Since 1921, Murray Bros has been officially trading within the Brisbane Markets. After returning from fighting in Europe in WW1, brothers, Reg and Arthur Murray, registered the business on 26th July 1921, and commenced trading in Roma Street, Brisbane, where the Brisbane Markets were situated at the time.
The Brisbane Courier, 1932, quoted “From a modest beginning, 10 years of steady growth has placed the business in the enviable position it occupies in the trade today.”
Murray Bros continued trading at the Roma Street market from 1921 to 1964 under the leadership of Reg Murray, dealing with many challenges, including the Great Depression (1929-1933) and World War II (1939-1945).
In 1964 the Brisbane Product Markets (and Murray Bros with it), relocated to its current site at Rocklea. Murray Bros commenced trading from B Block, where our fresh produce trading floor remains, over 50 years later.
Image courtesy of The Arch Martin Brisbane Markets History Room
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Reg Murray introduced a number of business partners to continue to sustain and grow the business. Those partners included Don Shelton, Harold Wakely, Roy Hollett Snr and Barry Smith.
In 1974, Murray Bros suffered its first flood disaster, with the business being devastated after being fully immersed under flood waters. Murray Bros quickly bounced back to trade strongly through the remaining 1970’s and 1980’s.
1984 saw Reg Murray Snr awarded the nation’s top fruit and vegetable wholesaling honour, the Australian Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries Meritorious Award.
In the mid 1980’s, with Roy Hollett Snr now at the helm, Murray Bros was sold to the Golden Mile group of companies.
In 1990, Murray Bros was sold to Atkinson Produce (a company owned at the time by Robbie Clarke and Ross Sutherland). Atkinson Produce has remained the owner since that time. Robbie Clarke was Managing Director from 1990 to 1999, when he left the business.
In 1999, Gary Poole took over as Managing Director of Murray Bros, leading the company on a 10 year run of solid trading growth.
In 2009, Gary Poole retired and Stephen Edwards took over as Managing Director. Stephen remains as Managing Director today. He has continued the growth momentum of Gary Poole by growing a number of the logistical arms of the business, including pre-packing, import/export logistics, fumigation and third party logistics.
2011 saw the Brisbane Markets site, along with 70 surrounding suburbs, again inundated by flood waters from the Brisbane River and Oxley Creek, from Tuesday 11th January up until Friday 14th January. During this time, the Market was inaccessible, with waters rising to 3m across the whole Rocklea site.
Image courtesy of Brisbane Markets Limited
In 2017, Murray Bros signed a 10-year lease with Brisbane Markets Limited to take over Building A1, the eye-catching warehouse on the corner of Sherwood Road and Martin Taylor Drive, Rocklea. “The site is compatible with the growth of our pre-packing business, third party logistics, ripening and imports program so its availability was perfect timing for us,” General Manager, Susan Lewis said at the time.
Since then, construction of additional cold rooms, ripening and fast cool rooms, and fumigating rooms has seen the functionality of the 5,000 sqm multi-purpose facility expand even further. Murray Bros continues to trade an expansive list of fresh produce from our B Block trading floor, and also runs large storage sheds in R and M Blocks.
Murray Bros Management and staff would like to take this opportunity to thank our growers and customers, past and present, for the support and cooperation which has enabled our company to reach this privileged and exciting milestone of 100 years in business!!
In June, Murray Bros celebrated a momentous occasion with Bob Jones, as he hit 25 years with the company! It truly is a wonderful milestone, and Murray Bros congratulated Bob and showed recognition and appreciation for the pride he displays in fulfilling his role every day.
Bob commenced at Murray Bros on the trading floor in June 1994, labouring in the apple, citrus and avocado departments. He was promoted to other positions such as shed manager, avocado salesman and is now an integral part of the avocado ripening team in our A1 warehouse. Bob has enjoyed the variety these different roles offered him at different times in his career. He prides himself on performing to the best of his ability in any role, and even though he is comfortable in his current role, it still presents regular challenges that he embraces.
During his 25 years, Bob has obviously witnessed significant change at Murray Bros and within the market precinct. Technology is one of the principal symptoms of, and cause for change. The method of communicating orders has changed from old fashioned faxes and landline phone calls, to mobile phones, texts, emails, and online ordering systems. The market site at Rocklea has expanded and been upgraded tremendously over the years. Bob now reflects on “how many more fruit shops there used to be in our community, and therefore how many more buyers there used to be within the markets. Now, the supermarket chains dominate the market for fruit and veg and so the number of buyers coming into to the markets has noticeably decreased.” He laments that what were always ‘early starts’ have now become ‘earlier!’
