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Krimmer, William Charles (1867–1944)

by Mark Cryle

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

William Charles Krimmer (1867-1944), businessman, was born on 28 July 1867 at German Station (Nundah), near Brisbane, second son of Johann Philip Krimmer, a labourer from Wurttemberg, and his Prussian-born wife Maria, née Braun. Educated at the local school, William was initially employed as a carpenter at J. C. Hutton Pty Ltd, ham and bacon curers, Zillmere. On 10 August 1903 he married with Presbyterian forms Jane Eliza Handford in her parents' home at Zillmere. He later worked as an engineer in the bacon factory of Foggitt Jones & Co. Ltd, Oxley, in which he had a financial interest.

Moving to the Darling Downs in 1906, Krimmer bought a small bacon factory at Black Gully, Toowoomba, and managed it in partnership with Harold A. Reed whom he had known from his time at Hutton's. They soon launched their 'K.R.' brand of ham and bacon, and found a market for it. In June 1916 Krimmer was invited to take charge of the Darling Downs Co-operative Bacon Co. Ltd. A primary producers' co-operative, the enterprise had been registered as a company in 1911 and was to become an association in 1932. Its factory at Willowburn, Toowoomba, produced hams, bacon, smallgoods and canned food. The directors appointed Krimmer general manager at a salary of £10 a week and engaged his brother Benjamin as sub-manager. Having agreed to close the operation at Black Gully on condition that he could bring the K.R. brand with him, Krimmer received £1500 for the goodwill of his former business and one hundred shares in the new concern.

The arrival of the Krimmers reversed the fortunes of the ailing farmers' co-operative which had lost £5500 in the first half of 1916. Despite having to dispose of substandard stock, it made a profit of £4200 in the second half of the year. By 1918 three more Krimmer brothers—Otto, Ernest and Charles—had joined the firm. The company continued to prosper, its products winning prizes at local agricultural shows. Extensions to the factory were completed in 1922. The effects of a severe drought in 1923 and a major fire in January 1924 were overcome. Premises were opened at Roma Street (1932) and Doboy (1934), Brisbane, and at Ultimo, Sydney (1938). Selling its goods throughout Australia and abroad, the business proved an outstanding success in the co-operative marketing of agricultural produce.

William Krimmer was known for his firm managerial style, for his reluctance to enter into discussions with representatives of organized labour and for his neat appearance. Invariably dressed in a suit and tie, he drove a sulky to work from his home in Russell Street, Toowoomba. He was also known for his familiarity with the day-to-day workings of every aspect of the business he ran. As a hobby he kept show horses and thoroughbreds: Highstrung, which he had bred in 1942, was to win the Doomben Ten Thousand in 1947. Krimmer died on 8 March 1944 at Toowoomba and was cremated with Anglican rites; his wife, two sons and three daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • B. Hinchcliffe (ed), They Meant Business (Toowoomba, Qld, 1984)
  • Queensland Country Life, 13 Nov 1958
  • Toowoomba Chronicle, 24 Jan 1924, 7 Oct 1943, 9 Mar 1944.

Citation details

Mark Cryle, 'Krimmer, William Charles (1867–1944)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/krimmer-william-charles-10764/text19085, published in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 2 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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