Piddingtons have been a part of Armidale’s history since George William Piddington first began the business in 1899. After returning from Melbourne to Armidale with his young family, George set up a funeral parlor on the corner of present day Beardy & Jessie Streets.
Whilst Piddingtons was not the only funeral director in the growing country town of Armidale at the time, George's services and experience helped him stand out from others as he'd “acquired the art of Modern Undertaking in all its branches, and is prepared to conduct Funerals in town and country. With a First-class Hearse and Coaches of the very latest design, backed up by 15 years' experience in the Metrop.”
– The Armidale Express Advertisement, March 1904
in 1915, Piddingtons introduced their first motorised hearse into service, affectionately known as “The Little Giant.” George had
been noted to never quite trust this modern advancement and is believed to have always had his faithful horse drawn hearse at the ready. “The Little Giant” is believed to be the first motorised hearse to be used in northern New South Wales and thought to be only the second in the country.
Harley with sons Lloyd and Max, looked for a new space for their second move, deciding to locate themselves on the opposite corner of Beardy & Jessie Streets from where the business first began.
This new location and added space allowed them to construct a purpose-built funeral chapel, another first for northern New South Wales. From their new hub the Piddington's team were able to arrange and prepare for funeral services at various locations around the district, and in a first for the company, they were able to hold the complete service in their new funeral home and chapel premises.
With the threat of war growing closer to Australia, both Lloyd and his brother enlisted in the army. Leaving for Darwin to be deployed to Papua New Guinea in 1940, Harley, now the principal of the business had been taken ill, and Lloyd was recalled from service to take over the family business. Maxwell was deployed to Papua New Guinea and was to return home safely following his service. George, who had continued to assist within the business he started and enjoyed a long life as he continued to watch his family legacy grow, passed away in 1943.
Harley William Piddington passed away in 1950, with his two sons continuing to run the now third generation family business, working together to continue to provide first class service for Armidale and surrounding communities.
In 1957 Lloyd was elected to the Armidale City Council, and later serviced as Mayor from 1963 till 1968.
Lloyd retired from local government in 1972, a total of fifteen years' service.
In the following years, Max withdrew from the successful partnership with his brother, shortly before he passed away in 1976.
As Lloyd's children grew, his sons maintained their own professional interests whilst also following in the family tradition.
As time went on, by 1991 Lloyd with his two sons Allan John Piddington and Ronald James Piddington consolidated the future of the family company by forming the partnership,
L.S. Piddington & Sons.
In 1996, to coincide with his 50th wedding anniversary, Lloyd now in his mid-70s retired from the family business which now bore his name, although remaining involved within the business' operations for the next decade.
As the new millennium was approaching, the traditional funeral industry had evolved from the days of George and his horse-drawn hearse and coaches, and the family business was in for its biggest expansion to date as they neared their centenary.
In the September of 1997, “Farley” was purchased. Offering six acres of land, a historic homestead as well as an independent two-story dormitory and conference space.
Over the next seven months an extensive and detailed renovation was conducted at the business' new home.
The main catalyst for the move, a cremator was acquired. The installation of the cremator was carried out under the guidance of Allan and Ron to ensure that all required specifications were met.
From the original homestead, minor repairs to the brickwork were completed, with the major renovation of the project and fit out focused on the neighbouring old seminary, a new verandah was installed, with a garage filling the space between the new and original buildings.
A new mortuary was constructed on the first floor whist on the ground floor, the entrance to the chapel was sheltered by a large drive-through extension. The new funeral chapel offered seating for up to 120 mourners with a purpose made pulpit and organ added.
On the 19th of September, 1998 the facility was officially opened by the Honourable Ian Sinclair, Federal Member for New England, in the presence of hundreds of local officials, honoured guests, members of the community and family.
As a new decade and century began, Piddingtons continued to grow and cater to the changing needs of their clients. Beginning to print service sheets in-house, as well as other advertising, marketing and arrangement materials, as well as also relocating their monumental workshop to the new location.
Harnessing the power of modern computing, the businesses' funeral records were slowly computerised to assist in their historical preservation, longevity, and accessibility.
In 2008, the fifth generation of the family began working at Piddingtons fulltime, with Samuel James Piddington learning the family trade, Sam is the eldest son of then co-director Ronald James Piddington.
With another generation joining the business, Sam's youthful age and knowledge of modern technology saw Piddingtons next upgrade incorporate a fully outfitted audio-visual system and control room linked into the funeral chapel and condolence lounge areas.
2017 was set to become a year of great celebration and new endeavours for the business and its directors, as Allan and Ron were awarded their Master Funeral Director certification by the AFDA in March, with Allan also being elected as the National President of the Australian Funeral Directors Associate.
He served in this role from March of 2017
until March 2019.
At the funeral home, a laser etching machine was installed into the monumental workshop, allowing Piddingtons to not only install, but design and create their headstones in-house.
In later months a sandblasting machine was also purchased allowing all monumental work is completed on-site at Fairleigh Park.
The COVID-19 pandemic overnight, changed the way we worked.
Unable to access indoor areas, funerals were moved out into the surrounding gardens and covered areas at the funeral home, with cemetery services still being conducted, preliminary numbers for mourners and staff restricted to no more than ten.
All services were recorded for those family and friends that were unable to attend, a service that had been previously offered was now required multiple times a day.
In February of 2023, Allan was awarded
a Life Membership to the Australian Funeral Directors Association. With 50 years of industry experience and 28 years as a member of the AFDA, Allan has served in all executive positions and was the NSW/ACT Division President, he has been a NaQtional Councillor for 19 years and served as National President from 2017 – 2019.
Throughout 2023, significant work was also conducted to the grounds and gardens at Fairleigh Park.
This included, thanks to the extensive work of the staff, the creation of a new funeral service location within the grounds, the Piddington's Garden Chapel.
This space takes advantage of the spectacular grass trees to border it, the Garden Chapel can cater for intimate family services as well as larger funeral services with seating available for over 300 people.
In September of 2023, the business celebrated its 25th anniversary of relocating and refurbishing the facilities at Fairleigh Park.
Due to the ever-expanding businesses' needs, renovations were conducted to the original laundry, kitchen and staff dining room in the main office building. This allows for a more functional staff common area and offers families the use of a formal meeting or board room, including a video conference system that can be utilised during funeral arrangements as well as for industry conferences and for larger staff meetings.
Welcome to our timeline page, where we honor a legacy of care and compassion. With a rich history spanning over 120 years and 5 generations, the Piddington family has been a steadfast pillar of support in our community. Join us on this journey through time as we reflect on our enduring commitment to serving you with heartfelt care.