Roberts Limited

George Anthony Kemp, a founder of Roberts (AOT, PH30/1/267)

Roberts Limited began in 1865 when Henry Llewelyn Roberts, George Anthony Kemp and John William Abbott established a successful auctioneering business originally known as Kemp, Roberts and Co, selling farm produce, skins and hides. The company pioneered stock sales in country districts, beginning with Conara. The auctioneer travelled by train and horseback to visit clients until the mid-1920s, when a model T Ford was used. Rapid advancement began after the Second World War.

Highlights were a merger with Launceston wool brokers to become Roberts, Stewart & Co Ltd; purchase of the Farmers' Co-Operative Auctioneers Ltd in Burnie; Massey-Ferguson distribution; and the sale of insurance and property. Roberts Limited is distinctive in that, contrary to current trends, it remains a wholly Tasmanian-owned company and has diversified nationally and internationally.

Further reading: E Bell, Roberts, Stewart & Co Ltd, Hobart, 1965.

Wendy Rimon