The GOANNA Brand
The GOANNA brand was started by an immigrant from London
named Joseph C. Marconi who came to Australia in 1886 with his
Marconi, who came to reside in Bulimba, Brisbane, was a
colourful, travelling entrepreneur and manufacturing chemist. While
travelling through outback Queensland, Marconi came across an
Aboriginal man rubbing goanna fat on a snakebite wound. This
prompted him to learn more about Australia's flora and fauna,
studying Aboriginal bush medicine. From Aborigines, Marconi learnt
of the penetrative power of goanna oil, which has been said to be
able to ooze through glass bottles. Aboriginies' also believed that
goanna fat had other healing properties.
In 1910, Marconi began manufacturing liniments and salves that
included natural bush ingredients including the oil of goannas.
Kids across Queensland were often on the look-out for goannas, the
fat of which was cut out and placed on sheets of corrugated iron in
the sun. Once melted, the oil was bottled and sent to Marconi
who paid seven shillings and sixpence per pint.
Marconi's GOANNA Salve was used during WWI by Australian
soldiers in the trenches. Due to its many uses the Salve was
effective for treating many types of aches and pains, foot sores or
even lubricating a gun. Marconi proudly declared that 'Any Goanna
that died between 1914 and 1918 died for its country.'
In 1917, Marconi exhibited his GOANNA products at the Brisbane
In 1918, the Queensland Government declared the goanna a
protected species, this resulted in Marconi having to source the
goanna fat from other states mainly northern NSW.
Marconi was offered £80,000 for his thriving business, the
equivalent today of about $15 million (AUD).
In 1920, Marconi opened a store to sell his 'GOANNA'
Marconi became a Shire Councillor for Bulimba in 1921.
Tragically, a year later on the 21st October 1922,
Marconi died after attempting to help an unknown man involved in an
altercation in the street. Marconi suffered a fractured skull after
being pushed and hitting his head on the pavement.
Children of Bulimba remembered Marconi in their schoolyard
'Old Marconi's dead,
Knocked on the head.
Goanna's are glad,
Children are sad.
Old Marconi's dead.'
From the time of his death in 1922, Marconi's children took over
the family business and continued to sell GOANNA products.
During WWII, GOANNA Salve and Liniment Oil were popular among
Australian soldiers in tropical areas, particularly New Guinea,
where it was used to treat tropical ulcers, tinea and muscular
aches and pains.
During the 1960s, conservationists lobbied for goannas to become
a protected species Australia-wide and their
slaughter prohibited. Not since this time, have any GOANNA
products contained any goanna oil.
In 1982, The Marconi family, unable to cope with the increasing
demand for their products, sold the GOANNA brand to Euan Murdoch,
an entrepreneur living in Brisbane. Murdoch went on to founder
HERRON Pharmaceuticals, known for its large array of Australian
products including paracetamol, ibuprofen and natural health care
GOANNA products were used by the skipper John Bertrand and his
crew aboard Australia II during the America's Cup challenge.
Over the years many sportsmen and women have used GOANNA
products to help ease their aches and pains including AFL and rugby
footballers, cricketers, soccer and hockey players, track and
field athletes, tennis players, martial artists, sailors, lawn
bowlers and many others.
In 2003, Murdoch decided to sell his company including his
brands GOANNA and HERRON to SIGMA Pharmaceuticals, another proudly
Australian company to continue its evolutionary journey.
In 2010, GOANNA celebrated its centenary year.
In 2011, Generic Health acquired the worldwide rights to the
GOANNA brand. Generic Health is excited to add this heritage brand
to their existing portfolio of quality prescription and
over-the-counter products and looks forward to continuing the
brand's rich tradition of excellence.