In Search of Frank Keating

"Prell's Building" on the corner of Queen St and Flinders Lance, owned and partly occupied by Gibbs, Bright and Co. Sears Studio, late 1880s, Gibbs, Bright and Co, 1980.0115 (BWP 3325)

“Prell’s Building” on the corner of Queen St and Flinders Lance, owned and partly occupied by Gibbs, Bright and Co. Sears Studio, late 1880s, Gibbs, Bright and Co, 1980.0115 (BWP 3325)

Economic Historian Bernard Attard recently discovered some key records in the Gibbs, Bright and Co collection concerning Frank Keating’s role in the pastoral rent battle between the Queensland Labour Government and business during the 1920s. Keating was a prominent businessman of that time -partner with the merchant firm Gibbs, Bright and Co and Chairman of the Australian Pastoral Company.

The discovery of a letter series of Keating correspondence between Keating and the Sydney, Melbourne Gibbs Bright & Co office c1910-1925 provided crucial insight into continued British influence on the Australian economy and connections to the mining industry. This was a major find and Attard highlights the value of our business archives and emphasised the importance of institutional collaboration for the success of his project– specifically citing Jane Beattie, Reading Room Officer as been the ‘real explorer’ here.

The image featured above is of one of the buildings built by property developer F.W Prell, Keating was married to one of his daughters. This grand building built in 1886 and located at 7-9 Queen Street, Melbourne is an example of the Chicagoesque architectural style and featured a distinctive crown cornice. Unfortunately this building has since been demolished and the land redeveloped.

Read more about Attard’s research in the latest edition of the UMA Bulletin

Collections used in this research include:

1980.0115 Gibbs Bright & Co

1975.0089 Sir Wilfred Russell Grimwade

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