17th December 2023

Department of Commerce of USA, Special Consular report


In 1916 this report was released for the benefit of American manufacturers, giving them information about potential markets around the world. It included a list of Australian dealers and importers, “dry goods” stores and clothing manufacturers. One of these was  Beath, Schiess & Felstead, merchants and manufacturers.

Beath, Schiess & Felstead.

In 1908 the business of Beath, Schiess & Co, who had agencies in Brisbane, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and the headquarters in Melbourne, became Beath, Schiess & Felstead. They were involved in millinery and drapery, specialising in Australian made goods including blankets, flannels, rugs, hats, ties, boots, clothing etc. They had over 240 sewing machines in the firms Melbourne factory and were producing over 200 dozen shirts per week in Perth.

The Argus (Melbourne), 27th June 1908 page 22.

In 1910 they had constructed a new 4-storey warehouse on the corner of Russell and Little Collins sts. In 1912 became a limited liability company. They were described as “one of the principal establishments engaged in the rag trade in Melbourne”. They then purchased the land and buildings at 204 and 266 Flinders Lane. Although they did not own the land on which they carried their business, they did still have 426 years of a 500 year lease left!

Table Talk (Melbourne), 9th March 1911 page 18. William felstead, “The well known and widely esteemed Flinders-lane warehouseman … a leading citizen and is to the fore in many social and charitable movements.”

Eugen Schiess, a Swiss by birth,  died in London in 1913. He had arrived in Melbourne in 1863, and returned to London in 1866 to attend to the firms finances and to British trade.

David Beath died in 1923, aged 88 years. He had been born in 1835 in Leslie, Fifeshire, Scotland, and came to Australia in 1858. He entered a partnership in 1861 that eventually lead to Beath, Schiess & Felstead, and did not retire until his 80th year.

State Library Victoria #IE731254. The “new” warehouse of Pyne, Beath & Co, the original partnership, in 1865.

The Argus (Melbourne), 22nd August 1923 page 19,

Making a loss, the firm went into liquidation in 1927 and was wound up in 1934. In 1935 Whelan the Wrecker moved in to knock down their building at 188-204 Flinders Lane for the erection of four stores.

Punch (Melbourne), 27th August 1907 page 60.

For a complete article about this firm,see https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/20527149

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