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Private Revenue Perfins of Western Australia

An Elsmore Coath production

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User: D & J Fowler

Wholesalers & Grocers

Address: 38-40 Henry St, Fremantle, WA

Revenue Use:

1923 monocolour issue 1d, 3d.

Rarity Scale:

1923 monocolour issue 1d R2, 3d R2.

Background: *David (born 1826) and George (born 1839), Fowler, were born in Scotland, sons of James Fowler, grocer, merchant and Baptist pastor. David worked in his father's business and in 1854 with his wife Janet, their two children, a servant and goods worth £2,300 he immigrated to Australia arriving in Adelaide in November that year on the “Fop Smit”. There he joined his eldest brother James and sister Margaret who had been in Adelaide since November 1850. James and David promptly opened a retail grocery with the stock that they had brought from England. Competition was strong but by 1857 they had grown to the point that they could acquire new premises in King William Street, Adelaide as well as enter the import trade.

After a period of illness James died in 1859 and Margaret returned to Scotland. David’s younger brother George, who was then working with their father, agreed to come to Adelaide and in July 1860 he, and Margaret, arrived via the steamship “Indus”. David and George formed a new trading company and pooled their joint assets of nearly £20,000. In 1865 they decided to cease their retail trade in order to concentrated on the wholesale business, and to this end David visited Britain to set up a buying office in London. David settled in London in 1873 to manage that office leaving George in Adelaide. David died in London in November 1881 aged 55.

By the 1880’s D. & J. Fowler had grown to be one of the major commercial houses in the South Hemisphere'. As well as its head office in Adelaide the company had branches in London and Fremantle, agencies in the Northern Territory and on the River Murray, large stores in Port Adelaide and other suburbs, big depots for kerosene and factories for the production of jam, condiments, confectionery and preserved fruit. They also ran a large shipping agency, importing foodstuffs and exporting wool, wheat, flour, meat, butter, copper and tanning bark. By 1896 the firm had spread to Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie, and acquired the bankrupt Adelaide Milling Co. and eleven other flour-mills, and won a leading place as dried fruit packers on the Murray irrigation settlements.

George was elected to the South Australian Parliament winning the seat of East Adelaide in 1878, represented South Australia at the inter-colonial convention on tariffs in 1880 and served as treasurer for two months in Morgan’s ministry in 1881 before loosing his seat in 1884. George died in October 1896.

The family involvement in the company continued with George’s eldest son, James (born May 1865) becoming a Director in 1892 and remaining with the company until his death in December 1939.

Device: The DJF.a device was a 4-die device in a 2 x 2 format and it was located at the D J Fowler warehouse at 38-40 Henry St, Fremantle, WA.

The 4 dies are subtly different but not readily discernable so we list them as a single pattern.

Approval to use the device was sought and gained in June 1910 and the earliest usage dates from June 1910.

DJF.a replaced an earlier device used at the Fremantle warehouse. The warehouse was purpose built for the company and it was completed in 1900. The pattern of this earlier device is not reported used on revenues but is found on the postage stamps of Western Australia between 1901 and 1911.

The DJF.a device had a long life and is found used on the postage stamps of Western Australia and later Australia from 1910 until the early 1960’s.


Related patterns: Refer to other D&J Fowler patterns in:

SA:    D&J/F.a and D&J/F.b

Related patterns: Nil

* Australian Dictionary of Biography


38-40 Henry St, Fremantle, WA


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