FAMILY TRADITIONS: Gympie's Murray Views operation continues to lead Australia in tourism promotion and services, still led by family members, including Ethan Murray, Rod Murray and Hannah Morrison.
FAMILY TRADITIONS: Gympie's Murray Views operation continues to lead Australia in tourism promotion and services, still led by family members, including Ethan Murray, Rod Murray and Hannah Morrison. Troy Jegers

Gympie post card business a family tradition for 110 years

A FAMILY business that is still a family business after more than a century, Gympie's famous Murray Views post card operation has been pioneering regional Australian tourism and putting Gympie on the map since 1908.

For most of Gympie's existence, through two world wars and the depression, the postcard manufacturing operation that grew out of a small Mary St photographic studio has been a significant employer as well as a landmark.

Almost everyone who has ever visited a tourism oriented business anywhere in Australia will have seen postcards, souvenirs or promotional material produced by Gympie's own Murray Views studio.

Gympie MP Max Hodges (at lectern, left) officially opened Murray Views current Crescent Rd premises in 1973.
Gympie MP Max Hodges (at lectern, left) officially opened Murray Views current Crescent Rd premises in 1973. Contributed

As The Gympie Times recorded in March, 1998, the then 90-year-old business had grown into a big operation from its beginnings as a small idea.

From that studio the firm grew to become Australia's leading postcard and souvenir manufacturer.

EARLY DAYS: Construction of the photographic studio section of Murray Views' original Mary St headquarters in 1908
Construction of the photographic studio section of Murray Views' original Mary St headquarters in 1908. Contributed

And with the word "Gympie” on the back of every postcard the firm made, the firm also helped make Gympie famous.

The story began when photographer Fred Murray realised his dream of opening his own photographic studio, trading as Murray Studios.

In those early days, Fred concentrated on weddings and child portraits as well as processing photographs for amateur photographers.

The Great Depression hit in 1929 and Fred, determined to keep his company staff together during hard times, created a new department, Murray Views.

A factory was established to publish black and white and hand-coloured photos, calendars and Christmas cards.

Views of cities, towns and tourist resorts from Cairns to Grafton became the new product, with all photos taken by Fred and his staff.

Portraits became important for Murray Studios during the Second World War and Fred's nephews Sam and Alan Murray joined the firm on discharge from the army.

They took over the business when Fred died in 1946.

The tourist trade became ascendant again between then and 1955.

With photo developing services offered through agencies as far away as Kingaroy, Bundaberg, Noosa and Maryborough, the firm offered same day film developing.

In 1953, photographer Kev Collins took over the professional photography side, ultimately buying that part of the business 10 years later.

Graham Murray (Sam's son), who had joined the firm in 1954, left to go farming in 1963.

In 1964, the company took the plunge into colour photography.

On February 5, 1973, Murray Views moved to its newly constructed Crescent Rd premises, where it still is.

Allan's sons Fred and Robert Murray joined the company in 1966. After Allan Murray died in 1974, Graham Murray returned and became factory manager and Sam Murray retired. Rod Murray returned as factory manager in 1988, later becoming general manager.

His daughter, Hannah (now Hannah Morrison) joined the company as a trainee graphic designer in 2007, Graham Murray retired in 2008 and Rod's son Ethan joined the firm in 2012.

Now, in 2019, the company continues to practice a family tradition of innovation. New technology with lasers, digital print and sublimation processes are adopted to service an ever evolving range of products destined for souvenir and promotional sales across Australia, all from right here in Gympie.