19th 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 factories. One of these was Stephens & Sons, Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Stephens & Sons, Bourke Street.

The photos appeared in Punch (Melbourne), 27th August 1907 page 62.

Westmore Gosden Stephens moved to Melbourne in 1862. After gaining experience working for a Flinders Lane warehouse, he started on his own in 1868 in Carlton, before moving to St Kilda in 1874, then Geelong in 1876 where he was joined by Mr Watts, becoming Stephen & Watts. They moved to Bourke Street in November 1879. Unfortunately, Watts died only 7 months later.

In 1887 the premises was rebuilt, as shown in the above photo. Mr Stephens two sons joined him in partnership. The firm became Stephens & Son Ltd in 1890, then Stephens & Sons Pty Ltd in 1900. W. G. Stephens died in 1914.  After the death of the brothers in 1925, Myer Emporium Ltd bought the firm from their two sisters to convert into a men’s wear department.

The Argus (Melbourne), 29th June 1900 page 9. He obviously had a flair for the theatrical, and well as sense of humour.

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