Hodges had its beginnings in 1856, when Melbourne was not yet two decades old.
The company first set up show in Chapel Street, Prahran. A skilled auctioneer with a strong customer service ethic, Robert concentrated on sub-division.
Some years later he was joined by his two sons, Robert Junior and William, who subsequently assumed control of the business.
Towards the end of the 19th century, during Melbourne’s land boom, Robert’s sons went their separate ways. William remained at Chapel Street which operated under the name, Prahran Hodges. Robert Junior moved out to what was then the outer suburb of Malvern where he set up Robert H Hodges Real Estate Agency in Station Street.
An innovator like his father, Robert was the first in the real estate industry to offer potential buyers the option of travelling to inspect properties in horse-drawn open carriages and later on in motor cars.
Robert then moved the business to Bay Street, Brighton, in the early 1900s, shortly after Federation. His idea, a great one for vendors and the company as it turned out, was to capitalise on the sale of land that had previously been used for holiday houses and market gardeners.
When Robert Junior died, the business was passed on to a faithful Di Leema, who continued to build on the traditions and values imbued into the agency by its founder.
Some 40 years later, in 1956, Di sold the business to Tom Chapman.
Chapman, now a legend in the industry, was another highly successful auctioneer, as well as being an innovator and a proven industry leader.
He installed two-way radios in his salesmen’s cars and was the first agent to introduce display advertising in the industry to better promote the sales of his clients’ properties.
Hodges Real Estate under Chapman set up branches of the company in Sandringham and Beaumaris. Then, after 30 years at the helm sold the business and retired.
Only a few years later, following the boom and subsequent bust of property prices in the late 1980s, the business was sold to the present owners.
The company expanded through acquisition to establish offices in Bentleigh, Mentone, and South Yarra. In 2006 the Hodges Group was franchised and now has offices in Prahran/South Yarra, St Kilda, Brighton, Bentleigh, Sandringham, Beaumaris, Mentone, Frankston, Chelsea, Mt Eliza and Geelong.
Notwithstanding the expansion, the present directors strongly believe that the original Hodges values of personal and caring service to its customers and innovation should manifest in any and every Hodges office.
The original Robert Hodges would be resting easy.