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In 1892, when John Alexander Hemphill commenced trading as a merchant in Sydney in Moore Street, later to be renamed Martin Place, did he envisage the trading activities that would follow in the next 130 years?

J. A Hemphill & Sons Pty. Ltd. was a name closely allied with the man on the land, the company’s earliest exports being the result of the harvest of Australian crops under the managing directorship of John D. Hemphill, Jnr., grandson of the founder of the Hemphill Organization, the company continues to serve, not only the primary producer but also the manufacturer.


Mr J.A. Hemphill’s two sons John and Rupert entered the business at an early age. A partnership was subsequently introduced, followed by the formation of the Company.

The elder son, John.D. Hemphill, known as Des Hemphill, is remembered for his brilliant trading ability and was instrumental in opening many of the Eastern Markets for Australian primary products. From the commencement of the partnership of J. A Hemphill & Sons, due to his natural trading ability, he became the leading partner and on the formation of the company, Governing Director.

Rupert J. Hemphill, before joining his father in the business, was a partner in an accountancy practice. He is remembered for his outstanding activities in share trading of the organization in its early days.

J. A Hemphill & Sons (W.A) Pty. Ltd., as the name indicates, is the company’s subsidiary in Western Australia arid grew from a branch office of the parent company, having similar activities. Hemphill Gray Oil Mills Pty. Ltd., established in Perth for the crushing of linseed, was sold in 1955.

In Wellington, New South Wales, J. A Hemphill and Sons (Wellington) Pty. Ltd., for many years, has served the name in the land in general produce and station supplies.

During the early 1930s the name of Hemphill was prominent as a charterer of vessels loading in the Port of Sydney, and, as a direct result of the efforts of the Governing Director, many record cargoes were achieved.

In May 1932, a record cargo of 8,350 tons of flour was placed abroad M.V. Elmworth bound for Hong Kong and two years later, in 1934, a cargo of 9,400 tons of flour was loaded into M.S Alynbank, destination Darren, on account of Hemphill’s.


Up to the commencement of World War II, the Company traded freely in wheat, buying from growers and shipping direct to many destinations. With the inception of the Australian Wheat Board in 1939, the Company became one of its Licensed Receivers.

1939 saw the formation of N.S.W. Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd. to stevedore the ships carrying the company’s goods to all ports of the world. Being so closely allied to shipping through its trading operations, this was a natural development. Rapid growth of the stevedoring company soon enabled it to handle the work for numerous other shippers.

On the death of Mr. J. D. Hemphill, Snr., in 1942, J. A. Hemphill & Sons Pty. Ltd. continued under the Managing Directorship of Mr. A. M. R. Fitzhardinge. Following the introduction of stevedoring ,into the Company’s activities, N.S.W. Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd. in 1953 acquired the old-established firm of Bailey and Jorgenson tug and lighter proprietors, and Bailey and Jorgenson Pty. Ltd. was formed to carry on the all important work of transporting timber and other cargo from ship’s side. Henderson Ship Co. Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of Bailey and Jorgenson Pty. Ltd. was formed t attend to the maintenance of the Company’s harbor craft and to-day it handles a good percentage of maintenance work for many small craft proprietors.

On return from service with the A. I. F. in 1946, Mr. John D. Hemphill, Jnr, joined the organisation and became Managing Director of the group in 1955.

In recent years, Bailey and Jorgenson’s fleet of tugs, identified by cobalt blue funnel, buff and dark red upper work and black hull with a yellow line just above the waterline, was converted from steam to diesel and, to-day, all its tugs are fitted with two-way radio to facilitate movement on the harbour.

As a result of the 1957 drought, for the first time in many years, wheat was imported into Australia and N.S.W. Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd. discharged the four bulk wheat vessels from Canada.

In March 1959, the Norwegian freighter, M.V. Prinsdal, first self-trimming bulk loader to the Port of Sydney, was loaded with a record cargo of 13,105 tons of wheat, the largest wheat cargo to be loaded in the Port, which loading was carried out in a record networking time of 11.083 hours by N.S.W. Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd.


A recently constituted Company, Patrick N.S.W. Bull Stevedoring Pty. Ltd., comprising Patrick Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd., N.S.W. Stevedoring Co. Pty. Ltd., and McIlwraith McEacharn Ltd., now handles the majority of bulk wheat ships loading in the Port of Sydney and Newcastle. This company recently loaded the “Cressington Court” with a record cargo of 21,000 tons of bulk wheat bound for Red China.

The Hemphill Organisation recently acquired a further subsidiary known as J. Murray TradingYEty. Ltd., which company is engaged in the manufacture, purchase and sale of jute goods. Hemphill actively continues to serve the man on the land through their produce department, buying direct from growers and selling all kinds of grains, seeds and general produce.

Over the years, this organisation has developed a particularly efficient Import/Export business with skilled personnel to handle each phase of the work.

Exports include flour, bran, pollard, meat and bone meal, poultry and animal meals, milk powder, mineral sands, opals, fertiliser, dried fruits, spilt peas, canned fruits, jams, tallow, day-old chickens, etc., and the company is also an export agent for the Vincent Chemical Co. Pty. Ltd.

Present day imports for which agencies are held include Lang Broszz Ltd., Old Langs Scotch Whisky product of a Scottish family of distillers since 1861: Taplow’s Whitehall Erindon Dry Gin, distillers since 1760; The Esterbrook Pen Co., America’s oldest pen maker; world famous Plus-Gas Anti - Corrosion Fluids and tea from Ceylon, jute from India and Pakistan, etc.

Could John Alexander Hemphill, founder of the organisation, have foreseen the growth and service to the country by J. A. Hemphill & Sons Pty. Ltd., which company today continues to look for avenues for development of two-way trade for Australians?


On the 26th May 1939, a Port record was created when six vessels under charter to J. A. Hemphill & Sons Pty. Ltd. commenced loading the following cargoes, sold by the Company: 8,685 tons of flour from Takubar; 7,851 tons of wheat for London; 3,000 tons of wheat for Tsing Tao; 3,000 tons of bran and 5,000 tons of wheat for Cork; 8,617 tons of wheat for Shanghai and 2,000 tons of bran for Belfast, an impressive tonnage and all of it produce from Australian growers. 




In the early seventies Hemphill's acquired Keith McDonald Stock & Station Real Estate on the Southern Highlands of NSW.  Hemphill's managed assets from $2k to $200k then later in excess of $200m via institutions.

The opportunity of managing high volume assets prompted a refocus to Western Australia where Hemphill's operated several successful small businesses involving import/export, state distribution, manufacture and communications with multi-million dollar turnovers.

Who we are today



JA HEMPHILL & SONS WA secured direct from Tokyo to Fremantle, exclusive state distribution of HONDA power equipment, utilising their wheat agents to distribute.  Echo, Olympia Pumps and VALPADANA Italian Orchard Tractors with reversible consoles were also added to their product line.

HEMPHILL'S thereafter, in association with David Gray's manufactured & distributed biodegradable stripping products to MARINE industry for removal of antifouling & industries associated (including councils) with Graffiti removal . The 90's saw Hemphill enter the communications market operating via dealerships with TELSTRA, OPTUS, VODAPHONE & later HUTCHISONS TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The Hemphill Group now focus on: 



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