The company you keep: Company records at Queensland State Archives

Guest blogger: Niles Elvery - Manager Public Access, Queensland State Archives

In records created under the Companies Act 1863, researchers often find valuable information about the founding, success or failure of Queensland enterprises.

The Companies Act was passed one hundred years ago, on 1 September 1863. The Act provided for the registration of all large trading companies, associations or partnerships formed to carry on a business for ‘acquisition of gain’.

This legislation established Companies Offices – located at Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville – which were responsible for the registration of these companies.

Companies Offices created files which included registers of members and office holders, as well as memoranda of association and articles of association, summaries of share capital, liquidator’s accounts and declarations of insolvency.

Queensland State Archives holds records for the incorporation, regulation and winding-up of companies. The incorporation of a company occurred upon registration of the memorandum and articles of association signed by at least seven proposed members of the company. An example of a certificate of incorporation is for Pradella Investments in 14 October 1968. The business was for the manufacture of prefabricated homes.

Certificate of incorporation of proprietary of a company for Pradella Investments Pty Ltd, 14 October 1968. Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 5937

Certificate of incorporation of proprietary of a company for Pradella Investments Pty Ltd, 14 October 1968

An example of an item in a struck-off company file is the annual return for Iezzi Investments Pty Ltd dated 13 April 1970. This pages shows a Summary of Share Capital and Shares, at the date of the return. In the file you may also find lists of shareholders and other documents submitted by the company.

Annual Return of Iezzi Investments Pty Ltd, 13 April 1970. Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 6074

Annual Return of Iezzi Investments Pty Ltd, 13 April 1970

Mining Warden records are another source of company information specifically relating to mining in Queensland. This Summary of Capital and Shares lists the people holding shares in the Brilliant Gold Mining Company. Dated 12 May 1887, it was submitted to the Mining Warden at Charters Towers.

Summary of capital and shares of the Brilliant Gold Mining Company near Charters Towers and list of persons holding shares, 12 May 1887. Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 2930

Summary of capital and shares of the Brilliant Gold Mining Company near Charters Towers and list of persons holding shares, 12 May 1887

Many company records are listed in Queensland State Archives catalogue ArchivesSearch. If you want to research a specific company, start by searching in ArchivesSearch. If you cannot find the company, look in the Index to Companies 1863-1959.

More information about the company records held at Queensland State Archives is in this brief guide on company records.

Niles Elvery – Manager Public Access, Queensland State Archives