Ref NoWBA/BT/AU
TitleThe Boots Company (Australia) Ltd
DescriptionThis collection comprises the records of The Boots Company Australia Ltd. The catalogue is in the process of being updated and additional entries for this series are anticipated.
LevelSubFonds
Administrative HistoryBoots Pure Drug Company (Australia) Ltd was formed in 1948. It was established by Mr F.H Needham, who began by operating an agency from offices in Market Street, Sydney, following his work for Boots in both England and South Africa.

Due to Australian legislation it operated as a manufacturers and wholesalers only, depending for sales entirely on promotional activity to doctors, chemists, wholesalers, hospitals, universities, stock and station agents, wool firms and produce merchants.

In 1954 a new Head office building was completed at 376 Eastern Valley Way, Roseville, which also housed the New South Wales area Sales Office. It was designed by architect firm Stafford Moor and Farrington, who received the 1954 Sulman Medal from the Royal Institute of Architects NSW chapter for its design. By 1956, only two years after completion, work began to extend the building as the company had outgrown it.

Branch offices and warehouses in the principle cities of the 5 other Australian states were also opened as part of Boots expansion into Australia.
In 1956 trial production runs also began at Roseville, with some raw materials being supplied from Nottingham. Fenox drops were the first line to be Australian home-made.

In 1961 J Blanchard-Evans, formerly of store 903 (Windsor, Berkshire) moved to Australia to become foreman at the Roseville factory in 1961. However, by 1963 space was again required and Boots acquired a new factory in the nearby suburb of Chiswick, allowing Roseville to revert to its original purpose of offices and warehousing.
In 1963 a new anthelmintic for sheep, Eludon was also introduced specifically formulated to combat a worm which did not occur in the UK. This was followed by Ropel, a hormone implant for sheep to treat and prevent a disease found only in Australia.

In the same year a site was purchased at North Rock, New South Wales and in 1965 construction began on a new plant to provide a 50,000 sq. ft. production unit, housing laboratory, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, and a separate 11,000 sq. ft. administrative headquarters for Boots Australia. It was completed at a cost of approximately 1.5 million Australian dollars.

The North Rocks plant was officially opened on Friday 24th June 1966 by the Commonwealth Treasurer, The Rt. Hon. William McMahon, and was also attended by Mr F.A Cockfield, Managing Director of Boots. Products produced at the plant included liquid prescription drugs, powdered chemicals, lozenges, medical tablets, sterile products, veterinary and rural lines, cosmetics and toiletries.

At this stage Boots Pure Drug Company (Australia) Ltd was the second largest overseas company in the group with sales of £1.25million (Boots Pure Drug Company (India) had sales of £1.5million), with turnover doubling in the previous 5 years and sheep farmers giving the company 80% of rural business.

Most medical products sold by Boots in Australia at this time were developed in the UK but product development was introduced in Australia in the 1960s. A surgical division was also introduced and Boots became one of the major suppliers of surgical instruments in Australia.

In 1968 three small farms were acquired in Kulnura, New South Wales for agricultural research, together forming Kooree Research Farm.

In 1975 further extensions were completed at the North Rocks complex, costing over $1million and were financed entirely by the Australian Company.

In 1977 sales totalled £8,170,000. The medical division in Australia was responsible for a range of Boots Ethical Products including Brufen, Aprinox and Australian developments in the field of sustained release aspirin, Biprin and SRA. It was also agent for Portext Ltd (surgical plastics) and the Seton Group (tubular bandages). The proprietary division handled products such as Sweetex, Strepsils and obtained the franchise to distribute Gucci perfumes throughout Australia. Ropel and Taktic (a tickicide) were the mainstay of the Agro-chemical division.

At this time the company could also boast two international sporting personalities. The first was Ian Craig (Production Director) was the youngest first-class cricketer in Australia in 1952, at the age of 16 ½. He went on to be the youngest ever Australian Test player in 1953 and the youngest captain in 1957/1958. The second was Allan Maher (Assistant Supervisor in the Packing Hall), who began his career as an international footballer as Captain of the Australian under-23 team in 1974. He was selected for the Australian World Cup team in the same year and continued as a regular member of the national team.

In 1997 it was announced that the Boots Healthcare Australia Distribution function was to close, with the function being outsourced and all those involved in warehousing leaving the Company. Boots Healthcare Australia was to move into rented accommodation in North Ryde, and the North Rocks site would be sold. The Operating Theatre Equipment business which was not profitable for BHA was to move to a new Australian Distributor. The Executive Team was restructured, and certain functions scaled down or ceased to exist. The Registered name of the company changed to Boots Healthcare Australia Pty Ltd.
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