Charles Davis Limited
The company was founded by Charles Davis, an Englishman who had been transported to the Tasmanian penal colony as a convict.
He established a hardware, ironmongery and tinsmithing business which grew to become one of Tasmania's major business enterprises.
Sir Donald Trescowthick took over control of the business from the Davis family in the 1970s.
Under his management, the company embarked on significant expansion and diversification. At various times, the company had investments in wholesaling, retailing, car distribution, property, hotels and motels and mining.
At its height, the company was Australia's fourth largest retailer, after acquiring many significant regional retailers, including Harris Scarfe, Cox Foys, FitzGerald's Department Stores, Lloyd's hardware stores, Campbell's hardware stores and McEwans.
Also, the company owned Co-operative Motors, a major Tasmanian car dealer.
The McEwans hardware stores group was divested in a management buyout in 1988.
The company was renamed as Harris Scarfe Holdings Limited in 1995. After the change of name, the company focussed on its department store activities and divested all other business activities.
At this time, the company merged its Harris Scarfe and FitzGerald's retailing operations, which continued to grow to become Australia's third largest department store group.
After suffering financial difficulties, the company was placed in receivership in 2001. The Harris Scarfe chain of stores was sold, and continues to trade today under new ownership.
- Harris Scarfe Holdings Limited Annual Report 2000.