A visit to the Goulburn Valley by two Singaporean fruit buyers rekindled some old memories for a well known fruit exporting family.May 13, 2014 3:13am
Chris Georgopoulos and Michael Zurcas with Linda Ong, centre and Guek Hong from Benelux Flowers and Food.
A visit to the Goulburn Valley by two Singaporean fruit buyers rekindled some old memories for a well known fruit exporting family.
Linda Ong and Guek Hong were standing in the fruit packing shed of Chris Georgopoulos when they discovered his connection to the Zurcas family who were major exporters in the heyday of the fruit industry.
In particular, they both remembered the family patriarch Bill Zurcas, whose energy, drive and outgoing nature were well known in the industry.
And it seems, overseas.
‘‘I remember I was having a a discussion in my office with Bill, but his voice was so loud and boisterous, that my bosses in the next room thought I was having a fight and they came charging in and said: ‘Are you all right’,’’ Ms Hong said.
‘‘That is the way Bill is.
‘‘Lots of passion and gusto.
‘‘Zurcas was one of only two brands in Shepparton that was associated with pears, and when you mention the names you know what it stands for — quality and good pears,’’ Ms Hong said.
‘‘He was very passionate and he called a spade a spade.
‘‘There was no hiding. He did a lot for the industry.’’
The connection was discovered when Mr Georgopoulos mentioned his connection with the Zurcas family. He is married to Mary Zurcas.
He phoned Michael Zurcas, Bill’s nephew, to join them at the packing shed to share some memories.
Bill Zurcas, who migrated to Australia in 1938 without any money, established a fruit growing and export business and invested in other Shepparton businesses.
He died in 2009.
Ms Hong is a former marketing officer with the Australian Trade Commission and received the Australia Medal for her services to horticulture.
Now she works in Singapore for Benelux Flowers and Food.
She retired from Austrade about 2012.
She remarked that the business was not just about fruit, but relationships and connections.
Her employer Linda Ong, who also remembered the Zurcas family, agreed that knowing where their produce came from was important in trade relationships.
‘‘This is not only a piece of fruit, but the history behind it is important,’’ Ms Ong said.
‘‘If I understand who the person who is growing the fruit, it puts me at ease, because I know the values and practices where the fruit comes from.
‘‘In the fruit business it is a people business. When you build a relationship it is like a big family.’’
Two men charged over the armed robbery of a Shepparton service station have been remanded in custody until next week.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Echuca College students Calum Pearson, Luke Judd, Kiriana Epararma, Harriet Nilon, Kyle Melhuish and Stephanie Chong are heading to China.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.