Our History

Clifton Portrait  

Mr. Clifton Joseph was born in 1886, and at the time of the 1930's depression, was in business as a millinery manufacturer in Goodwood Street, Richmond, Victoria. During the depression, ES&A bank foreclosed to recover their loans, so Clifton lost not only his business but also his mortgaged home at 88 Dandenong Road, Caulfield. It enabled the bank to recover 19 shillings and 6 pence in every Australian Pound! A Pound was 20 shillings.

Left with no money, Clifton was lent 200 Pounds by a friend in Sydney, which enabled him to rent a flat in Cheel Street, Armadale and in the spare bedroom he set up a showroom as a manufacturer's agent in 1932, selling Barbisio Italian Hats and other items. Two years later on August 9th 1934 Clifton H. Joseph was registered as a Proprietary Ltd. company.

Clifton was diagnosed with TB in the mid 40's, and the decision of his son Keith to relinquish his position as Australasian Sales Manager for Horlicks Malt Pty. Ltd, was the start of rapid growth of the business. Keith, as the second generation, ran the business until his death in 1982.

Since its days in Armadale the Victorian office has operated at 343 Lt. Collins St, 89 Flinders Lane, 391 Lt. Lonsdale St, 47 Edward St. Brunswick and currently from the massive office and warehouse facility at 27 Vella Drive in ironically, Sunshine. The New South Wales office first operated at 381 Pitt St, Sydney, then 66 - 68 Foveaux St. Surry Hills and is currently at 148 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.

Current 3rd generation directors, Peter and Margot Joseph, Leonard and Marilyn Sharpe, are still involved, and see a bright future for the business now known as Clifton Australia. Associate director, Robert Sharpe (with now over 25 years in the business) was recently joined by his cousin Simon Joseph. Together, they are the 4th generation of the family leading Clifton Australia, which today has Australia's widest umbrella range and still covers heads, as it did from day one!