TOLL Holdings Ltd, the Australian transport company being chased by Japan Post for $6.5 billion, grew from a company started in Newcastle in 1888.
Back then, Toll was a coal haulage buisiness using horses and carts and founded by Newcastle businessman Albert Frederick Toll.
The company, originally known as A.F. Toll, grew steadily under Albert’s stewardship until his death in 1958 (although some sources say 1960), aged 95.
An early advertising sign for the company – covered by another building from 1937 onwards – was uncovered during demolition work in Watt Street, Newcastle, in November 2009, and featured in the Newcastle Herald.
Albert’s 6th child was the writer Dora Birtles (1903-1992) who wrote four novels, including The Overlanders, and who was also published in the Newcastle Sun.
When Albert died, he left the company to his children, who were already already in their 60s and 70s.
They sold A.F. Toll soon after inheriting to a company called National Minerals for £55,000.
In 1962, Toll was bought by a prominent mining company of the day, Peko Wallsned.
Under Peko Wallsend it grew to become a national carrier under the name Toll-Chadwick, with more than 500 employees and 300 vehicles Australia-wide.
In 1986, it was sold in a management buyout led by businessmen Paul Little and Peter Rowsthorn
The buyout team expanded the company dramatically, listing it on the Australian stock exchange in 1993.
The deal made both men rich and Little, especially, has maintained a high profile in Australian business and sporting circles.
Little also has aviation and real estate interests, and has been chairman of Essendon AFL club since July 2013.
Toll’s current chairman is Ray Horsburgh and its managing director is Brian Kruger.