Our History

Clifton Joseph

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 briefly in The Spot in Randwick, then for decades in the much loved 66-68 Foveaux St. Surry Hills, before moving to 148 Elizabeth Street, Sydney and now currently located just down the road at 299 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.

Current 4th generation family members include Associate Director, Robert Sharpe (now with over 30 years in the business) and his cousin, Managing Director, Simon Joseph who lead Clifton Australia, which today has Australia's widest umbrella range. The Clifton team also currently includes members of the House family (Arnold and Edward) from Shelta Umbrellas heritage and Rod Purnell from Rainbird Umbrellas, which is now a Clifton brand.