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The evolution of Oldfields

The evolution of Oldfields

With over a century of history, Oldfields boasts a legacy of quality, innovation and growth. In the spring of 1912, Henry Oldfield, a master brush maker from Norwich, England, embarked on a journey that would lead to the successful business it is today.

Seeking new opportunities, Henry moved his family to Australia, recognising a burgeoning market for quality paint brushes and tools. By 1916, his vision became reality as he founded a modest brush-making business in a small factory on Charlotte Street, Campsie, in South West Sydney. His goal was simple yet ambitious: to create superior painting tools for professional painters.

Despite the many decades and trends that have come and gone, Henry’s vision remains the cornerstone of Oldfields’ modern operations. His early advancements were not just about craftsmanship but also about innovation. He hand-crafted brushes with a beautiful finish and made them to last, always striving to create tools better than those before. This commitment to quality and innovation is deeply embedded in Oldfields’ DNA. Like Henry, Oldfields prioritises the needs of professional painters, ensuring they have the best tools to achieve optimal results.

Henry Oldfield, 1874-1955. (Image: Oldfields)
Henry Oldfield, 1874-1955.

By 1927, staff had almost doubled to 15, prompting Oldfields to purchase Pearson’s Soap and relocate to a new address on Henry Street, Leichhardt. At that time, the painter’s brush was the only product bearing the Oldfields name, but the range soon became an established Australian standard for paint brushes.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Brian Oldfield joined the family business, starting at the bottom and serving his apprenticeship as a brush maker, just as his father had done almost 25 years earlier. New, larger premises were also built on the Henry Street site during this time.

In the mid-1950s, the paint roller appeared on the scene. Originally thought of as a gimmick, the roller, which was crude in comparison to today’s products, was here to stay.

By 1975, Brian Oldfield saw a significant opportunity in rollers and began producing the Oldfields range, which has since become a major player in paint application.

After 54 years, a move was made from Leichhardt to larger, more modern premises on Alfred Street, Campsie – a two and a quarter acre site with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. With this move came a change in direction and a new logo to better reflect the evolving company image. Oldfields became involved in TV and radio advertising, and the now familiar catch phrase ‘Make sure it’s an Oldfields’ was born.

A new division, Oldfields Industrial Hire, was created to service the paint application industry, which up until then had been reliant on general hire companies lacking expertise in this specific industry. Additionally, the production of aluminium mobile scaffold towers began.

In late 1985, the company ventured into the international market with the acquisition of Hamilton Brush Company, the largest paint brush manufacturer in New Zealand. Oldfields was now known as ‘The Complete Supplier’ to the paint application industry. A 32,000-square-metre site in Campbelltown was purchased to accommodate the company’s continued growth.

New products continued to be added to the ever-growing range to keep pace with the demanding trade and handyman market. The Oldfields Pro Series, a complete range of products manufactured and marketed specifically for the professional painter was launched.

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The Pro Series range of roller covers was the first to be introduced, featuring fabrics so superior that they could cover up to 30 per cent more than their competitors. They were colour-coded for easy identification, and their introduction, along with a complete range of roller painting accessories, changed the way paint application products were marketed and merchandised in Australia. These products led to a complete range of Pro Series paint brushes, painters’ tools, and ladders.

Some 20 years later, in July 2022, Oldfields entered a new era of transformation under the leadership of a new CEO and a revitalised management team. This period marked a strategic reinvention of the brand. With a clear and focused go-to-market plan, the team set out to delight customers and ensure continued growth for this storied company. In less than a year, newly appointed CEO Michael Micallef has driven immense change in the business’s practices and aims to modernise Oldfields’ operations. His newly implemented go-to-market plan is delighting customers and paving the way for continued growth.

Oldfields has always been synonymous with quality, heritage and innovation in painting and scaffolding. The company’s legacy is built on delivering superior products that consistently meet and exceed the expectations of both professional painters and DIY enthusiasts.

“This commitment to quality, service and workmanship has always been at the heart of everything we do, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this legacy,” says Micallef. “Our history is richly illustrated through our industry-leading paint brushes and accessories.”

“The Pro Series range, with exceptional paint retention and precise control, sets the bar high for professionals.

“The Tradesman range offers a perfect balance of durability and longevity, while our Classic range caters to DIY enthusiasts. Each product is designed to meet the specific needs of our diverse customer base.”

Oldfields’ enduring success is founded on deep collaboration with professional painters, builders, roofers, electricians and DIY enthusiasts. Oldfields believes in the power of feedback, which forms the bedrock of its design process. This collaboration drives the company to create cutting-edge solutions for the latest surfaces and paints in the market, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of customers.

“As we continue to innovate and grow, we invite you to explore our offerings further,” says Micallef. “We are confident that they will enrich both your needs and those of your customers.”

“Thank you for being an integral part of Oldfields’ history. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to collaborate, providing comprehensive end-to-end solutions for all your paint tools and scaffold access needs. Together, let’s elevate your projects to new heights.”

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