James R. Lawson Senior established himself as the leading auctioneer in Sydney during the 1870s when Sydney was a bustling market town, thronging with new immigrants full of pioneering opportunities in a new world city. Communications between Sydney and Melbourne were strengthened with the installation of the telephone link in 1884. In those days everything from groceries such as tea and salt, through to sailing ships were sold by public auction often on the wharfs. James R. Lawson was well known in his day as the leading auctioneer in Sydney and he also had a reputation as a great raconteur and the best dressed auctioneer in town.

Into the c20th century the family owned company of Lawsons sold many of the finest collections at Sydney’s gracious homes including on site auctions at Toft Monks and Notable collections sold include the Burdekin House sale in 1922, the Norman Sheuruck collection in 1963, the Sim Rubensohn collection at Kelvin Lodge in 1973 and the Lloyd Jones collection at Rosemont Woollahra in 1981.


In September 2001, the Menzies Group of Companies acquired the historic Sydney auction house. The company with over 140 years of unbroken auction history handling a wide range of property from domestic and general chattels through to the upper end of the market for Australian and International Art, Antique Furniture, Fine Wine, Jewellery, Decorative Arts and prestigious Home Contents Auctions and Single Vendor Collections.

Into the 21st century Lawsons goes from strength to strength with traditional sales handling ‘The Collection of Amanda Finley and Sir Peter and Lady Finley’ in Point Piper in April 2003, ‘The Estate of the late Dr. Geoffrey Davis’ at the Abbey, Annandale in 2009, ‘The Estate of the late, the Honourable Roderick Pitt Meagher, A.O. Q.C’ in Darling Point in 2011 and The Vizard Foundation Collection of Important Australian Silver and Gold in April 2012 achieving record prices for a colonial gold trophy cup and early goldfields jewellery and the Fairfax collection of Important Tribal art and Books in Nov 2019.

As leaders in the development and adaptation of new technology and creative use of the online sales platform, Lawsons continues to be entrusted to handle a large volume of estates and many single vendor collections in both live and timed formats, notably in recent years for Baz Luhrmann, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Roxy Jacenko, Kamahl, Alan Jones to name but a few.

The auction landscape is ever changing however With over 140 Years under our Belt, the pioneering spirit remains the same in our approach to both substance and style.




MARTIN FARRAH | Managing Director

Martin Farrah has a professional foundation in financial markets trading, having worked for institutional banks in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Driven by a lifelong passion for antique furniture, he transitioned to a career in the auction industry. Since 2002, Martin has served as the Managing Director for Lawsons and has been actively involved in auctioning for Menzies.


ADAM THWAITES | Chief Operating Officer & Head of Art

Adam Thwaites, an experienced professional in the Fine Art auction sector, has played a crucial role at Lawsons since 2013. With a diverse background and insights garnered from prior auction house roles, Adam stands out as a valuable asset to the industry. Bringing extensive expertise in Fine Art, operational skills, management, and sales, he is recognised for his unwavering commitment to providing excellent service, earning trust and respect in the field. Adam’s passion for art and dedication to excellence have positioned him as a driving force at Lawsons.


SIMON HILL | General Manager

Since joining Lawsons in 1999, Simon has become an indispensable asset, bringing not only substantial experience but also a deep understanding of the intricacies of the auction business. His commitment to delivering a superior standard of service to clients is unwavering. Simon’s expertise shines particularly in his role as our in-house Wine & Spirits Specialist, where his extensive knowledge adds a unique dimension to our offerings. Additionally, his passion extends to the realm of Furniture & Interiors, reflecting a well-rounded dedication to the diverse facets of the auction world.


SHAUNA FARREN-PRICE | Business Development Manager, Head of Onsite Sales & Single Vendor Collections

Having secured a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Fine Art Valuation in 1995 in the UK, Shauna has since forged a distinguished career path. Her journey includes roles as an appraiser for independent companies, contributions to the insurance industry in London, and valuable experience with major auction houses in the UK. Since becoming a part of Lawsons Auctioneers in 2001, Shauna has established herself as a specialist in home contents auctions and the curation of single vendor collections. Her keen expertise in these domains has not only contributed to the success of Lawsons but also underlines her proficiency in the nuanced aspects of auctioneering and collection management.



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