Keith Norris was born in Brunswick Victoria 21 July 1934. He attended Helen St State School until grade 6. At the age of 14, he started a career in cabinet making for a few years before trying his hand at fruit picking and various other short-term jobs including painting a sheep station.
He developed an interest in locksmithing and commenced work with John Barnes & Company (John Barnes). After a short time, he moved on to AF Stewarts for several years before returning to John Barnes in 1952. In 1954 at the age of 20, Keith married Shirley MacLaughlan, his childhood sweetheart.
John Barnes & Company - formation in Melbourne, 1949
In 1949 John Franklin Barnes established John Barnes and Company Locksmiths originally in Swanston St Melbourne before moving to 576 Elizabeth St where the business still operates today. Due to the increase in the national clientele, John Barnes made the decision to expand interstate in order to better serve the northern clients.
With the support of John Barnes, Keith and Shirley Norris relocated with their three children to Brisbane in 1966 and established the Queensland branch of the business at the corner of Water and Stanley St, Mater Hill, now the site of the Mater Hill Busway.
In 1968, the company, now with a staff of five, moved to 515 Stanley St, South Brisbane. John Barnes began to take a backward step and formed a partnership with Keith in 1970 before selling his entire interest in the business in 1974.
Keith Norris saw the increase in demand for architectural door hardware by builders for use in the commercial sector and by 1985 the business had diversified and expanded, now specialising in both locksmithing and architectural door hardware supply.
Unfortunately, Keith Norris passed away in 2004 leaving a huge legacy behind, and John Barnes (QLD) remains a family business with Gary Norris succeeding as the Managing Director. Due to the expansion of the Mater Hospital, the company moved to 1/211 Evans Road, Salisbury in late 2008.
John Barnes has grown over the past 50 years, from 2 original staff members to a workforce of more than 70 people - making its presence felt as a leader in the locksmithing service and security solutions industry.
Keith and Shirley Norris turned a corner locksmith/key cutting business into one of the leaders in the field of locksmithing and architectural door hardware.
“Our achievements during the past 50 years have been the result of many collective groups working together. Without the dedication of each individual staff member, the support of our business partners and the engagement and satisfaction of customers; we could not have come this far.” Gary Norris
Beyond the 50 Years
An important contributor to our expansion and diversification is the result of ongoing personnel development.
We will continue to promote this by encouraging employees to become engaged in different roles across the business. We will utilise new methods and technological updates to ensure that the company and all employees are successful in these ventures.
With the support of John Barnes; Keith Norris, his wife Shirley and their three children relocated from Victoria to Queensland arriving on 28th June.
John Barnes & Co (Queensland) began operations on 1 July 1966 on the corner of Stanley & Water St, Mater Hill; which is now the site of the Mater Hill busway. The business was operated by Keith & Shirley as the only 2 employees during its inception.
Due to the South-East Freeway construction, the premise was resumed occupancy by owner ANZ Bank, therefore the business relocated its now five staff members to 515 Stanley St, South Brisbane.
John Barnes (the business owner in Melbourne) & Keith Norris became partners in the John Barnes' Queensland operations.
John Barnes decided that he wanted to retire and sold his interests in both the Victorian and Queensland operations. Both businesses continued to trade independently as a family owned and operated, retaining the well-established name.
Taking over adjoining premises, John Barnes & Co (Queensland) continued to expand due to the inclusion of the provision of architectural door hardware and washroom equipment.
The Queensland branch of the Master Locksmiths Association of Australia was formed and was represented by Keith Norris at the inaugural National Conference in Canberra on 6th May.
The business had diversified and expanded with the success of architectural door hardware and washroom equipment provision to builders for residential, commercial and government projects.
These wholesome service capabilities have made John Barnes as a one-stop shop for builders, with residential and commercial products available as well as ancillary products such as door closers, door seals, and electric strikes.
A fruitful result of hard work and strong on-going client relationships, John Barnes expanded by taking over adjacent premises as they were vacated - this encompassed 515 - 519 Stanley St.
Official name change to John Barnes & Co (Queensland) Pty Ltd.
We were honoured to be requested to manufacture the key to the Treasury Casino in Brisbane CBD.
A large brass key and two smaller keys were handcrafted by Bill Jefferis. On 21st April, the key to the Treasury Coffers was presented to Mr Keith DeLacy.
The success of the architectural hardware department saw the need for additional space, therefore, premises were leased nearby at 84 Annerley Road Woolloongabba to facilitate this division.
Keith Norris age 69, lost his battle with cancer and passed away on 19 January 2004.
The business continues to operate as an Australian-family business with all three children being involved. Gary Norris became Managing Director along with sisters Susan and Robyn, taking on integral roles.
After Keith’s departure, the business was notified of the Queensland Government’s intention to resume the Stanley St premises in order to make way for the Queensland Children’s Hospital.
Prior to his passing, Keith had a vision to further expand the business by not only supplying door hardware to commercial projects but also the supplying and hanging of doors.
On 1st July, this vision came to fruition and John Barnes Projects Pty Ltd was created.
On 30th August, official notice was received regarding the government’s resumption - giving John Barnes just a few short months to relocate.
The business relocated in December to its current location of 211 Evans Road, Salisbury. This purpose-built facility allowed for the whole business to be once again operating from under one roof.
McLarens Trade Doorware, suppliers of door hardware and accessories to the Victorian Market for nearly 50 years was purchased by John Barnes.
They are later renamed to McLarens Door Hardware Pty Ltd - our combined resources make us one of the largest commercial door hardware and washroom equipment suppliers in Australia.
John Barnes has grown over the past 50 years, from 2 original staff members to a workforce of more than 70 people - making its presence felt as the leader in the locksmithing service and security solutions industry.