DOUGLAS & Co. 120 years in Hot Water

1880 - to current day - 2008

120 year history of continuous flow hot water



George Douglas operating a hot water service manufactory,
between 7 & 17 Elizabeth St Melbourne.

The Douglas Manufactory later moves from Elizabeth St to a Collins St premises


Circa 1905



Whilst George Douglas continued to work within the business he infact sold his share in the business to an enterprising Bertie Jope and one William Rashleigh

Thus began the Rashleigh’s continuous line of interest in Douglas & Co

Bertie Jope and William Rashleigh were both members of the Sth Camberwell Methodist Church Fellowship, both contributed to the fine building which still remains in Toorak Rd, Sth Camberwell.

Through there friendship Bertie Jope and William Rashleigh joined together to take over             operation of the Douglas Manufactory.

George Douglas remained on with the new owners, volunteering his time for the next 5 years

George Douglas ceased work apparently, only after a maid was assaulted at his house   during a break-in

Douglas & Co moves to Bourke St premises

Douglas & Co produced chip heaters then added coal gas heaters to there showrooms

Staff at the time numbered around 20 in the manufactory whilst 10 were on the road.

In the early days some installations were achieved with the help of the cable cars transporting the workmen to the installation sites.  Later on, fitted out T Model Ford vans were the stock for the installers and servicemen

After many Douglas & Co exhibits at the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show the company was awarded the right to display the Royal Crest, The Queen’s “Coat of Arms” on the goods

Douglas & Co won a parliamentary Contract to produce and install gas street lights for Bourke St and Collins St.  Their foreman was assigned the task of lighting the street lights at the end of each days work.  What happened on a Sunday ???????

William Rashleigh later acquired the Douglas & Co interest’s of Bertie Jope.

After the Second World War, the second son of William snr, Rich Rashleigh, joined Douglas & Co, circa 1947.

Rich, William snr and staff worked together over a very busy period which a conversion to natural gas for suburban Melbourne, and many associated service contracts.

David Rashleigh, the second son of Rich Rashleigh, has too worked his life so far for Douglas & Co; David began his training in 1968.

William Rashleigh snr, retired from the business in 1970

Financial interest in Douglas & Co passed to daughter Nance, sons William jnr and        Richard.

Rich Rashleigh eventually bought out his siblings to run the company himself.

Douglas & Co., Little Bourke was sold in 1987

The company shifted to premises in Hawthorn for 3 years

Rich Rashleigh retired from the business at Christmas 1988

A move from Hawthorn in 1990 saw the company relocate to the current factory in       Rushdale St., Knoxfield.

After David’s marriage to Sue it wasn’t long before she too joined Douglas & Co to manage to office side of the business.  She managed, juggled this whilst raising their 3 children.

Mention must be made of the many long serving and loyal staff of Douglas & Co.
The longest serving staffer to date has been Les Hewlett, he worked a grand 50 years.  What stories he could tell.  Apart from family members, Robert ………. has chalked up at least 20 years so far.

Many other products and agencies have come and gone over the years but one thing is for sure – Douglas & Co is Hot Water



Products now include Solar Hot Water Services and many Bosch products along with   Douglas own BF instant hot water heater

There is a lot of history in Hot Water!