I have always believed that any organisation must rely on the support and efforts of the employees. My introduction to the wine industry was at the Berri Cooperative Winery and Distillery Ltd in 1951. I well remember it was, to my mind, a very friendly place and everyone was happy in their particular job. My other impression was that we were all working for a large number of shareholders in the surrounding irrigation areas who were the fabric supporting the district townships.
So I decided to try and place on record, in chronological order, the people that contributed and made the establishment what is today. I have made no distinction between weekly wage or staff members. We were all in it together to do our job to the best of our capabilities.
My regret is that many people of the early years have passed away and I have done the best I could with chasing up old employees and relatives etc. I think that when this document goes to print we may have some further input of information. With respect to each person in this section, I have tried to include as much detail that I have established about each of them. This has been done because I will place the history with the Consolidated Cooperative Winery Board, the Berri Library and State Library of South Australia for posterity, and hope that someone else will continue where I have finished.
Otto von Dippe
Mr. Dippe was appointed as Manager by the board of management of the Berri Cooperative Packing Union Ltd and was in charge for the vintages 1919 to 1921 and he resigned to assist Mr. O. E. Kunoth with the running of the Rivoli Theatre in Wilson Street, Berri. I have not found where he was from and what his skills were. One unconfirmed lead was that Otto spent time at Chateau Tanunda. From Ray Harrip's comments von Dippe had distillation skills and was capable of operating the original continuous still which became known as the "Old Continuous". This was built by Whitehill Ltd to a design by a Mr. Engelbrecht.
Mr. von Dippe resigned in March 1922.
W. V. Gillard
First Chairman of the Board of Directors 1922-2
Wilhelm August Rump
Appointed as the General Manager in March 1922.
Bill, as he was known in the industry, had started with B. Seppelt and Sons Ltd and spent time at Seppeltsfield and Dorrien Cellars. I understand his first position was as the mail boy and 14 years with the firm was felt to be a good basis for his appointment.
Following a chat with Ray and Jim Beckwith at Nuriootpa I contacted Murray and Gloria Rump on 5th September 2002 at Glenelg North, SA 5045.
Murray Rump was born in 1918 at Nuriootpa SA and spent many years purchasing grapes for Penfold Wines Ltd from the SA Riverland. as did his father Bill before him. Both Bill and Murray had their office in the Saloon Bar of the Barmera Community Hotel.
Murray (pictured left) confirmed that his father was employed at B. Seppelt Sons Ltd at their Dorrien Cellars.
He fondly recalled the pine trees in front of the manager's house between Block 4 Tanks. Murray and his brother Eric would climb these pines and make believe.
Memories of the big Thorneycroft tray truck fitted with solid rubber tires leaving the winery laden with drums of fortifying spirit for delivery to Morgan were still fresh.
Alf Wuttke was Cellar Foreman during the time Murray was at Karoom. In the late 1920's Murray went to Adelaide for schooling and unfortunately could not recall any more details other that his father in later years became buyer of grapes in the Riverland for Penfold Wines and also a popular racecourse bookmaker in Adelaide.
Murray is 84 and the days of the 1920's are dim.
E. W. Paynter
First secretary of the Company
J. C. Cheriton
Elected as Chairman in 1923 and held this position until 1933
L. W. A. Peacock
Next Secretary of the Company from 1924 to 1928
L. E. Nairn
Became Secretary in 1928
R. J. F. Harrip
Ray was a distiller. No start date as yet but remembered Von Dippe. Need to check Chaffey Electoral roll and grand daughter. Featured in the 1937/8 photo of staff. Ray retired in January 1970 so would have been aged 65 years. He could well have started during Von Dippe's time. I have checked South Australian BDM without result.
Another story that Ray Harrip told me, was how Tom Kennedy Senior, who was employed in the Bond store during Garnett's time heard or saw "Warrie" coming around the corner of WC 4. At that time Ray was sweeping down the loading bay area and Tom, quick as a flash, said "I will give you a break Ray". Tom took over the broom and as "Warrie" approached and arriving at the loading bay " Warrie" said " What are you up to Harrip?" I do not know whether Ray ever forgave Tom.
W. N. Ellis Elected Chairman in 1933 until 1935
Frank Wilson was appointed as Assistant Winemaker in 1933 by Bill Rump
W. S. Garnett appointed General Manager in 1933
Bert Berriman started in 1935
Eric Dellbridge started in 1935
Alan Kelly appointed Chairman in 1935 to 1944
Tom Kennedy in 1935 Herman Wierenga in 1935
Bonny Maitland in 1936 Alby Brand in 1936