James Allan, Brisbane Retail Pioneer

Telegraph, Thursday 27 January 1938, page 18 

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Thursday 27 January 19

Telegraph (Brisbane) 27 January 1938 (TROVE)

Mr. Allan was the son of a farmer and was born near Airdrie, Scotland,on December 20,, 1856. He thus was in his 82nd year. 

The firm of Allan and Stark, drapers, Stanley Street, South Brisbane, was started with a capital of £500. In the 1880’s Stanley, Street was a busy trading centre, and the firm formed a big connection with settlers in the Logan .and Albert and Coomera Valley.

Mr. Allan rendered good service as member for South Brisbane in the Queensland Parliament.

In 1885. the late Mr. Allan married Miss Elizabeth Stark, a sister of his partner. The golden wedding, which was celebrated in June, 1935, brought the principals congratulations from hundreds of friends not only in Australia but from overseas.

Mrs James Allan

Mrs Elizabeth Allan (State Library of Queensland)

Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 - 1954), Tuesday 1 March 19

Queensland Country Life, 1st March, 1910

James Allan was not only a successful retailer, but also a politician. As well as serving on the South Brisbane Municipal Council, he was the Member for the State Seat of South Brisbane and then the first member for Kurilpa after it was created in 1912. He was also active in the YMCA and wrote a book entitled  “A Holiday Ramble in New Zealand”.

James Allen MLA

State Library of Queensland

James and Elizabeth Allan commissioned the well known Brisbane architect Robin Dodds to built their home,  Wairuna, around 1896 and it was completed in 1900.  It has Queensland Heritage listing.

Wairuna blue sky cropped

Wairuna, 2016.

Wairuna was used during World War 2 as a hostel for service women as described in another post ion this blog, Lest We Forget – Highgate Hill.

allan stark 1952 bras

The Brisbane Telegraph, 30th September, 1952

The firm of Allan and Stark expanded over the years from its drapery store beginnings to become a full department store. After the 1893 flood, the company moved from South Brisbane to Queen Street. It pioneered the suburban department store in Australia with the opening of the Chermside shopping centre in 1957. The firm was taken over by Myers in 1959. Myers continued to trade from Allan and Stark’s heritage listed flagship store in Queen Street until the new Myer Centre was built on the other side of the Queen Street Mall.

Allan and Strak Queen street

Allan and Stark’s shop “At the smarter end of Queen Street”

3 thoughts on “James Allan, Brisbane Retail Pioneer

  1. Pingback: Lest We Forget – Highgate Hill | Highgate Hill and Its History

  2. Pingback: The Telephone Becomes Automatic | Highgate Hill and Its History

  3. Pingback: The Hazelwood Estate, Highgate Hill 1885 | Highgate Hill and Its History

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