Guide to the Records of Antony Gibbs and Sons Ltd. (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Antony Gibbs and Sons Ltd
Records of Antony Gibbs and Sons Ltd (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1853 - 1930
Collection Number
54 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Private letters to partners 1884-1919.

Directors' special out-letter-books 1881-1929, including letters of H.C. Gibbs, Alban G.H. Gibbs (later Lord Aldenham) and F.A. Keating.

Out-letter-books 1884-1911 of Francis A. Keating, manager of the Australian branch.

Records and accounts 1897-1898 concerning relations between Gibbs, Bright & Co and New Zealand Exploration Co Ltd.

London office confidential information book 1883-1905 referring to British and overseas merchant firms.

Records 1884-1909 of Liverpool house, including reports on other banking and merchant firms.

Letters and other records 1883-1887 of the Melbourne house mainly concerning sheep farming and the wool trade.

Papers 1918-1920 of F.A. Keating, including letters from the managers of the Melbourne and Sydney houses.

Annual accounts 1910-1924 of the Australian branches.

Australasian private letter-books 1910-30 (12 vols).

Private letters 1883-1884 of Vicary Gibbs while serving with Australian branches, chiefly written to his brother Alban G.H. Gibbs.

Private out-letter-book 1911-1930 of London house concerning Australian branches.

Memoranda, minutes, agreements and other records 1903-1930 of the London office, mainly referring to minerals and other foreign industrial concerns.

Chartering ledgers 1913-1930.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the London Metropolitan Archives. For more information contact London Metropolitan Archives Enquiry service [].

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the London Metropolitan Archives and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the London Metropolitan Archives and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: Western Australasian Trade Section Minute Book. 22 April 1895- 12 October 1904, London Metropolitan Archives. MS 16512 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1981 (AJCP Reel: M1368-M1398). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

As the Guildhall Library did not allow selective filming, only those manuscripts relating entirely or substantially to Australia have been filmed.

Existence and Location of Originals

Guildhall Library, London, England. Collection reference: MSS. 11021-11140.

Currently held at the London Metropolitan Archives, London. For more information see: London Metropolitan Archives (

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-Aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Business records; Gibbs, Alban G.H., 1st Baron Aldenham; Gibbs, Antony and Sons Ltd; Gibbs, Bright & Co; Gibbs, H.C.; Gibbs, Vicary; Investment in Australia; Keating, Francis A.; London, England; Melbourne, Victoria; Mercantile firms; Minerals; New Zealand Exploration Co Ltd; Sydney, New South Wales ; Trade: imperial; Wool and woolgrowing: export; Wool merchants


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 186, pp.68-69.

Biographical / Historical

Antony Gibbs opened his London mercantile house in 1808. His brother George Gibbs was the founder of Gibbs, Bright & Co, a shipping and mercantile firm of Bristol, Liverpool and London. A branch of Gibbs, Bright & Co was established in Melbourne in 1856 by Charles Bright (1829-1915) and branches were later established at Brisbane, Dunedin, Sydney, Adelaide, Newcastle, Kalgoorlie, Fremantle, Perth, Cairns and Hobart. The firm was prominent in Australian shipping, importing, mining, stevedoring, wool, timber and pastoral investment. From 1881 onwards its parent company was Antony Gibbs & Sons.

Antony Gibbs (1756-1815) was apprenticed to an Exeter merchant and by 1780 had established his own exporting business at Exeter. From 1789 to 1805 he was a travelling agent in Spain and Portugal for English textile and other manufacturers and he also exported wool and other goods to England. The renewal of war forced him to leave Spain and in 1808, in partnership with his son George H. Gibbs, he established in London the firm of Antony Gibbs and Son. In 1813 when William Gibbs joined the partnership the firm became Antony Gibbs and Sons. The firm originally concentrated on trade with Spain, but after 1822 it developed extensive trading and manufacturing interests in South America, culminating in 1843-1875 in the great guano export trade.

George Gibbs (1753-1818), a brother of Antony Gibbs, was apprenticed to his cousin, Samuel Munckley, a Bristol merchant, and in 1789 he became a partner in the firm. Munckley died in 1801 and the firm became Gibbs, Richards and Gibbs. In 1805 it opened a branch in Liverpool which marketed West Indian produce. On the retirement of George Gibbs in 1818, Robert Bright became a partner in the Bristol firm, the name of the firm changing to Gibbs Sons and Bright. His brother Samuel Bright was made a partner in the Liverpool firm in 1824, its name being altered to Gibbs, Bright & Co. A son of Robert Bright, Charles Bright (1829-1915) was sent to Melbourne in 1853 to establish the firm of Bright Bros. & Co., steamship and insurance agents. Branches were later established at Brisbane (1862), Dunedin (1864) and Sydney (1875).

