Sadleirs, one of the Lionel Samson Sadleirs Group of companies, was established in 1895 as a customs agent and general transport carrier. It was then acquired in 1939 by Lionel Samson, founder of Australia’s oldest family owned business.
Lionel Samson and his brother William stepped off the Calista sailing ship on South Beach in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1829.
Purchasing Fremantle town lots 27 and 28, Lionel Samson started a merchant liquor and general import-export business. Lionel secured the first liquor license in the state in 1835, which remains current today.
The business grew strongly and by 1844 Lionel Samson had become a leading merchant in the import and export of sheep, cattle, horses, dried fish and sandalwood to Mauritius, Singapore and China. Trade with England flourished with the import of beers and spirits.
In 1853, Lionel Samson with the assistance of George Walpole and Lionel's son, Michael, formed the company now known as Lionel Samson and Son.
In the 1880's Lionel Samson and Son was the single largest importer of beers and spirits into Australia. Their import range included numerous British wine, spirits and beers from producers such as J.Jeffrey Brewers, Charles Ashby Brewers, Samuel Alsop Brewers, Gilbey Wines and Spirits. Lionel Samson and Son was also an agent for Richard Johnson and Nephew Limited, an ironmaster and wire drawer.
By 1898, Lionel Samson’s business had grown substantially, having benefited considerably from its involvement as a major merchant satisfying demand from the Western Australian gold rush.
In 1939, Lionel Samson acquired a majority interest in a customs agent and general carrier company, RC Sadleir Pty Ltd, established in 1895.