A place in the sun
Queensland, Australia's "Sunshine State", has been home to John Deere Limited head office since 1993. The company moved its national headquarters from Perth - Western Australia, to a 4 hectare site at Crestmead, south of Brisbane, after demand for John Deere products shifted to the east coast.
But the story begins in the west…
Once upon a time
In the mid-1900s, a Melbourne engineering family, A.W. Chamberlain and sons A.H. and H.W.F. Chamberlain, had a dream:
"to produce a tractor entirely suited to the large land holdings of Australian farmers."
The family's dream began to come true in 1947 when a large munitions factory at Welshpool, a suburb of Perth, became available for use by private industry. The government offered the use of the factory to the Chamberlain family who set up Chamberlain Industries Pty Ltd to manufacture and market agricultural tractors and implements. In 1949, the first Chamberlain tractor rolled off the assembly line at Welshpool.
The famous Chamberlain tractor
The first Chamberlain tractors produced were 40k models of 40 horsepower with twin-cylinder, horizontally opposed engines. They weighed about four tonnes and were ideal for the needs of Australian farmers of that era.
In 1952, the family began producing implements with the all-welded Chamberlain scarifier, followed a year later by the first Chamberlain disk plough. The need for specialised seeding equipment saw the introduction of the Chamberlain combine seeder in 1963. In 1955 the kerosene tractors gave way to the diesel models.
Onward and upward, until…
Chamberlain products were commanding wide acceptance in Australian farming and export markets, culminating in the 1964 Export Award. To meet the rapidly increasing demands for product, a comprehensive expansion and refit plan was undertaken in 1978. The Welshpool manufacturing site had been completely redeveloped and a new office complex built by the end of 1982. The rural downturn of the 80s significantly reduced the farm equipment market and, in 1986, the manufacture of the famous Chamberlain tractors ceased.
Deere Saves a Tradition
During the downturn, a merger was negotiated with Deere & Company. Today, the Chamberlain venture is a fully owned subsidiary of Deere & Company who continued to expand into new markets in Australia and New Zealand.
In 1987, the Grounds Care Equipment Division was created to meet the expanding residential and commercial mower market followed by the introduction of the highly specialised Golf and Turf Equipment section.
In 1992, John Deere Limited set up the Power Systems Division to address the growing demand for John Deere engines. Kohler Generator products were later included.
Chamberlain, the man
The Chamberlain family's success in meeting the specific needs of early Australian farmers is reflected in the John Deere story. Pioneer blacksmith John Deere developed the world's first commercially successful, self-scouring steel plow to meet the needs of farmers in America's mid-West.
Deere & Company, founded in 1837, is today a worldwide corporation based in Illinois, doing business in more than 160 countries and employing about 37,000 people.
Guiding the company into the 21st century are John Deere's original values: quality, service, integrity, regard for individual contribution, product development and continuous improvement.
Deere once vowed:
"I will never put my name on a plow that does not have in it the best that is in me."
That's the John Deere commitment.