Jim Penman

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Jim Penman
Owner of Jim's Group
Personal details
Born (1952-05-08) 8 May 1952 (age 66)
Stourbridge, England
Alma materLa Trobe University
ProfessionFranchisor, Historian

Jim Penman is an Australian businessman and historian in the field of biohistory. He is the owner of Jim's Group.[1]

Early life[edit]

As a teenager, he was fascinated by the fall of Rome and why this happened.[2]

In 1982 Penman was completing his PhD in history when he decided to turn his part-time lawn mowing business into a full-time job in 1983-89.[3]

Jim’s Group[edit]

Penman focussed on setting up and selling lawn-mowing rounds rather than simply mowing lawns, taking on sub-contractors and selling around 100 rounds between 1983 and 1989.[1]

In 1988 VIP Home Services came into the market in Victoria, which prompted Penman to systemise his own processes and create the Jim's Mowing franchise. Jim's mandate is to be fanatical about service to both Franchisees and customers, working constantly to lower complaints and improve Franchisee satisfaction.[1]

After launching the Franchise in 1989, Penman was approached by people who wanted to use the Jim’s banner. The second division was Cleaning and since then the franchise model has been adapted to almost 50 different service industries.[4]

Penman is still the CEO of the group and actively involved in day-to-day operations.[1]

In 2018 Jim’s Group has a turnover of over $400 million, with more than 3,800 franchisees in four countries, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada.[5] Jim's Group is currently preparing a prospectus for a possible float in late 2018.


The premise of epigenetics is that behaviour modelled in animals is correlated with and can predict human cultural trends. This area of endeavour has been his life’s work, in epigenetics and Biohistory.[6]

In the last decade the revolution in understanding through epigenetics has been correlated with the rise and fall of civilisations in human history. Penman has been actively engaged in this study,[7] publishing Biohistory and Biohistory The Decline and Fall of the West.[8]

Through research run with RMIT and The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health Penman is putting millions of dollars into projects dealing with mental illness, depression and anxiety.[1][9]

In the future, Penman hopes that by an understanding of epigenetic markers there will be advances in drug and alcohol treatments.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Penman is married to Li Huang Penman and has ten children.[citation needed]


(* peer reviewed)

  • 1. Levay E. A., Govic A., Penman J., Paolini A. G., and Kent S. (2007) Effects of adult-onset calorie restriction on anxiety-like behavior in rats. Physiology and Behavior 5; 92(5): 889-96
  • 2. Govic A., Levay E. A., Hazi, A, Penman J., Kent S. and Paolini A.G. (2008) Alterations in male sexual behaviour, attractiveness and testosterone levels induced by an adult-onset calorie restriction regimen. Behavioural Brain Research 26; 190(1):140-6.
  • 3. Govic A., Kent S., Levay E. A., Hazi, A, Penman J. and Paolini A.G. (2008). Testosterone, social and sexual behavior of perinatally and lifelong calorie restricted offspring. Physiology and Behaviour 9; 94(3): 516-22
  • 4. Levay E. A., Paolini A.G., Govic A., Hazi, A, Penman J. and Kent S. (2008) Anxiety-like behaviour in adult rats perinatally exposed to maternal calorie restriction. Behavioural Brain Research 22: 191(2): 164-72.
  • 5. Abbott J.D., Kent S., Levay E.A., Tucker R.V., Penman J., Tammer A.H. and Paolini A.G. (2009). The effects of calorie restriction olfactory cues on conspecific anxiety-like behaviour. Behavioural Brain Research 201: 305-310.
  • 6. Levay, E.A., Paolini A.G, Govic A., Hazi A, Penman J. and Kent S. (2010) HPA and sympathoadrenal activity of adult rats perinatally exposed to maternal mild calorie restriction. Behavioural Brain Research 208: 202-208.
  • 7. Levay E.A., Tammer A.H., Penman J., Kent S., Paolini A.G. (2010). Calorie restriction at increasing levels leads to augmented concentrations of corticosterone and decreasing concentrations of testosterone in rats. Nutrition Research 30(5): 366-73
  • 8. Guccione L., Paolini A.G., Penman J. and Djourma E. (2012). The effects of calorie restriction on operant responding for alcohol. Behav. Brain Res. 230: 281-7.
  • 9.Guccione L., Djourma E., Penman J. and Paolini A.G. (2012). Calorie restriction inhibits relapse behavior and preference for alcohol within a two-bottle free choice paradigm in the alcohol preferring (iP) rat. Physiology and Behaviour 13: 110-111
  • 10 Govic A., Bell, A., Samuel A., Penman J., Paolini, A.G. (2014). Calorie restriction and corticosterone elevation during lactation can each modulate adult male fear and anxiety-like behavior, Hormones and Behavior, 7 September 2014


  • J. Penman (2015) Biohistory: Decline and Fall of the West, Cambridge Scholars ISBN 978-1443871303[11]
  • J. Penman (2015) Biohistory, Cambridge Scholars ISBN 978-1443871655
  • What Will They Franchise Next?: The Story of Jim's Group ISBN 9780975113202
  • Jim Penman (1992) The Hungry Ape: Biology And The Fall Of Civilisations ISBN 9780646078571


  1. ^ a b c d e White, Sue (2015-11-14). "Meet the boss: Jim's Group founder Jim Penman". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  2. ^ "Jim Penman: As with the fall of Rome civilisations like ours collapse with the loss of 'hungry' temperament". Adelaide Now. May 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Founder of Jim's Mowing will Make you Smarter and Save the World". Vice. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  4. ^ "Jim's fantastic empire". 9 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Jim's Group mows short court battle with digger franchisor". The Australian Financial Review. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Dr Jim Penman".
  7. ^ "UK could 'decline and fall just like the Roman Empire'". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  8. ^ "'We're all doomed': Jim's Mowing founder Jim Penman". 8 May 2015.
  9. ^ Knapton, Sarah (26 April 2015). "Britain 'is experiencing same decline as Rome in 100BC'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  10. ^ White, Sue (14 November 2015). "Meet the boss: Jim's Group founder Jim Penman" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. ^ "Review: 'Biohistory — Decline and Fall of the West'". Digital Journal. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2018.