In 1881 Antony Gibbs and Sons Ltd. absorbed the Bristol, Liverpool and Australasian branches. The name of the Australasian branches became Gibbs, Bright & Co. The senior partner in the firm, Henry II. Gibbs, was created Baron Aldenham in 1896. Three of his sons spent periods in Australia: A.G.H. Gibbs (later Lord Aldenham) in 1881-1882, Vicary Gibbs in 1883-1884, and Henry L. Gibbs in 1893-1895 and 1903. Branches were established at Adelaide (1883), Newcastle (1885), Kalgoorlie (1908), Fremantle (1908), Perth (1922), Cairns (1946) and Hobart (1952). The firm was always involved in the shipping and pastoral industries and in representing insurance companies. Before World War I it handled a large importing business. In 1898 it became managing agents for the sulphide Corporation and it was later a major share-holder in several mining companies. It was a distributor for the products of Lysaght Bros. and after World War I became active in the timber and stevedoring industries.

Source: W. Maude. Antony Gibbs & Sons Ltd: merchants and bankers, 1808-1958. London, 1958.

Item Descriptions

Series MS 11038C. London head office. Confidential information book on merchant firms both inland and foreign, 1883 - 1905

1 item

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1368

London head office. Confidential information book on merchant firms both inland and foreign, 1883 - 1905 (File)

Alphabetical list of merchant firms detailing assorted information including their subsidiaries, associated firms, names of owners, head office locations, prosperity, popularity, as well as recommended business interactions and strategies.

Series MS 11040. Private letters to partners, 1884 - 1919

5 items

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1368- M1370

Vol. 1, 1884 - 1891 (File)

Subjects discussed include shares and debentures in railway projects, trade in copper and nitrates, assorted loans and valuations, and personal and family matters.

Vol. 2, 1891 - 1896 (File)

Subjects discussed include bank transfers, purchases of shares, bonds and debentures, and internal business matters of Antony Gibbs & Sons.

Vol. 3, 1896 - 1899 (File)

Subjects discussed include gold mining at Ejudina [Edjudina], and business of the Sulphide Corporation, (process patent and Cockle Creek works) and Exploration Co.

Vol. 4, 1899 - 1903 (File)

Correspondents include: F.R. Keating, Henry Gibbs, R. Bright, T.A. Allan and Alban Gibbs.

Subjects include: Australian business arbitrage, business of the Sulphite Corporation, stock prices, internal business matters, nitrate combination and centralisation, mining at Broken Hill, business of the New Zealand Exploration Company, and Gibbs Family matters.

Vol. 5, 1903 - 1919 (File)

Subjects discussed include: Purchases of bonds, shares and debentures; Sulphide Corporation business; sulphite and nitrate sales; Egyptian land scheme; Entre Rios Company meeting; East Argentine Railway and Argentine North Eastern Railway discussions; Estate of Henry Hucks, Baron Aldenham.

Series MS 11042. Directors' special out-letter books (private), 1881 - 1929

2 items

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1371- M1382

Vol. 1: Letters mostly from H.C. Gibbs to various business contacts on subjects including branches of the business, property, investments, tax and family, 1881 - 1929 (File)

Correspondents include: George Merivale; H.H. Gibbs; Vicary Gibbs; Frank A. Keating; F. Durant; Mr Woolcott; C. Murray Smith; Austin Chamberlain; W.D. Gibbs; W.M. Hughes; Sir Alfred Meeks; Leopold Amery; Lord Hunsden; Lord Forster; Mr Morgan; Bishop of St Albans; James Hayne; Lord Kintore (Algernon Hawkins Thomard); Lady Meeks.

Organisations include: Amby property; Messrs. Norton Rose and Norton; Richard Ellis and Son; Indemnity Commission; Empire Industries Association; A.M.P; Legislative Council.

Vol. 2: Letters mostly from members of the Gibbs family to business contacts concerning business, finances and tax, 1883 - 1922 (File)

Correspondents include: H.H. Gibbs; Vicary Gibbs; Charles Capital; Tyndall Bright; A.G.H. Gibbs; F.A. Keating; Reginald Bright; Edmund Kelly; Charles M. Jacobs; Charles E. Bright; J. Arthur Gibbs; Ernest Moon; John Mansergh; Mr Carruthers; P.R. Hannay; M. Cawse; J.E. Hayne; A. Meeks; George Merivale; R.C. Reed; C.H. Thew; Sir Brien Ibrican Cokayne (Lord Cullen); M.A.C. Gibbs; A.M.C. Gibbs.

Organisations include: Antony Gibbs & Sons; R. Goldsborough & Co.; Gibbs, Bright & Co.; Broken Hill Proprietry Co. Ltd.; Barings; Special Commissioners of Income Tax, Somerset House; Northern Territory Co.

Series MS 11044. Out-letter books (private) of Francis A. Keating, 1884 - 1911

2 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1373

Biographical / Historical

Successively Manager of the Australian branch at Melbourne and director and partner (1883-1929).

Vol. 1, 1884 - 1887 (File MS. 11044)

Vol. 2, 1899 - 1911 (File MS. 11044)

Series MS 11045. Out-letter books (general) of Francis A. Keating, 1905

4 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1374-M1376

Biographical / Historical

Successively manager of the Australian branch at Melbourne and director and partner (1883-1929).

