The company was started in 1945 just after the World War II when Ray Swan (an experienced toolmaker) set up his first factory in Queens Parade Melbourne as F.R Swan & Co Pty Ltd to manufacture metal labels and nameplates.
Due to shortages of materials at the time, Ray was very inventive in making much of the equipment he needed, installing anodising and etching plant and equipment, he was also a very talented engraver. In January 1958 he moved the factory to George Street Fitzroy and in 1966 moved yet again to 397 Hoddle Street in order to make room for his growing business.
In 1970 he received an offer for the company from Sir Kenneth Luke and subsequently sold the business to K.G.Luke Group Industries. Sir Kenneth saw the business as a compatible addition to his many manufacturing interests which included plating/refrigeration/stainless steel products/badges /medallions/silverware, and together with Ray, set up a completely new factory with new plant and equipment at 292 Johnston Street Abbotsford as Swan Nameplates a Division of K.G.Luke Australia Pty Ltd.
In 1975 the business was sold to Colin Johnston who was retiring as the Managing Director of Raleigh Nurseries (a well known manufacturer of baby products such as strollers/prams/cots etc.). Colin was looking for an established manufacturing enterprise, and the company was re-named Action Labels & Nameplates Pty. Ltd
When the business was purchased in 1975, Colin brought in Anne Whitehouse as General Manager who went on to become Managing Director and together with her daughter Kaye (also director of Action Labels & Nameplates Pty Ltd) they both became known as the face of Action with the Whitehouse family ultimately purchasing the company in 2008 and moving it to its present location at 82, Newlands Road Reservoir.
During this period from 1975 to 2008, the company saw many changes and developments from producing mainly metal nameplates to the addition of various other new manufacturing methods of making these. Along with anodised, etched and engraved nameplates in aluminium, brass and stainless steel: screen printing labels and signs, letterpress and digital labels were added to the manufacturing capabilities of the company giving more diverse options to the buyer.
In June 2020 the company was sold to James Malone. Anne and Kaye Whitehouse are staying on to help with the transition and Steve Bonanno (with 35 years label experience) is taking the helm as Action Labels & Nameplates new GM.
Interesting Fact: Oates Brushes used to work from 5 factory units here in Reservoir, several years ago they moved out from the city and Action Labels & Nameplates have taken over 2 of these factory units.
Our new digital print room was actually the old Oates Brushes tearoom! www.oates.com.au