Founded in 1853 by John Hardy emigrated from England to Australia, opening his first shop in Sydney. The business quickly expanded, moving in 1855 to new premises on Hunter Street, Sydney, where it remained until 1936.
In 1894, Hardy Brothers opened a second shop at 116 Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland. The now iconic building was designed by Richard Gailey, and is today known as the Hardy Brothers Building. Another branch was opened in 1918 at Collins Street in Melbourne.