Bob would encourage any new staff commencing within the market environment to embrace the learning opportunities on offer by starting at the bottom and working their way up, just has he has. He has gained valuable insight and knowledge of all types of produce including where it originates and where it ends its journey in the logistics chain. This insight highlighted to Bob how hard it is for our country’s primary producers. “They can be affected in an instant by an extreme weather event and work incredibly hard to produce a high quality product, get it into the markets and earn a good return” he said.
Outside of work, Bob lives and breathes golf. He lives on a golf course so never has far to travel for practice or competition. Murray Bros is certainly fortunate that he didn’t more seriously consider taking up golf as a profession. When not on the golf course, Bob loves spending time with his family, including young grandchildren.
Congratulations on 25 years Bob! Murray Bros is truly grateful to have someone with your skill, knowledge, commitment and passion, and we hope you’ll be with us for many years yet!
A leading Queensland produce wholesaler says it has expanded its facilities as part of changes to requirements for imports of avocados from New Zealand.
Murray Bros was advised by their partners in New Zealand to go down the line of introducing its own import clearance facility (including fumigation rooms) to enable them to be a one-stop shop facility. General Manager Susan Lewis said…
the fumigation rooms that are currently in the process of construction should be fully up and running next year.
“The rules have changed with clearance – the majority used to happen in New Zealand,” Ms Lewis said. “Now it has changed, where most of the produce is getting cleared in Australia, because the Australian Government is phasing out its pre-clearance program in New Zealand. New Zealand clears around 20 per cent and Australia will do 80%, which will probably decrease even more from the New Zealand side next year. The aim for our new facility is to do everything on the one site so there are less stock movements & fewer parties involved which enables us to manage the process from import clearance all the way to the retailers.”
Ms Lewis adds that this season 30-40 per cent of containers had to be sent for fumigation.
“When we get the avocados, we have to get them cleared – which could take up to three days” she said. “If they go to ‘Pest ID’, then they decide what the pest is and determine whether it is actionable or not. If it is actionable then you have to fumigate, which is another day or two. Then once released you have to further ripen the fruit. It could take 2-3 days, depending on a number of factors.”
Murray Bros has been trading since 1921, and wholesales a number of fruit and vegetable lines. Throughout the years it has constantly grown and progressed different arms of the business and has its own pre-pack and ripening facilities, and also looks after third party logistics (helping customers with their supermarket requirements) – more recently a main focus has been the import/export side.
In Murray Bros warehouse within the Market, there are 12 ripening rooms as well as cold storage space, which support the trading floor. Murray Bros has also expanded across the road from the Market to its new 5000 square metre facility which has 500 cold room pallet spaces as well as 7 ripening /fast cool rooms and two fumigation rooms (in the construction process).
“Last season we imported over 200 containers,” Ms Lewis said. “At the height of our season with doing both the kiwifruit and the avocados, it’s busiest when we are getting both at the same time, we are getting 26 containers a week. So, it is pretty full on. 98 per cent would be sea freight, and it is just at the end of the season, there may be some air freight in smaller volumes.”
Ms Lewis says the volumes from New Zealand this season are bigger than last year, although not quite at the level of two years ago, and supply should run until mid-February.
“The quality has been pretty good,” she said. “We are getting a variety of sizes for the Wholesale market, mainly the larger size fruit in trays, and then the smaller fruit in bulk. Over the years, we have tried to turn the market customers to the larger sizes, as the supermarkets take majority of the size 18-25s in trays, so our customers are now accustomed to the larger sizes.”
Murray Bros also do a variety of pre-packed avocados into the retailers and for independents.
As for supply, Ms Lewis says the New Zealand avocado season usually fits in well with the Australian season. As Western Australia is on the same time, importing from NZ is often preferable for Queensland, as it is closer and less expensive (due to transport costs from WA). The local Australian season begins at the end of February, when New Zealand finishes.
“Prices have been lower this year than last year” Ms Lewis said. It just depends on supply. If there is more around and there is also supply from Western Australia that affects the price. So, if anything shortens it could spike the market and it could jump up again. Around Christmas and January, prices tend to spike then too. So, it will be interesting to see what it does this year, as it is lower than the previous year.”
Murray Bros is proud to announce that Lindsay Rosenthal has been awarded third prize at the Brisbane Markets’ Forklift Operator of the Year competition for 2018.
Being the largest concentration of forklifts on any worksite in Queensland, Brisbane Markets places great emphasis of the importance of safety, and this initiative is a fun way to bring safety awareness to the market community.
Competitors had to efficiently and safely navigate their way around a challenging obstacle course, to the cheers of the market crowd, who came not only to encourage their work colleagues, but to raise money at a charity barbeque for the MND and Me Foundation, which supports people and their families living with Motor Neurone Disease in Queensland.
