Australian one hundred dollar bills.
Australian one hundred dollar bills. robynmac

REVEALED: Gympie's five biggest business empires

DESPITE its relatively small size, Gympie is responsible for producing some of the biggest regional business empires in the country.

We take a look at five of Gympie's largest, and most successful, family business empires.

1. Nolan family

FOUNDED in 1958 by Gympie man Pat Nolan as a small retail butchery, Nolan Meats has grown into an international meat distribution empire.

With its roots still firmly planted in the Gympie community, Nolan Meats is regarded as one of the best produces and distributors of quality meat in the world.

Despite humble beginnings, Nolans has expanded exponentially, recently adding a multi-million dollar cold distribution facility to their East Deep Creek headquarters to make it the biggest in the southern hemisphere.


Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan  Owners of Nolan Meats in Gympie.
Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan Owners of Nolan Meats in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

In what was described by company director Terry Nolan as the organisation's "biggest ever investment," the expansion is part of a long term plan to further increase the businesses production and export volume.

The business now exports to 30 countries around the world, including the lucrative Japanese and Korean markets, and offers prime cuts of select steak to some of the best restaurants in the world.

Run by Pat's three sons, Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan, the empire has plans to double in size every five years.

"When we started, we had four employees," Terry Nolan told The Gympie Times last year.

"While it is easy to double to eight, when you are talking about the staff numbers we have now, which is about 400; if you double that it starts to become a sizeable business."

Some would say it already is.

2. The Cochrane family

MARY Valley power couple John and Marg Cochrane hold the keys to a business empire that straddles interests from farming to real estate to cheese production.

Some would argue John and Marg are the face of Gympie and the Mary Valley.

If you haven't seen them on a massive billboard, you would have seen them on hundreds of for sale signs.

However, it was in the dairy industry that the Cochranes cut their teeth on.


FROM LEFT: Marg and John Cochrane ; Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan; Andrew Corbet.
FROM LEFT: Marg and John Cochrane ; Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan; Andrew Corbet. Renee Albrecht

They came from humble beginnings to build both a dairy and real estate empire that employs more than 100 people between the two ventures.

Their recent acquisition of the Kenilworth cheese factory is one of their latest expansion moves, sealing their heavy-hitting status in the Australian dairy industry.

Mr Cochrane has also served on dairy industry boards, is active in political circles and is a staunch advocate of the dairy industry.

The couple pulled through the Traveston dam saga in the 2000's in spite of overwhelming financial challenges to become one of the most successful dairy farmers in the Valley.

Through his advocacy work on top of his business interests, Mr Cochrane landed a spot on Gympie's Power 30 in September last year.

3. The Madill family

IF YOU have bought a car in Gympie, chances are it was from the Madill Motor Group.


John Madill, Madill Group managing director.
John Madill, Madill Group managing director. Patrick Woods

John Madill is one of Gympie's most shrewd and community-minded business owners and under his guidance, the Madill Motor Group has grown from two dealerships in 1975 to seven dealerships today.

On top of his business dealings, Mr Madill has contributed a considerable amount of work with Gympie's state of the art driver education facility, Roadcraft as well become a life member of the Apex Club.

In junction with his son Adam, the Madill Motor Group continues to be an industry leader and one of Gympie's biggest family run business empires.

4. The Corbet family

RENOWNED as one of Gympie's most successful and profitable businesses, Corbet's Group, has garnished public praise as being one of the region's best employers, as well as controversy over it latest expansion into the Mary Valley.

Predominately a transport company, the family owned business has been operating in Gympie for more than 40 years.

Originally focused on innovation in the sawmilling industry, the drive to create innovative solutions has seen Corbet's Group evolve into one of the largest and most experienced transport companies in Australia.

Headed up by Andrew "Aussie" Corbet, Corbet's Group now operates in many industries including heavy haulage and bulk commodity transport, land clearing and grinding, water and fluid processing, storage and transfer, heavy plant and equipment, wet and dry hire and wholesale landscape supplies.

With three generations, a team of skilled, dependable and knowledgeable staff and the latest model fleet of plant and equipment, Corbet's Group prides itself on good customer service, making it one of Australia's most relied upon bulk haulage operators.


Corbet Group to relocate their entire operation to a site just west of the highway south of Kybong.   Andrew
Corbet Group to relocate their entire operation to a site just west of the highway south of Kybong. Andrew "Aussie" Corbet is pictured with the land behind him. Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times Greg Miller

However, the company has come under fire recently following approval of a controversial quarry and concrete batching plant near the Mary Valley Link Road.

It was given the green light despite originally not being compliant with some conditions imposed.

Gympie region councillors voted 7-1 to approve the quarry after an amended motion.

An avid motor sport fan, Mr Corbet almost single handedly saved the Mother Mountain Speedway after injecting a significant amount of time and sponsorship into the iconic Gympie venue.

5. Jody and Brendan Allen

GYMPIE entrepreneurs Jody and Brendan Allen are behind one of the country's most successful lifestyle websites.

The pair has built a multi-million dollar empire out of the online advice and information website Stay at Home Mum, created by Jody, and has capitalised by expanding to other, niche realms of digital media and marketing.


HyperFocal: 0
HyperFocal: 0

Recently the duo launched Tenacious Digital, a website building service with a hyper-local focus, and took control of the Gympie Facebook page What's On In Gympie.

Mrs Allen has appeared on many television programs to offer advise on parenting as well as launching her own series on Channel Seven. The most recently appeared on the Today Show this week to discuss private v public schooling.

While still somewhat of a new business compared to others in this list, the Allens have shown that through a razor sharp business acumen, the sky is the limit in this digital age.

Gympie Times

Jerome slams Labor‘s ‘extreme Green policies’

Premium Content Jerome slams Labor‘s ‘extreme Green policies’

‘I personally think that Bob Hawke would turn in his grave to see what is becoming...

Greg Armstrong murder: Man not guilty of cold case killing

Premium Content Greg Armstrong murder: Man not guilty of cold case killing

The man accused of murdering Gregory Armstrong more than 23 years ago has walked...

Millions owed: Qld’s biggest construction company collapses

Premium Content Millions owed: Qld’s biggest construction company collapses

State’s construction company collapses revealed