Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Mr Elliot's cheque to J. Jackson and Sons of Pakenham

This is a cheque, below, for two pounds, 12 shillings and six pence written to J. Jackson & Sons, by John Elliot (1).  It's a Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd cheque, from the Nar Nar Goon branch. Every picture tells a story as they say, so this is the story behind the various elements of this cheque.

J. Jackson & Sons.
J. Jackson & Sons was a general store and bakery in Main Street, Pakenham. J. J. Jackson and Sons' first advertisement appeared in the Pakenham Gazette on September 2, 1927 in which they stated that they desire to inform the public of Pakenham and District that they have taken over the general storekeeping business carried on for many years by Mr P. O'Halloran and it is their intention to conduct the business on up to date lines, at all times giving the requirements of customers their first consideration.

Jackson & Sons first advertisement in the Pakenham Gazette.
Pakenham Gazette September 2, 1927.

This was a change of occupation for Mr John James Jackson, who had previously been in the coal mining industry at Korumburra. Mr Jackson and his wife Margaret (nee Sutton) had a large family to support - five sons and nine daughters - so it appears the move was designed to create employment opportunities for his sons. The family still operated the store until October 1951, when it was taken over by Mr C. C. Lack (2).

The local paper at Korumburra had this short report on Mr Jackson's new venture into retail.
Great Southern Advocate, August 18, 1927. 

Sadly, Mr Jackson died only 20 years after his move to Pakenham, on April 25, 1948 at 66 years of age. The Pakenham Gazette of April 30, 1948 published the following obituary of Mr Jackson, which I have transcribed below.

Mr John James Jackson's obituary
Pakenham Gazette of April 30, 1948

Obituary - Mr J. J. Jackson
By the death on Sunday morning last of Mr John James Jackson, Pakenham district has lost one of its best known and most highly respected citizens. He had not enjoyed good health for some years and for the last ten weeks had been a patient in the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he passed away.

Born at Appin, New South Wales, 66 years ago, Mr Jackson was in his younger days closely associated with the coal mining industry, mainly in the Newcastle and Korumburra districts.

Coming to Pakenham from Korumburra 20 years ago, he and his sons took over a general storekeeping business.

Although latterly ill health debarred him from an active part in public affairs, he retained to the last a lively interest in all the local organisations, with which he was formerly predominately associated. He was a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Cemetery Trust, and an enthusiastic worker for the various sporting clubs and the Country Party. The district has benefitted greatly by his public service through the years, and by his death loses a fine citizen.

As an individual, Mr Jackson was a huge friend to many. A man of the highest principles, he delighted in giving a helping hand where it was most needed, and not even continued ill health could dim his cheery outlook on health.

The heartfelt sympathy of the whole community goes out to his widow, four sons and nine daughters in their great loss.

The funeral took place at Pakenham Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon, following  a service at St James Church of England. The church was crowded for the funeral and the attendance was one of the largest seen at Pakenham for many years. Rev. W. P. Daunt officiated at the Church and at the graveside. Four sons – John, Clive, Ray and Norman – acted as coffin bearers and the pall bearers were Messrs J.R. Marshall, R. Ramage, J. J. Ahern, W. Stephenson, E. Sutton, B. Jackson and R. Webster and Dr W.G. Farrell. Messrs W. Garnar and Sons carried out the funeral arrangements.

Mr Jackson's death notice listing his fourteen children.

Mr John Elliot.
Mr John Elliot wrote the cheque, he is listed in the Electoral Rolls as being a farmer, of Nar Nar Goon. John first appears in the Shire of Berwick Rates in the 1898/1899 book, where he is listed as owning 97 acres, Lot 77a Parish of Nar Nar Goon. This property was located on the south side of Bald Hill Road, a bit west of Seven Mile Road. Mr Elliot was married to Josephine (nee Hayes) and they had two sons, Ross and Hector. John and Josephine are buried at the Pakenham Cemetery, Josephine died in 1924, 
aged 62 and John died June 17, 1937 aged 85. This is all I can tell you about the family.

