Founded in 1934 by Clement Robertson Kennedy, the company began by importing a variety of photographic and optical lines from Germany and Italy.
Just after WW2, we became the sole Australian agents for the Rectaflex camera, which gave way in 1948 to the Exacta agency from Zeiss Jena.
Our close and enduring relationship with Pentax began in 1954 when we became the distributors for Asahi Pentax. In fact, we are the first and oldest distributors in the world for Pentax. Around the same time, we also became distributors for Elmo. LPL came soon after.
We have over fifty years of unbroken trading relationships with some of our Japanese trading partners and we are now entering into the third generation with many of our family company suppliers.
In 1969, we entered the surveying market when we were appointed to handle the Fuji agency (which later became Pentax). Our survey division handles equipment such as levels, theodolites, and electronic distance measuring equipment, and has steadily grown to achieve dominance in the survey market in Australia.
In 1975 our founder's son, Malcolm Kennedy, became Chairman and Managing Director.
The JOBO Company, the leading German manufacturer of darkroom equipment appointed C.R.Kennedy as distributor in 1979. Then in 1980, we became distributors for Hasselblad of Sweden, the world's most prestigious photographic line. In our first year of distribution we doubled the sales.
Our Medical Division was established in 1981 selling a complete range of Pentax Flexible Fibreoptic and Video Endoscopes.
Since 1984 we have earned a reputation as a major supplier of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) equipment to the Australian market.
In 1986, we established C.R.Kennedy (NZ) to take advantage of the rapidly expanding New Zealand consumer and industrial market. With the combined purchasing power of our Australian operation we have made substantial inroads into this market. New Zealand customers, both industrial and domestic, can now enjoy new levels of value and service.
In 1989, we were appointed sole Australian distributors for Bowens Studio Flash from the UK. In the first six months, we achieved the highest levels of turnover ever in Australia. We were named Bowens Distributor of the Year in 1994.
Sigma, the world's largest manufacturer of interchangeable lenses, appointed us as Australian distributors in 1991. This was due largely to the exceptional results we achieved with the Sigma brand in New Zealand.
In 1992 Pentax awarded us the "Distributor of the Year Award".
"The past year has been a rich one for C.R Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd. Outstanding results, both in sales turnover and market share, have been achieved through exceptional advertising and aggressive sales promotion. C.R. Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd manifest all the characteristics of a professional, successfully managed business. We are honoured to recognise C.R Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd for their outstanding achievement and exemplary display of the name Pentax."
In 1997 we were named "Special Distributor of The Year". A special plaque was presented to us on the occasion of The Pentax Family Party at Photokina in September 1998. The reasons for the selection were:
- Outstanding high market share for all product segments Pentax have produced for the past several years, including 1997.
- Continuous growth in turnover in spite of the high market share.
- Outstanding sales and marketing support to realise outstanding results.
In March 1999 at a special International Distributors Conference held in Singapore, we were honoured with the inaugural award of "Distributor Of The Year" by Asahi Optical Co. Ltd (Medical Division - makers of Pentax Endoscopes) . This award was made to C.R Kennedy & Company Pty. Ltd. in view of - Outstanding sales performance over 18 years, in which Pentax has risen to be dominant in most segments of the Australian and New Zealand Endoscopic Market. Best service facility, most economic service prices and fastest turn around in the world. C.R Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd's service facilities are second to none, and our long established practice of rebuilding components ensures our customers receive the most economic service in the world. Jon Long - National Divisional Sales Manager and Graham Hines - General Manager, accepted the award from Mr T. Hidaka - Director Asahi Optical Co Ltd, Tokyo.
In March 2000 at the AOC Medical Conference held in Hong Kong, we were once again honoured with the "Distributor of the year 1999/2000". Mr Kenji Ohashi, General Manager wrote to us as follows:- "In this opportunity, we would like to extend our thanks to you and all of your staff for the daily hard efforts in selling and promoting our products in your market. We believe that only your profrssional daily activity as well as the perfect teamwork could enable you to get the award in two consecutive years".
C.R. Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd was awarded "Distributor Of The Year" by Australia's largest Camera Store Group - Camera House Australia. On Saturday 30th October 1999, Malcolm Kennedy, on behalf of C.R. Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd received the "Distributor Of The Year" award from Camera House Australia. Awarded on the basis of - best overall service for the Australian Photographic Industry, most competitive prices, best after sales service, best representation, and best handling of telephone and account inquiries.
On Saturday 28 th October 2000 we were once again honoured to receive "Distributor Of The Year" award from Camera House Australia, making the only time in the awards history that one company has won this most prestigious award in two consecutive years.
At the award , ceremony, Malcolm Kennedy, called our long serving Director, Achim Friedrichs to the stage and paid tribute to his four decades of extraordinary service.
In 2001 the company underwent a huge expansion. In January we were appointed sole and exclusive distributors in Australia for Leica Geosystems and took over the entire operation and 20 staff from Leica Geosystems Australia Pty Ltd. One in every two dollars spent in surveying, engineering and construction instruments in Australia is spent with C.R. Kennedy.