History of Yates

Yates was founded by Arthur Yates, an Englishman who migrated to New Zealand in 1879 to escape the damp weather of his native Manchester. The seed business that Arthur opened in Auckland in 1883 was the beginning of what was to become one of the most recognised names in Australian and New Zealand gardening.

In 1886 Arthur visited Sydney, where he saw an opportunity to establish a similar enterprise. So in 1887 he left his brother, Ernest, to manage the New Zealand seed business and opened a branch in Sussex St, Sydney. In 1906 the two brothers came to an amicable agreement to separate the two companies and run them independently either side of the Tasman. This continued until the late 1980s when the two companies joined together again.

By 1893 Arthur had launched his seed packets for home gardeners. He prided himself on always selling the best quality seeds and ‘Yates Reliable Seeds’ became the company’s catchcry. As time passed Yates became more and more an integral part of the garden, selling a range of products that included fertilisers, sprays, pots, potting mix and tools as well as seeds. In 1895 Arthur saw the need for a publication that answered gardeners’ questions so he wrote the first Yates Garden Guide, a basic gardening book that is still published more than 137 years later.

Yates today…

We love gardens, whether its pot or pasture, balcony or backyard, we love them all.
We love the first strawberry, fresh cut lawns, straight cut hedges, ladybugs and butterflies.
We love dirty hands, the smell of manure, kinked hoses and thorny roses.
We love the planting, pruning, weeding, watering, feeding and the fulfilment.
We love seeing something grow from nothing.
we believe the garden is a magical place.
At Yates we want to be there with you as you create a space that makes your world a better place.
We love the gardening journey, we are there to inspire, inform, encourage and provide a helping hand.
we love the problems, we love the solutions.
we believe you grow so much more than a garden.
We believe that a garden brings you happiness, that its good for the heart, spirit and soul.

Yates has established itself as an integral part of Australian and New Zealand gardening history, but much of the company’s success rests on its ability to adapt to changes in lifestyle and to continue meeting the needs of gardeners in each new generation. We are a team of passionate gardeners that are dedicated to helping everyone discover the joy of gardening and seeing success in their back (or front) yard. We want to help you grow so much more than a garden.

Feature Video: Yates Celebrates 125 years

Yates History Timeline

1879 Arthur Yates emigrated from United Kingdom to New Zealand
1883 Founded New Zealand company
1887 Started Australian branch, Hay Street, Sydney
1891 Had over 1000 Australian accounts
1895 Wrote Yates Garden Guide
1900 Purchased ‘Invergowrie’, Exeter, as farm and trial grounds
1906 New Zealand and Australian companies separated
1908 Introduced early flowering sweet peas
1916 Founded Tasmanian seed farms
1926 Death of Arthur Yates. Eldest son Harold became Managing Director
1940 Dig for victory
1951 Public Float
1953 Phillip Yates became Managing Director
1957 Launch of Yates chemical range
1961 Acquired Gro-Plus from John Darling & Co
1963 Introduced Yates bulbs
1964 Introduced Thrive. P.B. Yates became Managing Director
1969 Purchased Samuel Yates UK
1985 Yates acquired by Cheetham Limited (which already owned Hortico)
1987 Cheetham acquired by Acmex (IEL subsidiary). Yates & Hortico operations merged
1989 Yates New Zealand acquired following Equiticorp receivership
1990 Adelaide Steamship Company (Adsteam) acquires IEL
1993 IEL successfully floated Yates on Australian Stock Exchange as part of controlled sale of all Adsteam assets
1994 Acquired Zero from Reckitt & Colman
1995 Acquired Dynamic Lifter from Jennings Family
1996 Sold Samuel Yates Ltd (UK) to Sakata Seed Europe
1997 Formed joint venture in vegetable seed with Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc
1998 Established Yates Garden Care. Acquired Watkins NZ and Dynamic Lifter factory in Pakenham.
1999 Acquired Burbank Biotechnology and Forbio Plants to establish Yates Botanicals
2001 Scheme of Arrangement with Norgard Clohessy Equity Limited. NCE changed its name to Yates Limited.
2002 Sale of Yates Botanicals, YGC
2003 Sale of YVS
2003 Yates Limited sold Yates Australia & New Zealand to Orica Australia Pty Ltd
2008 Yates celebrates its 125th birthday in New Zealand
2010 Orica demerges Consumer Product Division (which includes Yates). The renamed DuluxGroup becomes a stand-alone company
2012 Yates celebrates its 125th birthday in Australia
2014 Yates celebrates Thrive’s 50th Birthday
2014 Wins ‘Most Trusted Brand’in Garden Care at Readers Digest Awards.
| 2015
Wins ‘Most Trusted Brand’in Garden Care at Readers Digest Awards.
2016 Munn’s Lawn Care joins the Yates family
2016 Yates introduces ‘Grow so much more than a garden’
2016 Wins ‘Most Trusted Brand’in Garden Care at Readers Digest Awards third year running.