We love what we do. Nothing makes us happier than being able to help you with your decorating decisions, to complete the final touches to your home.

It all began in 1947. A hobby soon became a business when Leo O’Gorman made some timber venetian blinds in the shed of his home in St Kilda. Now a busy and diverse business, we are servicing people all over Melbourne with different types of interior and exterior, classic and modern window furnishing solutions. Today, O’Gorman’s is now managed by the third generation – Craig O’Gorman.

O'Gorman's Shopfront

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66 Years – The Beginning

The founder of O’Gorman’s of North Coburg was Leo O’Gorman. During World War II whilst working in the Peace Corp guarding supply and troop ships in the Port of Melbourne, Leo noticed some nice cedar logs being used to keep the cars and planes on board from moving. In conversations with US Navy sailors, it was discovered that the logs would go to waste. Opportunistically Leo said “I’d love a couple of those”, and later on an American truck dumped a truckload of cedar logs on his front lawn at his rented house at 58 Havelock Street, St Kilda. And from those logs in a shed in his backyard he handcrafted one of the first timber venetian blinds. In 1946 (One year after the second world war), my parents, Stella and Leo O’Gorman, brought up their two children, Selma and myself, Dennis and at this stage the business was established due to high popularity with Jewish settlers living in and around St Kilda.

O’Gorman’s started as a hobby making and repairing cedar Venetian blinds 66 years ago and has now grown into a thriving family business in manufacturing and supplying all types of blinds, curtains, swag and tails, pelmets, upholstery and all facets of window furnishings, both contemporary and traditional.

My father, a woodworker (cabinet maker, carpenter and handyman) was working in a large shed with a dirt floor at the rear of the house – I was 10 years old. I remember our first customer. He stood at our front door with a broken cedar timber venetian blind asking if “Mr O’Gorman could cut some slats to replace the broken ones”. Dad repaired the blind and was then asked to make a complete one to match it, and so it began.

By 1947, my father was making a living, building cedar timber venetian blinds at home. What was a hobby in woodwork became a registered business in timber blind making. The price of blinds around that time was 3 shillings per square foot;
Example 7 feet wide x 4 feet deep = 28 square feet, = 84 shillings.

By late 1948, we moved from the rented house in St Kilda to a new house in Pascoe Vale South, which was built by Leo, We even had a phone!

How The Business Developed

The years went by with dad still working from home. In 1957, after a five year apprenticeship in cabinetmaking, I started work as a partner in the business at a cost of 800 pounds, which my father allowed me to pay off. I was 21 years old and still working from home, just the two of us working six days a week.

By February 1960, I was married to Valerie with the first of our six children born, Donna. The same year 1960, we leased half a shop at the tram terminus, at address 836 Sydney Road, North Coburg (still our present address). It was only 9ft wide but very deep, much like working in a submarine.

In the late sixties, my father began to spend less and less time working at Sydney Road, North Coburg and very soon retired to spend many happy years with Stella. From then on, with an eye for opportunity, I expanded into the manufacture of making curtains and accessories which developed into a very satisfying decorative and strong part of the business.

By 1979, Craig, my only son had joined our sales team, later followed by Donna, our first daughter. By this time I had managed to purchase our first store and the buildings each side of us.

Once we had decided to manufacture drapes as well as blinds, our business rapidly expanded. The window furnishings industry today can cater for whatever your decorating dreams maybe. The future will be very exciting with the forthcoming developments of many new products.

The Future

Today O’Gorman’s moves towards the future as a leader in decorating, where the interior environment where we live is now gaining the emphasis it deserves.

O’Gorman’s treasures its culture of good old fashioned quality, and good old fashioned service. This is becoming rarer in this day and age, and we want to hang on to these values even as the business inevitably changes and modernises.

O’Gorman’s intends for the business to remain in the family with the business now handed down to Craig O’Gorman – 3 rd Generation. We have further seen strong interest in the family business from 4 th generation family members, and I take great pride in knowing my old fashioned values are still alive.

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