The history of Hunter Industrials

The Oxford Polish Company & invention of PINE-O-CLEEN – founded by Len Hunter Snr 1941

In early 1941, the young Len Hunter was offered the bankrupt company he had been working for, for 7 pounds, if he also forfeited the 21 pounds commission he was owed on sales.

Len accepted the challenge and went on to make the OXFORD POLISH Co. one of the largest, privately owned businesses in Australia.  His main key to success: the invention of Pine-O-Cleen.   

As always fate had a hand in supporting those that help themselves and Len acknowledged his pet cockatoo, without whose timely assistance, the success of one of Australia’s icons may never have happened.

Len believed that the then “new idea” of a Pine fragranced disinfectant would capture the imagination of housewives, and he was right.  But before he could market his new product he had to overcome what was becoming a mountain of a problem.

His new disinfectant was cloudy.  Try as he may he couldn’t achieve the “clear as a glass of beer” appearance he knew he must have.  Late one night he finally went to bed, frustrated after another failure.  As he slept the cockatoo knocked over a bottle of methylated spirits standing by the bath.  When Len came down the next morning the alcohol had worked its magic and the solution was clear.

The next step was to market his invention.  Radio and press were too expensive for him.  Luckily he had married into a family of 6 sisters.  His wife and 5 sisters-in-law were soon put to work visiting grocery stores all over the state asking if they stocked Pine-O-Cleen.  When Len arrived a week later the shopkeeper was only too pleased to place an order.  The product established the Pine-O-Cleen brand and went on to capture a 70% share of the market and Hunter Chemicals never looked back. Hunters Product Catalogue

Len Hunter died in the late 1970’s but his four grandsons carry on the fine tradition he started two generations ago.

BIG H 1979 – 1990’s

The four Hunter brothers, David, John, Wayne and Scott, with the watchful eye of father Len have made their mark on the industry through their formally owned Big H Chemical Company.  Formed in 1979 Big H became one of the leaders in the industry through their impeccable service and progressive attitudes.  big H truck Fleet and staff photo.jpg

Somewhere in the archives of the ABC radio, there is a tape of the interview with David Hunter about the innovation of fitting sales reps with this new ‘mobile phone’ technology.  Almost comically by today’s standards these ‘mobile phones’ were as big as a suitcase, but metaphorically represented the underlying progressive attitudes of the Big H management philosophy.  Big H Team photo

Big H Chemical Company set industry standards in many areas including the systemising of cleaning programs and training procedures.  Rationally chemical manufactures were concerned with chemical manufacture, efficiency and delivery of products to market based on profit margin and product differentiation.  Big H believed however, that organisational differentiation and competitive advantage was best sought through innovative service offering and delivery. BIG H Catalogue The Big H grew into 3 states, and went from a humble handful of people into a considerable size medium sized organisation employing approximately 50 employees in Melbourne alone.

The service excellence and manufacturing prowess of Hunter Industrials led to the attention of George Weston Foods in 1995 and eventually led to an acquisition by George Weston Foods and subsequent merger of Jasol (The George Westons owned cleaning chemical organisation) and Big H.

After 3 years of helping to integrate the national operation of Jasol Australia, the Hunter brothers, determined to continue to follow their own personal style of management and manage through their own beliefs led to the establishment of the private enterprise of Hunter Industrials.

Big H directors photo

Hunter Industrials Melbourne 1990’s – today

In the late 1990s, Hunter Industrials opened its doors as a small cleaning and sanitation products’ business operating in Braeside, Victoria.  With only two sales representatives, two people in the warehouse, a General Manager and one person in administration, it was a very small start-up company determined to grow and excel by delivering superior value and service beyond expectations.

In the early 2000s, Hunter Industrials focused on providing the market with product and service offerings aligned with stringent OH&S requirements.  This led to a dramatic uptake of customers looking for suppliers willing to take on a greater depth of involvement and responsibility.

four directors pic
(from left to right)
Wayne Hunter, David Hunter; Front: Brook King, Scott Hunter

In the latter half of 2009, Brook King joined Hunter Industrials as a Director and Sales Manager, and formed part of the leadership team alongside brothers David, Wayne and Scott Hunter.  Under their strong management, Hunter Industrials’ growth was significant, not only in sales, but in terms of attracting the interests of many industry experienced representatives and staff.  This resulted in staff numbers growing from the original 6 employees to approximately 30 (and growing).

Today Hunter Industrials focuses on being sustainable cleaning experts for both customers (through the huntergreen program) and the company as a whole, building programs and policies to ensure we are leaders in the industry well into the future.  We are passionate about responsible corporate citizenship and continue to strive to minimise our impact to the environment (refer Corporate Social Responsibility policy).

Hunter Industrials is an Australian owned and operated business.  Alongside the Hunter brothers, the ‘family’ concept is extended to all our staff and we appreciate that our success is due to the collective employee base, working together to deliver exceptional customer service.

To meet the Melbourne team, please click here

Hunter Industrials QLD 2011 – today

For a long time Hunter Industrials have built relationships with organisations and individuals within the industry in other states, including Queensland locals Greg Holmes and Greg Crisp.  In late 2011, QHS Pty Ltd went into insolvency.  With the staff our of work, and a gap in the marketplace, Hunter Industrials saw an opportunity to offer all QHS employees a role with Hunters, and offering the clients an alternative option for supply.

In November 2011, Hunter Industrials Pty Ltd registered Hunter Industrials (QLD) Pty. Ltd.  On the 21st day of November, Hunter Industrials was open for business.

Hunter Industrials QLD began operating out of Carrara on the Gold Coast, servicing an array of hospitality and janitorial segments across varying industries.

Hunter Industrials QLD employees have worked within the QLD cleaning supplies industry for many years, that combination of experience paired with the experience of Hunter Industrials in Victoria, has given Hunter Industrials QLD the ability to deliver what is promised, together with the highest level of service.

Daniel Hunter, General Manager of Hunter Industrials QLD, has worked in the industry for 15 years in administration, sales, despatch, marketing and as a member of the management team at Hunter Industrials in Melbourne. Hunter Industrials QLD, under the leadership of Daniel, can provide the same service and value programs offered in Melbourne to our QLD market.

In March 2012, Hunter Industrials QLD moved to the new warehousing facility at 36 Nestor Drive, Meadowbrook, strategically located south of Brisbane, bordering the Gold Coast.  By July 2014, Hunters QLD moved to Burchill Street in Loganholme, conveniently located at the intersecting points of the Pacific and Ipswich motorways.  Hunter Industrials QLD now delivers as far north as Gympie, down south as far as Evans Head in NSW and inland to Toowoomba.

With the support of suppliers and other strategic partnerships of the Hunters Group, Hunter Industrials QLD provides a market leading service accompanied by a range of speciality chemical products, accessories and paper. Combined with their programs, in-house despatch team, administration and sales team, Hunter Industrials QLD continue  to grow at a rapid pace.