Colemans started trading as Darwin’s first commercial printer in 1954 as JR Coleman Pty Ltd, under the stewardship of founder and family patriarch John “Colie” Coleman.From those early days, the company has seen a number of changes take place, most notably in mid-1974 with the retirement of “Colie” seeing sons Gary and Patrick take over. Just six months later Colemans Printing, like most homes and businesses in Darwin, was devastated by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas morning.
In 1980, a new factory was finally completed, with a major investment in machinery made. At the time Colemans employed 25 people. Two years later the factory doubled in size and was employing 35 people.
In 1988 disaster struck again and a fire all but destroyed the entire factory, with Colemans Printing – now under the guardianship of Gary and wife Dorothy Coleman – forced to make some tough decisions and rebuild with new machinery in a new factory.
That factory still stands today, however the machinery in it has been consistently updated since 1988 and the company now boasts nearly $10 million worth of the most modern printing equipment in Australia.
Not only has the company invested in infrastructure, but also staff, with more than 40% of staff employed for 10 years or more. The combined experience of the key managers in the group covers more than 100 years of dedication to Colemans Printing.
In return, the company has been committed from very early days to the skilled training of apprentices and in recent years can boast no less than one new apprentice employed per year (on average). This commitment to training was recognised when Colemans Printing won the Commonwealth Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Training in 2001.
Since then, the company has been focused on strategically planning its future, with the retirement of Gary Coleman as Managing Director taking place on 30 June 2005, after a total of 31 years at the helm. In an ever-increasing rarity for Australian business, Gary handed over the reins to his sons Michael, Justin and then Production Manager Tony Coleman, who as the third generation printer, now continues the legacy started by John “Colie” Coleman in 1954.