The Search for Australia’s Oldest Family Business

The Search for Australia's Oldest Family Business


By David Harland – Family Business Advisor

The hunt is on to find Australia’s oldest family business. Family Business Australia is identifying 10 businesses in each state that might qualify for the top slot. Seeking out long-lasting multigenerational businesses begs the question of:  What is the secret to longevity in family businesses? It’s a complicated issue, but we believe that a common thread in enduring family businesses is their ability to adapt to change while holding fast to their founding values.

Oldest-Family-Business-AustraliaOne illustrative example that we recently came across was that of Zildjian, a Polish-American family business known for its high quality cymbals and loyalty to employees. This 390-year-old business is believed to be the oldest in America and controls 65 percent of the global market for cymbals.

Since moving operations to the United States in 1929, the company has never laid-off an employee or outsourced any function overseas. Rather than making employees redundant when their jobs are automated, they are re-trained and assigned different jobs. In an industry known for competitive cost cutting and outsourcing, Zildjian remains focused on quality and a commitment to its core values.

Could that be part of its success?

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