April 6

A History of Pursehouse Rural

Retail is in our DNA. Find out where we have come from and where we’re headed next 

Established in 1962, Pursehouse Rural remains one of Australia’s largest independently owned and family operated Agribusinesses.

We can trace Pursehouse Rural history back to 1881, where Elsie Bembrick and her family operated the Bembrick and Southwell General Merchants store in Grenfell, Central West NSW. Elsie is the grandmother of our now Managing Director Malcolm Pursehouse. The Bembrick and Southwell store sourced a myriad of products from furniture, paints, oils and groceries to chaff, corn and oats and even
housed a drapers. Though the Bembrick and Southwell store is long gone, its DNA runs in the Pursehouse Rural branches we see today.

A store was first opened under the Pursehouse name in 1962 when Fred Pursehouse commenced operations of a hardware store in Werris Creek, NSW. The business grew quickly and before long Fred had expanded in sales to both wholesale and retail of agricultural products such as chemical, fertiliser and seed. It quickly became apparent that the store should focus wholly on agricultural goods. With growing demand in 1979, a second Pursehouse Rural branch opened in Quirindi, NSW.

From then on the business only continued to grow. In 1979, Pursehouse Rural also established their ground spray operations (now Techspray) from the Quirindi office. In 1986 Malcolm Pursehouse purchased the business from other Pursehouse family members.

In 1991, the Gunnedah branch was opened and soon other branches opened in quick succession. Pursehouse Rural Coonabarabran began trading in 1998, Pursehouse Rural Mullaley officially opened in 2001 and Narrabri closely followed in 2002. 2006 saw the acquisition of three Southern Queensland branches in Pittsworth, Melrose and Allora and in 2007 Pursehouse Rural Boggabri opened its doors.

In 2007, Pursehouse Rural also commenced a joint venture business. The branches are now known as AGnVET RURAL and operate
in the towns of Ayr, Biloela, Emerald, Moura, St. George, Theodore, Walgett and Wee Waa.

In 2008, Pursehouse Rural continued to expand,opening a branch in Clifton servicing the requirements of farmers on the Darling Downs. This was closely followed by the Warwick branch in 2010 and Pursehouse Rural Coolah (NSW) in 2011. In 2016 Pursehouse Rural acquired Tamworth Rural, including it’s satelite store
in Moonbi and a saddleworld franchise.

Pursehouse Rural continued to diversify their branches after purchasing Farmer’s Barn Muswellbrook, now Pursehouse Rural Muswellbrook, in 2017. In 2019 Pursehouse Rural added a Saddleworld franchise to the Muswellbrook store to cater to the large equine presence in the area. Also in 2019, Pursehouse Rural expanded into the New England with the addition of Pursehouse Rural Uralla.

The newest members of the Pursehouse Rural group came in 2020, when Pursehouse Rural moved further north than ever before, acquiring the Farm HQ business located in Proserpine and Sarina, near Mackay. A ground spray operation is based at Pursehouse Rural Proserpine, much like the Techspray ground chemical division at Quirindi. The branches operate across new territory for Pursehouse Rural. The challenge of opening and managing new branches, in a new area at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was one the team at Pursehouse Rural rose to.

The Pursehouse Rural Group continues to expand into areas of agricultural interest, supporting customers in rural communities.

I am incredibly proud of where we have come from as a company. We remain a family influenced business and we try to show that in our support of the rural towns and communities we service. We may be growing the business but we will always keep in mind where we have come from; one small shop in a small rural community. Our customers are part of the business and a focus of our work.

– Malcolm Pursehouse, Managing Director



History, Publication, Pursehouse Rural, Seasonal

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