Sir Fletcher Jones OBE

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The Fletcher Jones legacy has left an indelible mark of innovation on Warrnambool, a man who dared to think differently about business, people and community and put people and ideas before profit. Standing high on Pleasant Hill, the futuristic silver ball, which served as a water tank for the Fletcher Jones factory still stands as a symbol of what is possible.

Jones was a true innovator adapting many ideas that would still increase productivity and workplace harmony if they were used in business today. He believed in quality, staff ownership and encouraging employees to take part in decision making, as an essential part of job satisfaction.

He introduced stand up meetings, where anyone with experience and expertise could take part, and then they would pause overnight (a pause for refreshment), before making a decision the following day. This helped the business to evolve and progress through peoples’ experience.

Jones enjoyed people and part of his success came no doubt through his ability to greet every employee by name and stop and talk with them on the factory floor.  He would reward employees with Balfour buns flown in from South Australia, presented in bags with motivational messages, or turn up with crisp dollar bills for everyone. He also offered bonuses for good work and attendance bonuses if they showed up on time.

By the 1960s Fletcher Jones was the largest user of merino fine wool in Australia and had pioneered the use of many scientific processes including the Si-Ro-Set permanent pressing process developed by the CSIRO.

WAG is dedicated to Sir Fletcher Jones OBE and in our Collection we hold several works and artefacts that tell his story. In 2018 we acquired Glenn Morgan’s work The Day Fletcher Turned His Back on the Pension a humorous and keenly observed homage to Fletcher Jones who returned from World War I and chose to start a successful and socially progressive business.
 
The FJStories project has come from the dedication of artists and people in the community to preserve the Pleasant Hill site and collect information, images and oral histories from people had a connection with the man or the business. They have been instrumental in working with the private owner of the site to make sure the public can still visit and learn more of the history there. In 2019 they recreated one of the sculptures from Pleasant Hill, the Plus8 Man using 3D printing technology and won a prestigious international printing award. You learn much more about the man, and his innovation through their website fjstories.org.au

 

Glenn Morgan, The day Fletcher Jones turned his back on the pension, 2018, (detail), mixed media, 60.0 x 70.0 cm.
Collection: Warrnambool Art Gallery.