Archive plan to preserve FJ photos

A PROPOSAL to conserve more than 3000 photographs relating to the success of the late Sir Fletcher Jones and make them available worldwide will be discussed this week in Warrnambool by curators and archivists from around Victoria.

The collection bequeathed to the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) by the clothing entrepreneur’s son David in 2011 provides a unique source of information and evidence of events, people and places.

Senior archivist with UMA, Melinda Barrie, said the collection was of high cultural significance, research value and public interest.

“To be in Warrnambool where it all began is just fantastic,” she said.

“We are considering a proposal to conserve more than 3000 remarkable photographs documenting the lives of the people, places and events that contributed to the success of Fletcher Jones.

“We aim to complete the catalogue and eventually digitise it so it is available online to researchers worldwide.

“We’d be happy to hear from local groups and individuals interested in finding out more about the collection and connecting with us.”

The annual Victorian Museums and Galleries Conference will be based at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which is seeking official status as a national maritime museum. 

Representatives of museum, heritage, and conservation sectors will be at the conference, which will connect regional and metropolitan volunteers and professionals and showcase museum practice, community-building projects and local cultural heritage.

Keynote speakers from the USA, UK and Victoria are on the program. UMA is progressively making its catalogues and collections available online and has identified the FJ collection to be of high significance. 

Sir Fletcher Jones was a charismatic retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer and philanthropist who opened his first clothing store in Warrnambool in 1924 and a factory in 1947, which employed 2700 at its peak.

“With catchy slogans like ‘Nothing but trousers, 72 scientific sizes. No man is too hard to fit’ it’s no wonder Fletcher Jones made a name for himself,” Ms Barrie said.

Other western Victorian businesses included in the archives are: legal firms William Ardlie and J. W. Powling and their successor, J. S. Tait & Co; pastoralist James Jellie and others such as the Ritchie family; Lady Alice Paton, born and educated in Warrnambool; GP Gerald Baldwin; the Warrnambool Racing Club; and Hugh Lennon, agricultural implement manufacturer.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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