• David Fletcher Jones

Army / Flying Corps
  • 21st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Private

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  • British Empire Medal (BEM)
  • Birth

    Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • A tribute to David Fletcher Jones (school assignment)
    • Posted by AhmedNazim, Sunday, 16 November 2014

    David Fletcher Jones was a truly inspirational father husband CEO but most importantly soldier he fought Immensely hard for his mother country and is a true role model Even after the great war SIR Fletcher was a true example of devotion defining the trousers of the season with Fletcher Jones PTY LTD with his legacy continuing to his children in conclusion David Fletcher Jones was a great man who should be remembered Lest We Forget -Ahmed Nazim

    • David Fletcher Jones highly successful businessman
    • Posted by cathyhartigan, Sunday, 7 October 2018

    Sir David Fletcher Jones (1895-1977) David Fletcher Jones was born on 14 August 1895 in Bendigo, Victoria, the second son of three children. His mother died when he was two, and after his father’s remarriage enjoyed a happily blended family life with four more siblings. The family was Methodist and supported the Labor Party believing in improving working class conditions and aspirations. He said of his family life that ‘the greatest inheritance is to have been born into a struggling Christian household'. In 1908, Jones left school and worked for 2 years in a Bendigo auction house and then for 3 years as a tomato grower at Kangaroo Flat. He read omnivorously, and aloud, in an attempt to overcome a bad stammer. Fascinated by tailors' workrooms, he often walked from Kangaroo Flat to Pall Mall in Bendigo, to gaze in their windows. On 15 July 1915, he enlisted in the AIF and in March, 1916 was sent to France with the 57th Battalion. He saw action in the battle of Fromelles before being evacuated to England in August with trench fever. Repatriated in 1917, he was discharged medically unfit on 8 February 1918. He was granted a TPI (totally and permanently incapacitated) pension in 1918 as a result of suffering from shell shock, but rejected it and became a door-to-door salesman in Melbourne's inner suburbs. In 1918, he bought a hawker's wagon with a loan from the Repatriation Department, stocking it with manchester from Flinders Lane. He and his army mate, Stan Clapton became partners and travelled around the Western District of Victoria developing a good trade based on quality and economy. He later worked alone as a travelling salesman, moving across the Otway Ranges and westward into South Australia. He began to gather a small and loyal staff and bought trucks and trailers, rented shops for three-monthly sales, erected marquees on vacant land, and expanded into tailoring and dressmaking. On 22 September 1922, he married Rena Ellen Jones, a primary school teacher whose family were also Methodists. They were married for 48 years and had three children; Ralph, Lois and David. Rena died in 1970. In 1924, after two years on the road, Jones and Rena settled in Warrnambool, where he leased three adjoining shops in Liebig Street selling Men’s and Boy’s wear, Hosiery, and Linen and Manchester. After severe financial difficulties initially the business prospered and throughout the 30’s moved to different locations in Liebig Street. In 1924 he had opened a small tailoring workroom and by 1939 the workroom was one of the largest in provincial Victoria although the main business was in retail men’s clothing. During the 30’s he started making ready to wear trousers as ‘fill in’ production. In 1941 during WW2, the Department of Supply requested the firm to provide ready to wear ’coverdine’ work trousers for the man on the land. By 1945 he was supplying trousers to 123 retailers in four States. The retailers were reluctant to stock the multiple fittings required for a successful ready to wear operation, so he opened his own shop in Collins Street Melbourne in 1946. This business was an outstanding success. Queues stretched for blocks under signs proclaiming 'Fletcher Jones of Warrnambool—nothing but trousers. 72 scientific sizes. No man is hard to fit'. As a subscriber from 1922 to Herbert Casson's ‘Efficiency Magazine’, Jones had long been interested in modern American industrial developments. The traditional methods which dominated tailoring he saw as outmoded, not only because of inefficient practices but with the depressed nature of the craft and exploitation of workers. Jones was influenced by a Japanese Christian Socialist, Dr Toyohiko Kagawa who was a pioneer of consumers’ and farmers’ co-operatives. He supported Kagawa’s visit to Australia in 1935 and visited Japan in 1936. By the late 1940’s he had begun to transform his business into a co-operative. The name Fletcher Jones & Staff Pty Lt was first used in 1947 for the company to replace the Man's Shop of Fletcher Jones Trousers Pty Ltd in Melbourne. In January 1947, Jones visited England and the United States to study clothing manufacturing machinery and processes with particular attention to the manufacture of ready to wear apparel (a new trend) as opposed to bespoke tailored apparel. This trip had considerable impact on the equipment installed and layout of a new factory he built on a former rubbish dump at Pleasant Hill on the outskirts of Warrnambool. The factory was surrounded by landscaped gardens which subsequently became a tourist attraction. Fletcher Jones and Staff Pty Ltd was registered in December 1947 after the staff co-operative was formed in 1944. The basic objectives included commitments to raising the quality of Australian-made clothing, to bringing made-to-measure garments within the reach of the ordinary man, and to revolutionizing the firm's management and ownership in line with consultative and co-operative principles. The firm expanded its product range beyond trousers to women’s skirts and slacks in 1956 after winning the contract to outfit the Australian Olympic Team. The firm was at the forefront of industrial innovation and incorporated the latest production ideas introducing methods-engineering practices, a textile testing laboratory, computerised design and cutting systems. In its heyday, it was one of the largest clothing manufacturers in the world. The company employed 3000 people and had four factories and over thirty-three stores in every Australian capital city. Fletcher Jones maintained a simple lifestyle, giving away most of his money, anonymously. He was appointed O.B.E. in 1959 and was knighted in 1974 for ‘his services to decentralisation and the community’. He was a teetotaller and non-smoker, gregarious and impeccably groomed. Reviewing his career in 1974, he said, 'I had no vision or grand dream. Trading was in my blood and I wanted to be good at it . . . that was all'. His memoir, Not By Myself (1976), bound in imitation coverdine, acknowledged the important contribution from friends and supporters whose goodwill had sustained his confidence and strengthened his Christian faith confirming his belief that religion could be expressed in business life. He remained chairman of the company until 1975 and died on 22 February 1977. He was buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery on 24 February after a United Methodist service.