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Looking forward to 100 years in 2020

Our history

It's taken 100 years and thousands of people to create Reece. Products, technologies and territories have changed, but leadership, team spirit and unswerving customer service remain constant.

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New ideas have always been part of Reece. In the early days we called it entrepreneurialism. Now we call it innovation.


In 1920 Harold Joseph Reece began selling plumbing products from the back of his truck and later opened the first HJ Reece store in Caulfield. In 1958 Les Wilson was offered a seat on the board and gradually began buying shares in the business. By 1969 the Wilson family was approaching a controlling stake in HJ Reece. On 20 July that year, the same day man first stepped foot on the moon, regulators approved the Wilson family becoming majority shareholders of the company. In 1970 Les Wilson’s son, Alan Wilson, who started Austral Hardware almost a decade earlier with the support of his father, became Chief Executive Officer of HJ Reece and later consolidated the two companies. Alan Wilson became Executive Chairman of Reece in 2008. His son Peter Wilson, who has driven innovation throughout the business since joining in 1993, stepped up as Chief Executive Officer.


With advice from Les Wilson, Alan’s father and long time HJ Reece board member, Reece expanded rapidly from a handful of stores in Melbourne. It started in Victoria and spread through Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. The expansion occurred through acquisition of plumbing and hardware stores as well as the development of greenfield sites. In 1994 Reece had 60 stores across the country. By 2000, it had 177, as well as a passionate team of managers captivated by being part of the momentum.


In the new century, Reece began to set its sights beyond Australia, sourcing products internationally and in 2006 expanding to New Zealand. Today, under the leadership of Peter Wilson, Reece has 800 outlets across ANZ and the US, sourcing products from more than 20 countries. Current growth is as much about diversity and complexity as size. Reece has expanded into new segments of the industry, adding HVAC-R, civil, irrigation & pools to its plumbing and bathroom core, once again acquiring and developing businesses in these fields. With a strong focus on innovation, there is much more to come.