1912: J. Hutchinson is established
Whilst Jack probably found work when he arrived on Australian shores in 1911, Hutchies’ first written record of work was with the Qld state government to construct a new kitchen at Fort Lytton on 29th January 1912.
1915: Active in the community right from the start
Jack I’s sons – Eric & Jack II – helped their Dad with the newly founded business, but they also quickly became involved the local community. It was not too long after this that Hutchinson men played a part in founding the Wynnum Districts Soccer Club (now known as the Wolves FC). Not much has changed since those early days within Hutchies as community involvement is still very much part of the company culture today.
From as early as anyone can remember, Jack I was simply referred to as “Hutchie” which became the colloquial, endearing company term that we use today.
1921: Hutchies’ South Brisbane office opens
Within a decade, Jack I was considered an experienced and successful businessman by his peers. Jack's first known business premises was located at his home in Manly (pictured), but in 1921, he decided to purchase a more centrally located office & yard for Hutchies on Montague Road in South Brisbane.
1930: President of the Qld MBA
Jack I entered the Qld Master Builders and became President – a position he held for three years as Australia was in the grips of the Great Depression.
1932: Jack II & Lily Collins
Jack II married Lily Collins in 1932 and two years later on October 17, Jack III (Jack Snr) was born. Sadly, two days later, Jack I’s wife Ellen passed away.
1938: New father & sons partnership
By the late 1930s, Jack I still owned 100% of the business. Jack II and Eric finally decided to approach their father for a partnership after 15 years managing the business. J Hutchinson & Sons was officially formed.
1939: Qld’s largest privately owned building company
Despite enduring the Great Depression and the onset of World War II, J Hutchinson continued to prosper with 400 company members.
1940: Narrow escape
Disaster almost struck Hutchies when a large fire broke out next door to its office and yard. Luckily a quick response from the fire brigade saved the company from a huge loss.
1943: Protecting Brisbane
In less than 12 months, Hutchies had built 14 major air raid shelters in the Brisbane CBD & surrounds.
1949: Jack II’s settles into the family holiday home
With Hutchies recognised as a highly respected and significant player in the industry, it maintained a good book of work. Jack II moved into the six bedroom family holiday home in Surfer’s Paradise and Eric’s son John began work at Hutchies.
1951: Jack III’s first Hutchies Christmas party
At the young age of 17, Jack III aka Jack Snr attended his first Hutchies Christmas party at the Baroona Labor Hall in Caxton Street, Paddington. This is where the lanky, sandy-haired schoolboy first caught sight of his future wife – June Smith. She happened to be the daughter of a valued labourer at Hutchies – William (Bill) Smith.
1955: Company downturn & an uncertain future
Despite all that was happening for Hutchies as a family, the 50s were not the best time for the business – with projects not being completed on time, its reputation began to tarnish. With Jack I in his 80s, and Jack II and Eric in poor health, the family considered closing down the company.
1960: What should Jack III do?
Jack III was working for the department of works at the Qld Government in a secure position. His father, Jack II, urged his son to stay in his job rather than take a chance leaving to help with the ailing family business. The company was lagging behind with uptake of technology and although still won some projects on the back of its reputation, Hutchies was slow to adapt to change.
1964: Doom & Gloom
It was dark days for Hutchies as a whole, with Jack I passing away on April 27, 1964 – four months short of his 90th birthday.
1969: Ending the decade on a high note
Under Jack III’s direction, Hutchies returned to a stable, profitable position by the end of the 1960s. It had eliminated its hefty overdraft, held a good credit rating and became popular amongst clients and architects to tender on projects once again.
...but Hutchies did it!
Over the subsequent years, with Jack Snr at the helm, Hutchies once again revelled in the respect and esteem of the business and building communities. The 70s were challenging years for the industry as a whole under the new Whitlam Federal Labor Government, but Hutchies managed to continue to ride out the tough times.
1975: Finding opportunity in difficult jobs
Jack III capitalised on building work that other builders would not take on due to difficulty or remote location. Hutchies had its own employees skilled up to carry out these intricate projects and developed a reputation for completing projects of great complexity.
1981: Enter Scott
From an early age, John Scott Hutchinson, or just Scott as he is known, knew he wanted to be involved in the family construction business. In the early 80s, Scott completed his Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of Qld.
1985: Value of repeat business
Hutchies learnt the value of repeat business and if that meant following a client anywhere and completing any project no matter how small or large, it did. The client became the focus of the business, a company philosophy that has remained unchanged ever since.
1986: Scott the Salesman
Scott started with Hutchies full time in 1986. His first task was to put on his salesman’s hat and go door-knocking for new business, following in the footsteps of his father in the 60s and 70s.
1987: 75 years young
In 1987, Hutchies began its 5 yearly tradition of celebrating milestone birthdays with a Gala function for its 75th at the Tattersall’s Club. The venue was chosen because Hutchies had built the dining room 50 years earlier in 1937. The event was apparently so good that it boosted company turnover significantly!
1987: Socialising, all part of the plan
In the same year as the 75th, company members, Len White & Barry Butterworth, approached Hutchies to form a social club which would help finance company events. A fishing trip that has become an annual team-bonding event was the first official social club excursion. Hutchies now has over 700 social club members and hosts about 50 other events purely to promote socialising amongst company members, clients, subbies and suppliers every year.
