Bosisto’s Eucalyptus oil was first distilled by Joseph Bosisto, a local Melbourne pharmacist. Bosisto who arrived in Adelaide, Australia in 1848, moved to Melbourne and started a pharmacy in Richmond in 1851. Encouraged by the famous Victorian Government Botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (who became a friend of Bosisto for 50 years), Bosisto set up the first commercial eucalyptus oil distillery on the banks of the Dandenong Creek near Dandenong, Victoria. He soon set up other distilleries at Emerald, Menzies Creek and Macclesfield.1852
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil
Bosisto was passionate about developing new Australian industries from native trees and plants. His ‘Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil’ was sent to England in 1865, making it the first indigenous product exported from Australia.
Sales of Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil continued to increase with interest being fostered through international exhibitions.
Between 1854 and 1891 Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil was exhibited and awarded prizes in 17 international exhibitions including winning a gold medal at the London Annual International Exhibition in 1873.1865
Felton Grimwade & Co
Felton Grimwade & Co, Wholesale Druggists, started on July 1 when Frederick Grimwade aged 27 and Alfred Felton aged 36 purchased the wholesale druggist portion of the business of Youngman McCann & Co. Within a year they built a 3 storey warehouse in Flinders Lane and a factory in Flinders Street, Melbourne. When Felton Grimwade started distributing Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil, eucalyptus oil was the only distinctively Australian substance listed in the British Pharmacopeia and Australia’s first true export.1867
Baron Ferdinand von Mueller
Baron Ferdinand von Mueller died aged 71. During this lifetime von Mueller became one of the most acclaimed botanists of the 19th centry and was awarded knighthoods by over 20 countries. From 1857-1873 he was the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, establishing the National Herbarium of Victoria. He had a lifelong friendship with Bosisto and a fascination with the eucalypts. He named over 62 eucalypt species and in respect of his work, the Yellow Stringybark was given the botanical name Eucalyptus Muelleriana.1896
Joseph Bosisto dies
Bosisto was a well-known Melbourne identity - Mayor of Richmond, Magistrate, Chairman of the Bench, elected to Parliament as member for Richmond 1874-1889. He helped form the Victorian Pharmaceutical Society, was president of the first Pharmacy Board Victoria 1877 and was knighted CMC by Queen Victoria in 1886. Bosisto’s obituary stated “he was kindly, dignified & committed to public service, modest & genial”.
Named in his honour are Bosisto’s and Eucalyptus Streets in Richmond, an East Gippsland greybox Eucalyptus Bosistoa and the species Lavandula Angustifolia Bosisto.1898
A Joint Venture
Felton Grimwade embarked on a joint venture with A.M. Bickford & Sons, Adelaide. William Bickford opened a pharmacy in Adelaide and after his death in 1863, his wife Anne Margaret Bickford formed A.M. Bickford & Sons, Wholesale Druggist. She encouraged her younger son Harry to become a pharmacist and the older son William, to be business manager. In 1872 they established a cordial factory and in 1874 started producing Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial which remains an Australian favourite to this day.1902
Alfred Felton died in January leaving no dependants and the ownership of Felton Grimwade to the Grimwades. Alfred was a pharmacist but also an entrepreneur and a philanthropist and his passion was collecting paintings. Half of his estate formed the ‘Felton Bequest’ for Victoria's National Gallery to purchase major works of art. He is considered ‘Australia’s greatest art benefactor’. The current valuation of artwork from the Bequest is two billion dollars. HIs remaining estate was distributed to charities, for destitute or unmarried mothers and children.1904
Registered as a trademark
Bosisto's ‘Parrot’ brand was registered as a trademark.1908
Frederick Grimwade died in August 1910. He was civic minded, chairman of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Legislative Council. He was a successful business man, family man and philanthropist. After his death in 1910 his mansion ‘Harleston’ in Caulfield was presented to Melbourne Grammar School and renamed Grimwade House. As a philanthropic gesture in 1933 the family purchased Captain Cook’s cottage in Yorkshire and shipped it to Melbourne. It was re-erected in the Fitzroy Gardens and remains a tourist attraction today.1908
FGB amalgamates with other pharmaceutical companies to become Drug Houses of Australia (DHA). It was a dominant business for over 30 years however in 1968 it was taken over by a UK based corporate raider. Most of the properties were sold and then leased back in a typical asset stripping operation.1930
