Farewell Edward James Long OAM

Ted Long was the first national secretary of the Australian YCW. This is a tribute by Leon Magree.

Farewell Edward James Long OAM
By Leon Magree
Sep 17, 2008 - 9:39:50 PM

At St Thomas the Apostle Church Blackburn on 11th September 2008, over 400 friends and family farewelled Edward James Long OAM. Tributes to Ted’s life were given by his son Michael and long time friend and work colleague, Bob Maybury.

In 1921,Ted was born into a farming family at Knowsley near Bendigo and, after education at the local State School and later at St Patrick’s Ballarat, he moved as a young man to Kensington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. Employed in the Commonwealth Department of Air, he joined the newly formed Young Christian Workers Movement (YCW) where he became not only involved in the many sporting services available but moved through the ranks of the YCW to become National President. When his good friend Frank McCann took ill, Ted assumed the role of National Secretary in 1943, giving up his public service career and also abandoning his VFL football pursuits having played about 10 games with North Melbourne.

In 1942 The YCW conducted an enquiry into the needs of young workers revealing a need for financial support in the purchasing of homes and household goods and services.

Together with other interested groups, the YCW was at the forefront in achieving the necessary legislation in Victoria that enabled the formation of co-operative housing societies. From the YCW group grew twenty six terminating co-operative housing societies and one permanent building society.

The YCW Co-operative Trading Society was formed in 1948 with Ted Long assuming the secretarial duties in 1951. This Society went on to provide household furniture and white goods, insurance and later school furniture and clothing.

Also in that era, influenced by the work of the Antigonish Movement of Nova Scotia Canada, the YCW Housing and Trading Co-operative personnel investigated consumer finance co-operatives. As a result, the YCW Central Credit Union was formed in 1952 and became the first co-operative credit society to be registered under the Co-operation Act of 1953.

By 1957 three parish based co-operative credit societies along with the YCW Central Co-operative Credit Society formed the Association of Catholic Co-operative Credit Societies (ACCCS) with Ted Long as its first Secretary.

This Association, in addition to acting as an advisory and representative body, offered a central bank function to its member societies as well as insurance and a fledging stabilisation fund.

Ted travelled through out Victoria promoting the formation of co-operatives in the 1950s and 1960s. His polite, mild mannered, yet determined personality helped to make many friends and inspire others to continue his work.

In 1961 Ted Long was the foundation secretary of the Co-operative Development Society, formed to develop educational programs and promotional materials for all forms of co-operatives. After much deliberation, the Development Society gave encouragement to the change of name and constitution of the ACCCS to become the Victorian Credit Co-operative Association affiliating the majority of credit unions in Victoria whether based in industries, trade and professional unions, communities or parishes.

During his years as secretary of the YCW Co-operative Society, Ted was appointed to the Co-operative Advisory Council formed under the Victorian Cooperation Act. He was also a founding director of the Co-operative Federation of Victoria when it was established as an unincorporated body in October 1970.

In recognition of his services to the community, particularly in relation to Cooperatives,Ted was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1984.

Having retired from the YCW Co-operative Society in 1986 Ted remained very active in the community, including assisting in the provision of services for homeless youth.

Many thousands of Victorian families benefited from the tireless efforts of Ted Long in helping to bring co-operatives into their lives.

Ted is survived by his wife Norine and seven of their eight children.

SOURCE: Farewell Edward James Long OAM