The G. James Group of Companies was begun by George James in 1917. George migrated from England in 1913 and decided to use his skills as a glazier to establish G. James Glass Merchants at West End (Brisbane). Initially the business was based on buying cases of glass and selling it cut-to-size to timber joiners in Queensland and New South Wales. Upon George’s death in 1958 his son-in-law Joseph (Joe) Saragossi, together with his wife Pearle and sister-in-law Gertie Baratin, founded a private company in 1959.
By the mid-1960s the glass business had expanded into wholesale and contracting operations, as well as the manufacture of aluminium joinery. With the limited availability of safety glass from within Australia and the constant reliance on local aluminium extruders, Joe recognised the need to become more autonomous. So began what would become a perpetual program of capital acquisitions and strategically located manufacturing facilities.
G James Safety Glass Pty. Ltd. was established in Sydney in 1977, followed by Brisbane in 1986 and Melbourne in 1989. Further companies were established throughout Queensland and to a lesser extent New South Wales over the next few years.
The 1990s was perhaps the most significant decade of growth in terms of infrastructure and expansion. It began in 1994 with a glass laminating factory in Johor, Malaysia, a sales office in Auckland, New Zealand and processing plants in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Since 2001 the network has increased to Perth, Port Macquarie, Newcastle and Taree.
Having worked on growing and guiding the success of the G James Group for over 46 years Joe was still maintaining a regular presence around his many plants and offices well into his eighties. Despite a brave battle, cancer eventually claimed his life in October 2005. In the years prior to his death Joe had undertaken significant capital projects to ensure his legacy was complete – all of which have now come to fruition.
In continuing the family dynasty, Lewis assumed the role of Chairman of Directors in 2006 while Lewis’s daughter Rachel became a Director. Today the G James Group is a privately owned family group of companies and operates from over 30 different sites with 2600 employees. It is involved in the manufacture, fabrication, processing and installation of a diverse range of products and is Australia’s leading integrated glass and aluminium manufacturer and contractor.