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Australia marks National Family Business Day

Lisa Frawley

Australians are being urged to shop local as part of National Family Business Day, with celebrations expected to take place across the country and long-time family firms honoured in the annual awards program.

The day — marked on Thursday, 19 September this year — aims to “recognise the invaluable contribution family businesses make to the Australian economy, community and culture”.

“Family businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and key contributors to our economy,” said Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

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“National Family Business Day is a time to recognise the significant role these businesses play, accounting for up to 70 per cent of Australian businesses and employing around half of the country’s workforce.

“I urge people to show support for the family business in your community and buy local.”

Ms Carnell used the example of Frawley’s Shoes as a successful family-owned business, which has been operating for 92 years.

“My family started selling shoes in the 1920s from the back of a T-Model Ford truck,” said Lisa Frawley (pictured), the third-generation operator of the business.

“When Parliament House was being built, they’d drive the truck up to sell the workers their boots. I guess my grandfather knew a business opportunity when he saw one.”

Ms Frawley said that working within a family business is “all I’ve ever known”.

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“And it’s so nice to work with your dad,” she said.

“He’s 84 now and we talk nearly every day. He worked here in the shop up until just a few years ago. Dad has a business mind that I admire.”

Family Business Australia (FBA), the collective association for family-operated businesses of all size, is urging family-operated businesses to mark the day and celebrate their achievements within their community by hosting a morning tea.

“Family Business Day acknowledges family businesses as the heartbeat of Australian commerce, employing 50 per cent of the Australian workforce,” its CEO, Greg Griffith, said.

“Most family businesses are Australian-owned, providing considerable investment and employment opportunities.

“When you spend money on a family-owned Australian business, it remains in our communities.”

Businesses recognised in Family Business National Awards

Australian air conditioning manufacturer Seeley International was honoured with the Distinguished Family Business of the Year Award by the association at its annual conference in Melbourne.

The business was launched by Frank Seeley in his garage in 1972, and according to its website, now employs some 550 people across four manufacturing sites and exports to 120 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, Amie Lyone of family-owned office supplies distributor Complete Office Solutions (COS) was given the Next Generation Achiever Award.

The FBA also inducted these businesses into its Hall of Fame:

  • Brisbane real estate agency Matthews Real Estate
  • Melbourne toy maker Colorific Australia
  • Melbourne-headquartered product identification firm Matthews Australasia
  • Melbourne landscaper Normark Landscapes
  • NSW Central Coast–based household and industrial products manufacturer Trendpac
  • Paris-founded Australian cosmetics maker Ella Baché
  • Perth jewellery store Linneys Jewellery
  • South Australian fabricated steel manufacturers Bowhill’s Engineering
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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