Sir Fletcher Jones, and his business, is synonymous with Warrnambool and played a crucial role in building the social and economic fabric of the region today. Over several decades Fletcher Jones was integral to enhancing the prosperity of the town and changed the lives of thousands of people who were employed there - creating a lasting memory that continues to thread it's way through our community.
At it's peak, the Fletcher Jones business was one of the largest clothing manufacturers in the world, with almost three thousand employed in four factories and in 55 stores across Australian regional and capital cities. Arguably, no single person or firm had done more to transform and, for a time, homogenize Australian dress standards, particularly among men, than Fletcher Jones and his staff.
Warrnambool's love for Fletcher Jones stems from his generosity and his kindness. Fletcher Jones implemented innovative egalitarian practices through building a cooperative model that built a successful commercial business that also ensured it's workers were the heart of the business. Fletcher Jones' employees became the majority shareholders of the business, becoming involved in decision making at the factory floor and at board level. The company had an emphasis on people rather than profit - the first of it's kind of this size in Australia.
Fletcher Jones continues to hold a special place in people’s memories because of the particular ethos and special qualities of both the man and the business. Fletcher Jones is remembered and even revered in Warrnambool as an innovator, values-based, a high achiever, inclusive and community-minded.
And these are the qualities, and legacy, that we strive to pass on to our community today.
To find out more about Fletcher Jones - the man, the business and the stories that shape the memory - visit the FJ Stories website here. This is a community-led website sharing extensive stories on the link between Warrnambool, the Pleasant Hill former factory site, and Fletcher Jones.