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McKinlay's Pty Ltd, Launceston department store, had its origins in McKay, Sampson & Martin, who commenced as drapers in Brisbane Street in 1886. In 1887 George Tennent McKinlay joined the firm, which then traded as McKay, Sampson & McKinlay. By 1900 branches were established at Devonport (1896–1983), Queenstown, Gormanston and Mathinna, and there was an agent in London. Later George Colville McKinlay, GT McKinlay's son, joined the firm, which in 1921 became McKinlay's Pty Ltd.

GC McKinlay's son, Gilbert, joined the business in 1928: he was managing director when McKinlays, last of Launceston's family owned department stores, closed in 1984 and the Brisbane Street building was sold to Charles Davis Ltd. Noted for quality and personal service, the firm's apt slogan was 'If it comes from McKinlays – it's good'.

Further reading: QVMAG guide to Gilbert McKinlay Collection (CHS 74); Launceston Week, 28 June 1979; Examiner, 6 January, 1 February, 23 March, 7 April 1984, 25 November 1995.

Barbara Valentine