Our History

With a dynamic and evolving inventory of hundreds of high-quality, consumer-based products – and sales of millions of units per year – Arlec has a presence in almost every Australian home and workplace.

This impressive market penetration, however, has not been achieved overnight; from humble beginnings in a small laundry at the St George Hotel in Melbourne in the mid-1940s, Arlec has grown organically over subsequent decades to win the respect and loyalty of Australasia’s leading hardware and homeware retail communities, representing millions of consumers.

Initially Arlec operated under two corporate banners, namely A&R Electronic Equipment Company Pty Ltd, and A&R Transformers Pty Ltd. Both entities were registered in 1947 by founding principles Mr. D.K. Anderson, a qualified electrical engineer, and business partner Mr. A. Roudi. Most of the company’s early activities involved transformer manufacture, servicing the electrical needs of a growing postwar population. By 1950 the success of the expanding business led to its relocation to larger premises at 378 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, which served as a manufacturing and administrative headquarters for a decade.

Ongoing growth then resulted in the establishment of even larger facilities in Box Hill, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, in 1961 – a move that stimulated fresh assessment of market opportunities and the formation, in 1963, of a specialist electronics components and accessories company called Soanar Electronics Pty Ltd. This far-sighted manoeuvre, which involved significant product sourcing and manufacture in Asia, paved the way for Arlec’s strategic transition from a commercially focused business to a major wholesaling operation dealing with domestic DIY customer bases. Since the 1970s the company has evolved in stages to consolidate growth and maximize efficiency. Soanar Electronics was sold in the mid-1990s, and the company moved its corporate headquarters from Box Hill to Chirnside Park in the late 1990s before finding its present home in Blackburn.

Today, under the masthead of Arlec Australia Pty Ltd, the business supports an in-house staff of 130 professionals, complemented by a highly trained sales team servicing stores throughout Australia.