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Argo Family

A Wedding in Aberdeen Shire, Scotland.

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 and 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.

James Alexander

Argo James Alexander

James Alexander who was unfortunately bent out of the family photo.

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, a shopkeeper, 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.

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.

Christine's Application for Postmistress

Christine Argo Post Mistress

Marriage of William (Bill) & Helen (Ella)

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.

Helen McCulloch

Argo Helen McCulloch

Ella's family had migrated from Scotland in 1910. Her father had remarried on the death of her mother Helen Alexander Tosh McCulloch (the same surname as her husband) and had four more children.

Back Row: Greta, Helen, Grandfather

Seated:Possibly Aunt Sarah: Step Grandmother: Stepmother.

Standing in front -Magerh; Elizabeth (Betty) James (Jim). Boy standing could be Samuel or Kenneth.

Ella Waitressing in the Valley at Websters

Argo Helen (Ella) Waitress

It was while working here she met Bill Argo. He was working with his brother-in-law (Dave Paxton) who owned a butcher's shop next door to Webster's.

While working at that job he lost his fingers on his left hand but he retained his thumb which was indespensible when he came to stringing tennis racquets.

Children of Bill and Ella

Argo Children of Bill & Ella

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.

Ella Returns to Chermside for the Birth of Margaret

Ella Argo Came to Chermside for the birth of Margaret

1929 The Children

Argo Margaret, Gavin, Jessie, Margaret and Stan

Left: Margaret

Right: Gavin at back

Front: Jessie, Margaret, Stan

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.

1932 Death of Kenneth Argo

Death of Kenneth Argo

The letter says that Kenneth was born at home and died in the Brisbane Hospital.

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 new Bicycle Store as well as a new residence into which the family moved after the side ane back verandas were enclosed.

Meanwhile the family was expanding 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 1935.

Even More Expansion C 1936.

Argo New Shop
The new shop was beside the one on the left which Bill bought in 1935. Bill suffered from Curviture of the Spine which accounts for his leaning stance. However he did not let it stand in the way of successfully operating a very prosperous business.

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 spray painting which was 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 stacking in the back of Bill's utility.

1936 Jim and Ray in Chair

Jim & Ray Argo in Chair

1936 Margaret, Ray and Jessie

Argo Margaret, Ray & Jessie

The New Shop 1

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 new shop consisted of one very large room with one side shown in the above photo stocked bicycle parts for people to use on their bicycle such as generators, lights, new saddles, spare parts of all sorts.

The New Shop 2

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

The other side of the shop was the actual Argo Bikes on display with lots of spare tyres on the walls. The bikes made for a wholesale firm in the city were not sold here.

Floor Plan of Argo Buildings

Argo Floor Plan of Buildings 2

This plan shows just how compact the whole organisation was with all on the ground floor, and the family living on site.

The new shop was in a very large room with bikes and tyres on one side and bike accessories on the other side.

Motor transport had easy parking on Gympie Rd. and Hall St. The age of crowded roads had not yet arrived.

Note: The lining room was where Alex Hamilton worked painting freehand the fine, usually white lines he painted on the bikes. The Argo bikes also had transfers on them, see the side bar.

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.

Letterhead About 1950

Argo Letterhead C1950

A handsome letterhead was important not only for the bookkeeping in the business but also as an advertieement for the business.

Show Schedule Possibly about 1950

Show Time at Chermside

The show was put on by the local Horticultural & Industrial Society so it would have been small, local
and only needed the one day use of the local school. These shows were common before World War 11.

It also tells us somethiing of Argo's products and acts as advertising for the firm. .

The Argo Children 1936

Argo Children in 1936

The Argo Children 1936.

Standing: L to R: Jessie, Gavin, Stanley and Margery.

Sitting: L to R: James and Ray.

White shirts and white dresses?


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 and Stan, Jessie and Margaret

Gavin and Stan - Jessie and Margaret

Back: Gavin and Stanley.

Front: Jessie and Margaret.

Ray and Jim on the Dinkey.

Ray and Jim on the Dinkey

The background is interesting: The lawn is growing well in the days before the petrol engine mowers.

Also in the top right corner is the old back yard "sentry box" before the days of "indoor toilets".

Jessie, Ray and Margaret

Argo Jessie, Ray and Margaret

Jessie, Ray and Margaret

Argo Jessie, Ray and Margaret

Argo Children Early 1940s

Argo Children 1940s

This photo was taken before Gavin joined the Army in 1943.

(Back) Gavin, Jessie, Margaret, Stanley

(Front) Jim and Ray

Ray and Jim all dressed up.

Ray and Jim

What is the building in the background? Where is it?

Argo Boys C 1943

Argo Boys 1943

Top: Gavin and James.
Below: Stanley.

All three boys served in the armed forces, Gavin and Stanley in the Army while James joined the Navy and served for eight years.

Argo Girls C 1943

Argo Girls Margaret, Gay & Jessie

Bill & Ella C1950

Bill & Ella Argo C1950

William (Bill) Argo died 29/5/1960
Helen (Ella) Argo died 30/9/1974

The Argo Children C1978

The Argo Children C1978

Wedding of Stan & Dulcie Argo 1948

Marriage of Stan & Dulcie Argo 1948

This was the wedding reception in the old School of Arts on the corner of Hall St., and Gympie Rd.