• intouch Magazine

New Name, New Era For Leading Business Organisation


The Hunter region’s leading business organisation has a new name and brand.

The Hunter Business Chamber formally became Business Hunter at launch event attended by 150 members and associates last night at Newcastle’s Great Northern Hotel – the venue where the first meeting of the organisation took place in 1886.


“Business Hunter has a proud history of helping and representing business in our region for more than 135 years and we look forward to continuing to be the voice of business in the Hunter under our new name,” Business Hunter President Tony Rhodes said. “Business Hunter is a name that reflects a more contemporary and diverse image for our organisation, one that better epitomises the very broad membership we represent.”


Business Hunter represents more than 3,000 businesses and organisations across the Hunter. This includes members of about 20 aligned local chambers across 10 local government areas, core and Hunter First members and about 850 Business Australia members.


“They rely on us to not only provide them with networking opportunities and business advice, but to be a champion for the region, using our strength in advocacy to make it a better place to live and do business,” Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said.


“We are proud to champion business in Australia’s leading regional economy and will continue our work to improve outcomes for business and our community.”


The new name brings Business Hunter into line with its affiliate organisation Business NSW, which rebranded last year during an organisational restructure that also created the new entity Business Australia, a free membership organisation offering online resources to people in business.


A new website, www.businesshunter.com was launched ahead of last night’s event.


Business Hunter traces its beginnings back to 1886, when a group of business people met at Newcastle’s Great Northern Hotel to establish a Chamber of Commerce, for the purpose of enhancing the reputation and status of Newcastle as a trading and shipping stronghold.


Among the members at last night’s function was Earp Distilling Co’s Richard Earp, whose purveyor forebear George Frederick Earp – founder of Earp Bros – was at the first formal meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in 1886, along with coal barons John and Alex Brown. William Arnott, whose biscuit business became national icon, became a member a few years later, as did hardware merchant Frederick Ash, whose business name still adorns one of Newcastle’s most significant heritage buildings.

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