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Flavelle Bros. & Co, Opticians & Jewellers, Sydney, New South Wales

Flavelle Brothers Token Penny

Image: Flavelle Brothers Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

Henry Flavelle joined George Brush in an optician and jeweller's business, Flavelle and Brush, at 87 King Street in 1840. Towards the end of the decade the partners moved more towards the jewellery, rather than optometry end of their business.

Brush left the business in 1850 and Flavelle brought in his brother John. The new partners moved the business to 203 George Street. By 1855 the brothers were sufficiently prosperous to extend their premises and open a branch in Brisbane. May believes that this was roughly the time that they issued their tokens. In 1858 their address became 354 George Street following a renumbering of the street.

In 1868 the brothers were joined in partnership by John Roberts and the company became known as Flavelle Roberts and Co. The partners' sons were also involved in the business and the premises were expanded to take in shops on either side of number 354. In 1885 the street was again renumbered and the premises became 340-344 George Street.

By 1900 the business was both well known and well respected as manufacturer of jewellery. In 1926 another partner, Robert Sankey, joined the company.

The business survived until the Great Depression, finally closing in 1932. Among the last products of their workshops were medals commemorating the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In addition to the Sydney business described above by May, in the 1860s Flavelle Bros. had stores in Brisbane, London and Paris according to an advertisement in Pugh's Queensland Directory and Almanac for 1866. Flavelle Bros. appear to have been active advertisers in the Queensland press during the 1860s. In the 1866 Pugh's Directory they took out a total of three and a half pages of advertisements highlighting different aspects of their business such as: Spectacles; 'First Class London-made Jewellery'; 'Tann's Patent Reliance Safes'; English Watches; Clocks; and 'Electro-plated ware'. A photograph of the premises of "Flavell Jewellers, Queen Street" [sic] is held by the Brisbane City Council Library, dated 1864.

References:
May, T. (1988). 'Tokens of George Street.' Australian Numismatist, (Special Bicentennial Edition). pp. 21-36.
Samson's National Directory of New South Wales, for 1867-1868.
Pugh's Queensland Directory and Almanac for 1866.
Unknown. Photograph. 1864. 'Flavell Jewellers, Queen Street.' Collection of the Brisbane City Council Library. Http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/uhtbin/cgisirsi/lX8NaLlgVG/153180073/9.

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