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András Léderer (1918–2004)

by Attila Urmenyhazi

András Léderer, n.d.

András Léderer, n.d.

photo supplied by family

András Léderer (Andrew Lederer) was born and grew up in Poroszló, Central-East Hungary, where his father owned vast property, including an abattoir, and was involved in horse trading. Andrew had a conservative upbringing. With the outbreak of WWII he was drafted into the cavalry and saw action in Russia, at the battle of River Don’s great river bend area, where the Hungarian 2nd Army was holding the Southern flank of the Nazi German grand army prior to their fall in Stalingrad. Lederer was the sole survivor of his 230-strong unit.

The post-war Soviet occupation of Hungary saw the Lederer family lose all of its businesses. Following the collapse of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, Lederer, and his wife Agnes, defected to Austria and became refugees under the care of the United Nation's International Refugee Organisation. In 1957 they opted for a new life in Australia.

It was, at first, a hard life. The couple had no friends and had to get used to a new culture and language. Nevertheless, Lederer aimed for success. Falling back on his butcher’s trade, he was operating his own butcher shop within 10 months. At the beginning he worked on his own, cutting up carcasses of slaughtered animals to prepare special meat cuts, sausages, smoked ham and salami for sale to other butcher shops. The distinct flavour of his cured and smoked delicatessen products, such as hams and Hungarian salamis, and the wide use of traditional authentic recipes with paprika seasoning, became very popular. He enjoyed business success relatively early, but in a steady and measured way. His success was also due to his decision to use the latest high tech production facilities, to cater for the ethnic taste, and to promote his novelty items of tasty continental smallgoods among adventurous and connoisseur Australians. He employed skilled ethnics: Spaniards for his Spanish hams, Italians for his Italian range salamis and manufactured meat, and Germans, Austrians and Hungarians for his special frankfurts and continental sausages.

Lederer gradually began buying butcher shops in his area and the neighbouring suburbs. His brand name "Primo", meaning "quality", was launched in 1985.  At the time the company had 38 employees and a meat manufacturing facility in Homebush, Sydney, and was soon Australia’s largest meat and smallgoods manufacturing firm,  supplying (for decades) Coles Supermarkets chains with special meat cuts, delicatessan items, pork, bacon, sausages, salami, etc. One big coup his company made was the sale, for $100 million, of its land at Homebush Abattoirs for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  He bought his first luxury car, a black Mercedes Benz limousine. Always a humble man, he kept apologising for the extravagent purchase by saying it was important, as the head of a giant corporation, to arrive properly to meetings.

Lederer was knowledgable in all matters concerning horses and equine sport. Saturday afternoons were spent horse riding followed by socialising with close friends around a card table. For his outstanding help to Australian sport he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1985.

Lederer passed away on 21 April 2004. The grateful Hungarian-Australian ex-migrant was a diligent worker, an astute businessman and a wise entrepreneur who never overextended himself with high risk investment venture. Currently his legacy, the giant Australian meat processor, Primo Smallgoods, is in its 36th year of operation, has in excess of 2000 employees and is majority owned and run by Andrew Lederer’s nephew, Paul Lederer, who follows his uncle’s successful footsteps catering for an ever demanding market.

Original publication

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Attila Urmenyhazi, 'Léderer, András (1918–2004)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

András Léderer, n.d.

András Léderer, n.d.

photo supplied by family

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Lederer, Andrew

24 August, 1918
Poroszlo, Hungary


21 April, 2004 (aged 85)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.