From Early Seeds, a business has grown!
Michael Farrar and his wife Sally started a business in Nowra on the South Coast of New South Wales. The company came to be known as M L Farrar Pty Limited, International Seed Merchants. Admittedly, an imposing title for a fledgling company but due to Mike’s experience and love of exporting, it wasn’t long before this young company was annually exporting to about 50 countries and importing seed from as many as 11 countries.
Thus ‘Seed Bank’ began – where seeds from all the major countries of the world were stored in atmosphere controlled cool rooms and marketed in various forms.
This rapid rise in activity was assisted by significant sales of Kentia forsteriana palms to Europe and South Korea. Added to this was the emergence of interest from the Arab World with their repatriated oil wealth and interest of developing Education and Health facilities. Knowing there were no retail nurseries in-country, seeds and plants were imported for beautification and amenity.
Mike also developed a good field knowledge of plants and this became a key commercial resource. He spent much of his time with the collecting team, gathering seed from the bush of NSW. He became quite a ‘shot,’ felling seed bearing branches from Eucalypts with his .308 rifle.
M L Farrar Pty Limited merged with a Queensland seed company named QHort, the object to gain a stronger footing in Queensland and as a strategic move to better access mining companies and their revegetation activities.
The new company, AustraHort Pty Limited grew from the merger and has enjoyed success. Unlike NSW, regional QLD is of a much flatter terrain enabling seed collection in commercial quantities. These circumstances suited the development of the company in meeting increased demand for seed by mining companies and various Main Roads projects.
In all this time Mike has been ably and conscientiously assisted by his team. This is exemplified by Margaret Stamatis, who intuitively understood his integrity and the constancy of his objectives. Marg worked with Mike for 13 years and is now critical to the business.
AustraHort Pty Limited was sold to Cameron Clarke and Bill Fuller, as Mike settles back to enjoy retirement.