Joseph Lyddy was registered as a business in 1893, standing the test of time.
This takes us back to when Australia was still a group of independent colonies. To live well in those days, a major ambition for many of the expanding population was to own their own horse. The individual horse was King. The best of public transport was the horse-driven and privately owned Cobb & Co. Coach line. Horses were many and manufacturing saddlers were numerous, but few ventured into the market of providing after-sales care of saddle soap and harness dressings. Joseph Lyddy was Australia's pioneer in this work and the service he provided was the key to his early and continuing success.
Joseph Lyddy’s first shop was close to Melbourne's Victoria Market. Regular customers expanded the business and as he prospered this moved to a new bluestone building that still stands today. Ideally positioned in Lygon Street Carlton close to the University and between the modern landmarks of King and Godfree's Grocery and Jimmy Watson's Wine Saloon. The first tins of Joseph Lyddy's Saddle Soap, Dubbin Boot Polish and Leather Dye were poured in this shop and the "Lyddy" name became famous.
The Australian Light Horse Brigade were instrumental during World War 1 from 1914-18. For those in the Light Horse Regiment much of the early action was "spit 'n' polish" and their introduction to the charms of Joseph Lyddy products was to shine and clean their tack and gear. The parade ground shine on leather boots and leggings, the gloss on a Sam Brown belt or the well-kept look of a trusted saddle more often than not came from a Joseph Lyddy product.
By the time of the early 1920's it was opportune for a new factory to be built to expand with increasing demand. An architect was commissioned; Walter Burley Griffin was his name. The same Walter Burley Griffin who was to become famous with his design for the Capital Theatre for Canberra. His Joseph Lyddy building at 167 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, still stands as the only Melbourne example of a Griffin-designed manufacturing plant.
With the advent of the motor car, both the horse and the horse industry changed. The old farm and working horse gave way to the new sporting horse, the show horse, the racing horse. Moving with these new conditions, Waproo Pty Ltd acquired Joseph Lyddy and transferred all operations to accommodate the new personnel and equipment needed to serve the expanding business.
The year of 1993 heralded a heritage of 100 years continuous manufacturing by Joseph Lyddy but beginnings were modest enough.
After three generations, Joseph Lyddy is today a well-known brand and a trademark for all associated with horses. A show jumping professional, a seasoned endurance rider, a weekend pony-clubber, prospective Olympic contestant and Black Caviar’s champion racehorse trainer Peter Moody Racing; all use Joseph Lyddy products to enhance appearance and performance. Winners are not guaranteed, but a library of endorsements from those who have made it to the winners' circle underwrite the value of these Australian products.
Joseph Lyddy remains safeguarded as a honoured part of the Australian controlled and financed, family owned company Waproo Pty Ltd. A century of tradition in specialised manufacture and service continues to flourish with new products introduced to meet the changed demands of a new, modern market. Farriers' Choice, Shine Hair Tonic, Crib Stop, a range of Shampoos and Conditioner, and now the Black Caviar range of grooming products are but some of the new Joseph Lyddy items that symbolise the claim that the Joseph Lyddy name has passed the toughest test of all - the test of time.
It is a proud story of perseverance and high achievement.
Joseph Lyddy horse care products are available to purchase online and traditionally from saddlery retail outlets, produce, camping and outdoor, and craft stores.
For further information on Joseph Lyddy’s history throughout Australia’s long standing heritage in the Equestrian field:
• Cobb and Co
• Australian Light Horse
• Tenterfield Saddler
• Waproo aquistion and influence
• Black Caviar and Peter Moody