Rare Fletcher Jones images inspire top artist

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MC room 1948
Just one of the wonderful images: Workers in the main sewing room at the then-newly opened Fletcher Jones factory at Pleasant Hill, Warrnambool, in 1948.

By Carol Altmann

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”] A[/dropcap] treasure trove of rare images capturing the lifespan of the Fletcher Jones story is poised to be the focus of a series of artworks by noted Warrnambool artist, Glenn Morgan.

More than 100 images are contained on three CDs given to Glenn by the late David Jones – son of Sir Fletcher – about eight years ago when the pair were sitting on the Warrnambool Art Gallery Advisory Board.

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“I’d made a couple of pieces around the Fletcher Jones theme and so David turns up with these three discs of images that he said I could have, so I put them to one side thinking I would take a proper look one day,” Glenn explains.

[box]Subscribers can access more images from this extraordinary archive here.[/box]

“I have always been interested in doing a sculpture reflecting the Fletcher Jones’ floats in the Florado festival (an annual Warrnambool street festival that started in the late 1950s) and so I started browsing the images on the discs and thought, bloody hell, there is some good stuff in here!”

Parade 30s - 2
“A dash of Cold War spy”: a Fletcher Jones’ fashion parade in the 1930s, possibly staged at the Warrnambool Town Hall?

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”]G[/dropcap]lenn is not exaggerating.

The photographs provide a literal snapshot of the growth and the hey-day of the Fletcher Jones story, from Sir Fletcher’s humble beginnings as a hawker, to the beginning of the last great years of the Pleasant Hill factory the late 1980s.

There are images of window displays, fashion parades, staff parties, the legendary Christmas picnics, the construction and opening of the Pleasant Hill site, family shots, staff shots, FJ sports teams, samples of early advertising and some of the many social and community causes that the Jones’ family supported.

“There is some really interesting stuff and it takes in not only Warrnambool, but Fletcher Jones in Adelaide, in Hobart, in Collins St,” Glenn says.

“The more you delve into it, the story just gets richer and richer.”

B ball Team 1946
The Fletcher Jones basketball team from 1946. Do you recognise any of these faces? If so, let us know in the comments box below.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A02F2F;”]G[/dropcap]lenn has already started to seek private and public funding to build a new body of work from a series of images he has selected from the 100-plus.

“I would, ideally, like to spend a couple of years just working purely on this project – an FJ project – leading up to an exhibition at the factory itself, and then touring to Melbourne and Sydney,” he says.

“Funding, of course, is always the issue but I am applying for grants as we speak and hope to get some funding on board.”

Artist Glenn Morgan, known for his quirky sculptures, hopes to produce a body of work around the rare Fletcher Jones images.

The art project would also sit alongside the ongoing Fletcher Jones community storytelling project, coordinated by Julie Eagles, and the archiving of the Fletcher Jones industrial story by Melbourne University Archives, led by Melinda Barrie.

“It is such a great story, a very Warrnambool story, and I would love to be able to tell a part of it,” Glenn says.

Glenn and fellow artists Barry Tate and Jenny Altmann all run individual art classes at the former Fletcher Jones factory, with Jenny and Barry recently launching the Outlaw Gallery in the same space.

[box]Read our earlier profile on Glenn Morgan here.[/box]

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4 thoughts on “Rare Fletcher Jones images inspire top artist”

  1. Hello – we have just published the City of Warrnambool Rowing Clubs history – there are some photos of the Fletcher Jones ladies who rowed together – Francis McKinnon has more (and stories to add) – would someone like copies?

    Photos are: Warrnambool Ladies Rowing Club: c1959.
    1. Regina Mersch, Frances McKinnon, Pam O’Meara,* Betty Clark,* Jean Duggan and Pam’s brother.
    2. Regina Mersch, Hannah unknown, Betty Clark*, Helen Forester*, Pam O’Meara*, unknown, Frances McKinnon and ‘Lally’ Boyle*. * maiden names

  2. Don’t know any of ladies in this team but have a couple of photos of early 1950’s netball (not basketball) team that my mum was in. They made the tunics at work. Let me know if you would like copies. So love these photos. Jeannie

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