Port Fairy pharmacists retire after more than four decades

After almost 42 years in business in Port Fairy pharmacists David and Joan McLean are retiring. 

Mr McLean said it was “a bit surreal” to think they had been in business that long.

Loyal: Port Fairy pharmacists Joan and David McLean are retiring after almost 42 years. They will remain in the area and look forward to spending more time travelling and pursuing their interests. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Loyal: Port Fairy pharmacists Joan and David McLean are retiring after almost 42 years. They will remain in the area and look forward to spending more time travelling and pursuing their interests. Picture: Morgan Hancock

They are looking forward to having more time at home and in their garden, playing golf, visits to Melbourne to see their three adult children and attending more AFL games. They are also keen to travel.

The pair said it will be nice not to have to rush back to work and be able to enjoy more freedom and flexibility in their retirement.

They are also looking forward to attending the Port Fairy Folk Festival together this year.

The couple celebrated their 40 year milestone in June 2016 and said they couldn’t believe they had been operating from Sackville Street for as long as they had. 

The pair bought the pharmacy, which was on the western side of Sackville Street, from Olive Powell, another Port Fairy icon and long-serving pharmacist.

They operated McLean’s Pharmacy from there until 1979 when they moved into the purpose-built premises where they are now located. 

Mr McLean was born in Heywood and his wife was born in Hamilton and grew up in Melbourne. The pair met at the Victorian College of Pharmacy in Parkville.

They worked in Melbourne for a short time, before deciding to return to the country, where they’ve remained for more than half their lives.

“It’s been nice to have a career in the one place,” Mr McLean said. “It’s virtually a full career in one place. You get more job satisfaction from the people you deal with regularly.

“We had the desire to own our own business and this came along. We’ve been pretty lucky really.”

Mrs McLean said they came to Port Fairy with no expectations and it had been a great place to raise a family. “We’ve always been happy here,” she said. 

“We’ve got to know our customers well and we’ll certainly miss them. It’s given us an opportunity to develop friendships,” she said. 

The business has been sold to a couple who own pharmacies in Melbourne and one of their managers who also has a share in the Port Fairy pharmacy will run the store.  It will change hands on February 26.

Mr McLean said their staff had met the new manager this week and said their customers would continue to be looked after.  “We’re very grateful to the people who have been loyal customers and hope that they continue to be loyal customers at the new place,” he said. “Mostly because I think it’s important to have those facilities in towns and it’s support that keeps them there.”