Kilmour Investments was established in 1955 to support the formation of its investment in Associated Kiln Driers (AKD Softwoods) in Colac, but has its origins in the Timber and Hardware business formed by William John (WJ) Inglis and his wife Emily Edith Inglis in Preston, 1906. Today, Kilmour Investments aims to protect and enhance its assets to provide wealth generation for current and future generations of shareholders.
The Inglis Family
An important component of Kilmour Investments is its heritage. Kilmour Investments can trace its origins back to the 19th century, with the Inglis founding family now extending into its third century and fifth generation.
Kilmour Investments has its origins in the Preston Timber Yard established by William John (WJ) Inglis in 1906, later registered as WJ Inglis Timber Merchant in 1924 and with business expansion this became WJ Inglis (Holdings) Pty Ltd in 1955. In the 1970s, WJ Inglis (Holdings) was renamed as Kilmour Investments, in reference to the home village of WJ Inglis' father, Robert Inglis, Kilmaurs, East Ayrshire, Scotland, twenty miles south west of Glasgow.
Robert Inglis was the son of John and Elizabeth (Galt) Inglis (m.1815). John was the farmer of "Fardlepark", Kilmarnock. In August 1854, aged 27, Robert Inglis left his home, Orchard Hill, Kilmaurs, together with his brothers James, John and Adam, bound for Australia. Records show Robert and John arrived in Australia in December 1854, on the ship "Delgany" carrying 280 passengers. In 1863, Robert (36) married Flora McColl (19) (born in Melbourne in 1844 to parents John and Ann McColl who had left Scotland in 1837) in the Scots Church, Collins Street, Melbourne. Robert was a carpenter and grocery store owner and is known to have worked in the goldfields and travelled to Fremantle, Western Australia to build the wharf in the late 1800s, later residing in Fitzroy and after Flora's death in 1884, in Colac with his son Robert.
WJ Inglis was born in Collingwood, Melbourne in March 1873. In 1896, WJ married Emily Edith Smith (born in Bellarine, Victoria in May 1872) in Fremantle. Once married, Emily and WJ moved back to Fitzroy, Melbourne and had six children with the first, Edith arriving in January 1899 and Ida, Stan, Frank, Robert and Hilda between 1904-1911. By 1906, the Inglis family had moved to Preston, Melbourne and on Emily's urging, WJ had established a timber yard to service the growth corridor of Reservoir and beyond. By 1921, this was established as WJ Inglis Timber and Hardware at the corner of Plenty Rd and Osborne Grove. In 1924 WJ Inglis first registered the business, WJ Inglis Timber Merchant.
Emily and WJ welcomed their first grandchild, Marjorie Ida Fawkes in December 1927.
WJ Inglis died in 1944 followed by Emily Edith in 1952. Their eldest son, Stan Inglis, took over the running of the business.
In 1955, WJ Inglis (Holdings) Limited (later to become Kilmour Investments Pty Ltd) was incorporated with Hector Harris, Hilda's husband, appointed as Chair. There were five founding shareholders with all children, excluding Robert who died in 1947, holding one share each. Those five were also the founding directors.
By 1956, Kilmour Investments owned three timber/hardware businesses:
- WJ Inglis Pty Ltd, Preston;
- Howard Peters Sawmilling Company, Bruce St. Colac; and
- Howard Peters, Geelong.
Also in 1956, Kilmour Investments acquired the freehold of HL Stephen Pty Ltd a hardware store which, in 1968 converted to a Mitre 10 franchise. The Kilmour Investments group and the Stephen’s family worked closely together supporting this business. This asset has been retained to the present.
In 1955, Kilmour Investments, along with six other groups established Associated Kiln Driers (AKD) Pty Ltd, in Colac. After a short time, this reduced to four families with equal ownership:
- The Colless Family (now IRD Pty Ltd);
- The Hayden Family (now Haydon Bros Pty Ltd);
- The Bennett Family (now WH Bennett Pty Ltd); and
- WJ Inglis (now Kilmour Investments) through the subsidiary Howard Peters Pty Ltd.
Today AKD represents the significant asset of Kilmour Investments and is the largest sawmilling company in Australia. AKD is distinctive amongst its competitors for its reputation as a high quality producer, its exceptional customer service and its vertically integrated operations.
[Family history sourced from diary entries by Edith Inglis between 1970-1980, based on recollections and extracts from letters. Researched and verified with official records by Lorraine Haldon in 2002. Further supplemented by Stan Inglis' son, Ken Inglis, AO, FASSA (1927-2017) who wrote a paper for a Peopling of Australia lecture in 1992, "The Inglises and the McColls".]