Edwin Henry Brett became an apprentice sailmaker aged 10 in 1870 to William Grace in his place of birth, St Pete’s Port, Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
In 1880 after a number of years working aboard sailing ships, he decided on starting his own sail loft on Newcastle Harbour in NSW, Australia.
Within a few years his brother Walter joined him from Guernsey.
By 1900 the growing port of Sydney caught the interest of the brothers and so, after a coin toss, Edwin headed off to start a new loft on the Balmain Peninsula. His daughter Beatrice Alice, the first employee would mend the sails EHBrett would ferry to and from the loft in a boat.
This was the business home for EHBrett & sons for the next 98 years where the business steadily expanded up from the harbour to cover 6000sqm.
Four generations of the family oversaw nearly a century of development with over 70 staff employed on the Balmain site.
In the 1990's, a changing economy brought change on the business and saw the Penman family, descended from the founder's only daughter buy out the other 35 family shareholders.
This saw the business move first to Silverwater and later to Moorebank in Sydney's Southwest. In 2000 the company commenced operating in Melbourne.
Ross and Greg Penman continue as shareholders and directors of the company along with Robert Bull who joined them as shareholder and director in 2015
And so with beginning stretching back to the nineteenth century and the days of sailing ships, the journey continues for the creative and innovative business stared by Edwin Henry Brett.