A new chapter ahead

Tim and Richard Collins are bidding farewell to the family business, Collins Newsagency.

Tim and Richard Collins are bidding farewell to the family business, Collins Newsagency.

The Collins name has been synonymous with the newsagency in Kyneton for almost 100 years.

All that is about to change, however, now that Richard and Sophie Collins have sold the shop to Bendigo couple, Sally Luo and Kevin Chen.

Richard's multiple sclerosis has made it tough for him to oversee the running of the store, so the couple has instead decided to sell the retail side of the business, together with the Lotto licence, but will continue to serve as the authorised distributor for newspapers in the Kyneton district.

Sally and Kevin are looking forward to getting to know the community as they take over the store, and are planning to move their young family here soon.

Collins Newsagency was established by Richard's grandparents, Margaret and William Collins, in 1925. Richard's father Tim took over running the business in 1947, after returning from World War II.

Tim said there were three newsagents in the town when his father established the family business in 1925.

"The Armstrongs had the Argus agency, and Metcalfe had the Age agency, but they didn't have the Sun one, my old man had that."

Tim's father was later made the agent for the Age and the Argus.

"After the war when I came home and started to develop the business with my mother, Mitch Armstrong was printing the Kyneton Guardian and he came to me and offered to sell me the rights to the Guardian and that would be one less newsagent in the town and I said, 'You're on Mitch'. Then later on I bought the other business."

Tim fondly recalls the post-war period as a golden age in Kyneton.

"In the '50s and '60s, the atmosphere in the town was great. And everybody was so happy.

"There was plenty of work, plenty of activity, the sporting bodies were up and running and everybody was involved.

"You'd go out and play golf and you wouldn't leave the golf course until late because you'd be sitting down spinning yarns with all your mates! All the chaps who'd come back from the war, and so forth. And it was hilarious."

Another memory Tim recalls vividly is the community rallying around him when a fire burnt down the store in 1979.

"The chemist shop was lucky it didn't go up next door, and the butcher shop was put out of action for a while. But the local volunteer fire brigade did a very good job and I was most indebted to them, and so were the other businesses because they could have all gone, the whole block could have gone.

"The shire and the community, people of the town, like the RSL and Rotary, the whole lot of them, they all helped me to get back on my feet."

Richard said while the decision to sell the business marked the end of an era, he and Sophie were looking forward to continuing distributing newspapers to the community.

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