Murray Bros was especially excited to have 3 competitors among the top 10 finalists, so congratulations also goes to Ziggy Chmielarski and Karla Bleakley who also competed well on the day, and who consistently demonstrate our Murray Bros safety culture.
In taking out 3rd place, Lindsay conquered his one concern, which was to keep concentrating despite the large crowd of people cheering and the officials watching his every move. He took home $500 and gave back a heartfelt thank you to Brisbane Markets Limited and sponsors CHEP and Toyota Material Handling for supporting Brisbane Markets’ forklift operators in this fourth year of the challenge. It was also fitting that our Managing Director, Stephen Edwards, was given the task of presenting this year’s recipients with their awards.
Murray Bros would also like to congratulate this year’s winner, Soolfai Fale from Sutton Fresh Direct and second place recipient, Na’a Finau from Nutrano.
Murray Bros is excited to announce their new partnership with Nocelle Foods, a leading supplier of quality Artisan food and drinks. The family-owned company is based in Adelaide, South Australia and has been a trusted name in food manufacturing, wholesaling, distributing and importing since 1996. They are the manufacturer of the renowned brand “Nature’s Delight,” which is a delicious range of nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, corn chips and confectionary. There is also a range of 100% dual certified organic products.
Murray Bros and Nocelle Foods are delighted to welcome Mr Michael Cooper, who will be managing the distribution of the Nature’s Delight range in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas. This is the first appearance of the Nature’s Delight brand in Queensland, so Murray Bros is very excited to be teaming with Nocelle Foods to introduce their renowned brand to our state. We are confident that consumers will love the flavour and quality of these higher end products, and very quickly become repeat customers.
If you have any enquiries about the Nature’s Delight range of products, please contact Kyle Blair on 0403 462 340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Murray Bros Managing Director, Stephen Edwards, recently put his foot in the ring, acting as ‘cut-man’ for new WBO Welterweight World Champion, Jeff “The Hornet” Horn.
Stephen and Jeff became friends after Stephen joined Team Hornet over four years ago. Stephen has been in the…
corner for Jeff’s last 9 fights and was honoured to be there again in Jeff’s corner for the fight of his career against 11 time world champion, Manny Pacquiao.
Most people who don’t follow boxing had never heard of Jeff Horn prior to the pre-match build up and those who do meet Jeff, a primary school teacher, can’t believe he is a boxer.
“Jeff is one of the most genuine, caring, humble people I’ve ever met and when others meet him, they can’t imagine him in a boxing ring. He has a very competitive nature and that, along with his belief in himself, is what got him through the fight with Manny,” Stephen said.
Stephen reported that he was both nervous and excited for his close friend before the match and that being there, in the middle of Suncorp Stadium and 50,000 spectators, was an “electric” feeling.
During the fight, Stephen’s role was to assist Jeff’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, to treat any lacerations and nose bleeds in between each round. Stephen also has to ice the back of Jeff’s neck, apply Vaseline to Jeff’s face and give him water. In a fight of this standard, the Corner was kept very busy from the opening bell to the full 12 rounds.
The jubilation of Jeff, Stephen and the rest of his team was written all over their faces when Jeff was announced the “new Welterweight Champion of the World” and Stephen said after the fight that he didn’t think he would sleep for days.
In reality, only four days after Jeff’s fight, Stephen flew to Russia to again act as ‘cut-man’ for another Australian boxer, Mark Flanagan, who was fighting for the World Cruiserweight title. Unfortunately Mark lost that World Title fight on points.
It seems that with a rematch between Horn and Pacquiao now confirmed for later this year, it won’t be too long before our Managing Director is back in the ring.
Murray Bros has signed a long term lease with Brisbane Markets Limited to take over Building A1, the eye-catching warehouse on the corner of Sherwood Road and Martin Taylor Drive, Rocklea.
Our General Manager, Susan Lewis, said the company was rapidly…growing and had been searching for new infrastructure for about six months, when the former Oakville Produce warehouse lease came up.
“The site is compatible with the growth of our pre-packing business, third party logistics, ripening and imports program so its availability was perfect timing for us,” Ms Lewis said.
“Over the last few months we have been making modifications to the building, including construction of cold rooms, ripening and fast cool rooms.”
The 4,944 sqm multi-purpose facility is still currently under renovation and expected to commence operation in September 2017. From here, we will operate our pre-packing, ripening and third party logistics business. This facility also contains administrative offices and a large executive meeting room.
Our Building B wholesale section will continue to trade, although there may be some consolidation of our other warehousing sites in the future.
B Block, Brisbane Markets
385 Sherwood Road
ROCKLEA Q 4106
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