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FGB Company History

Joseph Bosisto left England aged 21 and arrived at Port Adelaide South Australia on the ‘SS Competitor’. He was born in Yorkshire and qualified as a pharmaceutical chemist in Leeds and London. Joseph Bosisto worked for F.H. Faulding & Co, founded in 1845, before moving to Melbourne in 1851.

Joseph Bosisto married a widow, Mrs Andrew Johnston. He started a pharmacy in Richmond, Victoria. Encouraged by the famous Victorian Government Botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (who became a friend of Bosisto for 50 years), Joseph Bosisto set up the first commercial eucalyptus oil distillery on the banks of the Dandenong Creek near Dandenong. He soon set up other distilleries at Emerald, Menzies Creek and Macclesfield.

The first commercial display of eucalyptus oil was shown in Melbourne.

Joseph Bosisto and Alfred Felton


Youngman McCann & Co, Wholesale Druggists, was established in Melbourne by Edward Youngman. Edward Youngman had been apprenticed to the London branch of Grimwade & Ridley & Co around 1840 before arriving in Sydney in 1841 where he and his brother Henry formed Edward Youngman & Co. Wholesale Druggists. Youngman McCann & Co was sold to Alfred Felton & Frederick Grimwade in 1867 and became Felton Grimwade & Co.

Joseph Bosisto was an active promoter and the first vice-president of the Pharmaceutical Society in Victoria. He delivered the inaugural address to the Society on 2 October and dealt at length on the botany and mineralogy of the colony of Victoria.

Joseph Bosisto delivered a paper to the Royal Society in Melbourne entitled "A paper in the yield and use of volatile oils from native and imported plants in the colony of Victoria".

At the Victorian Exhibition of 1861, Joseph Bosisto showed 28 samples of oil from different native plants, mainly eucalypts and melaleucas.
Alfred Felton started in Melbourne as a wholesale druggist selling chlorodyne and Felton’s Quinine Champagne.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil won a bronze medal at the London Exhibition.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was awarded a Silver medal at the London Society of Arts.

William Bickford aged 23 and his wife-to-be Anne Margaret Garret left England on 15 February 1839 on the 303 ton sailing ship ‘SS Platina’ and landed at Port Adelaide South Australia.

William Bickford was a qualified pharmacist with veterinary experience. He immediately started a business as 'Chemist, Druggist' etc. in Hindley Street, Adelaide and sold drugs, chemicals, snuffs, cigars, India curry powder, pickles and sauces, linseed oil and turpentine, a good selection of the best perfumery, genuine horse and cattle medicines and a constant supply of healthy leeches. William Bickford died in 1850.

In 1863 Anne Margaret Bickford took over the established business and formed A.M. Bickford & Sons, Wholesale Druggist in Adelaide. She encouraged her younger son Harry to become a pharmacist and the older son William, to be business manager.

Joseph Bosisto became Mayor of Richmond 1864 - 1866.

Anne Margaret Bickford and Frederick Sheppard Grimwade

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil won a bronze medal at the Dublin International Exhibition. The business name Bosisto & Co. was used for the first time on 17 July. The first commercial shipment of eucalyptus oil was made to England.

Felton Grimwade & Co started on 1 July when Frederick Grimwade aged 27 and Alfred Felton aged 36, purchased the wholesale druggist portion of the business of Youngman McCann & Co. Frederick Grimwade, second son of Edward Grimwade, Grimwade Ridley & Co’s London Manager, migrated to Melbourne and arrived on the SS Lincolnshire on 10 February 1863 to join Youngman McCann & Co. Edward Youngman drowned when the SS London sank in the Bay of Biscay in 1866.

The manufacture of Kruses Fluid of Magnesia commenced.

Frederick Grimwade visited Echuca and contracted for the delivery of a million leeches at 10 shillings a 1000. They were caught by aborigines who waded into swamps and allowed the leeches to fasten to them. The leeches were shipped to Britain, France and the United States. Shrieks could sometimes be heard when a few leeches escaped from the aquariums to find their way to the bunks in the ladies’ cabins.

Felton and Grimwade established the Melbourne Bottle Works which grew into Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI).

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil won a gold medal at the London Annual International Exhibition and a bronze medal at the Vienna International Exhibition.

Joseph Bosisto was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly, a seat he held continuously until 1889. Joseph Bosisto started advertising his complete range of eucalyptus products, namely Oil of Eucalyptus, Rheumatic Oil, Red Gum Lozenges, Eucalyptus Pills, Ointment of Eucalyptus Odorata, Cigarettes of Eucalyptus Globules, Liquor Eucalypti Globule, Fever and Ague Remedy. Felton Grimwade & Co. were listed as the wholesale agents.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was awarded two silver medals at the Melbourne International Exhibition.

Joseph Bosisto was nominated by the government as the first President of the Pharmacy Board created under the Pharmacy Act 1876. He held the post for 6 years until he relinquished it under pressure of other engagements.
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil won a bronze medal at the Philadelphia International Exhibition.

A.M. Bickford & Sons Adelaide, established a cordial factory to make Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial. It was around this time that William Bickford, with a horse and cart, travelled all over South Australia and sometimes as far as Wentworth and Victoria. He was stopped several times by the Kelly gang but never robbed. He was away for up to nine months at a time.

Fisher’s Phospherine was introduced by Fisher & Co. Melbourne.

Joseph Bosisto was appointed Examiner in Materia Medica at the College of Pharmacy - a post he held until his death in 1898.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was awarded a bronze medal at the Melbourne International Exhibition.

Felton Grimwade & Co were the first wholesale chemists to issue a price list (90 pages). It was the first recorded mention of Clements Tonic, produced by the Clements Tonic Company, made in the press.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was awarded two gold and one silver medal at the Amsterdam International Colonial Exhibition and three silver and one bronze medal at the Calcutta Exhibition where Joseph Bosisto was the Victorian Representative.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was awarded five bronze medals at the London Colonial and Indian Exhibition. Joseph Bosisto was created C.M.G. by Queen Victoria in London.

Joseph Bosisto was elected an Honorary Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil won a bronze medal at the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition.

Joseph Bosisto was appointed Chairman of Jurors and Awards of the Centennial Exhibition.

Joseph Bosisto died on 8 November.

The business of J. Bosisto & Co was converted to a company called J. Bosisto & Co Pty Ltd.

Felton Grimwade & Bickford Ltd. was founded in 1902 in WA. It was a joint venture between Felton Grimwade & Co Melbourne and A.M. Bickford & Sons, Adelaide.

A.M. Bickford & Sons was formed into a public company with Harry Bickford as Chairman.

Alfred Felton died in January leaving no dependants. He left a bequest of nearly £400,000 half the income being distributed to charities, especially destitute women and children and half to the purchase of works of art for the National Gallery of Victoria (well over $5 million so far). The works of art were 'to have artistic and educational value and be calculated to raise or improve the level of public taste'.

Hypol was being sold and advertised. Hypol and Kruses Fluid Magnesia were registered as trade marks.


Bosisto's ‘Parrot’ brand was registered as a trade mark.

Frederick Grimwade died. He left a large family including three sons, Norton, Harold and Russell who were involved in the business.

Clements Tonic was registered as a trade mark.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus oil was awarded a bronze medal at the London British Empire Exhibition.

Drug Houses of Australia Ltd was formed. It was an amalgamation of Felton Grimwade & Co Pty Ltd and Duerdin & Sainsbury Ltd Victoria, A.M. Bickford & Sons Ltd, South Australia, Felton Grimwade & Bickford Pty Ltd, Western Australia, Elliott Brothers Limited, New South Wales and Taylors Elliotts Ltd, Queensland. Norton Grimwade was the first Chairman of the Board.

The Grimwade’s purchased Captain Cook’s Cottage in Great Ayton, Yorkshire and shipped it to Victoria where it was re-erected in the Fitzroy Gardens.

DHA Export Ltd was established in London. It took over Grimwade, Ridley & Co and F.W. Grimwade, one of the original family was the first Chairman.

Russell Grimwade (later Sir Russell Grimwade) joined the DHA Board when Norton Grimwade returned. Russell started with Felton Grimwade as a chemist in 1903.

Drug Houses of Australia Ltd purchased L.Fairthorne Pty Ltd, Tasmania to establish a major Australia-wide wholesale distribution organisation.

Drug Houses of Australia Ltd acquired the shares of J. Bosisto & Co Ltd. New pharmaceutical factories were erected in Perth and Adelaide.

Eleven acres were acquired at Tempe NSW for a new wholesale distribution centre. Victorian operations moved from Flinders Lane to 504 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Tempe warehouse opened.

A combined warehouse and manufacturing facility at West End Brisbane came into operation.

Drug Houses of Australia’s net profit after tax exceeded a million pounds.

Cyanamid DHA Pty Ltd which was 20% owned by DHA and 80% by American Cyanamid was formed and in operation at Laverton North, Victoria. Plans were announced for a new pharmaceutical factory at Laverton North to manufacture pharmaceuticals, drugs, ethicals and general proprietaries.

Drug Houses of Australia Ltd. was taken over by Slater Walker Australia Ltd, a public company controlled by Slater Walker UK which was the first of the corporate raiders. Most of the properties were sold and then leased back in a typical asset stripping operation.

In an effort to make DHA Pharmaceutical Wholesaling profitable, a new concept which was a chemist cash and carry operation called Buywise, started with 65 warehouses around Australia. In an endeavour to force chemists to go to purchase and pick up their goods, all deliveries to chemists were stopped.

Buywise failed leaving DHA with enormous losses.

Despite efforts to re-establish its traditional wholesaling operations DHA lost the goodwill of the chemists and the parent company did not have the funds to finance its redevelopment. It was decided to break the company up and sell it.

The Queensland wholesaling operations were taken over by Queensland Druggists Ltd, the NSW operations went to Australian Pharmaceutical Industries and the Victorian operations to Sigma Pharmaceuticals . The Tasmanian, South and Western Australian operations were either sold or closed.

The manufacturing plant at Laverton was sold to Hoechst Australia. The major products including Dexcal, Sal Vital and Sapoderm were sold to Reckitt & Colman.

Peter Abbott who had taken over as Managing Director of DHA after the collapse of Buywise and who had, prior to that, been Managing Director of DHA Rural Pty Ltd, purchased DHA Manufacturing Pty Ltd. This included the eucalyptus oil operations, the business name Drug Houses of Australia, as well as other business and trade names.

The products included Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil, Clements Tonic, Hypol, Kruses Fluid Magnesia and Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial and Bickford's Coffee Essence. An office and warehouse was set up at 17 Capella Crescent, Moorabbin.

The name Drug Houses of Australia and some of the pharmacy only products were on-sold to Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) NSW.

Old FGB logo and Peter Abbott

The name DHA Manufacturing Pty. Ltd. was changed to Felton Grimwade & Bickford Pty. Ltd. which was one of the business names taken over.

Euky Bearub was registered as a trade mark and introduced on to the market.

The construction of mobile stills and the upgrading of the eucalyptus operations to world’s best practice were completed and the harvestable area of Blue Mallee was doubled.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Rub and Bosisto’s Euca-Mulch were introduced.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Inhalant and Bosisto’s Vapor Inhalers were launched.

Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial and Coffee Essence, together with the business name A.M. Bickford & Sons was sold to finance the development of the Company. Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Spray was introduced.

Euky Bear and Eu-Clear were registered as trade marks.

Nasex and Genuine Australian Eucalyptus Drops were introduced. The first bulk deliveries of Bosisto’s Euca-Mulch were made.

The Company moved from Moorabbin into larger premises at 61-69 Clarinda Road, Oakleigh South.

Fishaphos Fish Oil Capsules and Fisher’s Phospherine were added to the product range.

The extralife herbal product range was introduced.

Commenced research collaboration with the Botany Department of Melbourne University regarding high yielding eucalyptus trees.

FGB begins distribution of Vicks® Home Health products including vaporizers, thermometers and inhalant.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus 250mL launched in a 250mL 
PET plastic bottle. This is the first unbreakable bottle of eucalyptus oil on the market. 

Eucalyptus Oil – Australia’s Natural Wonder book is launched. Exploring the fascinating history and production of eucalyptus oil, it also focuses on the many uses of eucalyptus oil in the home and garden.

New clean room facility is commissioned.

The Company purchases additional land to expand their premises in Oakleigh South, Victoria. This will create additional space for manufacturing, production and storage as well as additional office space.

Bosisto’s Eucalyptus appears on television on the ABC’s Landline program. 

Bosisto’s Tea Tree Oil is launched – the start of the expansion of the Bosisto’s essential oils range.

FGB launches a new company logo featuring a gum leaf to represent its history and corporate identity.

Bosisto’s launches a laundry powder – Bosisto’s Laundry powder is one of the first on the market in a “concentrate” formula and includes natural eucalyptus oil in a garden-friendly, biodegradable formula.

FGB becomes the Australian distributor for the Braun ThermoScan thermometer.

In October, the new warehouse next door to the FGB office building is opened.

Bosisto’s launches its ‘Solutions’ range, a range of water soluble essential oils including Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Lavender Solutions.

Euky Bear Blitz Nitz head lice range is launched.  The clinically proven formulas feature natural essential oils and no harsh chemicals.

ABC’s Landline TV program re-visits FGB and the Inglewood Eucalyptus plantation for an update story on the ‘Super Trees’ project.  

FGB launches 7 new websites to replace previous Bosisto's website. 6 Branded websites - Bosisto's, Euky Bear, Extralife, Vicks, Braun and BON plus the parent company website FGB.com.au. This enables FGB to sell all of it's products Online, direct to the customer.

FGB launches new Handwash Range

Bosisto’s and Euky Bear launch mainstream television campaigns.

Bosisto's launches new Peppermint Range

Bosisto's launches new 10Kg Bulk Laundry Powder

Bosisto's launches Cleaning Range with dedicated Bathroom & Shower Cleaner plus a Multi Purpose Cleaner

FGB launches its new brand - Babystart

FGB opens its new, renovated offices and warehouse extension.

Bosisto's launches Floor Cleaner to compliment Cleaning Range

Bosisto's launches new Aromatherapy Range with it's Aroma Mist products - Sleep, Breathe and Energy

Euky Bear celebrates it's 40th anniversary by launching a redesigned Euky Bear Vaporiser

Bosisto's Laundry Range is re-launched as Bosisto's "Sensitive" Laundry products