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Argo Family

A Wedding in Aberdeen Shire

Marriage Certificate from Argo Family
This hand written Certificate used to record the wedding was taken from a photocopy of the original. It may have been given to the couple or it may have been kept by the Friends. It is a valuable description of the people and their way of life. There probably would have been a more formal document required by the Government.

James Glennie Argo migrated from Aberdeen, Scotland with his wife Jessie and their teenage family, Jessie Agnes 17, James Alexander 16, Christine 14, William 13 and Robert 11. They sailed on the SS Osterley leavingLondon on 17th March 1911 arriving in Brisbane on the 1st May 1911. They settled in Spring Hill where they ran a General Store at 300 Boundary Street, living above the store.

Family Photo C1915

Argo Family in C 1915
This photo was taken in about 1915 and shows William in uniform.

Back row is Jessie Agnes, James Alexander (obscured) and Christina (Tina). Front row is William (Bill), James Glennie, (Wife) Jessie, Robert (Bert)

William(Bill) took the family photo with him to the Great War. He folded it in two for carrying in his pocket which resulted in parting it into two leaves obscuring James Alexander in the middle.

Bon Accord Store

Argo Bon Accord Store
No. 30 Boundary St. Spring Hill looks like a prosperous store. According to the notice on one of the windows it was a Cash Store. The man is probably James Glennie with his sleves rolled up ready to go to work.

James Glennie Argo and family migrated from Aberdeen, Scotland via the SS Osterley leaving London on the 17th March 1911 and arriving in Brisbane on the 1st May 1911. They settled in to the two storied General Store with the family living on the top floor.

James Alexander

Argo James Alexander

Purchase of Sammell's store in Chermside

Argo Bought Sammell's Store Chermside
Sammell's Store on the corner of Hall St. and Gympie Rd., Chermside. This photo was taken before the area was named Chermside. The Sammell family are standing in the foreground.

On the 1st May 1918 Argo purchased the above store which was originally named the Downfall Creek Furniture Bazaar but by this time was a General Store and Post Office. The family occupied the rear and side of the building.

Christina (Tina) was appointed as Post Mistress, she was 21 years old and her annual salary was 49 pounds and 10 shillings. She also taught the violin. James Glennie served on the Kedron War Council and Repatriation Committee till its disbandment in 1920.

On the 1st December 1926 the firm was sold to R.E. Hall when James Glennie, wife Jessie and daughter Christina (Tina) moved to Sydney. Previously their eldest daughter, Jessie with her husband, David Paxton and son Glen had moved to Sydney.

James Alexander married Clara Hamilton, daughter of Thomas Hamilton in 1926 and settled in Kedron.

Robert married and settled in Kedron.

William (Bill) married Helen McCulloch in 1924 and they built their home in Hall St.

Christine never married. James Glennie passed away in about 1930 and his wife, Jessie lived until 1971 when she died aged 101 years.

Marriage of William & Helen

Argo William & Helen Marriage
Bill married Helen (Ella) McCulloch in 1924. Ella had migrated with her family from Glasgow, Scotland in 1909.

Bill Argo enlisted in the Australian Army in 1915. He was sent to Egypt with the 11th Reinforcements to the 15th Battalion. While training he was diagnosed with a serious medical problem and was sent home and hospitalised for some time. He was then discharged from the army as medically unfit.

He then worked at various jobs, including at Hamilton Body Works Chermside, as a motor mechanic in the City and for his brother in law David Paxton in the Valley. He then bought a car and ran it as a hire car.

House of William & Helen

Argo Bil & Ella House

The home of William & Helen was on the corner of Hall St. and Margaret now Kingsmill St.; the centre of Chermside.

This photo would have been taken in the late 1920s shows a very open background which is a stark contrast to 2019.

The open spaces have long gone, the streets are sealed, kerbed and guttered and there are cars parked everywhere.

The colour system of Black and White is interesting, the white is paint while the black might just be some coats of Linseed Oil!


Argo Yenda children playing school
The children had to make their own games

In 1928 Bill & Ella with their three children, Gavin, Stanley and Jessie temporally went to Yenda to work for the saw miller Mr. Della. Yenda is a very small settlement near Kilcoy it consisted of the sawmill, the millers house, a store and cottages for the mill staff.

