The beginnings of UFS Healthcare date back to 1880 with the first dispensary opening in 1881 at 84 Armstrong Street South in central Ballarat, Victoria. Mr Thomas Treloar was the appointed Dispenser. The dispensary moved to the corner of Dana and Armstrong Streets (current Doepel, Lilley and Taylor building) before building their own premises in 1902 in Dana Street (next door to the Ballarat Club). The dispensary remained there until 1952 when it was relocated to the present site at 717 Sturt Street, Ballarat.
In 1957 a branch dispensary opened at 40 Main Road and was relocated to Bridge Street in 1976. The dispensary in Howitt Street, Wendouree opened in July 1973 and a fourth dispensary opened in Sebastopol in 1980. Almost eight years later in 1987, the Buninyong Dispensary was opened. This was followed by the Victoria Street Dispensary, in 1991.
Today, the organisation operates 19 pharmacies, with pharmacies located in Ballarat (two in Sturt Street, two in Doveton Street, one in Bridge Mall and Victoria Street), Buninyong, Delacombe (2008), Sebastopol, Wendouree, Bacchus Marsh (opened in 1999), Bacchus Marsh Village (opened in 2018), Mt Clear (opened in 2004), Beaufort (opened in 2004), Ballan (opened in 2004), Melton Central (opened in 2005), Melton South (opened in 2007), and two pharmacies in Gisborne (opened in 2017). UFS also owns and operates the Peace & Quiet Day Spa (2004) in Ballarat. Cherub Gifts was owned and operated by UFS Dispensaries from 1996 – 2019.
UFS Dispensaries operated the UFS Medical Institute from 1919 to 1939. In 2008, UFS Medical was established with the first centre opening above the refurbished Bridge Mall pharmacy at Level 1, 40 Bridge Mall. The Bridge Mall UFS Medical practice moved to Sebastopol UFS Medical (37 Albert Street) in 2023. In 2009 the Gillies Street Medical Clinic and Sturt Street West General Practice joined UFS Medical at 452 Gillies Street and 1008A Sturt Street, which subsequently moved in 2022 to Windermere Street in Ballarat.
UFS Medical opened our new purpose-built Medical centre located in Doveton Street North, Ballarat, (Gillies Street Medical Centre’s new location) on Tuesday 14 June 2011. The new centre is home to several GPs, practice nurses, on-site pathology and allied health professionals including physiotherapists, a dietitian and podiatrist.
UFS Healthcare also has a head office facility in Armstrong Street North, Ballarat, and a warehouse in Grandlee Drive, Wendouree. The administration and warehouse teams were historically based at the back of 717 Sturt Street and above 719 Sturt Street, but new premises were constructed in 2003 at 206 Armstrong Street Nth.
The business name of UFS Dispensaries Ltd was changed to UFS Healthcare Ltd in late 2023, to better reflect the operations of the business.
The full story of UFS Healthcare’s history is shown in timeline format at the entrance to the Bridge Mall pharmacy.
Melbourne University has published an interesting paper on the history of friendly societies in Australia here
The Treloar’s Story
When UFS was formed in 1880 there was but one employee of the organisation. Mr Thomas Reid Treloar was just 28 years when he was engaged as the Dispenser for the new UFS Dispensary in Ballarat.
UFS’ first dispenser was born in Coburg in 1852 and had been apprentice to leading Melbourne chemist Mr Joseph Jelfs. Treloar was an experienced dispenser before arriving in Ballarat and had already begun exploring a keen interest in health science including further study in biology with a particular focus on microscopy.
Treloar commenced work at the first UFS Dispensary located at 84 Armstrong St Sth for a salary of £3 per week or £156 per annum. As the sole employee, Treloar was required to work extremely long hours – 9.00am to 9.00pm weekdays with the exception of Friday afternoons and the dispensary was also open on Sundays.
Treloar’s management of the dispensary ensured his workload increased rapidly and in 1881 he asked the Committee for the assistance of “a lad” to which they agreed and employ an Assistant, Mr Towl.
Treloar was an ambitious man and he resigned in 1883 to open up his own chemist shop at 259 Sturt St Ballarat (former Towl’s Pharmacy). At the conclusion of his career, Treloar was prominently regarded within the medical profession as a pioneer in the treatment of various diseases including cancer and lupus through the development of x-ray technology.
Treloar married Miss Jane Devine who shared his passion for the stage. He was a popular amateur actor and formed the Ballarat Dramatic Society of which he was President.
Mr Thomas Reid Treloar was a visionary health professional, with a passion for theatre and the gentleman who was engaged to first build the business we know today as UFS Healthcare.
Thomas Reid Treloar (1852-1904)