Our History

02 July 2024
Jeays Hancock

The History of Jeays Hardware

​In 1922, Charles Joshua Jeays made the decision to begin a business of his own after working at Perry Brothers Hardware. He rented a small building and yard in Albert Street, Brisbane, and opened as Charles J Jeays Builders & Plumbers Supplier. His two brothers Joe and Arthur soon joined while the fourth brother, Albert, took care of the book work. With their trusty Model T Ford truck to make the journey from Sandgate they were underway. However, they outgrew the premises in Albert Street and in 1932, bought a larger building in Margaret Street. Then in 1935, Charlie's son, also christened Charlie but called by his middle name Albert, commenced full-time employment. Most of their stock was imported and their customers almost exclusively the tradesmen of Brisbane and its spreading northern suburbs. As well, the truck that returned to Sandgate each night carried orders for Sandgate tradesmen.

After the Second World War began stock was hard to get and with young Albert and Bruce in the service, the brothers decided in 1942 to lease out the city building and temporarily relocate the business to Sandgate. Albert returned from the war in 1945 and the decision was made to keep the business in Sandgate and cater for its growth.
The business outgrew this makeshift location and a new building was erected in 1954 in Hancock Street, Sandgate, by local builder Charlie Krause. These new premises, opposite the current location, proved efficient for several years with their drive-through yard facility. Joe had retired earlier and then in 1956, the business' founder Charlie Jeays died. Albert carried on as Manager and over­saw the next big change in 1962 - joining the Mitre 10 Group. The group has continued to prosper, but Jeays Hardware is the only store remaining of the original eight members.

The year 1966 saw another move - this time only across the street. The existing site was re-developed into the Bon Accord Shopping Centre.
The hardware business then moved into two buildings: one across the street and the other building around the corner in Rainbow Street. Several other residences on the site were removed to provide the car park. Not long after this move, the automotive parts and accessories business, Jeays Auto was acquired. By this time, several changes in the hardware industry became evident. More and more householders gradually began to take on jobs themselves. This came about mainly as a result of advertising, particularly the Mitre 10 catalogues, as well as the increase in leisure time. After a short stint as a primary teacher, Albert's son, also named Charlie, joined the business in 1977. Like his father before him, many years of part-time holiday and Saturday morning work had given him grounding in hardware retailing.
Albert retired in 1985 after around 50 years of service. Charlie Jeays then took over the reins as managing director. Peter returned in 1987 and became manager of the Jeays Aussie Auto Business. As well as running the business, all of the Jeays have put time into industry and community associations. Both Albert and Charlie have served on the Board of Mitre 10 Qld.
We attribute the success of the business to the family's steady, honest approach to business and the support of good staff. The business has obviously been able to attract and keep good staff. The staff's current total length of service to the business is in excess of 250 years. Currently employed long-term staff include General Manager Ian Everest (40+ years), and Ian Evans (40+ years).
In 2014 Jeays Aussie Auto shop was closed and moved into the Hardware Store. Peter and Richard Jeays continue to work in the Hardware Store, specialising in the Auto Section. Charlie Jeays although semi-retired, remains our Managing Director.
We aim to continue providing the range and service people have come to expect from the Jeays Family, and look forward to the Firm's centenary in 2022.​

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