The Queensland Kodak story began in August 1891 when Baker & Rouse bought the Lichtner and Co photographic business at No 9 Hayes Buildings Elizabeth St. A few months later, in October of that year, the business moved to 46 Queens Street.

The Baker & Rouse Brisbane branch moved frequently around Queen Street between 1891 and 1913 as their business kept expanding and changing focus.

By 1895 they had moved to 81 Queen St then moved further along the street to 90 and 92 Queen St in 1900. The business started importing and selling bicycles in 1896. 

In 1905, when Baker & Rouse became sole distributors for Kodak products in Australia, they moved again, to 78 Queen Street, to expand their operations. The company also sent salesmen out to establish wider distribution networks across the state.

In 1908 Baker & Rouse were acquired by Eastman Kodak to form Australian Kodak Limited, but the retail stores continued operating under the Baker & Rouse name. In 1909, with expanded income from the new Kodak business, the company undertook extensive alterations of 78 Queen Street.

The business operated under the 'Baker & Rouse' name until 1911, when Kodak Australasia Limited was founded.

In 1913 Kodak constructed a 6-storey building, known as Kodak House, almost opposite the GPO at 250-252 Queen Street Brisbane. It was open from January 1914.

Around this time the company also opened branch stores across Brisbane and large regional towns, including Townsville (c.1914), Toowoomba (1914), Fortitude Valley (c.1915-1918) and Rockhampton (c.1920).

In the mid-1920s, a developing and processing laboratory opened on Drake Street, West End, Brisbane, to process customer's orders. This was a time of expansion, redevelopment and modernisation, managed from Brisbane by state Branch Manager Mr F. L South.

Some historical highlights for Kodak in Queensland include the absorption of Harringtons Pty Ltd into Kodak Australasia's Queen Street premises during World War II (1939-1945), with many Harringtons staff moving across into management and accounting positions in Brisbane. Like many Kodak labs across the country, the Brisbane developing facility was also significantly involved in processing V-Mail for the Armed Forces. Large volumes of letters were copied to a reduced microfilm size for ease of transit. Mr R.J. Mitchell was branch manager during this time until 1947, followed by Mr W. (Bill) Brewster, and F.E. Manning.

From 1953, then Branch Manager R. A. Clelland sought new premises for a Brisbane wholesale headquarters and warehouse. On April 21st 1958 the modern, air-conditioned warehouse on St Paul's Terrace was opened. It consisted of ground floor stock and order assembly, first floor showrooms, second floor photo-finishing laboratory and a rooftop with lunchroom facilities for staff.

Queen Street remained a retail store and service centre into the 1970s. Former employee Louis Shane Allan worked in Brisbane for two years in the mid-1970s and said that it was a much more independent operation, with managers and employees given freedom to 'do their own thing' much more than in the Southern States (Allan, 2013).

There are many examples in historical press coverage of Queensland branch managers promoting various events and exhibitions to gain more business. These included the Kodak Tropical Garden in Townsville, film screenings in Rockhampton (Morning Bulletin, 23 Sep 1950, p7), and photographic exhibitions in store and at other venues such as Albert Hall, Brisbane, as a collaborative effort with the Queensland Camera Club (The Brisbane Courier, 23 Jul 1927, p8).

The Kodak Heritage Collection in Victoria contains a lot of material from Queensland branches; substantially more than from other states. It is unclear exactly why this is the case but clearly Queensland staff and management took pride in their work and communicated their efforts to Head Office. Also, it was common for Brisbane branch managers to be assigned from Melbourne or eventually sent to Melbourne for significant management roles at Coburg, for example F.E. Manning and R.J. Mitchell, so it is possible that branch records travelled with them.

The collection contains a significant number of black and white photograph albums, glass plate negatives, and business archive documents relating to Kodak Australasia Queensland branches, as well as correspondence and marketing material.


Australasian, 12 Feb 1898 p6.

Australian Star, 20 April 1905 p7 .

Brisbane Bundaberg Mail, 27 May 1904 p.1.

Brisbane Courier, 11 Aug 1896 p.5; 17 Oct 1896 p4; 9 June 1900 p.10; 10 July 1900 p.1;  26 October 1900 p.2; 5 January 1914 p.2; 10 May 1913 p.4; 1 July 1904 p.4.

Beale, N. 1983, The History of Kodak in Australia, Coburg.

'CAIRNS CAMERA CLUB.', Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954), 20 Sep 1941, p. 3. , viewed 26 Apr 2017,

'KODAK EXHIBITION.', The Brisbane Courier, 23 Jul 1927, p. 8. , viewed 16 Feb 2016,

'KODAK (Australasia) PTY., LTD.', The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 10 Dec 1927, p. 7. , viewed 06 Feb 2015,

Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd, 1972, 'Kodak in Queensland - A Brief History of Brisbane Branch'

'"KODAK LIMITED."', The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), 29 Apr 1905, p. 39. , viewed 25 Apr 2017,

Queensland Government Tourist Bureau, 1945, 'Short Tours Around Townsville', viewed 16 Feb 2015,

The Queenslander, 24 Oct 1891, p.810; 29 Apr 1905, p.39; 1 June 1901 p.1061; 1 Aug 1891, p.234; 24 Oct 1891 p.810;, 31 August 1895, p.392

'Southern Business Man Impressed.', Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954), 11 May 1946, p. 5. , viewed 06 Feb 2015,

'Screenings At Kodak Theatrette', Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954), 23 Sep 1950, p. 7. , viewed 16 Feb 2016,

Louis Shane Allan, Interview, 7 Nov 2013, Museums Victoria Collection, HT 35397

'THE KODAK.', Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), 24 Dec 1924, p. 4. , viewed 25 Apr 2017,

'THE KODAK BUILDINGS.', Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), 14 Sep 1929, p. 8. , viewed 25 Apr 2017,

'VICTORIAN INDUSTRIES.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 9 Sep 1926, p. 29. (AN HISTORIC SOUVENIR), viewed 25 Apr 2017,

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