In 1888, Scottish-born John Boyd Dunlop, a prosperous Veterinary Surgeon in practice in Belfast, Ireland, invented the Pneumatic Bicycle Tyre. A group of Irish businessmen from Dublin, realised the potential of the tyre, and, in 1889, together with Mr. Dunlop, formed a syndicate to float what was to become “THE DUNLOP PNEUMATIC TYRE COMPANY.”
The first pneumatic bicycle tyres to reach Australia arrived in Melbourne in 1889, and within 2 years, the Dunlop Company was established in Europe & North America ( the first pneumatic bicycle tyres to reach North America arrived in New York on Christmas Day, 1890).
In 1893, the Dublin Company opened a Branch Office and Factory in Melbourne, Australia, right in the heart of Melbourne’s Chinatown district.
Since the bicycle was the popular form of transport, and Cycle Racing the most popular sport, the introduction of the pneumatic tyre was an unqualified success. In spite of this, the Dunlop Company ran into financial difficulties and decided to sell its overseas holdings. In 1899, a Canadian syndicate purchased the Australasian interests and floated “THE DUNLOP PNEUMATIC TYRE COMPANY OF AUSTRALASIA LTD as an Australian company, with a capital of 170, 000 Pounds ( $A 340, 000).
The formation of the new company coincided with the growing interest in the Motor-Car and in 1902 a Tyre Factory was established at the Melbourne suburb of Montague, Port Melbourne. The Dunlop name was well to fore in motoring; its Advertising Manager, Harry James, was already the holder of several World Long-Distance Motoring record. James was also one of the founders of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and in 1905 the organiser of Australia’s first long- distance Motor Reliability Trial from Sydney to Melbourne-a distance of 572 miles.
In 1905, the Company made the first of its many acquisitions with the purchase of its main rival the Barnet Glass Rubber Company. During a rationalisation of the product range of the two businesses, it was decided to discontinue the making of Condoms, and the machinery was discarded. One of the Dunlop employees took the machinery and with $A 60 capital set up his own rubber company in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. The employee was Eric Ansell and thus was created THE ANSELL RUBBER COMPANY (strange to relate, it was by pure chance that the Dunlop Company was able to acquire the Ansell Company in 1969).
The Legal Entity as we know it today was reconstituted in Victoria, on 16th August, 1920, and since that date has been the ultimate Parent Company of the Group.
Until the late 1960’s Dunlop was basically a rubber company, with interests in Tyres, Batteries, Bedding and Sporting Goods, but in a spending spree during the period 1969-1972 it acquired a wide range of companies including Ansell, Berlei, Holeproof and Grosby among others.
In 1975, the Company established its first off-shore manufacturing operation by opening an Ansell Glove factory in Malaysia.
In 1980, the Company acquired Olympic Consolidated Industries with its wide range of products, such as Tyres, General Products and a half-share in Olex Cables( Olex Cables became a wholly- owned subsidiary in 1981).During the 1980’s came a further burst of expansion with the acquisition of the Electrical Wholesale operations of Lawrence & Hanson, Winestock Footwear, Spinaway Cables, and a substantial part of the worldwide operations of Chloride Group PLC, comprising its operations in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand & Australia.
Throughout this period, Dunlop U.K. had retained a minority shareholding in the Australian Company. In 1983 this was sold and in 1984, the Australian Company completed “buying back the farm” when it acquired Dunlop New Zealand (which it had sold to Dunlop U.K. in 1929); in the same year Olex Canzac Cables was acquired.
In 1986, the Company changed its name to “PACIFIC DUNLOP LIMITED”, reflecting its increasing stature as an Australian and International manufacturing and marketing enterprise, and its growing position in the world’s markets. In that same year, Pacific Dunlop entered into a joint venture agreement with Sumitomo Electric Industries of Japan and Pirelli Ericsson and opened a new factory at its Olex Cables complex at Tottenham, a suburb of Melbourne, for the manufacture of optical fibre.
1987 saw the creation of Australia’s largest tyre marketer in South Pacific Tyres (SPT), a joint venture between Pacific Dunlop Limited (now Ansell) and the giant Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company of the United States. In 2009 South Pacific Tyres changes their operating name to Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres.
Today, Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres manufacturers and markets leading tyre brands such as Goodyear and Dunlop as well as a range of other high-quality brands including Kelly, Remington and Sava allowing SPT to market tyres for passenger, four wheel drive, light truck, truck industrial and agricultural vehicles.
Dunlop Tyres are proudly distributed throughout the majority of Australia by Monza Imports.