Since the beginning of the business the founders concentrated on the re- upholstery of lounge and dining furniture, manufacturing of upholstered furniture, custom manufacture of upholstered furniture, for domestic applications.
Helmut Karl Pultar born (3 January 1940) and Ursula Pultar formerly Hellmann (born October 1937) both migrated from Germany to Australia aboard the Castel Filiche, the ship sailed twice a year to Australia. In October 1959 Ursula arrived and in the following year, October 1960 Helmut arrived on the Melbourne shores. Helmut remembers being taken by train to Bongilla near Albury Wildonga, where he was placed in hostels for a couple of weeks before moving to Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. The couple met in Caringbah, whilst Ursula was a tenant of the Atkins at Port Hacking Road. Helmut lived the gypsy lifestyle with four mates including Otto Kuster (an Artist), Verner Nagalschmidt, and Heblerit, he lived at a hostel at the Bannister’s, the Kingsway Cronulla, Helmut reminisces the owner of which later married and moved to Lake Cathy. Helmut and Ursula married and had three children Karin, Heidi and Ron.
Helmut began his career as an Upholsterer in 1960 at Namco, where he worked for three years, in 1963 to 1969, Helmut was promoted to Forman with his new employer Newstyle Furniture. By 1969 Helmut with the help of his wife Ursula started Gala Upholstery from their garage at 87 Oak Road Kirrawee. They picked the business name together with the mindset that it should be short and memorable. The business grew to the extent that they opened a shop in Gymea. Ursula ran the retail shop selling Curtains and Wallpaper (1972 – 1978), while Helmut managed the upholstery side. After 8 years decided to close the retail shop and concentrate on upholstery.
Then they moved to 222 Taren Point Road Caringbah, under a lease arrangement from ‘Golding’s Wicker works’, who specialised in hand woven cane baskets and sold imported cane furniture. In 1985 Helmut and Ursula purchased the Factory & Golding’s Wicker works, and renamed it Gala Cane, the two businesses were successfully integrated, Gala Upholstery made cushions and delivered the completed furniture Sydney wide. As their children grew older Ron became an Upholsterer and Heidi worked in sales and administration at Gala. Their daughter Karin assisted with marketing along the way.
In the early days the factory was set amongst empty pockets of land with horses grazing to keep the grass at bay and there was a sand business on the other side. By early 1993 the neighboring property was sold to a developer, who propositioned Helmut and Ursula to purchase part of their land to build a driveway, but they did not want to sell.
Later that year Gala Upholstery was set alight, the family watched their livelihood burn before their eyes, it made the news and changed their lives forever. Overwhelmed and distraught they did not give up but had challenges to bring things back again. Their Insurer NRMA did not want to pay the claim as they argued that the security alarm was not turned on. Jim their former son inlaw to their eldest daughter Karin, was working with NRMA at the time, assisted by presenting their case which led to a 60% payout. The building was reconstructed, the ‘side walls’ were retained, new structurally beams were set, a second floor was replaced and the facade was updated. Whilst the reconstruction was taking place a friend Leo Neumer lent Helmut his factory, as he happened to be moving his business at the time. The Pultar’s are eternally grateful for his generosity, temporarily operating from 85 Cawarra Road Caringbah.
In 1999 their son Ron started to manage the business and later in 1985 his first wife Leanne managed of Gala Cane. In 2000 Helmut and Ursula Retire and their son Ron took over. He is the sole remaining family member at Gala.