Lever Brothers Pty Ltd

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Lever Brothers Pty Ltd

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1899 - 1962


Lever Brothers, one of the first companies to manufacture soap from vegetable oils, was founded by William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever in England, in 1885. Lever gave the soap the brand name of ‘Sunlight’ and sold it wrapped in distinctive packs. In 1889 Lever Brothers opened an office in Sydney and products manufactured in England were imported into Australia and sold, mainly through agents. In return, copra from the Pacific islands and Australian tallow, were shipped, as raw materials, to the company’s works at Port Sunlight. In 1897 an oil and copra plant was established at Balmain, Sydney, and, in 1900, the Balmain plant began to manufacture Sunlight soap and glycerine. Other products followed. Lever Brothers Ltd (Australia) had been incorporated in New South Wales as an Australian enterprise, 29 December 1899, and the soap works and copra mill at Balmain were owned by the new company. Lever’s Australian business developed into a stable soap, detergent and edible oil manufacturing enterprise, built up by mergers with dominant rivals. The first branch office of Lever Bothers Ltd (Australia) was opened in Melbourne in 1911 and by 1924 branch offices had replaced agents’ offices in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Lever Brothers (Australia) Ltd began an association with J Kitchen and Sons Pty Ltd of Melbourne and WH Burford and Sons Ltd of Adelaide, in 1914 and in 1924 all three merged to form Australian Producers Co-Partnership Ltd (renamed Associated Enterprises Pty Ltd in 1932 and Lever Associated Enterprises Pty Ltd in 1944). The business activities of each firm were coordinated by a General (Central) Management Board, comprising representatives of Lever Brothers in Balmain, the Kitchen interests and Levers Pacific Plantations. After the amalgamation of Lever Brothers and Unilever was complete, in 1937, Lever Bothers Ltd (Australia) became Lever Bothers Pty Ltd (Australia). In 1956 Unilever (Australia) Pty Ltd (UAPL) took over Lever Associated Enterprises Pty Ltd as the holding company for all Unilever’s Australian interests, including Lever Bothers Pty Ltd. Then, in 1962, following a further period of rationalisation, diversification and integration, Unilever amalgamated its two major Australian soap marketing companies, J Kitchen & Sons Pty Ltd of Melbourne and Lever Brothers Pty Ltd of Sydney to form Lever & Kitchen Pty Ltd.


Sydney, New South Wales

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

oil and fat manufacturing; soap and detergent manufacturing

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

Leverhulme, WH (William Hesketh) Viscount (1851-1925); Lever, Wiliam Hesketh (1851-1925); Lever, James Darcy (1854-1910)

General context

Relationships area

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Prepared by Margaret Avard, August 2012




Unilever Australasia Company Website, 'Australasia's history', accessed July 2012; Encylopaedia of Australian Science (http://www.eoas.info/biogs/A000327b.htm), accessed Jul 2012

Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC