A Brief Santa Fe Wridgways History
When Ernest Wridgway loaded his first horse and cart of furniture in Camberwell in November 1892, he wasn’t to know he would pioneer the Australian transport and removals industry for more than a century! 120 years later, Santa Fe Wridgways removalists have moved millions of Australians around the country and across the globe, including: Amy Johnson’s shipment (the 1st female aviator to fly solo from Australia to UK in 1930), Prime Ministers, circus elephants, celebrities, army tanks, racing cars and basketball teams.
Renowned for our strong community spirit; trucks and crews were sent to assist families affected by Cyclone Tracey 1974 in Darwin and again during the devastation the 1983 Victorian Ash Wednesday fire. We sponsor local sporting events and one of our removalists even delivered a baby on the side of the Hume Highway in 1986 and was thrilled when the mother named the baby Eric after him!
Ernest Wridgway was a visionary, ahead of his time, and when he completed his business application in 1892 he stated his occupation as ‘Furniture Removalist’, believed to be the first in the world. An agreement between two of the Wridgways brothers, Fred and Ernest, saw to a fee per mile for Fred and his workers, which began the first Owner/Driver contractor agreement in Australia. He went on to innovate the container transport system across Australia; security storage, hanging clothing wardrobe cartons and many more innovations that transformed the transport industry and revolutionised removals in Australia.
Today Santa Fe Wridgways manages hundreds of thousands of moves every year and has branches, offices and storage facilities throughout Australia and worldwide, as a prominent global market leader in the removal and relocation industry. We are also leaders in online customer engagement being the first removals company to use Facebook and Twitter for consumer communications and to continue their 1st class customer service standards!
Santa Fe Wridgways History Timeline
- 1892 – Founded by Ernest Wridgway
- 1918 – First to pioneer overland Melbourne to Perth by truck
- 1923 – First known instance of sub-contracting in the transport industry
- 1950 – Pioneered overland transport by truck to Darwin
- 1962 – First in Australia to introduce modular storage system
- 1975 – Purchased by Ansett Transport Industries
- 1984 – First to use Rail / 20’ container system
- 1994 – Sold in 1994 to TNT Australia Limited
- 1997 – TNT Australia Limited agreed to a Management Buy Out (by key management and Venture Capital Firm Catalyst)
- 1999 – First and only moving company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
- 2010 – Sold to Santa Fe Holdings Australia Pty Ltd
- 2011 – Continues to trade as Santa Fe Wridgways Pty Ltd
Santa Fe Wridgways Firsts
- 1914 – The first interstate removal completed by road. Melbourne to Brisbane. This took 6 weeks to return.
- 1926 – The first owner/driver employed in road transport in Australia! Mr Herbert Wridgway; who sub-contracted to his father.
- 1927 – The first international shipment took place, utilising a lift van and shipped on a door-to-door basis. This first occurred from Melbourne to San Francisco, USA.
- 1934 – The first multi-storey furniture repository was built, solely for furniture storage.
- 1961 – The first public company formed in Australia engaged solely in furniture removals.
- 1962 – The first palletised containers used for storage were introduced. These were known as ‘homepacks’ and this practice has now been adopted by many US carriers.
- 1966 – The first removalists in the world to move furniture using containers. These were carried by road and rail and built to standard specifications.
- 1999 – The first removal company to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.
- 2005 – Invented the plasma carton for the protective packaging and safe transportation of your large screen TVs.