archival material

The Barry Banks Blakeney Advertising Proprietary Limited archive, acquired in early 2014, made a significant contribution to the project “Globalising the Magic System”. As an extensive collection of materials from an Australian advertising agency that operated successfully for more than three decades, it forms a rare, possibly unique, archive. 

The origins of the Barry Banks Blakeney Advertising agency can be traced back to Leyshon Publicity Services Proprietary Limited, a business that was established around 1937 by Lewis Leslie Leyshon. With the death of Leyshon in January 1946, the business became Best and Company Proprietary Limited, under the leadership of Ted Best. It operated at that time from South Yarra where, in the 1970s, it became Barry Banks Blakeney Advertising.

Keith L Barry and Rodney Blakeney had first met in Brisbane, where they worked for United Services Publicity (USP) Benson. Barry was Managing Director there and Blakeney a copywriter. Their paths diverged for a while, with Keith Barry continuing as MD of USP Benson in Brisbane, then moving down to run the Melbourne office. Rod Blakeney spent the second half of the 1960s in London, working at the USP parent company, S H Benson. He returned in 1970 via the US, where he spent two months at Needham Harper Steers in Chicago. Back in Australia, Blakeney filled positions as copy chief or creative director at USP Benson, Grey Advertising and Connell Longwill and Dean, before joining forces with Keith Barry as equal partners in Barry Banks Blakeney. 

Barry and Blakeney purchased the business from Ted Best in 1976. Richard (Dick) Banks, a director in Best & Co., elected to stay on with the new company and it was incorporated under the name Barry Banks Blakeney Advertising Proprietary Limited in August 1976. The agency belonged to the TAAN (Transworld Advertising Agency Network), which it joined in 1979. In the early 1980s, Barry Banks Blakeney employed 21 staff, and, for a short time in the mid-1980s, also operated a Sydney office. The agency moved from South Yarra to St Kilda Road, before purchasing its final property in Albert Park in 1994. The property was placed on the market for sale in 2014, when the retirement of the last of the directors, Rod Blakeney, led to the winding up of this small agency with a long and illustrious history in Australian advertising.

From late 2016 the Barry Banks Blakeney Archive will be located at RMIT University and the State Library of Victoria. Contact Harriet Edquist at and Dr. Kevin Molloy at for details.