to be, to pro­vide a first class ser­vice to cus­tomers, to be a good em­ployer putting em­ploy­ees’ in­ter­est above self-in­ter­est and to be a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen by get­ting in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

“Our great­est as­set is our cus­tomers who think we are wor­thy of their con­tin­ued cus­tom and we are for­ever grate­ful for their loy­alty,” he said.

Speak­ers at the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion for Pig­dons Holden, from left, Brian Keenan, Bruce Pig­don OAM, An­drew Pig­don, Cr Ed Cox and Richie Mal­lows.

Pig­don fam­ily mem­bers in the show­room at Pig­dons Holden Yar­ra­wonga at the of­fi­cial cer­e­mony, be­side a mag­nif­i­cent shiny red Com­modore.

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