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Historic Australian Rural Retail Business Hits The Market

Garry Stephensen

Article Author: Garry Stephensen
Position: Managing Director
Read time: 4 mins

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Historic Australian rural retail business hits the market

A quintessentially Australian 153-year-old rural business, made internationally famous by a song, is for sale.

Tenterfield Saddler, based in the New England town of Tenterfield, 20km south of the Queensland border, still occupies the original heritage-listed blue granite, tin-roofed building on High St.

The store, which sells Australian handcrafted leather goods and Tenterfield Saddler-branded merchandise, is a key tourist destination, staffed by volunteers.

Music aficionados still flock to the town to see the venue that was immortalised in internationally acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter and Academy Award winner Peter Allen's 1972 song The Tenterfield Saddler. The song is a tribute to Allen's beloved grandfather George Woolnough, who ran the saddlery in Allen's birthplace from 1908 until his retirement in 1960.

The sale includes the shopfront property on 705sq m of land and stock in the store. A key asset is a range of trademarks, including the name and the logo, which features a silhouette of a stockman, based on the statue outside the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland. 

Apart from the hit song memorialising his grandfather, Allen was well known for his famous tunes I Still Call Australia Home and I Go to Rio. He was immortalised by Hugh Jackman in the Broadway smash hit The Boy from Oz, which is based on Allen's life.

The Tenterfield Saddler was bought as a working saddlery by Brisbane-based couple Brian and Lana Meldon in 1995. They trademarked the Tenterfield Saddler name internationally and built an authentic, Australian owned and made brand, successfully running the business for more than 25 years.

However, due to Mr Meldon's poor health in later years, the couple could not invest the time and capital the business needed to reach its full potential.

Mr Meldon died in 2021 and his wife has now decided the time is right to find an entrepreneurial investor willing to reinvigorate the renowned store and the brand.

Dianne Reynolds, from Lloyds Corporate Brokers, who is managing the sale, said: "The family is ready to sell this much-loved business and the countless opportunities available through its registered trademarks and retail outlet."

In the past, there have been Tenterfield Saddler concept stores on the Gold Coast and at Breakfast Creek Wharf in Brisbane, branded beer on tap in pubs, and a range of traditional country-style high-quality merchandise, including clothing, leather goods, stock whips and saddles, available at the store or by mail order. The products have been purchased by a wide array of major Australian corporate clients to use as promotional gifts.

The business lost momentum because of Mr Meldon's ill health and subsequent death, so it needs love, care and capital to take it to the next level.

"This is an opportunity to save an iconic Australian brand and rebuild a business that is older than RM Williams and has a deep heritage. The registered intellectual property gives a new owner a platform to expand the Tenterfield Saddler brand, capitalising on the continued popularity of Peter Allen's song," Ms Reynolds said.

"There's an opportunity to garner international online sales of Tenterfield Saddler merchandise, through maintaining and expanding the brand's unique rural Australian flavour and implementing a marketing campaign."

The land on which the saddlery stands was originally bought in 1858 by Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson, who later became the first NSW Premier. The first saddler opened for business on the site in 1870.

The building later was a bank then a private home for 21 years before the next saddler opened in 1897 and the property has been a saddlery ever since. George Woolnough was the third saddler to use the premises and was followed by several more.

The building was classified by the National Trust in 1972 and, apart from maintenance and essential restoration work, is in original condition.

Lloyds Corporate Brokers has invited expressions of interest from potential purchasers.

View our track record of business sales.

If you own a business in the retail or tourism sectors, talk with Lloyds Brokers on 1300 366 943 for advice on how to buy or sell your business. We have teams of brokers in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.

Business Broker - Garry Stephensen

Managing Director
Business Broker - Karen Dado

Director NSW
Business Broker - Geoffrey Tulett

Lloyds Corporate Partner - Mergers & Acquisition Specialist
Business Broker - Edward Alder

Director Victoria
Business Broker - Kevin L Sutherland

Director International Business Sales
Business Broker - Dianne Reynolds

Research Director and Corporate Broker

As seen in the Financial Review and the Courier Mail.

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