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Fenwick Brothers, Drapers, Melbourne, Victoria

Fenwick Brothers Token Penny

Image: Fenwick Brothers Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

Orlando Fenwick left Liverpool 22 August, 1852 on board the Great Britain, under the command of Captain Matthews, and arrived in Melbourne the following November. Fenwick brought goods out from England with him to found a drapery business. Among his fellow passengers on the voyage out was Arthur Snowden, Reginald Bright (later of Bright's Stores), and Hugh Peck (also a token issuer).

He began business in the Western Market, and then moved to the diggings where he opened a business, Fenwick and Snowden, with (later Sir) Arthur Snowden in December 1853, according to Gardner (Gardner, 1910). The business lasted about 12 months. Snowden then returned to Melbourne and Fenwick opened a store at Sandridge (Port Melbourne).

In 1857 Fenwick moved his business to 225 King Street and was joined by his brother Pascoe. The brothers had been in business together in London before Orlando came to Australia. They dealt with both the wholesale and retail trades. At this time King Street was a route out of Melbourne to the diggings and overlooked by the Flagstaff, one of the key landmarks of early Melbourne. In 1862 a wholesale warehouse was opened in Collins Place (Equitable Place). In 1863 the business moved next door to 227 King Street and a wholesale warehouse was established at 35 Flinders Lane East in 1865, where, according to Gardner it operated until 1908.

Mr. Fenwick was a city councillor for many years and Mayor of Melbourne in 1871.

Fenwick Bros. issued two tokens, circa 1855, which bear Queen Victoria's head, a familiar symbol from official coinage, and their address, 225 King Street, Melbourne. The reverse featured the government flagstaff (in the Flagstaff Gardens at the north-western corner of Hoddle's original grid of Melbourne streets), giving prospective customers a clear indication of where to find the store.

References:
Gardner, F. 'Trade tokens and the firms who issued them.' The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 31 May 1910" pp.9-10.
PROV Internet index to Unassisted Immigrants to Australia, 1852-1923. VPRS series 7666.
Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) website http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/
Sharples
, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens.' Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7. December 1993: pp. 35-36.
Melbourne Directories from the Collection of the State Library of Victoria.1851-1870.
Hope, John (2005). 'Fenwick Brothers', unpublished MSS, 2pps.

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