Our History

Our History

1921 - J. Kirkwood & Co. Pty Ltd Produce Merchants was established in 1921 when brothers James (Jim) and John (Jack) Kirkwood opened on premises in Church Street Maitland (No. 23) the former Iron Store of Cappers Hardware. The brothers were formerly livestock agents with OK Young Product Merchants of High Street Maitland.

1924 - Lex Kirkwood became an employee of the company after leaving School at 13 years of age. During this period John and James sell the business to their brother Herb Kirkwood.

1930 - Herb Kirkwood died, leaving the business to his nephew Lex. In these early days of business, the main customers were council members, bakers and local coal mines, as they had the largest stables of horses to feed.

1954 - The Burgess Produce Company was established in an old four mill in John Street Singleton, which was purchased in 1954. (Now Chapman and Slattery) Kirkwood Produce Singleton was established.

1955 - The flood of 1955 in Singleton saw the former Flour Mill collapse into the Hunter River. The business relocated across the road (a site now occupied by D & L Chainsaws).

1955 (Dec) - Norm Kirkwood, who had been a Jackeroo at Hooke’s Myra Station, began working for his Uncle Lex at Maitland.

1965 - Kirkwood Produce Singleton purchased the former sites of the Terminus and Tattersalls Hotels, which had been burnt down in a fire. A new purpose built building was erected at 1 John Street Singleton.

1972 - J. Kirkwood & Co. purchased the property and business of produce merchants Butler and Pryke at 20-22 Church Street Maitland, and the business relocated across the road to the new site. The original site, which included 2 neighbouring homes, was sold to Maitland Council and became a car park for the C.B.D.

1973 - Lex Kirkwood suffered a stroke and Norm took on the role of Manager.

1977 - The Maitland store that was next door to the fire station had the misfortune to have a hay and storage shed burn to the ground. The building of timber and iron was replaced by a double brick building which now included a new seed room, hay shed, storage and a hessian bag cleaning facility. A migrant woman named Mary with limited English skills was employed to run the bag cleaning operation.

1978 - On 7th December, Marcus Kirkwood began working at Kirkwood Produce.

1983 - R. Hall & Son’s former produce stores at Rutherford and Broadmeadow were purchased from Barastock. The Rutherford store became the home of Kirkwood Produce (formerly J. Kirkwood & Co.) in 1989.

1984 - Craig Kirkwood (son of Norm) commenced working at Maitland Store.

1989 - J. Kirkwood & Co. moved to Johnson Street Rutherford. A large expansion to the new site to included a drive through service.

1994 - The Broadmeadow Store, which operated in premises leased from Saddingtons, continued to operate until 1994. Broadmeadow primarily served the Newcastle Racing Fraternity and was managed by Roger Bouckland.

2000 (March) - Norm Kirkwood retired from Kirkwoods after 44 years of service. Craig Kirkwood became Manager of the Maitland Store.
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