These are samples of the material used at the Fletcher Jones Factory in Warrnambool to make garments for men (suits, trousers, shorts) and women (suits, slacks, skirts, shorts). Fletcher Jones Clothing Factory was a key industry in Warrnambool from 1948 to its closure in 2005. The business was founded by David Fletcher Jones (1897-1977), a clothing manufacturer and retailer who worked as a hawker in the Western District following service with the A.I.F. in World War One. In 1924 Fletcher Jones opened three shops in Liebig Street selling men’s wear, hosiery and linen and operating a small tailoring business. He moved his shop to another location in Liebig Street and began to concentrate on men’s trousers production. In 1946 he opened a shop in Collins Street in Melbourne and eventually had stores and factories all over Australia. In Warrnambool he opened his factory at Pleasant Hill in Flaxman Street in 1948 and became a major Warrnambool employer, with over 1000 employees at one time. He transformed his business into a co-operative, with the name, ‘Fletcher Jones and Staff’ registered in 1947. The business diversified into other ranges of clothing for men and women but failed to compete with cheaper overseas clothing imports and the factory and shops were closed in the early 21st century.
These pieces of material are of some interest as examples of the materials used in one of the most important businesses in Warrnambool and one that was of national significance for many decades. The Fletcher Jones label was well-known throughout Australia and Fletcher Jones himself was a prominent person in Warrnambool’s history, not only for his business interests but also for his philanthropy, his advocacy of business co-operatives and his support for many Warrnambool institutions. The Fletcher Jones Factory Gardens are still today a feature of Warrnambool and a tourist attraction.
These two packets contain samples of materials used at the Fletcher Jones factory in Warrnambool. One packet (VC000690.1) contains four pieces of woollen material, one grey striped, one grey weave, one navy and one green, red and white tartan. The other packet (VC000690.2) contains two pieces of woollen grey and navy material and five small woollen samples of dark grey, light grey, navy, beige and blue and grey check material.