William Sandover & Co
By Ryan Aden
Location: 886 Hay Street, Perth.
What was sold?
A 1907 advertisement suggests they were selling farming needs such as fencing wire, bran bags, grass seeds, fertilizer and agricultural machinery, amongst many other things, including pharmacy items. (See here and here.)
When did they go into business?
William Sandover came from Adelaide in 1881 and established a flourishing business in Fremantle, in partnership with Edward Mayhew. This was dissolved in 1885 in favour of William’s younger brother, Alfred, who had just arrived in Perth in the heat of a stifling summer to join his brother in his rapidly expanding business.
In 1920 the company changed name to Sandover Ltd.
William, who usually lived in England, was at sea on his way back from a visit to Perth when he passed away suddenly in May 1921, aged 64. He was buried at sea, as per his own request, and the Perth and Fremantle stores were closed for the day. Alfred continued running the business alone.
In 1923 Alfred (who was awarded an MBE in 1951) bought out the Perth branch of Harris, Scarfe & Co, and the business became Harris, Scarfe & Sandovers Ltd (see this link). Alfred was chairman.
When did they go out of business?
Alfred retired in 1957 at the age of 90 and, after 60-odd years of the establishment’s operation (under a variety of names), the business was delisted in 1959 (see this link) when it was taken over by Electronic Industries Limited (see this link).
Alfred died in 1958, aged 91.
The Mouat Street, Fremantle, building built in 1897 for William Sandover & Co is still standing, and in use today as the head office of Notre Dame University.
In 1907 the Perth branch, at 467-471 Hay Street, caught fire. It was the largest building fire Perth city had yet experienced. The building was all but gutted, with only a few walls barely standing. William Sandover & Co bought out the business directly across from them, Drake and Stubbs, Ironmongers. See this link.
In 1921 Alfred donated the Sandover medal, which is still presented annually to the WAFL’s fairest and best player.
Obituary of William Sandover in The West Australian, 25 May 1921:
“Deep concern was felt and expressed in the city yesterday at the news of the death at sea of Mr William Sandover, founder and late resident partner in London of the well-known hardware business bearing his name. The late Mr Sandover was returning by the Ulysses via the Cape, to his home in England, having been on one of his periodical visits to Australia when, just out from Durban, he was taken ill and died. He was buried at sea.
The deceased gentleman was very well known to many of the older Western Australians. He was born in Adelaide in 1856 and came West in 1881. He later founded the firm of Sandover and Mayhew, which subsequently became Sandover and Co, and last year Sandover's Ltd.
Some 28 years ago he returned to South Australia and then went to live in London. where he made his home up to the time of his death. For some years he was Mayor of Richmond, and is said to have been the first Australian to have occupied that office in England.
Always maintaining a keen and active interest in Australian affairs, he was closely associated with the Australian Chamber of Commerce. The late gentle man was twice married and leaves a widow and a son.
In conversation with a representative of The West Australian last evening, his Grace Archbishop Riley said that he had known Mr Sandover for 26 years. He was a very keen man and made a success of anything he undertook. Western Australians visiting London would miss Mr Sandover, who had proved himself a ready and reliable friend to travellers from this State; but none, he thought, would miss him more than his own bishop in England, to whom he had been of immense service in all matters of finance.
When the deceased gentleman left Perth he appeared to be in the best of health, and to have years of life before him, yet he had been taken suddenly.
In his 65 years of life he had done a greater amount of good than many older men.”
Biography of Alfred Sandover at this link.
Post Office Directories:
The earliest newspaper advertisement for William Sandover & Co appears in The Inquirer & Commercial News of 1 January 1890.
1893-1895 - Not listed 1893...1895
1897 - 67 Hay Street, Perth 1897
1898-1905 - Not listed, but the address above it is and that address is 461 Hay Street 1898...1905
1906-1907 - 467-471 up until the great fire on the morning of 24 April 1907 1906 1907
1908-1922 - New address, 683-693 Hay Street 1908...1922
1923-1924 - The name changes as Sandovers Ltd buys out Harris, Scarfe & Co 1923 1924
1925-1936 - Changes to 683-699 Hay Street 1925...1936
1937-1949 - Changes to 691-699 Hay Street and remains at that address until 1949 (the end of Post Office Directories) 1937...1949
1893-1916 - Corner of High and Mouatt Streets 1893...1916
1917-1922 - 39-41 Mouatt Street (same place, but the street has been numbered) 1917...1922
1923 - First appearance of Harris, Scarfe & Sandover’s Ltd in Fremantle 1923
1924-1949 - Listed in Newman Street, erroneously as Harris, Scarfe & Saunders from 1924-1926. The 1927 edition has been corrected 1924...1949