24th October 2021

Venture Stores

The Venture chain of department stores existed from 1970 to 1994, starting from Geelong, Victoria to spread over South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. It’s story overlaps with that of many other famous department stores and businessmen.

The business was started by three former Target Store employees, Robert Lee, Robert Morris and Bernie Buckley. In 1973 South Australian ‘John Martins’ bought into the company and eventually owned 100%.  John Martins was then bought by Solomon Lew in 1981 then later sold  to the Melbourne based Cooke family. When John Martins was sold to David Jones, the Venture portion remained with the Cooke family. In 1987 Venture bought Waltons department stores.

Unfortunately, with increasing competition from larger competitors, Venture’s profitability suffered in the late 1980s, and despite being sold to new owners on two occasions, it closed in 1994.

In the late 1970s they also sold cookware and small electrical appliances.

The Canberra Times, 29th May 1992 page 15. Despite restructuring, and the closing of less profitable stores, the business continued to struggle.

The Canberra Times, 24th February 1994 page 17.