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Family Business: The Simmies of Simmie & Co and Harpsdale

Published by Echo Books (, this is a narrative not just of an entrepreneurial family with all of its rich past and personalities, especially that of Jock Simmie, but also of two very different family businesses.

Three brothers came home from World War One. Two had served at Gallipoli, all three had been wounded on the Western Front. They founded Simmie and Co in 1924, a highly successful building company which constructed a remarkable range of works, across Melbourne (1924-1978) and in Canberra (1926-1969), including some of the national capital’s most iconic public buildings.

The other family business was Harpsdale, Victoria, purchased by Jock Simmie in 1940, which became a highly respected Dorset Horn Stud. Settled by the pioneer Brodie family in the 19th Century, this historic farmland and homestead has now been farmed by the Simmie family for more than 80 years. A grandson, Richard, has restored and preserved not just Harpsdale itself but the records of the family and the businesses which enabled this history to be completed.

Dr Kilsby’s story reveals the contribution, with their unique family businesses, of the Simmies of Simmie & Co and Harpsdale to the development of this nation.