History of Hollimans Group


"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

Hollimans is the longest established hardware business in Charters Towers and the longest continuously conducted hardware firm still operating in North Queensland. It was founded by William Holliman 130 years ago, in 1892.  William Holliman was a prudent and well respected businessman whose word was his bond.

Today, our promise is and always will be to keep William Holliman’s authentic vision alive in our business model and in our service to our community.

Read on for more.

Our history dates back to 1888, when long standing builder and hardware store owner Hugh Ross retired from business and sold to Newman and Co.  Four years later, in 1892, William Holliman bought the business from Newman & Co and renamed the business Holliman & Co.  Holliman’s acquisition supplemented his primary calling which was gold mining.

English born William Holliman arrived in the Charters Towers Goldfield with his family in 1883, following his successful work as a mining engineer and investor in the Gympie Goldfield.  William was employed by Hugh Mosman, who was one of the discoverers of the Charters Towers Goldfield, to run his gold mill.  The mill was situated behind Holliman Street on Richmond Hill.  Due to his excellent business nous, five years later William Holliman was put in charge of the Mosman Gold Mining Company.

William was an excellent people manager, so despite did not being able to take an active role in the day to day running of Holliman & Co, with the help of his loyal staff he continued to grow the business and set about expanding the range of goods sold in the retail section.  The building still exists to this day and is located on Gill Street opposite the police station.  It is currently occupied by Titleys.

Down the track, William expanded the timber yard at the rear of the business and increased the range of mining requisites for the mining industry.  By 1902, the retail shop was remodelled and a machinery store was set up facing Hodgkinson Street at the rear.  A brickworks was established on the outskirts of town, and William went on to help build the Post Office Tower in 1898, the Charters Towers Hospital operating theatre and a Hotel in Mosman Street, which is now known as The Rix.

In 1904, Hollimans Limited was established with William being the largest shareholder and director.  A branch of the business was opened in Ravenswood later that year and then in Townsville in around 1910.

William Holliman continued to run the Hollimans hardware businesses until his death in December 1919, at the age of 77.  This coincided with the demise of Charters Towers as a goldfield and the rise of Townsville.  The Townsville branch of Hollimans continued until 1987, while the Charters Towers branch was sustained to meet continuing local needs.

Subsequent owners of Hollimans included Herbert Archie Anderson, Bill Fisher and Allan Peno. Allan Peno purchased Hollimans with Ron Howe as manager in 1979 and moved the business to its location at 28-32 Mosman Street. The business was then purchased by Daryl Musk and Bernie Robertson in 1986.

In July 2007, the North and Gordon families purchased Hollimans from the Musk and Robertson families.

With the growing need for a more streamlined rural service in the community, in 2008 Hollimans partnered with Combined Rural Traders (CRT) and rural supply products were added to the business model.  As a result, ‘Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services’ was registered as a business name and trade began.

In a further step to diversify its goods and services for the community, in 2009 the North and Gordon families purchased Mitre 10 on Gill Street in Charters Towers.  At this time, the ‘Hollimans Home Timber & Hardware’ business name was registered.  Later that year a gun and ammunition shop was added to Hollimans Hardware and Rural Services and the Hollimans brand expanded once again.

With all this growth, in October 2010, Hollimans Pty Ltd was established as a company. Benjamin Britty North and Alistair Don Gordon were joint directors and a clear vision to combine all stores under the one roof was born.

In 2011 ‘Hollimans Rural Supplies’ was registered as a business name and was now the sole trading name, encompassing all aspects of the hardware and rural services business. 

In 2012, Hollimans Pty Ltd purchased the ‘Weston Carrying Service’ (Westons Transport) business and five acres of land close to the Charters Towers CBD, once again expanding the scope of the business.

The group of businesses worked extremely well together for many years but Ben North saw a problem in the market for his rural customers when it came to water.  So in May 2017, Ben and Alistair ventured overseas and purchased a Polythene Extrusion Line to make polypipe.  The view was to build a polypipe factory in Australia to service customers who needed to capture and direct water for their stock.

