John Gidley & Co was established in 1898 by John Gidley initially
as a broker of hardware with offices down the western end of
Browne (1890-1980) joined the company around 1905
and at this time the company moved into the brokering of seed
grain. In those days business was done by telegraph. later
telephones, the brokers would walk their samples around
various merchants located in the same general area.
Around 1910 John Gidley
“a commercial agent” was living in Cotham
Kew opposite the current Kew Library in a
single storey Victorian era house
that still stands. Later on his residence moved to 32
Sackville St, Kew
also still stands. With the advent of WWI John Gidley went to enlist but was
had a weak heart. He passed away in 1926 still a relatively young man.
Charles Browne purchased
the company in & around that year
& was later joined in the business by his 3 sons Charlie (1922-2007),
John (1926-1994) and Max (b 1933). One of Charles daughters, Dorothy
also worked for the firm in the early days. One of her jobs was to drive
Charles into the city each day in their 1924 Itala which would be parked
on the kerb in Collins Street
at 9am each day and then driven home that night.
The office in this period
was 459-465 Collins Street
Melbourne on the south side
just west of Williams Street,
demolished sometime in the early 1960s.
Fellow tenants in 1935 included Louis Dreyfus & Co, J&R Tyner Grains.
Charles retired in 1960
with the 3 sons carrying on the business.
With changes in Barley marketing regulations trading of hard
produce was added to the business & to be closer to the Victoria
Market the business moved to 26
Milton St West Melbourne
1965. Several other diversified projects were carried out at that
time with Charlie operating a hollow & tyning machine for golf
course green renovation & the company winning a contract to
landscape the Punt Road St Kilda Melbourne underpass in the late 1960s.
In the early 1970s
Charlie moved to Queensland
with John &
Max moving the business to the new Footscray Wholesale Market
where the mornings were spent trading swedes, pumpkins *
onions, John brokering in the afternoon.
A change of direction in
1979 saw John resume seed brokering full
time with Max retaining involvement in the Wholesale Market. At this
stage prior to fax machines, a very large telex machine took pride of place
in John’s office for interstate and overseas business.
In the 1980s John was
very successful, enjoyed working with the
late great Kevin Tyner in Melbourne & had a great ally in Alwyn Gee
at Roberts Limited Tasmania to name a few.
The current owner &
operator of the business John David Browne
joined the company in 1991 along with his wife Maria in the same year.
Further expansion & the untimely death of a long time co-broker
Reg Jones of RA Jones & Co, Sydney
saw the purchase & consolidation
of that business in 1996.
Following ISF Melbourne
1999 our business further diversified internationally.
In 2017 John’s younger
sister Carolyn Moroney joined the business. Carolyn
has a strong background in retail store sales, buying & management and
an Applied Science degree. She
met a lot of our domestic clients in Adelaide in 2017,
will be attending ISF Brisbane in 2018 to meet our international clients.
2018 marks the 120th birthday of our business
1935 Sands & McDougall Victorian directory
COLLINS STREET, S.
Collins Street CITY MUTUAL BUILDINGS
MUTUAL LIFE ASSOC SOC LTD
459-465 City Mutual Bldg (J.A. Thomson,
465 Dreyfus, Louis, & Co. grain merchts
465 Merritt, W. H., architect
R., consulting engineer
465 Simpson, Leighton, & Co Pty Ltd. Merchts
465 Colonial Building Co Pty Ltd, bldrs
465 O’Day, B.J., Pty Ltd, jute importer
465 Sinclair, A. A., solicitor
465 Richardson, Kerr Pty Ltd, insurance brokers
465 Rampling, Ross, estate agent
465 Calcutta Co Pty Ltd, jute importers
465 Tyner, J. & R., grain merchants
465 Cole & O’Heare, solicitors
465 Wright, F.S., consulting engnr
465 Ritchie, A. B.
465 Milner, L. A. & Co, customs agts
465 Scott & Furphy, consulting engnrs
465 Tulloch, A., & Co.
465 Gidley, John, merchantile broker
465 Millen, C. N. J. solicitor
465 Scott, Williams & Cockrell, architects
465 Spice, A. H., & Co, accountants
465 Galliver, Percival, caretaker
State Library GMF 98 Box 31