In 1912, F.C. Ihlee sent W.H. Lawrence to be a permanent representative for Werner Pfleiderer & Perkins in Sydney. The outbreak of war, after only two years of trading, cut off practically all of his supplies from England and, despite F.C. Ihlee's suggestions that he should return home, Lawrence remained convinced of the opportunities in Australia and, in 1916, in spite of the war, he opened a second office in Melbourne. Following the change of name to Perkins Engineers, Lawrence opened a small workshop in A'Beckett Street, Melbourne with Ben Gordon as a fitter.

Soon after, Lawrence's car was damaged in a road accident and Ben Gordon suggested that his brothers, who had set up a small engineering business in Port Melbourne, should repair the damage. The work was carried out so expertly that Lawrence asked them to quote for manufacturing parts for dividers and conical moulders which were assembled in the Perkins factory.

With the 1920 merger in England between Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd and Perkins Engineers Ltd to form Joseph Baker Sons & Perkins Ltd, the small Perkins factory was closed and all manufacturing was transferred to Gordon Brothers, who had moved to Union Street, Brunswick.

In 1969, following the acquisition of Thermo Radiant by Baker Perkins Pty, Baker Perkins bought the 60% of shares that it had not owned. Gordon's at that time were involved in the contracting, manufacture and service of equipment for air-conditioning and refrigeration. In subsequent years, the manufacture of bakery equipment was steadily withdrawn where it could better be made in the Springvale factory or imported. In 1972, Gordon's satellite Reservoir fabrication factory was sold off following the transfer of oven manufacture to Springvale.

Gordon's reliance on the low-profitability air-conditioning and refrigeration industries led to major losses in 1976/77 and, in 1977, a major operation was initiated to bring the company back to profitability. Ian Sleeth was brought in as managing director, staff numbers were reduced by 70% and the factory moved to Michael Street, Brunswick. The newly restructured business concentrated mainly on industrial refrigeration with much less involvement in air-conditioning. The only connection with Baker Perkins Pty's bakery business being as sib-contract manufacturer for some components.

At the time of restructuring it was the intention that, should the new business prove profitable, it would be sold and, in 1982, "in order to more closely align the business with that of the group as a whole", Gordon's refrigeration and air-conditioning business was sold and the businesses of Sterling Industries Ltd, Sydney and Willett Industries of Brisbane were purchased.

See also -

The History of Baker Perkins in Australasia
The History of Baker Perkins in the Bakery Business

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