John Gidley & Co Seedbrokers

Seed Brokers, Grain & Commodity Brokers
PO Box 29 Briar Hill Vic 3088 Australia
Tel + 61 3 9434 5669 Fax + 61 3 9434 5693
Email :  Skype: johngidley.seedbroker








Domestic Seed prices

Export commodity prices


Bourke St Melbourne circa 1890s

Early Telephone

1920s Automobile

1923 Itala for sale in NZ in 2010

City Mutual Life Assurance Soc Limited Building
459-465 Collins Street Melbourne
South side, corner William Street
Just east of the historic Rialto Buildings
Now demolished the current owner can remember
visiting the office in the late 1950s


Company History

John Gidley & Co was established in 1898 by John Gidley initially
as a broker of hardware with offices down the western end of
Melbourne, Australia.


Charles Browne (1890-1980) joined the company around 1905
and at this time the company moved into the brokering of seed

and grain. In those days business was done by telegraph. later

early telephones, the brokers would walk their samples around

to the various merchants located in the same general area.

Around 1910 John Gidley “a commercial agent” was living in Cotham Road
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 which
also still stands. With the advent of WWI John Gidley went to enlist but was told he
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 in
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. SIDE               13



                                                  William st


 459-465 Collins Street CITY MUTUAL BUILDINGS



459-465 City Mutual Bldg (J.A. Thomson, mgr)

465   Dreyfus, Louis, & Co. grain merchts

465   Merritt, W. H., architect

465   Bell, Sydney, 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. prod mchts

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


Melbourne State Library GMF 98 Box 31 Microfiche 1696
Bodoni MT font