A brief history

Armed with heritage and traditions passed down through generations and $3000, Kumari Spices ‘N’ Things was founded by Richard and Alice Fernandes in 1990. They began their spice trading from a tiny stall space in the famous Paddy’s Markets of New Farm, Brisbane.

Richard is of a marine engineering background. He left India at the age of 18 to explore the world, sailing on square riggers, clipper ships, schooners, and the typical Mediterranean “daddies” yachts. His passion to travel has seen him dock and live in over 30 countries and become savvy in many languages and dialects, as a result. (Many of our migrant customers would pop in and enjoy a conversation with Richard in their mother tongue.)

The year of 1970 finally brought Richard to Australia, where he chose to anchor his life more permanently. Passionate about the marine industry, Richard initially journeyed throughout Australia building boats and becoming involved in several marine activities from the Torres Straits to Port Headland. During this time, he even began his own boat building business on Breakfast Creek in Brisbane.

Circumstance & Opportunity

Several changes in his life, one of the greatest being diagnosed with a degenerative eyesight condition known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, resulted in Richard leaving the boat building business behind. Until its close in 1989, Richard pursued work in an organisation called IINA (“we are here” in Torres Strait Island language) which was devoted to creating opportunities and skills development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island individuals and communities. During this time, he met his future wife, Alice. She came to Australia in 1988 due to the Fiji coup, and has a family background in sugar cane farming and an educational background in accountancy. 

With the state of his eyesight worsening, Richard and Alice decided to enter into a spice business as an alternative way to ensure an income for their family should his eyesight fail completely. Together, they reinvented themselves to become experts in the spice trade. Trial and error, and many long hours of hard work resulted in a successful small retail and wholesale business that became a household name for many within the Brisbane ethnic communities, restaurants, caterers and more.

New name, new vision

In 2015, a decision was made to move in a new direction and reform as a manufacturing company that traded as Kumari Spice World. Having recently achieved a “4 star Eat Safe Brisbane Food Safety Rating” from the Brisbane City Council made trading with Kumari Spice World even easier and assured quality.

It has been a long journey from the Paddy’s Market stall of 30 years ago to become world class herb and spice manufacturers. The products are still manufactured onsite in Queensland – from the roasting to grinding, blending and mixing of herbs and spices to the packaging of products that you enjoy.

Now and into the future

It has been a long journey from the corridors of Paddy’s Market in New Farm to where we are today and after 29 years in the business, Richard decided to retire but did not want to close down Kumari. Fortunately, he was given the opportunity to pass the Kumari legacy on. As a result, the business operations moved from Virginia to Mudgeeraba on Queensland’s Gold Coast since December 2018.

Richard would like to thank each and everyone who have followed Kumari from the beginning and those who have joined us along the way. We hope that you will join us, as you always have, to show your support for the business by welcoming its new owners, Lisa and Vaughn Henry – a dynamic duo, with an eye on the future. They will give you professional and high-quality service and you will still be able to order all your favourite Kumari products. You will also get to enjoy a wider range of products as the Kumari line joins up with Lisa and Vaughn’s current product lines – Cobra Chilli and Mudgeeraba Spices.