On August 5th, the Calista arrived with 73 passengers under the command of Captain S. Hawkins. Two of the most notable passengers on the ship were Lionel and William Samson.
Lionel Samson started a merchant liquor and general import-export business under Lionel Samson & Son and in 1835 he secured the first liquor license in the state, which remains current today. By the 1880s was considered the single largest importer of beers and spirits into Australia.
Their venture didn’t stop at liquor, as Lionel Samson & Son was also an agent for an ironmaster and wire drawer and in 1923, acquired registered company R.C Sadleir Pty Ltd, an already well established Customs, Shipping and Forwarding Agent relying on horse-drawn transportation at the onset and moving to a modest fleet of motor lorries servicing the state of Western Australia.
In 1992 Lionel Samson & Son purchased a one-third share in Plantagenet Wines, founded by Tony Smith, an English Migrant who embarked on grape growing on his private plot of land in Mount Barker in the Plantagenet Shire. His first cuttings of Shiraz and Cabernet were planted in 1968 and the first fruit picked in 1974.
Smith soon converted a local Mount Barker apple packing shed into a winery and embracing the conditions of the Great Southern region of Western Australia, went on to plant further varieties including Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 1999, Plantagenet Wines was purchased by Lionel Samson & Son, adding to the rich heritage of the company. Later, an amalgamation of Lionel Samson & Son and R.C Sadleir in 2012 formed what is now known as the Lionel Samson Sadleirs Group (LSSG) and it continues to be the second oldest family-owned business in Australia.
Lionel Samson, as a settler to the Swan River Colony, had a sense of community and connectedness engrained in him, as like many of the new settlers on the quest to achieve growth and development of their new environment. Building on to the community over time contributed to a better life for the generations who came after and is what we can appreciate today. The same can be said for John Sadleir, R.C Sadleirs’ founding father, who settled in Australia some years before Lionel Samson.
Tony Smith helped develop the wine industry in Western Australia into what it is today, and is affectionately titled as a wine pioneer of the Great Southern. Tony was recently awarded life membership of Mount Barker Wine Producers Association on May 25th on ‘national wine day’. Plantagenet Wines is now managed by Tom Wisdom, a direct descendant of Lionel Samson, and 6th generation Samson family member in the business.
We look at WA Day as a nod to early European settlers and Aboriginal history and celebrate with all who call Western Australia home today. The heritage of LSSG is considered unique and the fabric of trade in various industries in Western Australia.
Enjoy your time with friends and family this WA Day holidayand join us in recognising the efforts of our state patrons before us.