Initially the company’s activities were solely photographic and optical, importing a variety of products from Germany and Italy. Shortly after the Second World War, C.R. Kennedy became the sole Australian agents for the Rectaflex camera which gave way in 1948 to the Exakta agency from Zeiss Jena.
In 1954, C.R. Kennedy became the distributor for Asahi Pentax - the beginning of a very close and longlasting relationship with Pentax Corporation. To this day, C.R. Kennedy is the world’s first and longestestablished Pentax distributor. In the same period, C.R. Kennedy also became the distributor for Elmo and LPL of Japan.
With many of our Japanese suppliers C.R. Kennedy has had more than sixty years of unbroken trading relationship. Once C.R. Kennedy enters into a solid agreement, it is committed to go through both good times and bad, and to build a lasting and enduring relationship.
In 1968, the company became the distributor of surveying instruments for the Fuji agency (later to become Pentax). The Survey Division has steadily grown to dominate the survey market in Australia. In 1975, following the death of our founder Clement Kennedy, his son Malcolm Kennedy became Chairman and Managing Director.
In 1979, C.R. Kennedy was appointed to distribute the leading German photographic lines of JOBO, whose excellent darkroom equipment was a significant addition to our photographic range.
In 1980, C.R. Kennedy became distributors for Hasselblad of Sweden, the world’s most prestigious photographic line. In the first year of distribution, we doubled the sales of the previous distributor. In 1986, C.R. Kennedy (NZ) Ltd was established to service the rapidly expanding New Zealand consumer and industrial markets. With the combined purchasing power of the Australian operation, substantial inroads have been made into the New Zealand market offering excellent value and service to amateur and professional photographers, and the surveying, medical and surveillance industries.
1989 saw C.R. Kennedy appointed as the sole Australian distributor for Bowens Studio Flash from the UK. In the first six months of distribution, we achieved the highest ever Australian turnover for Bowens.
In 1991, Sigma, the world’s largest manufacturer of interchangeable lenses, appointed C.R. Kennedy as their Australian distributor. This appointment followed our excellent sales record as Sigma’s New Zealand distributor - and the fact that, as an OEM buyer under C.R. Kennedy’s own Astron brand, C.R. Kennedy purchased far more than the previous Sigma distributor had under the Sigma brand itself.
In April 2005, C.R. Kennedy was appointed sole and exclusive distributor for iRiver MP3 players, manufactured in Korea. iRiver saw the great strengths of CRK being well represented in both the Australian & New Zealand photo & CE channels. iRiver was built into one of Australia’s top selling MP3 brands with an annual sale turnover reaching over 155,000 units.
In 2006, C.R. Kennedy took over the Australian and New Zealand distributorship of Ilford from Ilford’s own subsidiary company. By using C.R. Kennedy’s existing photographic and CE distribution channels, we achieved excellent business for the Ilford desktop paper range, while maintaining Ilford’s traditional mono business.
In November 2011, Ricoh announced C.R. Kennedy as its new Australian distributor of digital cameras, effective 1 February 2012. The new appointment brings both camera brands [RICOH & PENTAX] under the one distributor in Australia.
In 2013, together with our partner Chugai Photo Chemicals of Japan, we acquired the assets of ILFORD Switzerland, including all trade-marks and established ILFORD IMAGING EUROPE, located in Bergisch Gladbach Germany, and responsible for the world-wide manufacture and distribution of ILFORD INKJET PRODUCTS. www.ilford.com.
Our company has some 65 years of experience working with Japanese companies. We are the first and oldest Pentax (camera) distributor in the world, having been the distributor since 1954. Similarly, we have a 65 year continuous relationship with Elmo Company of Nagoya, and a 30 year relationship with Sigma Corporation.
The following is a list of Japanese companies for which we act as the Australian Distributor: Ricoh Imaging (Pentax), Sigma Corporation, Fujifilm, Kenko-Tokina Group, Elmo.
Two of our company directors have studied as a Kenkyusei at the International Christian University ICU in Tokyo. Several of our company directors have spent time working in Japan at the offices of our suppliers. Both Robert and Clement Kennedy have undertaken work experience at the Sigma Corporation factory, located in Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima prefecture, studying the production of camera lenses. Normally at least one of our company directors is visiting Japan on a quarterly basis for meetings with our partner companies.