How Harrison Manufacturing Company has been oiling the wheels of industry for 75 years 

CEO Julie Harrison on problem solving, solution providing and the Harrison family 100-year legacy. 

In 1978 when Olivia Newton John first donned those black leather pants to wow John Travolta and make cinematic history, Harrison Manufacturing had already been ensuring grease was the word for nearly 30 years.

Newspaper article featuring A.S Harrison, dated 1926.

Founded in 1949 on the shoulders of my great father-in law, Arthur Stanley Harrison, Harrison Manufacturing is a fourth generation, 100% family owned and operated Australian business. We are also Australia’s largest independent developer, manufacturer, distributor, exporter, and expert authority on all things lubricant, including grease, oil, release agents, and speciality additives.

For 75 years, our products and know-how have been the lifeblood to some of Australia’s, and the world’s, most important industries and infrastructure.

Manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, shipping, mining, food production, as well as other industries such as copper smelting and metal refining: you name it, you’ll find Harrison Manufacturing there, a vital cog in critical industry and applications.

Harrison Manufacturing’s clients inhabit every corner of the global economy throughout the US, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australasia. And in a nod to our homegrown excellence, agility and market resilience, some of our clients have been with us for over three decades.

Australian-Made, always

It is home at our Sydney headquarters, a 2.6 hectare site located in the city’s northern suburbs, the magic happens. Here, our 70 strong workforce, some with decades of service, create, produce and facilitate the transportation of our products around Australia, and throughout the world. Harrison Manufacturing HQ is the centre of our R&D hub. This is our innovation brains trust. Here we nurture and harvest our unique industry know-how and market advantages in today’s increasingly complex environment.

a group of people sitting posing for the camera

This report, Australian Chamber of Commerce-Westpac Industrial Survey, released in December, illustrates some of the challenging headwinds Australian manufacturers are navigating. These include ongoing labour shortages, constricted material supplies, and increasing energy costs. Also, cheaper imports from overseas competitors are a perennial challenge. Sometimes unregulated, and seemingly unconcerned by the need to transition to clean energy, or defiant in the face of geo-political considerations such as trade sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine, these competitors can make it difficult for Australian manufacturing to compete on price. Instead, we trump on short delivery times, reliability, capability, and innovation. ‘Fluid thinking’ is our modus operandi, and we are continually striving to provide world-class logistical solutions and technical expertise to our customers, both Australian and internationally based.

Grease is the word

While never as sexy as the late and loved Olivia Newtown John in those aforementioned leather strides, the importance of grease, and other high-performance lubricants, cannot be over sung. In 2021-2022, Harrison Manufacturing made about half of all grease produced in Australia. Without our products utilised in hundreds of sectors across thousands of mechanical applications, motors and engines would seize. Hydraulics would break. Bearings would burn. Production would halt.

It was from this ability to identify a need that Harrison Manufacturing first emerged. We are built on the shoulders of sister company, A.S. Harrison, one of three other companies held today under The Harrison Group umbrella.

Coming up to the 100th birthday, A.S Harrison was started in 1923 by Arthur Stanley Harrison in a weary post World War I society. Much as the creeping decline of Australia’s manufacturing industry became painfully obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 1920s Australia the need for a sovereign manufacturing capability was apparent.

a person standing in front of a group of people posing for a photo
An early picture of Lawrence Harrison (left) who was one of the first employees of A.S Harrison.

Arthur Stanley recognised the opportunity. He started his manufacturing operation specialising in the distribution of raw materials for the rubber industry. It was a genius move. Rubber supplies were seriously depleted during the Great War, such was the need for tires for artillery and transport.

Raised in this spirit of problem solver/solution provider, in 1949 Arthur’s son, Ken, started Harrison Manufacturing Company to separate the manufacturing proficiencies.

Today, Harrison Manufacturing’s in-house capabilities, R&D and innovation start-up, Harrison SPARC, established in 2020, continue to lead the way providing innovative new lubrication solutions for our clients from initial idea to implementation.

Agile and Resilient

As we strive to do so, a recent poll reported by US based SEO trend detection platform Exploding Topics makes interesting reading. Of more than 200 C-suite decision-makers at global manufacturing companies 68% reported agility and resilience as top business priorities in the coming years.

With a 100-year pedigree, clients we’ve served for three decades and innovation among our most valued superpowers, Harrison Manufacturing continues to be nimble in the face of sustained, global changes.

We are well placed to continue guaranteeing our clients’ future paths are friction free.