Bill first worked hauling logs to the mill with his brother Robert (Bert) and later he worked in the mill.

Return to Chermside 1932

Argo Sports Depo

Returning to Chermside with a second daughter, Margaret, Bill saw the need of someone to do cycle repairs in the area as most working men rode bikes to work at that time. So he rented a small shop beside the Dawn Theatre owned by Mr. Tilly who also owned the Dawn.

He setup a small workshop with the retail shop. Now he could sell new cycles, spare parts, do repairs and sell other sporting goods. But because of the Great Depression the shop did not bring enough to keep the family so he had to do Relief work on two or three days each week. On those days Ella looked after the shop and the four children.

"Argo's Sports Depot and Cycle Works" was established.

More Expansion in 1935

With the business growing (in the Great Depression) the shop on the corner of Hall St. and Gympie Rd. was bought from Mr. G. Geffs in 1935. It was the same property that Bill's father bought and owned from 1918 to 1926.

Now they had a General Store and Post Office as well as a new residence into which the family moved after the side ane back verandas were enclosed.

Meanwhile the family was espanding with Kenneth born in 1932 but he only lived for three months. A third daughter, Ray Elizabeth was born in 1934 and a fourth son, James Alexander was born in 1934.

Even More Expansion

Argo New Shop
The new shop was beside the one on the left which Bill bought in 1935

The opportunity to move into manufacturing came and Bill took it. But he needed more space so on the land next door he had Mr. Sam Harris build a new retail store at a cost of about 210 pounds. Behind this a shed was built and into it were installed Brazing benches, a large generator and a sandblasting room.

The process of making a bicycle started with steel tubing being cut into measured lengths and brazed into lugs to form the frames. They were then sand and shot blasted and finally polished. Then came the painting with the prime coat done by hand then spray painted and dried in a large gas oven. They were then hand lined by Alex Hamilton, this is an extremely skilled job and requires long training. Finally name transfers were placed on the frame.

Wheels were spoked, tuned and had tyres and tubes fitted. And then the cycles were assembled.

The cycles were sent to the wharehouse in the city minus saddles and handlebars which made for easier ?????

The Retail Shop Inside

Argo Bill & Ella in the Retail Shop
Bill & Ella behind the counter and Ray sitting in chair. Ella was working full time in the shop.

The Bike Shop Inside

Argo Inside the Bike Shop
Bill and Junior Jackie Crawford and bikes ready for sale.

Floor Plan of Argo Buildings

Argo Floor Plan of Buildings

This shows just how compact the whole organisation was.

Everything was on the ground level.

The family lived and worked on the site.

The Retail Shop and Bike Shop were in the same large room.

Pedestrians had easy access to both sale points.

Motor transport had easy access on Gympie Rd. and Hall St.

Bill's Cut Down Plymouth Truck.

Argo Plymouth Truck
Originally a four door car the back had been modified into a deep back utility by Hugh Hamilton in the Hamilton Workshop in Chermside. Today the site is occupied by the Commonwealth Bank.

The Argo Children 1936

Argo Children 1936

The Argo Children 1936.
Standing: L to R: Jessie, Gavin, Stanley and Margaret.

Sitting: L to R: James and Ray.


By 1939 there were about eight employees working in the business. Some of them were Joe Kelly, George Auld, Alex Wyeth, Charlie Wyeth, Wally Woolgar, Wally Rose, Jackie Crawford, Les Edwards, Trevor Cowles, George Hovey, Reg Eyles and Norm Masding

Alex Hamilton came to do the Lining on the cycles. Cas Coamer came to assist Bill after WWII.

Joe Kelly was the first man, outside the family, to work for Bill. He was made foreman and gave great loyalty to bill right up to the closure of the business.

About 1950 the flood of imports into the country collapsed the wholesale side of the business. Argo bikes were still being made and sporting goods were required by the public.

In 1956, because of ill health it was decided to close the business and sell the property.

Mr. Jim Anderson bought the old corner building and rented it out to various businesses, The Retail Shop was sold to Mr. Nick Kentrotis who set up a dry cleaning business.

Gavin Argo

Argo, Gavin on an Argo bike