The Fight

My late father, Archie Ewing, managed the Cutting Room at FJ’s. He was also on the Board of Directors. I’d known the great man, Sir Fletcher himself, from the time I was a toddler.  So, during the 1990’s, when a writer mate who’d come to live in Port Fairy said to me, “This Fletcher Jones... people make him sound like he was a bloody saint – I bet there’s a skeleton in his closet somewhere…….”   I drew a couple of FJ anecdotes from my sleeve. The first did in fact show another side to him. 

While working as a cadet reporter and proof-reader at the Warrnambool Standard in the mid-1960’s, I worked with old Alan Pearson. As young men, Alan and Fletcher had been mates. Alan told me, “FJ, as you will be aware, had a severe speech impediment. Shortly after World War One, he and I were at a country dance when another young bloke with an equally bad speech impediment introduced Fletcher to a group of young ladies. Fletch thought no more of it – just another young fella with a pronounced stammer.  Later that night on overhearing this same bloke gasbagging with his mates, his talk was totally normal with no stammer.   Seems he’d been taking the mickey out of Fletcher!   Well... removing his jacket, Fletch ordered this dingo outside and I can tell you, Fletcher was dynamite……. he took him apart!” 

I’d only ever known Sir Fletcher to be gentlemanly and mild-mannered, but on reflection he was also strong and broad-shouldered. My dad, who’d grown up on the tough streets of Glasgow, loved this story. A fair bet too, that the mean young bloke who’d mocked FJ copped exactly what he deserved and never did such a thing again.

Jim Ewing 

Archie Ewing (centre). Manager of the Cutting Room and Board member at FJs.  Photo: Jones Family Collection

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