Felicity and Andrew Dascombe, from Helloworld Travel and Pursers Coaches, with John Robinson, from Robinsons Newspower in Murgon, Wondai and Kingaroy
MBDA president Amy Wicks chaired Wednesday’s get-together

June 14, 2024

Do you know where the largest network of Helloworld Travel agencies in Australia and New Zealand is based? Most people would be surprised by the answer: Murgon!

The Murgon Business and Development Association’s June networking event for local businesspeople was held at Helloworld Travel’s new offices in Gore Street on Wednesday night.

The office is, of course, also the headquarters of Pursers Coaches.

Dynamic duo Felicity and Andrew Dascombe run the two businesses.

Felicity said she was enjoying the new office space as the business had outgrown its old area near the bus workshop.

And it’s no wonder … the Dascombes are about to open their 15th Helloworld Travel store! 

The agencies are located across Queensland and NSW, including Murgon, Kingaroy and Gympie.

Felicity opened the family’s first Helloworld in Murgon in 2016.

Since then the business has grown strongly, with struggling agencies snapped up during the COVID crisis and turned around into profitable outlets.

The business now has a total of 125 staff and is a perfect fit for the family’s other business, which offers a wide range of group tours.

Pursers Coaches has also grown since the Dascombe family bought the business from founder Mick Purser in 1996.

Andrew said the company now runs 52 buses which operate services for Meandu Mine and Tarong Power Station workers as well as school bus runs across the region from Kilkivan to Blackbutt.

They also run a couple of water trucks.

Repairs for the fleet are carried out at the Murgon depot, but the company also operates depots in Kingaroy and Nanango.

And if that isn’t enough to keep the couple busy, they also run the Wimberley & Co bookstore in Goomeri!

“What I am most proud about it that is all run out of Murgon here,” Felicity told the crowd. 

* * *

Newsagency owner John Robinson was the second speaker on the night.

John and wife Tracy are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of their Murgon newsagency in 1974.

They now also own Newspower outlets in Wondai and Kingaroy.

John explained how the business had changed over the years … from selling about 600 copies of the Sunday Mail each week to now selling only about 70.

The couple had navigated this “volatile period” by continuing to remain flexible and serving the needs of their customers.

* * *

Industry changes also forced a change of focus for the third speaker on the night, Shane Sippel from Murgon Betta and Murgon Furniture Zone. 

The Sippel family bought a farm in the area in March 1924 but the deregulation of the dairy industry in the early 2000s led to the eventual closure of the family’s dairy in 2004.

Shane bought the Betta business in October that year, and at the time faced stiff competition from Retravision across the road.

However, Retravision closed in 2011, followed by closures of other Retravision stores around the State.

Shane praised the Betta business model which, he said, had made that chain more resilient to economic conditions.

Adding the Furniture Zone side of the business in recent times had also created a new market for Shane, and filled a gap in the Murgon retail space.

And … did you know, Betta was founded in Queensland and originally stood for “Brisbane Electrical and Television Traders Association”?

* * *

Other News  

MBDA president Amy Wicks shared some other business news at the meeting:

  • The plan to set up a MBDA space in Council’s Visitor Information Centre building is progressing
  • Applications to Bendigo Bank’s community grants scheme have been extended for a fortnight
  • A South Burnett “Business Catch-Up” for businesspeople from all towns across the South Burnett will be held on July 2 at the Tingoora Hotel
Leisa Wilson (SBRC) with Leigh and Jim Hook, from Hookies Kitchens and Cabinets

Harvy Dascombe, who bought Pursers Coaches from Mick Purser in 1996, with Mayor Kathy Duff

MBDA committee member Joy Fennell with treasurer Lorraine Goodchild
Blue and Benita Carney, from Carney’s Feed Store, with Tracy Robinson, from Robinsons Newspower


One Response to "Business Is Booming In Murgon"

  1. Great story. Wonderful to hear of these successful and forward thinking Murgon-based businesses.

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