T. Robinson & Co. was a long-lived Melbourne-based agricultural implement maker and importer. In business for over 120 years, the company operated in a number of locations including Melbourne, Spotswood and Sydney; an associated company T.Robinson & Co. Dunedin, operated for a time in New Zealand.
In 1855 Thomas Robinson, agricultural implement maker, was first listed in the Melbourne directories. He was located at 285 King St. The following year Robinson & Co, agricultural implement maker, was located at 319 Elizabeth Street. The business remained at that address until 1860, then in 1861 was listed at 247 Elizabeth St.
In 1862 the Melbourne directory listed the company principals as Thomas Robinson and James Hutchins, agricultural implement makers and importers. After Robinson's death in 1862, James Hutchings took over as the main proprietor.
In 1863 another branch of the business was listed at 7 Therry St, and by 1864 a third branch was located at 76 Leicester St, Carlton. By this time Hutchins was in partnership with James Dickson and George Wood. By 1870 Therry St was listed as a waggon and agricultural implement factory. The company also retained its 247 Elizabeth St address until the 1880s. James Hutchings died in 1884. The firm was a private company up to 1889.
By 1890 the company was listed at 407-9 Elizabeth St and A'Beckett St. Around 1891 another branch had opened in 'Spottiswoode'. The A'Beckett St address was relatively short-lived, and by the turn of the century T. Robinson and Co. was located at 413 Elizabeth St and Spottiswoode. Within years the Elizabeth St premises had been given up, and in 1910 an address at 536 Bourke St was listed, in addition to Hall St, 'Spottiswood'. By 1940 only the Hall St Spottiswood address remained. In 1946 the company advertised itself as manufacturers of the "Big E" harvester and "Royal Header". In that year Robinson & Co. Pty. Ltd. Was purchased by Baltic Simplex Machinery Co. Ltd., which was later acquired by Horwood Bagshaw Ltd.
In the post-war period the company moved again, this time to 476 Geelong Rd, Footscray West. It was still at that location in 1974, when the last Melbourne directory was issued.
The former T Robinson and Co. Implement Works at 210-220 Hall Street, Spotswood were later demolished. Their loss is noted in the Victoria Heritage Register - # H 958.
The University of Melbourne Archives holds business and private correspondence, legal and financial records, press clippings and miscellaneous records of the business (accession number 95/67).
T. Robinson & Co. was awarded several prize medals, including one at the 1870 Intercolonial Exhibition, Sydney. The company displayed no fewer than 45 implements and machines, including a 'four-way motion for driving four machines at the same time', a self-filling canvas water bucket, a thistle mower with wrought iron fingers, a cultivator, a horse hoe, a horse chaffcutter and a four-horse threshing and cleaning machine [NU 20480].
University of Melbourne Archives website http://xena.lib.unimelb.edu.au/cgi-bin/library?form=Accessions-new-3.all&accessio_1=95&accessio_2=67; Melbourne Sands and MacDougall directories.