KEEN Edgar

Name Edgar KEEN
Country Of Origin Australia
Born 1872
Died 1952
Birth/ Baptism Born 1 January 1872, Kingston
Parents Joseph and Ann Keen (formerly Burrows)
Apprenticeship D. Kitchingham, Victoria (three years)
Skills Watchmaker, Jeweller
Work Locations Hobart, Zeehan, Gormanston, Devonport
Street Address
110, 118, 76 Liverpool Street, Hobart
Main Street, Zeehan
Peters Street, Gormanston
Rooke Street, West Devonport
Stewart Street, Devonport
Marriage/Spouse 22 June 1896, St Clement’s Church, Kingston, to Mary Hempseed
Other Edgar was one of sixteen children (twin to Clement), born to Joseph and Ann Keen. The family settled in Kingston in the 1850s. Joseph’s invention and manufacture of Keen’s curry powder in the late 1850s to early 1860s made Keen a well-known household name. Exhibited in Melbourne at the Intercolonial Exhibition, the Tasmanian product received a medal as an award. Joseph advertised Keen’s Tasmanian Curry Powder in Tasmania from the late 1860s.

Approx. 1891-1894: Edgar advertised repairs of clocks, watches, and jewellery, E Keen & Co, 118 Liverpool Street, Hobart.
November 1894: Moved to 76 Liverpool Street, Hobart.

Leo H Bibby, Watchmakers and Jewellers, 90 Liverpool Street, Hobart, advertised Edgar Keen as manager and opened a temporary shop at Zeehan with Edgar in charge.

February 1896: The Zeehan business closed, and an auction took place to sell the stock.
1896: Watchmaking and tailoring businesses at Gormanston.
November 1903: Departed Gormanston.

By April 1904: Watchmaking and jewellery business, Rooke Street, Devonport.
August 1904: Relocated the business from Rooke Street to larger premises in Stewart Street, known as Illingworth’s.

North West Post 18 November 1913:
‘Mr E Keen of Devonport, manufacturer of the Keeno curry powder, is making a big effort to bring the merits of his production before the public. At the Devonport Show last week, he distributed over 2000 free samples of the powder, and has been the recipient of a number of congratulatory responses from those who have tested it. It is claimed that the new powder possesses digestive and appetising qualities superior to those of any similar preparation in the market.’

10 August 1916: Enlisted in World War I.

North West Advocate & Emu Bay Times 19 August 1916:
Mrs Edgar Keen notifies the public generally that the business of Mr Keen is still being carried on whilst her husband is on Active Service. All repairs executed and the same attention paid as hitherto. Prices as usual – the lowest. Good stocks and variety in all lines to choose from. STEWART ST., DEVONPORT.

North West Advocate & Emu Bay Times 18 January 1917:
‘A MESSAGE FROM THE TROOPS. During his voyage home on the troopship, Private Edgar Keen deposited a message in a bottle and threw it overboard. The missive stated how a meal had been enjoyed by all with the aid of Keeno curry; if the finder would send the letter to the factory, care of Mrs E Keen, Devonport, Tasmania, a pound of Keeno curry would be forwarded. Private Keen’s letter has been received by his wife, the bottle having been picked up on the Kingston Beach, South Australia, by a Miss Good, of the Snuggery. It is a coincidence that Private Keen was born at Kingston, Tasmania, and one of his sister’s named her house The Snuggery.’

End October 1917: Edgar arrived home with about 50 wounded and sick soldiers.
22 November 1917: Discharged from service due to age and ill health.

May 1921: Watchmaker and jeweller Theodore Sara advertised as E Keen’s successor, Devonport.

By May 1924: Edgar advertised his return to business at Stewart Street, Devonport.

April 1928: Elected a councillor, Devonport Council. After his election, he added a rhyme to his advertising literature,
‘Councillor E Keen will always be seen.’
Edgar was also a land and estate agent at this time.
October 1928: Resigned as Councillor, Devonport Council.

October 1928: Edgar H Churcher purchased the Stewart Street business. The changeover took place in November 1928. Edgar (Keen) planned to focus on his land and estate business.

SEE KEEN Robert Edgar McDonald (son)

Death 9 May 1952, at his residence, Payne Avenue, Devonport.

12 May 1952, cremation, Carr Villa Cemetery, Kings Meadows, Launceston.

Stephen Keen to Hands of Time, February 2023.
Tasmania Post Office Directory (Wise) 1890-1894, 1899, 1901.
TAHO: RGD33/1/50 no815 & 816 Births 1872; RGD37/1/55 no445 Marriage 1896; AD960/1/81 Will 1953.
Web: National Archives of Australia, Military Service Record, Series B2455, Service No. 6762; Ancestry: Australia Electoral Roll 1936, 1943;
Carr Villa Cemetery, ref. Western Wall No. 263, Site B, 1952.
The Mercury (Hobart) 14 December 1866, 26 May 1869, 27 June 1896; Tasmanian News 23 November 1891; Zeehan & Dundas Herald 15 January 1895, 4 May 1895, 5 November 1903, 29 February 1896, 25 October 1898; North West Advocate & Emu Bay Times 12 April 1904, 19 August 1904, 19 August 1916, 24 October 1917, 30 October 1917; Advocate 7 May 1921, 10 May 1924, 27 April 1928, 28 April 1928, 25 October 1928, 15 November 1928, 29 May 1952; The Examiner (Launceston) 11 October 1929.