These trousers have been made by Fletcher Jones and Staff. This business was established by David Fletcher Jones (1895-1977) in 1924 when he leased three shops in Liebig Street, Warrnambool. In 1928 he moved his business to the main retailing area near the Liebig Street/Koroit Street intersection. In 1931 a shop built to Fletcher Jones’ requirements was erected and by 1938 he had a staff of 40. By 1945 FJ trousers were sold in 123 stores in Victoria and in 1948 the Fletcher Jones factory was established in Flaxman Street Warrnambool, officially named Pleasant Hill. In 1951 the company became Fletcher Jones and Staff and by the mid 1970s the staff had 75% ownership. By this time FJ and Staff had become one of the largest clothing manufacturers in Australia with 55 shops and almost 3000 employees. The range of clothing was enlarged to include both men’s and women’s wear. In the 1980s, after the death of Fletcher Jones, the abolition of import tariffs and the availability of cheap imported clothing caused the Fletcher Jones Company to decline and to be sold to a Geelong company. By 2011 all Fletcher Jones shops had closed.
These trousers are of great interest as they are a product of a Warrnambool business that was nationally and internationally known in the 20th century for its quality men’s wear, especially the Coverdine brand trousers. The Fletcher Jones business remains one of the most important businesses, (if not the most important), that ever existed in Warrnambool. It employed a great number of local people in the second half of the 20th century, and is remembered with great fondness by many people in the city and surrounds today. The Fletcher Jones Gardens at the Factory site are still maintained today and are a tourist attraction in the city.
These are a pair of brown Fletcher Jones trousers made of Coverdine material (87.5% wool with nylon). There is some lining around the waist area and the legs are turned up at the end with some leather binding inside the bottom legs. The waist band is stiffened and is fastened with a metal clip and two buttons. The waist band has two adjustable areas using tabs and two buttons each side. The back pockets also have buttons.