Wesfarmers was borne out of demands by the rural workers’ union for better pay and less hours. A group of farmers responded by forming the Farmers and Settlers’ Association in 1912 to empower primary producers and fight a claim they believed could ruin many of them.
Driven by a need to support the rural community, it was shaped under the watchful eye of Walter Harper. He believed farmers also should co-operate in trading their produce but that should be separate from their political activities. On 27 June 1914 The Westralian Farmers Limited was registered under the Western Australian Companies Act and began trading from two small rooms at 13 Howard Street, Perth.
Founded with the intention of assisting farmers and growing and marketing their produce through co-operative action, it became known as ‘the Farmers’ Company’ or simply by its telegraphic address - Wesfarmers.