Peter Abbott acquired DHA Manufacturing Pty Ltd. This included the eucalyptus oil operations as well as a product and brand portfolio consisting of Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil, Clements Tonic, Hypol Cod Liver Oil Emulsion, Kruses Fluid Magnesia, Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial and Bickford's Coffee Essence. The history of these products was impressive – Bosisto’s had been around since 1852, Kruse’s was first manufactured in 1868, Clements first recorded in a price list was in 1882 and Hypol and Kruses were registered as trade marks in 1906. With this acquisition an office and warehouse was set up in Moorabbin and in 1975 the company returned to its original name - Felton Grimwade & Bickford Pty Ltd.1974
Peter developed a eucalytpus chest rub, naming it ‘Euky Bearub’ and created the Euky Bear brand. The key ingredient was eucalyptus oil from the Company’s farm operations in Inglewood. Peter’s passion was for an effective chest rub that children would enjoy using, that was also comforting and effective. The character Euky Bear was based on a lovable koala. The brand continued to grow and in 1989 the first Euky Bear vaporiser was launched, a patented Australian designed unit. Today, Euky Bear continues to be a favourite for generations of Australian families.1977
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Spray
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Spray was launched, revolutionising the use of eucalyptus oil in the home. The convenient, easy to use spray format allowed people to use it for removing stains on carpets to deodorising bathrooms and pet areas.1987
Company moves to Oakleigh South
The Company moved from Moorabbin to larger premises in Oakleigh South, Victoria. This site becomes the home of FGB, incorporating manufacturing, warehousing, quality, sales, marketing and finance at the one location.1992
University of Melbourne partnership
FGB commenced a partnership with the University of Melbourne Botany Department to develop high oil yielding blue mallee eucalypts for harvesting. Working closely with the University this enduring partnership is focused on innvoation for the unique blue mallee species that is native to the Inglewood and Wedderburn distict of north-east Victoria.2000
FGB is selected as the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for Vicks Home Health including vaporisers, inhalant and thermometers. This is followed by Braun medical devices in 2008, including a range of thermometers and lens filters.
FGB Natural Products
Bosisto’s replaces Bickfords in the company name and FGB Natural Products is the trading name. A new company logo cements this corporate identity.2007
Glenalbyn Eucalyptus plantations
FGB embarked on a eucalyptus plantation project on company-owned land in Glenalbyn, located between Inglewood and Wedderburn in Victoria. The intention is to dramatically increase eucalyptus oil production in Australia. The species of tree used is the Blue Malle (E. polybractea, meaning multi-stemmed). It only grows naturally in two areas of Australia, Inglewood (Victoria) and West Wylong (NSW). It is the highest quality medicinal eucalyptus oil with the strongest fragrance and highest cineole content. A plantation of Blue Mallees is like a blue sea, waving in the breeze.2011
Bosisto’s celebrates 160 years
Bosisto’s celebrates 160 years, making it one of Australia’s oldest continually sold brands. Eucalyptus Oil, Australia’s Natural Wonder, by father and daughter, Peter and Tegan Abbott, celebrates the uses, history and production (2005, re-printed 2013) and Bosisto’s was profiled on Landline (ABC TV 2005, 2014). From being the first to launch in a Spray (1987) to an unbreakable PET bottle (2005), to running Australia’s first Eucalyptus Distillery Museum (2018) in Inglewood, Bosisto’s is proud to be ‘first in eucalyptus’ and ‘first in innovation’.
New head office
New sustainably-designed head office opens. The new design incorporates natural lighting, sustainable building materials, efficient utilities including solar pre-heated water and rainfall run off for toilets. Landscaping involved over 3500 native drought tolerant plants, watered through run off from the warehouse roof. The new build also included substantial warehouse expansion. New warehousing and a blending facility were specified for the safe storage, handling and distribution of dangerous goods classified and other products.2016
Euky Bear turns 40
Euky Bear celebrates 40 years. This exciting milestone sees the launch of an updated, modern vaporiser and enhanced logo. Over 40 years on, Euky Bear continues to offer ‘gentle care for your little bear’ with the brand experiencing strong growth and leading in new categories.2017
170 years of Bosisto’s
We look forward to celebrating Bosisto’s 170th year in Australian households2022