In early 2018 Alistair left the business and Ben North continued on as sole director of Hollimans Pty Ltd.  At that time, ‘Viper Water Solutions’ was established and a five-acre block of land was acquired in Seymour Street, Hughenden.  Development plans for the polypipe factory began and by the latter half of that year the poly factory was well under way.  In mid-2019, the first big order of polypipe was produced at the Viper Water factory and delivered to our first customer via Westons Transport.

In 2020, ‘Charters Towers Furniture’ was added to the Hollimans group of businesses and is located in a prime retail position at 108-110 Gill Street, Charters Towers.  The furniture shop works in nicely for our customers and the overall retail focus of the business.

In May 2022, after ten years of continuously working on its vision to combine its retail and rural businesses under the one roof, Hollimans joined the Mitre 10 buying group at a Sapphire level and ‘Hollimans Rural Mitre 10’ was officially opened for business.  So too was Hollimans’ gun and ammunition shop which was rebranded under ‘GoWild Outdoors’. 

Both stores proudly sit at the pinnacle of the new Gold Tower commercial precinct in Charters Towers.

We are extremely proud of our heritage and what we have built upon it.  Our ongoing vision is simple: to continue to serve our community and tailor our business to the ever-changing needs of rural life.

Previous slide
Next slide

In July 2007, the North and Gordon families purchased Hollimans Hardware from the Musk and Robertson families, which was located at Mossman Street, in Charters Towers.

Later on 2008, Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services’ was registered as a business name and

Rural supply products are added to Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services and an account is opened with Combined Rural Traders (‘CRT’).

In an attempt to provide a diverse supply of rural products and services to Charters Towers community, the trust partnership purchased Mitre 10 on Gill Street, and ‘Hollimans Home Timber and Hardware’ business name was born.

Following on 2009, the trust added a gun and ammunition shop to Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services.

October 2010 ‘Hollimans Pty Ltd’ was registered as a company. Benjamin Britty North and Alistair Don Gordon are joint directors, and the North Family Trust and Gordon Family Trust are equal shareholders.

March 2011 The trust partnership sells the Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services business and the Hollimans Home Timber and Hardware business (‘Hollimans Retail Businesses’) to Hollimans Pty Ltd.

Later on November 2011 ‘Hollimans Rural Supplies’ is registered as a business name and ‘Hollimans Hardware & Rural Services’ is deregistered as a business name.

September 2012 Hollimans Pty Ltd purchases the ‘Weston Carrying Service’ business and five acres of land close to the Charters Towers CBD (‘Westons Transport’).

May 2017 Ben North and Alistair Gordon venture overseas and purchase a Polythene Extrusion line to make pipe from 25mm up to 160mm. The plan is to develop the Westons Transport site to manufacture pipe and continue the transport business.

2017 a decision was made to look further a field than Charters Towers for the Poly Factory and Ben sets up meetings with the Hughenden and Cloncurry councils.

January 2018 a 5-acre block in Seymour Street Hughenden is secured and the development plans for the poly factory begin

September 2018 the development is complete and the business name Viper Water Solutions is registered and the Poly factory is in motion.

May 2022 the business name Hollimans Rural Mitre 10 is registered.

June 2022, Hollimans Rural Supplies and Hollimans Home Timber and Hardware reshaped itself and joined together under the big umbrella of Hollimans Rural Mitre 10, which is located at the Goldtower precinct.

Hollimans Gun Shop also relocated to the Goldtower precinct and was rebranded under GoWild Outdoors.

In June this year we combined our two stores into one and joined the Mitre 10 buying group at a Sapphire level becoming Hollimans Rural Mitre 10.

Many more to come..


Enquiries & Information

Our Office

Hollimans Group

60 New Queen Road, Queenton, Qld, 4820
(07) 4787 1044