History

The James Richardson story was born from integrity. It is proudly authentic. A family owned business that owes its origins to the hard work and ambition of its founder, David Mandie AM, OBE.

The classic story of the first-generation Australian, David began his working life at 13 in the family barber and tobacconist shop. At 35 he purchased a wholesale wine and spirits distribution business from local hotelier Jimmy Richardson. The company we know today quickly took shape.

In 1956 David made his foray into the furniture business. A handshake deal on a European adventure was the start of an enduring partnership that continues to bring furniture from Czech Republic company TON to Australia.

JRF is proud to be TON’s longest standing client globally, and to share a partnership that is just as strong as the day it started.

Located in Bystrice pod Hostýnem, TON is home to the oldest Michael Thonet factory. In continuous production since 1861, it’s where the Chair 18, Chair 14, Chair 30 and Chair 811 all have their origins, making Bystrice pod Hostýnem the development and innovation centre of the whole Thonet concern. TON is the original and unquestionably the most authentic bentwood furniture brand on the market. TON gained fame on a global scale thanks to the company’s spirit of enterprise, the vast beech forests surrounding it, and the immense skills of the local workers.

These key events underpin an entrepreneurial trajectory that is still coded within the business. While that early handshake established a rewarding relationship for both parties, it also set the foundation for the culture of trust and relationship-building that continues to define JRF today.