Vol. 1, 1905 - 1907 (File MS. 11045)

Vol. 2, 1907 - 1909 (File MS. 11045)

Vol. 3, 1909 - 1910 (File MS. 11045)

Vol. 4, 1910 - 1911 (File MS. 11045)

Series MS 11050. Papers, correspondence and accounts, 1897 - 1898

Concerning relations of, and business done by, the company's Australian branch Gibbs, Bright & Co. of Melbourne with the New Zealand Exploration Co. Ltd. of Cornhill, London, and of Paris.

Transmitted to London head office on 5 September 1899.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1377

Series MS 11051. Letter book of Gibbs, Bright & Co. of Melbourne, 1897 - 1898

Relating to business done with the New Zealand Exploration Co. of LondonTransmitted to the London head office on 5th September 1899.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1377

Series MS 11069C. Liverpool house., 1884 - 1908

Private and confidential reports on the financial position of other banking and merchant firms, British and foreign

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1377

Series MS 11069D. Liverpool house. Papers relating to the closure in 1909 of the Liverpool house, 1908 - 1909

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1378

Series MS 11073. Bristol and Liverpool houses, 19 August 1853

Deed of covenant between George Gibbs and Robert Bright of Bristol, merchants, and Samuel and Tyndal Bright of Liverpool, merchants, and others on one part and the Liverpool and Australian Navigation Company formed by the aforesaid George Gibbs and Robert and Tyndall Bright and incorporated by Royal Charter dated 1852 October 4, constituting the Company and making ordinances for its government and function thereof.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1378

Series MS 11083. Memoranda, agreements, correspondence, accounts and other papers relating to the liquidation by Antony Gibbs and Sons & Co., of the old firm of Gibbs, Bright & Co., including Bright brothers of Australia, 1881 - 1903

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1378

Series MS 11086. Melbourne house., 1883 - 1887

Letters, telegrams and other papers, chiefly from Amby Downs Station (Southern Queensland) concerning sheep farming and the wool trade.

Branch of the Liverpool House.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1379

Series MS 11093. Letters from managers and partners of the Australian houses in Melbourne and Sydney, 1918 - 1920

Particularly Alfred E. Bright, Sir Alfred William Meeks, James E. Hayne, addressed to Francis Amboor Keating, successively manager, and director and partner at Melbourne (1883-1929) while at the London head office; also memoranda and letters from P. Deane of the Prime Minister's Department, Melbourne, to Keating regarding the post-War political and economic situation in the Commonwealth, especially in Queensland, during the election period 1920.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1379

Series MS 11108. Australian branches. Annual accounts, 1910 - 1924

15 items

(Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth). Style of branch: Gibbs, Bright and Co.


Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1380-M1384

Annual accounts, 1910 (File File 1)

Annual accounts, 1911 (File File 2)

Annual accounts, 1912 (File File 3)

Annual accounts, 1913 (File File 4)

Annual accounts, 1914 (File File 5)

Annual accounts, 1915 (File File 6)

Annual accounts, 1916 (File File 7)

Annual accounts, 1917 (File File 8)

Annual accounts, 1918 (File File 9)

Annual accounts, 1919 (File File 10)

Annual accounts, 1920 (File File 11)

Annual accounts, 1921 (File File 12)

Annual accounts, 1922 (File File 13)

Annual accounts, 1923 (File File 14)

Annual accounts, 1924 (File File 15)

Series MS 11110. Gibbs, Bright & Co. Australasian private letterbooks, 1910 - 1930

12 items

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1385-M1396

Australasian private letterbooks, May 1910 - October 1911 (File Vol. 1)

Australasian private letterbooks, October 1911 - January 1913 (File Vol. 2)

Australasian private letterbooks, February 1913 - April 1914 (File Vol. 3)

Australasian private letterbooks, April 1914 - July 1915 (File Vol. 4)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1915 - June 1917 (File Vol. 5)

Australasian private letterbooks, June 1917 - June 1919 (File Vol. 6)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1919 - July 1921 (File Vol. 7)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1921 - July 1923 (File Vol. 8)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1923 - June 1925 (File Vol. 9)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1925 - July 1927 (File Vol. 10)

Australasian private letterbooks, July 1927 - November 1928 (File Vol. 11)

Australasian private letterbooks, November 1928 - July 1930 (File Vol. 12)

Series MS 11110A. Private letters from Hon. Vicary Gibbs, partner and director of London house, while serving with the Australian houses, chiefly addressed to his brother, Hon. Alban G.H. Gibbs (later second Baron Aldenham), 1883 - 1884

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1397

Biographical / Historical

Hon. Vicary Gibbs was the third son of Henry Hucks Gibbs, first baron Aldenham.

Series MS 11111. London office. General private out-letter book, 1911 - 1930

concerning the Australian branches and their business

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1397

Series MS 11117. London office. Volume of copies of memoranda, trading agreements, minutes, reports and correspondence, 1903 - 1930

On foreign industrial concerns (chiefly minerals), their plants, manufacturing capacity and output

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1398

Series MS 11140B. London Office. Chartering ledgers, 1913 - 1930

2 items

Archival history

Originally filmed on AJCP Reel M1398

Chartering ledgers, 1913 - 1930 (File Vol. 1)

Chartering ledgers, 1913 - 1927 (File Vol. 2)