Murray Thomas Martin
Murray Martin was born in Broken Hill on the 19th of February 1913. After attending school in Castlemaine, Victoria, Murray studied pharmacy from 1929 to 1931 at the Victorian College of Pharmacy in Melbourne. Murray was a high achieving student, winning the Gold Medal as Dux of the Intermediate Year, and a Bronze Medal for Materia Medica and Silver Medals for both Botany and Chemistry in his final year.
Following his graduation, Murray worked at pharmacies in Melbourne, Brisbane and Bendigo before the opportunity to purchase the pharmacy of Bill Day brought him to Mount Gambier, taking over the business on Monday, 4th September 1939. This was the commencement of a long association of Murray T Martin Pharmacy with the Mount Gambier region.
The pharmacy was originally located in the shop at 25 Commercial Street West and in the late 1950’s the second floor was added to the pharmacy to provide storage and space for the compounding of drugs. At that time, the majority of prescriptions were medications that were compounded or ‘made from scratch’. From creams to liquid tinctures and potions to powders, they were prepared on site as required and for many years the pharmacy continued to supply many “Murray T Martin Pharmacy” branded products manufactured in accordance with Murray’s own hand-written directions.
In 1962, Murray moved next door to the larger site at 23 Commercial Street West, providing the pharmacy a larger space for trading. Both sites were merged in 1972 to form the current store size.
In 1966, Murray opened a second store across the street at 10 Commercial Street West, (the current Vicki Quinn Real Estate building). To fill the position of manager of this pharmacy, Meredith Wakefield arrived in Mount Gambier.
Meredith Elaine Martin
Meredith Martin (Wakefield) was born in Adelaide on the 5thof May 1942. Meredith attended school in Mount Barker, later graduating in Pharmacy from Adelaide University.
During her time of study, Meredith undertook an apprenticeship at D.C Hill Chemist in Stirling from 1961. Following her graduation in 1966, Meredith responded to an advertisement for a branch pharmacy manager in Mount Gambier.
Meredith was employed by Murray and managed the pharmacy at 10 Commercial Street West for three and a half years, until this store was merged with the main store across the street. The second storey of this building continued to be used for storage and administration for several more years until moving to a warehouse at the rear of several shops in Commercial Street West (now Commerce Arcade) before eventually being relocated into the main pharmacy building in the late 1980s.
In February 1968, Meredith became a partner in the pharmacy following her marriage to Murray in 1967
In 1979 an extensive shop fit was undertaken, with Murray T Martin Pharmacy becoming a member of the Amcal pharmacy marketing group, becoming the first Amcal pharmacy in South Australia. Murray T Martin Pharmacy remained a member of the Amcal group for almost 20 years.
In 1983 Murray Martin passed away. To this day, Murray’s past employees, customers, family and friends still talk very highly of the gentleman Murray was and the extreme pride and care he had for his business and his community. Murray was an active member and supporter of the local community, being heavily involved in both St Andrew’s Uniting Church and Rotary. There have been few pharmacists more dedicated to their profession than Murray and he earned a noble reputation by focusing on the needs of his customers above all else.
Meredith Martin and Colin Martin (Murray’s third son who joined the partnership in 1971) continued to operate the business together until Colin left the partnership in 1994. Since then Meredith has been the sole owner and manager of the pharmacy. In recent years she has been supported in the daily operation of the business by full-time Pharmacist-Manager Stephanie Ros (2007-current).
In 1995 Meredith purchased the pharmacy of Bruce Millar in partnership with 2 other pharmacists. Initially named East Gambier Amcal Chemist, this pharmacy subsequently changed its name to East Gambier Pharmacy in 1998 when both pharmacies left the Amcal group. In 2003, the partnership of three pharmacists broke up with Meredith becoming the sole owner of East Gambier Pharmacy.
In 1998 Murray T Martin Pharmacy joined the ‘Fullife’ pharmacy marketing group which resulted in the pharmacy’s second major shop refit, twenty years after the Amcal refit. The pharmacy then offered additional services including a full-service beauty salon, and in-store photographic processing.
In 2004 the pharmacy left the Fullife group and has since traded solely under its own name and branding.
2014 saw the incorporation of East Gambier Pharmacy into the Murray T Martin Pharmacy brand to further strengthen the brand presence as well as streamline operations of the group. A vibrant new logo and upgrade in store IT systems throughout the group ensured the businesses would remain at the forefront of the local community pharmacy sector.
Over the years Murray T Martin Pharmacy has provided the community with a wide range of healthcare products and services, cosmetics, beauty and personal convenience products. The business has sold and specialised in major cosmetics brands such as Clinique, Jurlique, Dr. Lewins, Napoleon Purdis, Clarins, Revlon, Helena Rubenstein and Pure Acton. The pharmacy provided in-store photographic processing in its early days, changing to an off-site processing service through Kodak in Adelaide during the 1960s until re-introducing in-store photographic processing and services under the Kodak brand in1998, Konica processing equipment was then used from 2004 until 2010. The pharmacy also sold an extensive range of cameras, binoculars and telescopes. Chemistry sets were sold until the 1980’s and from the late 1970s into the 1980’s the pharmacy was also a retailer of both Daryll Lea confectionery and Tandy Electronics.
In 2004, the pharmacy’s professionalism and customer service standards were recognised when it was awarded the South Australian Pharmacy of the Year and was a finalist for the Australian Pharmacy of the Year.
Over the 75 years of the pharmacy’s operation, all five of Murray’s five sons have worked in the business either full time or part time. In more recent years, Andrew was the full-time Business Manager from 1994 until 2008 (and remains involved part-time) and Simon has been the Business Manager since 2008.
There are estimated to have been at least 200 employees of the pharmacy over the 75 years, including multiple members of quite a few families. The pharmacy has also employed a number of part-time and trainee Pharmacists and many locum Pharmacists.
Meredith, Andrew and Simon Martin, and the staff at Murray T Martin Pharmacy would like to sincerely thank the community and our customers for your loyalty and support that has contributed to the ongoing success of this business for the past 75 years. We hope that the foundation of Murray’s business success, being strong and lasting customer relationships and quality service, are still evident today at Murray T Martin Pharmacy and shall continue long into the future.
Murray T Martin Pharmacy. Caring for the health and well-being of you and your family since 1939.