John Elliot's death notice

Commercial Bank at Nar Nar Goon.
This brings us to the other element of this cheque - the Commercial Bank. The Commercial Bank of Australia merged with the Bank of New South Wales in October 1982, to become Westpac. The Commercial Bank in Nar Nar Goon was constructed in 1893/1894. The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study (3) describes the building as a parapeted and stuccoed Italian Renaissance styled bank typical of 19th century branch bank designs. It is significant to the Cardinia Shire as the oldest architect designed commercial building in the Shire, the relative sophistication of its design and for its associations with its early history of the small Nar Nar Goon township.

Commercial Bank, Nar Nar Goon in 2017
Sold by Gerard Collins Real Estate in 2017

The Weekly Times of April 8, 1893 had a list of all the Commercial Bank branches. Pakenham and Nar Nar Goon were listed as agencies of the Berwick bank, The only other Casey Cardinia location was Cranbourne, an agency of Dandenong.

List of Commercial Bank branches in April 1893.

It appears to have been a very short-lived agency as it was closed in August 1893, perhaps due to the economic depression, however, it re-opened as a branch during 1903/1904.

Notice regarding the closure of the Nar Nar Goon and Pakenham Commercial Bank agencies.
South Bourke & Mornington Journal August 30, 1893. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70015880

The Commercial Bank re-opens at Nar Nar Goon, 1903/1904.
Adelaide Observer, July 30, 1904. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/163051331

The Bank Manager at Nar Nar Goon at the time Mr Elliot wrote his cheque to J. Jackson & Sons was Arthur Ahern. Arthur had been transferred from Pakenham to Nar Nar Goon in June 1927 (4) and then in September 1928 he was transferred to Moulamein in southern New South Wales (5). Arthur was the second of eight children of James Joseph and Marion (Trewartha) Ahern. J. J. Ahern was the Shire of Berwick Secretary from 1906 until 1948. 

I don't have the exact date of the closure of the Nar Nar Goon Bank, which possibly took place in the 1970s. In the early 1980's it was the home of Witchetty Grub Children's clothing, established by Maree Cunningham (6).  There was double page spread in the Australian Women's Weekly of March 31, 1982, advertising her garments on offer.

Fashion spread for Witchetty Grub children's clothing, 
made in the old Commercial Bank at Nar Nar Goon.
Australian Women's Weekly March 31, 1982.

The text reads - Nar Nar Goon seems an unlikely birthplace of a children's fashion label, but that's exactly where Maree Cunningham, a Gippsland farmer's wife, faced with dressing her own four children, started to design and make their clothes. Her very first range was produced for three Melbourne boutiques. Today, the Witchetty Grub label, with all its fashion charm, is marketed through some 40 outlets around Australia, and it's still designed, manufactured and dispatched from its all-Australian birthplace, Nar Nar Goon.
From left: Witchetty Grub - Grey check shirt $36, navy flannel shorts $45 and navy jumper $32. Peach sleeveless quilted jacket $47, matching divided skirt $49 and Liberty print shirt $47. Blue quilted jacket $57, matching skirt $42 and shirt $45. Taupe shirt $35, check knickers $48 and grey jumper $32. Black cord dress with detachable collar $74. Red check dress $74.

(1) I bought this cheque on Ebay. Thank you to my fellow historian, Isaac Hermann, for finding it for me.  As soon as he pointed it out to me, I knew there was a story there. 
(2) The first advertisement for Mr Lack appeared in the Pakenham Gazette of October 5, 1951. There was an interview with Clive Jackson, John's son, in the Pakenham Gazette of December 5, 1955 and it appears that he took over the business again in 1955, see below.

Pakenham Gazette December 5, 1955

(3) Cardinia Shire Heritage Study, v. 3 - Heritage Places by Graeme Butler & Associates (Cardinia Shire, 1996), pp. 284-285.
(4) South Bourke & Mornington Journal, June 9, 1927, see here.
(5) The Dandenong Journal, September 20, 1928, see here
(6) Thank you to my mother Wendy and my sister Karen for telling me about Witchetty Grub clothing and it's connection to the bank.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am Clive Jackson s son and appreciate your efforts
Thank you