“As the founder of Montague I couldn’t be prouder of where the business is today. Over the past 60 years we have amassed a diverse and still wholly family owned company. We came from very humble beginnings. When I started out I never even thought I’d own a car.
I had to grow up very quickly. When I was 13 my father went to war and I had to leave school to provide for my family. I started driving his truck to Melbourne, delivering flowers and fruit.
In 1948 at the age of 22, I purchased a carting operation, including 2 stalls at the Victoria Markets and later incorporated my own business – W.F. Montague Pty Ltd. In 1950 the first orchard was planted in Narre Warren North. Memories of those early years flood back each time I visit the site, although it looks bloody different now!
Our fortunes turned when we won a tender to supply Melbourne hospitals with fresh fruit and vegetables in the 1950s. Now we supply nationally to the major retailers, independent grocers and through various wholesale markets.
Since 1948, we’ve been at the forefront of our industry. Montague is responsible for introducing Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage to Australia to ensure apples are available to the Australian public all year round and in 1977 we were the first company to wax our fruit. Today we continue to be innovators through the introduction of new varieties, crop protection and sustainable cold storage technology.
Our business became a true family operation in the 70’s when my 3 sons, Frank, Greg and Ray joined the business. Together we have built and acquired Orchards and Cold Storage facilities in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. Now 6 of my grandchildren have joined the business and I feel content knowing it will continue to strengthen and remain in family hands.
Although my involvement in the daily operations has lessened I continue to be an active member of the Board and always make sure I have the time to drive cross country to check on the orchards.
The values of hard work and perseverance that I instilled in my sons has been passed on to the next generations of Montagues and has filtered through our diverse workforce.
As a family business our philosophy is to treat our customers, suppliers and industry peers as one of our own. I hope that when dealing with Montague, our history, experience and passion for our business resonates through our work.
I will always remember where I came from and hope that my story will continue to inspire and drive growth in the Montague Group.”
Bill Montague OAM
Founder of the Montague Group