1987: Driving good culture
It was also at this time that Scott introduced the idea of buying cars for company members. Hutchies now has a company owned fleet of over 300 vehicles.
1991: Scott & Mary-Jeanne Peabody
The first big event in Hutchies’ world during the 90s was the marriage of Scott to Mary-Jeanne Peabody in September 1991. The year after, John Elmore (Jack V or Jack Jnr) Hutchinson was born. Siblings Terrence, Kenneth and Mary followed shortly after the arrival of Jack Jnr.
1992: Consolidation & prosperity
After the marriage, it was time to think about the future direction of Hutchies. Most of the company’s work was coming from Jack Snr's long-established relationships with architects. Hutchies had also developed a solid office network with projects across Qld, a set up which is key to the way Hutchies operates now.
1992: Movement on the board
In 1992, Jack Snr became Chairman of the board and Scott took over his post as Managing Director – the fourth generation Hutchinson to have hands-on control of the family business. Scott soon developed his own business network of friends like his father but this time it was with a new breed in town – young property developers. Hutchies worked out that loaning seed capital & mezzanine money to developers resulted in many more building opportunities. Hutchies became the preferred builder for developers which rocketed the company’s growth upwards.
1993: Truth be told
Hutchies' infamous newsletter 'The Truth' was first conceptualised in 1993 by Jack Snr who said "let's do it properly with the help of Lindy (Scott’s sister and a journalist) and send it out to all clients". Initially, Scott thought the idea was too crazy and shouldn’t be done… which was quickly replaced by the thought "of course we should!". The name comes from the scandalous & sensationalist ‘Melbourne Truth’ tabloid which started in the early 20th century and coincidentally it was last published in 1995.
1995: Getting rid of the hierarchy
In 1995, Scott made a bold move to alter the structure of Hutchies and ever since, it has been known for its flat line management. Teams operate autonomously allowing team leaders to effectively grow their own businesses independent of the board of directors. Clients enjoy this style of management as they can pick which team they work best with.
1997: Time after time
Scott continued the tradition of celebrating milestone birthdays with both the 80th and 85th held once again at the Tattersall’s Club.
2005: Good times
The 2000s and the changes in the board brought in lots of new work for the company including the landmark $99M M on Mary residential tower project – then Hutchies’ largest project ever. The company was now capable of looking after 150 projects a year and again became recognised as the largest commercial builder in Queensland.
2006: Resiliency in downturn
Earlier structural changes and a different strategic approach from the board meant Hutchies was resilient when the industry took a hit in 2006 and entered a downturn. Hutchies increased its core tradespeople and disciplines, added cranes, scaffolding & prefab to its books and set up its own training operation in order to encourage the Hutchies’ way right from the start - “get it right the first time”.
2007: A demonstration of capability
Hutchies built Australia’s first 6 star Green Star commercial office tower – Santos Place, in Brisbane’s CBD. This was a landmark project for the company and only made possible with the help of our in-house ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Design) team which remains a core part of Hutchies’ business.
2008: A global financial crisis
Hutchies was lucky during the GFC, having built its strengths up over many years which came to the fore during these tough couple of years. It had strong buying power, loyal subbies, competitive pricing, a spread of locally owned offices and a reputation for quality work & financial independence. Developers and financiers had confidence in Hutchies and directed more business its way.
2010: Accolades for Jack Snr
Unfortunately, late in 2009, Jack Snr suffered a mild stroke while playing golf but recovered well in time for his 75th birthday. Accolades for his lifelong dedication to the industry started to flow in – with Jack being inducted into the Qld Business Leaders Hall of Fame in 2010 and included in the Australia Day Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the building and construction sector.
2010: Activity in all sectors & all locations
Since the GFC, Hutchies’ strategy has been to make sure it is geographically diverse and be active in all sectors of the marketplace. As a result, Hutchies opened new offices throughout the country and became a true national entity. It also became active in the mining sector particularly in Qld and WA, building many modular accommodation camps and facilities for large scale mining operations.
2011: A rising star... or not
Scott made his reality TV show debut on Undercover Boss in 2011 – say no more… except that he’s possibly open to more cheesy reality TV show appearances.
2012: Reputational advances
Hutchies’ reputation and financial strength continued to grow, and its Sydney team took on the $215M Metro Residences project in Chatswood. The project was the largest at the time in Hutchies’ history with 553 apartments and a workforce of more than 500 people.
Now: Jack V (Jack Jnr)
Jack V, more commonly known as Jack Jnr, has joined the company and is now working in the John Berlese team as a Contracts Administrator. He is also firmly embedded in all of the board's activities, learning the ropes from his Dad and other directors who are mentoring him into the future role of Chairman.
Now: Melbourne Expansion
Radical changes to Hutchies' Melbourne office also occured in 2015, with the appointment of three new Team Leaders to expand Hutchies’ Victoria capacity & cover all market sectors.
Now: Building Brisbane's bar scene
Scott converted an old wartime bunker into a music venue called The Triffid in Newstead which he is now landlord of. John Collins (JC) from band Powderfinger runs the bar and has become Hutchies’ new hub of social activities in Brisbane.