Founded by Joshua Tovell Soundy, draper and clothier. Joshua arrived in Tasmania with his family from Dorchester England. In 1913 Joshua's son John moved to Hobart to manage his father's drapery store. When the business was incorporated in 1939 John took over as managing director, a position he held until his death. John had a distinguished career in Tasmania. He was appointed coroner at Queenstown in 1909, a justice of the peace in 1918 and was an alderman of the Hobart City Council in 1917-34 and 1938-50. Mayor of Hobart in 1924, 1929 and 1930-32, he was lord mayor in 1938-46. Soundy sat in the Tasmanian House of Assembly as Liberal member for Denison in 1925-46 and in the Legislative Council in 1946-52. In the Upper House he served as deputy president and chairman of committees. As an employer he introduced profit-sharing with his workers: J. T. Soundy Pty Ltd was one of the first Tasmanian firms to offer a superannuation scheme to its staff.