About Us

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

It all began in 1947, two years following the second World War. A hobby soon became a business when Leo O’Gorman made some timber venetian blinds in the shed from the comfort of his very own home in St Kilda.

Now a thriving and diverse business, O’Gorman’s Of North Coburg Pty Ltd is managed by Craig O’Gorman – a third generation of the family. We service customers all over Melbourne with a diverse range of interior and exterior, classic and modern window furnishing solutions.

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1946 – The Beginning (as told by Craig O’Gorman)

The founder of O’Gorman’s of North Coburg was Leo O’Gorman. During the second World War, 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), Leo and his wife Stella, brought up their two children Dennis and Selma. It was also the birthplace of O’Gormans of North Coburg as we know it today.

My grandfather, Leo O’Gorman was a meticulous woodworker (cabinet maker, carpenter and handyman) who at that stage worked in a large shed with a dirt floor at the rear of the house. At 10 years of age, his son Dennis recalled his very first customer. The gentleman stood at the front door clutching a broken cedar timber venetian blind asking if “Mr O’Gorman could cut some slats to replace the broken ones”. Leo gladly repaired the blind and was then asked to make a complete new blind to match it. And so, it began!

By the end of that year Leo 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 at that time was 3 shillings per square foot;
Example 7 feet wide x 4 feet deep = 28 square feet, = 84 shillings.

By late 1948, the family moved away from the rented house in St Kilda to a brand-new home built by Leo in Pascoe Vale South. They even had a telephone!

How The Business Developed

The years went by with Leo and Dennis still working from home. In 1957, following a five-year apprenticeship in cabinetmaking, Dennis was offered partnership in the business on an agreed price of 800 pounds, which Leo allowed him to pay in instalments. Dennis was 21 years of age and still working from home, just the two father and son working six days a week.

By February 1959, Dennis married my mum, Valerie. The same year, they leased half a shop at the tram terminus, at 836 Sydney Road, North Coburg (still our current registered business address). It was only 9ft wide but very deep, much like working in a submarine as Dennis described.

In the late sixties, my grandfather Leo, began to spend less time working at Sydney Road, North Coburg and very soon stepped away from the business to spend many happy years with Stella. From then on, Dennis expanded into the manufacturing of curtains and accessories which developed into a very successful part of the business.

By 1979, following my 5-year apprenticeship in woodwork and carpentry I joined the sales team at O’Gorman’s, later followed by Donna, my eldest Sister. By this time, Dennis had managed to purchase our first store and the buildings adjoining. Hence, we expanded our operation.

72 years on, what once started as a hobby in making and repairing Cedar Venetian blinds 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.

The Future

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

O’Gorman’s treasures its culture of high quality, and good old fashioned service, which we are seeing less of these days. Nonetheless, we at O’Gorman’s endeavour to provide our customers with these values even as business culture inevitably changes.

Our goal is for the business to remain in the O’Gormans family and I am thrilled to witness strong interest by the fourth generation of our family. I take great pride in promoting and practicing my grandfather, Leo and my dad, Dennis’ values to this day and in the years ahead.

Craig O’Gorman – Managing Director

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