Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Edward Khull (1805–1884)

by A. R. Hall

This article was published:

Edward Khull (1805-1884), stockbroker, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, son of Edward Khull, printer. He was trained as a printer in Glasgow and for some time employed James Harrison. About 1830 Khull married Catherine Dennistoun, a distant relation of Alexander Dennistoun who was a wealthy merchant. Encouraged by an introduction to Dennistoun's clients in the Port Phillip District and a 'power of a draft for £1000' on Dennistoun Brothers of Glasgow, Khull sailed with his wife and four children in the John Gray for Melbourne. He arrived in August 1848, stayed for two months with George Russell at Golfhill and was introduced to management of a sheep run. Embarrassed by the cost of his family's upkeep in Melbourne and unable to find suitable work for his son, he bought 6200 sheep on Tallygaroopna from the attorney of the absent licensee, Sherbourne Sheppard, and occupied the run. When Sheppard returned from England in 1849 he forcibly ejected Khull and repossessed the property. On 6 April 1852 the case, Khull v. Sheppard, was heard in the Supreme Court and the jury returned a verdict for the defendant.

In January 1851 Khull had been appointed government printer. Soon after gold was discovered at Ballarat he resigned and, with James Patterson as partner, set up as gold-brokers. From early 1852 Khull supplied the Argus with weekly reports on the gold market and with six annual statistical supplements on gold production, prices, exchange rates and other relevant matters. As one of the leading firms in the trade, Khull & Patterson were engaged by the Bank of Australasia to buy gold on commission. In 1853 the banks decided to bypass the brokers and to buy gold on their own account. In the Argus Khull used his weekly column to condemn this 'illegitimate' banking business, but he protested in vain and within a few years the banks controlled most of the trading in gold.

Late in 1852 as E. Khull & Co. he began to began to deal in stocks and shares. The appearance of his first share price list in the Argus, October 1852, marks the beginning of a share market in Victoria. As the banks took over gold dealing he gave more of his attention to sharebroking and became one of the leading figures in the industry. His regularly published share price list contributed to the gradual development of a wider market in stocks and shares. Although not prominent in the negotiations leading to the formation of Melbourne's first Stock Exchange in April 1861 he was one of its foundation members. However, he had already become a victim of the aftermath of Victoria's first speculative market in mining shares. He was involved in insolvency proceedings from May 1860 to February 1861. He had helped to found the Stock and Share Journal on 26 May 1860 which ceased publication in April 1861. His active business career did not long survive these experiences and he went into retirement. Predeceased by his wife, he died aged 79 at his home in Collingwood on 5 May 1884. He was buried in St Kilda cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • P. L. Brown (ed), Clyde Company Papers, vols 4, 6 (Lond, 1959, 1968)
  • A. R. Hall, The Stock Exchange of Melbourne and the Victorian Economy 1852-1900 (Canberra, 1968)
  • Argus (Melbourne), 1851-61
  • Australasian, 10 May 1884.

Citation details

A. R. Hall, 'Khull, Edward (1805–1884)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 21 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland


5 May, 1884 (aged ~ 79)
Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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