When the marquee was set up

"Storekeepers in the towns which we worked during the early 1920s had a perfect right not to like me.  Storekeepers gave customers long credit, interest free; then bingo, in came a travelling draper like me to scoop up the spending money that by rights should have gone to the local shopkeeper.  No wonder they were opposed to putting out the welcome mat.   Who could blame them lobbying and preventing us renting the local hall or empty shop?  We decided to take our own shop with us.  Recklessly we purchased trucks, trailers and a circus tent.  We rushed in without realising the glorious lot of difficulties along the path we trod.  

This kind of trading continued for four years and we did reasonably well but not well enough to compensate for the gruelling work and long hours.  For example, we had to carry a hundred yards of coir matting to run down over the wet grass inside the marquee before we could take our stuff out of the truck and trailer.  The matting absorbed the wet from the grass and got too heavy to lug.... There had to be a truckful of tables and racks and the like.  We needed three times as much equipment-aids-to-selling as goods to sell.  And to make matters worse the marquee wasn't waterproof."  Sir Fletcher Jones Not By Myself. 

When the 120ft marquee was all set up, Fletcher used to sit and play popular tunes on a cornet to attract his customers.  The plaintive sound of the music travelled far and people would know that Fletcher Jones, the hawker had arrived in town selling all manner of clothing and drapery! 

FJs 120ft Marquee. Photo courtesy of Jones Family Collection
FJ left with Digger the dog and other staff by the marquee.  Photo: Jones Family Collection
FJs 120ft Marquee with trucks trading at Naracoorte 1923. Photo courtesy of Jones Family Collection
FJ with cornet in WW1 Band. Photo courtesy of Jones Family Collection

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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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