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Unilever (Australia) Limited : [26]

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On 2 September 1929, British-based Lever Brothers and the Dutch union of fats and oils businesses, Margarine Unie, signed an agreement to create Unilever.

Unilever developed in Australia from an association, in 1924, between major soap making companies Lever Brothers Ltd of Sydney, J Kitchen & Sons Pty Ltd of Melbourne and WH Burford & Sons Ltd of Adelaide.

Gradually these companies moved into the edible oils and fats market, then into the foods, ice cream and personal products sections of business as well as chemicals, printing and distribution.

This Lever-Kitchen-Burford association continued as a relatively static enterprise for more than thirty years. Little attempt was made by Unilever to rationalise the separate marketing identities; internal competition persisted. Then, in 1956, all Unilever’s Australian businesses were merged under the one banner – Unilever (Australia) Pty Ltd (UAPL). The UAPL Board’s responsibility included the general supervision of the operating companies – Lever & Kitchen, Rosella Foods, Edible Oil Industries, Streets Ice Cream, Rexona, Lintas, SPD Transport, Beacon Research, Unilever Australia Export and, briefly, Hillcastle (NZ), formerly Eugene NZ Ltd. Unilever House was opened, in 1958, at 1-33 Macquarie Street, Sydney, to accommodate a new centralised management structure.

In 1961 Unilever’s Australian interests were grouped under a holding company, Unilever Australia (Holdings) Pty Ltd, which operated through its main subsidiary, Unilever Australia Ltd. From 1 January 1970 the UAPL Board was replaced by National Management comprising Unilever Australia (Holdings) Pty Ltd directors.

By 1983 Unilever in Australia was represented by a group of companies producing and marketing a wide variety of consumer goods, industrial products and related services - John West Foods Pty Ltd, Unilever Australia Export Pty Ltd, Unifood Services Pty Ltd, Unichema Australia Pty Ltd, Streets Ice Cream Pty Ltd, Rosella Lipton Pty Ltd, Rexona Pty Ltd, Lever & Kitchen Pty Ltd, Edible Oil Industries (EOI) Pty Ltd. Most of the operating companies had their own Boards of Directors, all reporting to the Chairman of Unilever Australia Ltd.

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