The same truck

My dad, Jim Kelly started working at the the FJ factory when he was 14 and he worked there for 40 years.  My dad was the mechanic and driver and he was also the caretaker and the fire alarms at the factory were linked to our house.  We lived in the street at the back of the factory.  My mum, uncles, aunties and cousins all worked at the FJ factory.  

I started working with FJs when I was 15. I started pressing side seams and I hated it. But I was the last one working at the factory when it closed, so I stuck it out at FJs that's for sure!  I guess I became a bit of jack of all trades because there was that chance to have a go at turning your hand to different things. We were pretty self sufficient - like even down to making our own mannequins! I used to help out with the maintenance of the Silver Ball too.  

My dad became my boss, because I also started driving and working on the cars.  There were 52 cars in the FJ fleet at one time.  I learnt to drive in the rubbish truck with the blue tarp in that photo (below) and that's also the truck I got my licence in when I turned 18.  I have that same truck now.  We use it on our farm.  

Fletcher Jones was good at reading people - like he could somehow see their inner core and people were so loyal to him because of how he treated everyone.  If workers worked overtime, they'd get a three-course meal from the canteen.  Fletcher would gather kids of the families working overtime and even the next door neighbour kids and feed them too.  He was a man who just thought about people.  

Gary Kelly 

The FJ rubbish truck that Gary learnt to drive in.  That's Gary as a young fella in the photo.  Date unknown. Photo: Gary Kelly
And here's the truck at work hay baling on the Kelly farm.  Photo: Kelly Family
Gary with the same truck spruced up and parked outside the 2015 community picnic in the FJ gardens.   Photo: Colleen Hughson
Gary Kelly - last man standing at the sinking FJs.  Photo: Tim Carlton - artist unknown

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.  

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