Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Morgan, Valentine (Val) (1876–1952)

by Ina Bertrand

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

Valentine (Val) Morgan (1876?-1952), publicist, was born probably in 1876 at Albert Park, Melbourne, third of five children of William Morgan an English-born journalist, and his wife Annie, née Browne (d.1880), from Sydney. As a boy Val sold the Record at Melbourne football matches. He later sold advertising space on billboards around sports grounds as well as in the Record and in programmes issued by local police, fire brigades and metropolitan councils. Morgan was an advertising agent, living at Albert Park, when he married Emmeline Jolly on 25 May 1895 in Melbourne, with the rites of the Christian Church, an undenominational assembly. As 'Val Morgan Advertising Contractor' he had begun operations in Melbourne in 1894. The business was a proprietary company by the 1920s. For several decades he held the contract for advertising all the social events of the Victoria Police, such as their football and athletics clubs, and their brass band.

In 1914 Morgan began to produce and distribute cinema advertising slides, and from 1921 moving picture films (produced at first by Australasian Films Pty Ltd) for advertising on cinema screens. In 1916 he purchased the business that issued Moulton's Street Directory. The publication became Morgan's Street Directory and ran to more than fifty issues up to the late 1970s. The company had a reputation for professionalism not common in the advertising industry at that time. In 1930 Industrial Printing & Publicity Pty Ltd (a company set up by various trade unions) took over the licence for Melbourne radio-station 3KZ, and a few months later leased the station to Morgan, who established two interrelated companies: 3KZ Broadcasting and 3KZ Advertising. After his three sons entered the business Val Morgan & Sons Pty Ltd was registered in 1933. As the company's activities prospered it grew to be the largest cinema advertising company in Victoria and spread to South Australia and Western Australia.

Retaining a lively interest in sports, Morgan was a member of three Melbourne racing clubs as well as South Melbourne Football Club. He lived at Brighton. After working in his office on the morning of 11 July 1952 he collapsed and died later that day in Bank Place, Melbourne. His wife, two of their three sons and a daughter survived him. He was buried with Catholic rites in St Kilda cemetery.

His eldest son William Valentine carried on as managing director of both the family's advertising company and 3KZ Advertising, while the youngest son Sydney was managing director of 3KZ Broadcasting. Val Morgan Advertising gradually absorbed its rivals, reducing the number of cinema advertising firms in Australia from thirteen to two, and becoming the largest such company in the country. In 1987, when the enterprise was under the direction of the founder's grandson Valentine Charles Morgan, the family sold its interest in the firm, which in 2005 continued to provide cinema advertisements in Australia and overseas.

Select Bibliography

  • Australasian Manufacturer, 27 Mar 1920, p 18, 4 June 1921
  • Everyone’s, 1 Oct 1924, p 3
  • Smith’s Weekly (Sydney), 16 Jan 1937
  • Film Weekly, 17 July 1952, p 6
  • Australasian Exhibitor, 17 July 1952, p 3
  • Australasian Cinema, 11-18 Nov 1983, p 20
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 1952, p 5
  • Argus (Melbourne), 12 July 1952, p 11
  • Age (Melbourne), 14 July 1952, p 2
  • Sunday Age (Melbourne), 25 June 1985, p 19.

Citation details

Ina Bertrand, 'Morgan, Valentine (Val) (1876–1952)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/morgan-valentine-val-13110/text23719, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 19 April 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

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