Locally grown business still remains in Gympie 30 years on.
In 1983 the Gympie District Macadamia Association was formed. It consisted of 17 growers who believed that processing and marketing their crop would give them better control of their future and maximise their returns. In 1985 the members of this group formed Suncoast Gold Pty Ltd.
In the very early days SGM focused on supporting on farm operations by purchasing specialised machinery to be used by the members. SGM arranged dehusking and drying at a plant in Pomona and as the shareholders crop grew to 120ton in 1987 dehusking services were also conducted at Kindal plantation. In 1987 the Drummond drive site in Gympie was acquired and planning started for a processing facility. The price achieved in 1987 was $3.40 equivalent to $8.00 in 2017! The factory opened in 1989 and 600ton of NIS was processed.
Ian McConachie – The founding father of Suncoast Gold Macadamias
Ian was instrumental in developing the modern macadamia industry in the Gympie and Bundaberg regions. In the early 1980’s Ian had a vision that culminated in the establishment of Suncoast Gold Macadamias (Australia). A food scientist, grower and field researcher Ian worked for 45 years to establish and ensure world-class macadamia nut production in Australia. Ian remains passionate about macadamias and SGM. In 1994 Ian was awarded the prestigious Golden Nut award by the INC. In 2006 Ian received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the industry. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Following the successful opening of the factory SGM continued to grow with the industry. In 1990 production in Australia grew by 50% and the price for Kernel and subsequently NIS started to decline. Shareholding continued to grow throughout the 90s with the guarantee of a buyer for your product a strong incentive. In 1992 SGM entered the retail business and continued to grow domestic and world markets for kernel. In 1993 SGM processed 1734 ton, paid $2.70 and was the first macadamia company in the world to introduce an internationally recognised quality management system ISO9002.
Suncoast Gold continued to weather the ups and downs of the 90s and early 2000s with strong support of loyal shareholders and committed financiers. Marketing of the ever growing crop remained a focus but at the same time the factory continued to improve and innovate. The quality of product delivered to customers was always in the forefront of any improvements. As the new millennium approached SGM grew to over 5000ton of NIS processed and had developed a reputation both in Australia and around the world for the efficiency of its operations, quality of its products and a comprehensive client service.
Suncoast Gold’s factory is today a modern facility that utilises the latest technology to ensure the quality long associated with the SGM brand is maintained. Our loyal suppliers, dedicated staff and forward thinking board have all combined to ensure we stay at the forefront of this blossoming industry. Green & Gold Macadamias was established in 2010 as a marketing joint venture between South African processor, Green Farms Nut Co. and SGM. This innovative project has helped stabilise prices for growers and supplies the world’s leading macadamia customers. In 2012 the SGM retail business was sold to long time macadamia manufacturer, Patons and today the brand is still synonymous with quality flavoured macadamias. Operations in Gympie focus on producing raw and value added product for bulk sales.