Our history

Friendly Pharmacy History

Friendly Pharmacy


Combined Dispensaries Friendly Society, which trades as Friendly Pharmacy, was formed by the amalgamation of the Canterbury District United Friendly Societies with the Granville and District United Friendly Society in July 1997.

The Canterbury and Districts pharmacy began operation in September 1910 and Granville and Districts Friendly Society pharmacy was started in January 1914.

Friendly Societies have been established in Australia since the 1840s. In the days before Medicare, social security and health insurance, friendly societies were the way in which working people were able to obtain a form of insurance against adversity. In the 1930s around 50% of all working men belonged to a friendly society.

Funny handshakes aside, these organisations provided a valuable service. Each member made a weekly donation and, in return, received monies for food for the family and assistance with medical bills if the wage earner was unable to work. Worst case scenario, the society paid for the funeral of any member who passed away.

Friendly Pharmacy History
Friendly Pharmacy History

Most health insurers in Australia today can trace their roots back to these early friendly societies.

The first friendly society pharmacy was established in Sydney in 1847. The government of the day allowed friendly societies to own and operate pharmacies provided that all profits generated were directed back to the members. Today there are very few pharmacies owned by friendly societies in New South Wales but there are generally more in other states, particularly Victoria.

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