About Us

WSB Distributors’ beginnings started on 9th June 1938, when young bank accountant, AJ ‘Johnny’ Walker, set up his own tax and land agency business in Clare known as, AJ Walker. When World War II broke out Johnny was called away from his business and he moved to Tennant Creek as an Army paymaster. A family tragedy in late 1943 however, led him to return to Clare and he re-opened the business, focusing on completing income tax returns, valuation, wills, and selling properties.

In 1948 the enterprising businessman started selling fuel and took on the Morris car dealership and what followed were boom times for the business,  with sales and servicing of motor vehicles expanding to include the entire British Motor Corporate fleet (Riley, Wolseley, and Jag). A garage for servicing vehicles was purchased on Old Main North Road in 1952, and only 18 months later was replaced with new premises on Main North Road – a location that continues to be the WSB headquarters today.

Johnny & Joyce Walker's son Brian joined the business at this time, and a three-way partnership was created between John, Joyce and Brian, trading as AJ Walker & Co. But Brian left the business in mid 1959 to pursue his passion for farming and was replaced by Brian Stanway who had married John and Joyce Walker’s daughter Raelene. Brian Stanway was from Millicent and had a background in banking and moved to Clare as a petrol rep for Golden Fleece where he met Raelene, who was working in accounts with her father at AJ Walker and Co.

When AJ Walker & Co took on its first agricultural machinery dealership in Massey Ferguson in 1959, Brian became the main salesperson.

Brian’s quiet, unassuming, manner and his integrity fitted well with the philosophy of AJ Walker & Co, and he became a director in the business in July 1960 - the beginning of what was to be a long-lasting and fruitful partnership.

Through the mid to late 1960s, the business name was to change several times, initially to Walker & Stanway in 1966, then soon after to Walker Stanway and Beckman, acknowledging the involvement of Blyth-based Massey Ferguson dealers John and Elva Beckman. The trading name WSB Distributors was introduced in 1968. Following the Beckman’s retirement in 1972, long-time WSB Distributors mechanic Jim Scott joined the partnership.

Through the 70s and 80s, WSB Distributors consolidated its position as a leading machinery and vehicle dealer by adding Kubota and Silvan franchises as well as Subaru, Renault, Peugeot, and later Toyota. With the rapid growth of the wine grape industry in the Clare Valley during this time, WSB Distributors also became a major supplier of viticulture equipment.

John and Joyce Walker retired from the business they founded on June 30, 1985, selling their share in the business to Brian and Raelene’s second son Robert, who today remains a director and WSB’s accountant and economist.

The early 90s were a tough and changing time for WSB Distributors, with Jim Scott retiring in 1992, and Brian Stanway retiring due to ill-health in early 1993. When Brian took ill, long-term employee and sales manager, Trevor Fairchild, stepped up to the role of company manager. Several years later Brian and Raelene’s youngest son Phil, came home to work in the family business. Phil had successfully completed an agricultural degree at The University of Adelaide, majoring in viticulture, and stepped into the role of sales manager.

It was about this time that WSB Distributors channelled its focus on agricultural and viticultural machinery sales, selling out of its car dealerships. It was a tough but good decision. WSB Distributors’ specialisation in agricultural and viticultural sales and service has resulted in a business that has survived and grown through massive industry changes, including a drastic rationalisation of farm machinery dealerships and machinery manufacturers.

In 2011 the company expanded to open a dealership in Jamestown which has grown to competently provide sales, parts and, servicing to a vast area and a wide cross section of industries. Such was the growth, in 2016 the company appointed service manager, Nigel Hillam, as the branch manager. By this time the success of the Jamestown branch had put the company in good stead, building on the foundations started by AJ Walker all those years ago. The support from customers in Jamestown and surrounding communities continues to grow and strengthen and this can only be attributed to the leadership of Nigel and the dedication of the staff.

In 2014 Debra Wehrmann joined the team as the administration manager and quickly set about reviewing procedures and streamlining best practices. It was at this time Trevor expressed the need for the company to start the succession plan for his retirement and consequently started handing over the majority of his responsibilities to Debra. On July 1, 2017 Debra was appointed business manager and together with Phil Stanway, leads the company to the next chapter of WSB Distributors.

As the saying goes, grass doesn't grow on a busy street and on September 1, 2017, WSB Distributors purchased R H Schulz Pty Ltd at Saddleworth, taking the number of employess to 35 and a fleet of 16 on farm servicing vehicles. The initial thought behind this decision was to provide a closer service outlet for the customers in that area but it wasn't long before the executives realised the potential for sales and parts growth as well and as such, the dealership is in its early stages of flourishing. The branch is managed by Peter Schulz, former owner of R H Schulz, who is backed by long term employee and now Service Manager, Matt Maynard, who both have a solid reputation for sales and service throughout the Saddleworth region.

The year is 2018 and WSB Distributors is 80 years strong. Johnny Walker would be very proud indeed, particularly the way the company has grown, boasting state-of-the art servicing equipment for agricultural and viticultural machinery as well as motorcycles and ATVs, with a comprehensive parts department to back it up. The company now employs 43 fulltime staff including 3 junior apprentices and 3 adult apprentices with a fleet of 16 on-farm service vehicles.

Today, WSB Distributors maintains a pro-active approach in an ever-changing market for agricultural products and has accrued a host of prestigious industry awards inculding AGCO Master Dealer,  Manitou dealer of the year and Bourgault dealer of the year. The culture within the company is a healthy one with staff and management supporting each other for their individual skill set and coming together as a formidable team.

 

 

NEWS

Sign up for our Email News.