The iconic Australian ointment has found its place in the make-up kits of the rich and famous, the backpacks of Aussie adventurers all over the world and the medicine cupboards, handbags and glove boxes across Australia serving as the ultimate multipurpose everyday product.
Famed for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties with a wide variety of uses including to treat wounds, nappy rash, insect bites, mild burns, and sports injuries such as chafing or grazes and dry lips, it’s no surprise this essential item has been helping families for over 110 years.
But where did this multitasking skin saver come from? The story of Lucas Papaw Remedies begins in Scotland in 1843 with the birth of Thomas Pennington Lucas who developed a love for natural history, botany and medicine from a young age. His interests in these areas led to a lifetime passion for botany and an esteemed career as a medical practitioner.
Originally practicing medicine in London, Dr. Lucas came to Australia in 1876 seeking a warmer climate. He initially moved to Melbourne where he practiced for 10 years before moving to Brisbane in Queensland in 1886.
After many years of research into botanical and medicinal experiments, looking for a natural remedy for disease, Dr. Lucas discovered the benefits of the papaw plant and its fruit which led him to describe it as “the world’s greatest healing agent”, and he devoted his research to its application to modern medicine and its benefits to humanity. The passion Dr Lucas had for medicine and caring for people led him to open a special Hospital in Brisbane called “Vera” where patients were treated solely by his papaw remedies. As people saw the benefits of the easy-to-use, convenient, and multi-purpose ointment, made from highly potent fermented real (fresh) papaw fruit sourced from farms in Queensland, its use spread around Australia.
Dr Lucas died and left everything in his will to his wife Susan Lucas. Now several generations on, the all-important papaw remedies have been passed on to the descendants of Dr Lucas. Today, the Australian family-owned business continues to manufacture Lucas’ Papaw Ointment to the same formula, in line with modern standards, that Dr. Lucas used to prepare the ointment he worked so hard to create in his lifetime.
While a small number of the original remedies created by Dr Lucas remained on sale up until the early fifties, Lucas Papaw Ointment is the only one that has survived to this day. At this time the ointment was minced, mixed and tinned by hand. The raw ingredients were combined in wood fired coppers. The red tins were packaged in lots of 6 and hand rolled in brown paper wrapping with a yellow label stuck on the outside.
Around 1980, the business stopped putting the ointment into the containers by hand. This original method was replaced by a filling machine designed and constructed by Kevin Talbot in conjunction with a hydraulic company. It was also at this time that plastic jars replaced the original tins. Years later (1989) the facility in Acacia Ridge was built by hand – brick by brick by the family. 1992 In February 1992, Lucas’ Papaw Remedies received the first license from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This was followed up by the approval to sell the ointment in New Zealand in September 1992. Years later (1999) Lucas’ Papaw Remedies released their iconic red tube – which became loved by celebrities, Aussie families and the world alike.
Originally sold door-to-door as a healing ointment, stock began to be sold to pharmacies Australia-wide, and then just 15 years ago, the fate of this humble Australian product changed forever. In 2006, a make-up artist on McLeod’s Daughters claimed the product was perfect for keeping eyebrows in place and gloss on lips, and Lucas Papaw Remedies became hugely popular overnight. The humble family-run business had to think quickly to keep up with demand from their newfound cult following.
Passionate about causes related to skin, sports, families and health, today, the business is built on values that bring awareness of the product’s wound care and soothing benefits by supporting charities, such as, Dementia Australia, Mission Australia, Eczema Association of Australia, Danni Foundation, Victor Chan Cardiac Research, Nursing and Midwifery College, Triathlon Australia, and most recently Griffith University COVID research.
Although demand for the ointment has grown dramatically, the team that makes Lucas’ Papaw is still relatively small, with just 20 people producing the product. 70% of the staff have been with the company for over eight years with some coming up to their 15-year mark.
Hundreds of thousands of users around the world consider Lucas’ Papaw Remedies as their handy, go-to product for soothing and relieving skin issues. The all-Australian family-owned company is loved by people across the world, and available from a range of chemists and retailers.
About Lucas’ Papaw Remedies
Over 110 Years of History and still proud to be Family Owned. Lucas’ Papaw Remedies, the company that produces Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is named after the formulator of the ointment Dr T.P. Lucas. Dr Lucas, after years of research as a surgeon and botanist, stated in his 1906 handbook that he believed the papaw was the finest natural medicine yet discovered. He used the ointment, which he developed for his medical practice in Brisbane, to treat numerous types of illness and disease. People today can derive the same benefits that thousands derived during the lifetime of T.P. Lucas. The company still operates in Brisbane where the ointment continues to be produced. You might be amazed to know that the formula for the famous ointment is still the same proven remedy today as when it was created over 110 years ago.