John Gidley & Co was established in 1898 by John Gidley initially
as a broker of hardware with offices down the western end of
(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.
With the advent of WWI
John Gidley went to enlist but was told he
had a weak heart. Apparently the shock of this was too much,
he died suddenly at quite a young age shortly thereafter around 1917.
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.
2008 marked the 110th birthday of our business
1935 Sands &
McDougall Victorian directory
STREET, S. SIDE 13
459-465 Collins Street
CITY MUTUAL BUILDINGS
MUTUAL LIFE ASSOC SOC LTD
459-465 City Mutual Bldg (J.A. Thomson,
Dreyfus, Louis, & Co. grain merchts
Merritt, W. H., architect
Bell, Sydney, R.,
Simpson, Leighton, & Co Pty Ltd. Merchts
Colonial Building Co Pty Ltd, bldrs
O’Day, B.J., Pty Ltd, jute importer
Sinclair, A. A., solicitor
Richardson, Kerr Pty Ltd, insurance brokers
Rampling, Ross, estate agent
Calcutta Co Pty Ltd, jute importers
Tyner, J. & R., grain merchants
Cole & O’Heare, solicitors
Wright, F.S., consulting engnr
Ritchie, A. B.
Milner, L. A. & Co, customs agts
Scott & Furphy, consulting engnrs
Tulloch, A., & Co. prod mchts
Gidley, John, merchantile broker
Millen, C. N. J. solicitor
Scott, Williams & Cockrell, architects
Spice, A. H., & Co, accountants
Galliver, Percival, caretaker
Library GMF 98 Box 31 Microfiche 1696