Balfour Buns and a £1 note.

“Each year extra production was always needed to fulfill the pre-Christmas orders for our trousers.  Some may recall the 1940's and the days of massive queues that formed around the block at the FJ Collins St, Melbourne store to obtain a pair of Fletcher Jones Coverdine trousers.   Well, one idea to boost trouser production was to provide the staff with an unexpected gift.   One year Mr. Jones went down to the local bank (in the days before decimal currency) and asked for hundreds of £1 notes.  Not used notes mind you – they had to be crisp and brand new!  These were distributed at morning tea to the staff and the atmosphere was electric!

Then in November 1965, there was the distribution of special buns.  For those of you who have been to Adelaide, you may have tried the famous big juicy Balfours buns.  Well one day our airplane flew to Adelaide with FJ personnel to work in our shop.  While there, Mr. Jones made arrangements to collect hundreds of these scone-hot right-out-of-the-oven buns from the bakery at 6 am, trucked them to the plane and flew them back to Warrnambool in time for the staff morning tea!  Staff not only received a bun - it came in a paper bag with an encouraging production message printed on it that read: “Souvenir Adelaide fruit bun, especially baked in Adelaide this morning, Friday Nov 19th – with compliments.  In appreciation of the part you have played in important trouser production. F.J.”  Staff came out of the canteen speaking high praise of FJ’s thoughtfulness."   ​Tim Carlton - Chief Industrial Engineer FJs 1959-1985.

"I am motivated to add a bit to the story Tim Carlton told. Tim’s story is from the perspective of the factory work force. I was told the same story from the perspective of David Jones talking about his father. David and Sir Fletcher, along with two other FJ staff, were in Adelaide working at the Adelaide shop.  At morning tea they were presented with Balfour Buns and the comment was made by one of the staff that he would like to take a dozen of these buns back to his section staff at Warrnambool. FJ instantly said "why not take one back for everybody!!" This was then quickly arranged by FJ et al.  However, when the plane was being loaded, it became apparent that to fit in the buns they had to off load at least 2 of the passengers. So David and one other were left behind in Adelaide!"  Bill Hewett Information Systems Manager FJs from 1976.

 

Postscript: Tim Carlton wrote to Balfours who are still based in Adelaide and told his original story with a request for us to purchase fruit buns from Adelaide for the morning tea gatherings we held in 2015 for Fletcher Jones Stories from Our Community Project.  Unfortunately Balfours declined, despite our best efforts to convince them that this was a good story!  We decided to surprise Tim and instead do a replica fruit bun to honour his story about the Balfour Buns. Our 2015 fruit buns were specially made by Brown’s Depot Bakery in Koroit st, Warrnambool from a photo of a fruit bun on Balfours website - so this time the buns did not have quite so far to travel as the originals!   The modern version of the bag that the orginal buns were in was made by Bruce Campbell for each of the morning teas held in August, September and October 2015 as part of the Fletcher Jones Stories from Our Community Project.  

Tim Carlton was named Warrnambool's Senior of the Year in 2016 - he was nominated for his role and work on the FJ Stories Project amongst his other community activities.  

 

The buns just seemed to brighten everyone’s day said Doug Maloney.   ​This is the bag the buns came in complete with sultana stains!  Thanks to Tim Carlton's scrapbook!
Note to staff to accompany the crisp new £1 note.    Shared by Clare Trigg (Doecke) who worked in the FJ Repairs Department in the early 1950s.
Our version of FJs bag for the fruit buns handed out at the morning teas held in 2015 to gather stories and photos for the FJ Stories Project.  Design by Bruce Campbell.
Tim Carlton looking pretty chuffed with his replica Balfours Bun and souvenir bag!  Photo: The Warrnambool Standard
Tim Carlton pictured with Julie Eagles Project Coordinator, Fletcher Jones Stories from Our Community who put in the nomination for Tim’s award after being inspired by working with him on the FJ Stories Project. Photo by Rhonda McDonell
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Become a Part of the Fletcher Jones Story.

If you would like to share images, stories or anecdotes about Fletcher Jones, the man or the business, please contact the Project Coordinator, Julie Eagles, through this website or contact via the Save the Silver Ball and Fletcher’s Gardens Facebook Page.  

We'd also love your feedback about our website and your favourite stories.  You can also let us know if you think we've got anything wrong, misspelt or left out.