Austin founded the Austin Motor Company and was himself an automotive designer and builder. Born and educated in England, he moved to Australia to begin his engineering career before returning home. In Australia he followed several careers before meeting Frederick Wolseley, owner of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company, which he joined in 1888. In 1893 the Company moved their headquarters to Birmingham and he came with them. At the manufacturing premises, he was able to experiment with motor vehicles and in 1896 exhibited an experimental motor vehicle at Crystal Palace, while his third car design won a silver medal in the 1000 miles trial in 1900. In 1901 he persuaded Vickers Ltd to buy out Wolseley's motor vehicle business and became General Manager of the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company. He left in 1905 and set up his own firm.