The origins of our Firm go back to one Gilbert Elliot Thompson born 16 December 1890 in Port Augusta. After marrying in Perth in 1916 he moved to Kalgoorlie to become the manager of a picture theatre but returned to his mother in Adelaide shortly thereafter following the death of his father.
Although not qualified in accounting, Gilbert realised that a great many people, especially farmers and small business owners had very little to no clerical skills and so he devised a loose leaf record book called “The Income Tax Compiler”. It was a single entry cashbook cum ledger with a page each for sales of wheat, barley, oats, all types of livestock, wool, milk, eggs etc and an expense section for shearing, super, fodder, fuel and the like.
These books came with hard covers and contained enough pages to last for three years. Gilbert took a suitcase of the books to the West Coast, Yorke Peninsula then down to the South East, first by horse and trap and then by car. He sold each book for a guinea which entitled the buyer to have their first Tax Return done for free, then charged half a guinea each for the next two years’ Returns. These early books were later replaced by the “Compiler Junior” with purchasers encouraged to subscribe for 5 or 10 shares in what became the Income Tax Compiler Company Limited, a company listed in 1920 on the Stock Exchange of Adelaide. The two other directors were Abraham (“Abe”) Saide ex Federal Taxation Department and Israel (“Golly”) Golosky a businessmen via the State Taxation Department.
The Company had a few moves in its time, starting off at Grenfell Buildings, Grenfell Street, then to Flinders Street then Tattersalls Chambers at 14 Grenfell Street. On 9 April 1949 the Company bought a two-storey building at 12-14 Waymouth Street, Adelaide for 14,000 Pounds with a view to undertaking substantial renovations to accommodate a growing Practice. There were personnel changes too – Golosky left the Company in 1945 to be replaced by Walter (“Wally”) Mallen and Abe Saide retired due to ill health. Gilbert’s son, Bruce joined the Company after graduating in 1947 from what is now the University of South Australia and brought with him Alan Cooper whom he had met in the CMF RAAPC (Pay Corps).
In the early 1950s the Australian Society of Accountants informed the Company that their rules did not allow their members to have any connection with a limited company. As a result the Company sold the accounting practice to the partnership Thompson, Saide, Mallen and Partners and that name was first registered as a business name from 21 June 1955. Bruce Thompson was admitted as a junior partner of the Partnership on 22 August 1953.
A few years after Gilbert Thompson died in 1961, Mallen engineered a move to the 6th floor of a new building at 38 Currie Street (at the corner with Peel Street) and more new partners joined the practice, Chris Hurford (in 1966) Jack Messenger (in 1970) and Gerald O’Dea (in 1972).
The Firm split up in 1973, with Bruce Thompson and Alan Cooper formally commencing practice as Thompson & Cooper from leased premises at 24 Waymouth Street. They were joined a couple of years later by Jack Bailey and Roger Wasley both ex Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (now known as KPMG). On 30 June 1977, Alan Cooper retired from the Practice and Jack and Roger became Partners. When the lease was due for renewal the landlord wanted to double the original annual rent of £15 per square foot and so the new partners decided the time was right to move the Practice out to the suburbs and in January 1978 they bought the property at number 72 Kensington Road, Rose Park.
Bruce Thompson retired on 30 June 1979 to become Registrar of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and was replaced by Harry Moore, who had worked with Jack and Roger at Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. This left Jack, Roger and Harry to take the Practice forward into the twenty-first century. Around 2005 the suffix “Partners” was added to the name “Thompson & Cooper”.
The last round of ownership changes occurred in relatively quick succession with Harry handing over to Jason Wright in 2010, Roger to John Yeatman in 2013 and Jack to Sam Pontifex in 2015.