Red Funnel History

Red Funnel Fisheries (Ncle) Pty Ltd is one of the oldest names in seafood distribution in the Newcastle area.
The business was operating in the 1920s as a fresh seafood operation with a fleet of steam trawlers operating off the NSW coast from their base in Sydney as well as running a Cold Store business in Newcastle.
Gerry Cominos and Chris Pappas purchased the Newcastle business of Red Funnel Fisheries Ltd in 1933 and after a short period of time Peter Cominos, Gerry’s brother was brought in to form the original partnership.
They began operating out of Dark’s Ice Works in Wharf Road Newcastle by distributing fresh fish and prawns to Seafood outlets in the region, going on to include frozen fish as the Seafood business expanded.
Up until approx. 1975 country outlets were supplied by rail, fresh fish were packed with ice in wooden crates and were sent by rail as far as the Queensland border, west to Bourke as well as supplying large quantities of unopened oysters to the Victorian trade.
Red Funnel was also one of the earliest agents appointed to distribute frozen smoked Cape Cod from South Africa.
During the earlier years of operation fresh seafood was delivered to the Migrant Camp at Greta in wooden crates packed with ice on a table top truck and during the war years the Army Camp at Singleton and the RAAF Base at Williamstown were also supplied with Seafood.
In the 70’s control of the family business passed on to Arthur Cominos who became Managing Director and together with fellow Director and brother-in-law Chris Sofianos they formed Ithaca Cold Storage Pty Ltd, now the holding company of Red Funnel Fisheries.
In 1973 Red Funnel diversified into general food products becoming agent for Edgell-Birds Eye and in 1975 purchased the Edgell-Birds Eye Cold Storage Facility at Kotara, which became the new Head Office.
Over the years distribution has extended to Taree in the north, to the (NSW) Central Coast in the south, and as far west as Scone in the Hunter Valley. The company now has a staff of over 50 many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years.
Red Funnel today is a major distributor of frozen products, dairy , smallgoods , dry goods , and fresh seafood and has expanded its product range to fully meet the requirements of the Catering and Food Service Industries . 87 years locally owned and locally run , our focus and commitment is to provide our customers quality products and service excellence.

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