Australia Day is a special event held annually on January 26th, to commemorate an important moment in history: the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships into Australia. On this day, Captain Arthur Phillip and 11 British ships (collectively holding over 1000 people, many of whom were convicts) landed in Sydney Cove, New South Wales to start a new life. After 7 months of sailing, the arrival was marked by the raising of the Flag of Great Britain.
Captain Arthur Phillip, the First Governor of New South Wales
Arthur Phillip later moved back to England, and died in 1814. He is buried in St Nicholas Church, Bathampton – which is local to the Dents factory shop in Warminster – and his legacy still lives on…
St Nicholas Church, Bathampton, and Arthur Phillips’ grave
Also known as ‘Anniversary Day’ and ‘Foundation Day’, it is a time to celebrate the diversity of Australia’s society through community events such as parades, barbecues and fireworks.
The day is a huge event across the Dominion
In celebration of this special occasion, we’ve gathered a fascinating account of the development behind Dents Australia…
Our gloves were bought by the London offices of Australian stores as early as the Colonial days. There are also records that J. & W. Dent & Co. supplied gloves to the department store David Jones Ltd in 1839, making us the second oldest supplier to his house.
By 1896 the growth of the country and demand for gloves was sufficient for the company to appoint McRorie Mellor Pty Ltd (who had previously handled a variety of British lines) as resident agents in Melbourne. After further developments, John A. Roberts was selected to go to Perth as a full-time representative in 1905. With a long family history of trading, Roberts had joined the company after leaving school around 1886, and continued working there for the rest of his life. Working closely with McRorie Mellor, they made Dents a household name across the Dominion.
After the changes that the First World War brought, McRorie Mellor gave up the Dents agency in early 1921. The parent company then established a direct trading branch and set up a Head Office and warehouse in 313/315 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. At the same time, the glove business run by McRorie Mellor in Sydney was transferred back to the parent company, with offices at 103 York Street.
Roberts asked Harold Drew to become the Sydney manager the same year, although he stayed in control of the organisation until his death five years later. Drew ensured that there were regular visits between Britain and Australia, which helped in choosing merchandise for the Australian market. Despite his later illness and lack of staff due to the Second World War, he showed great courage and determination in maintaining the company until his death in 1944.
The manager position was then given to O.W Croyden, who had worked previously in Sydney. While the War had lowered stock, the availability of transport as of July 1945 meant that Croyden could return to England to discuss how Dents Australia would continue running. HQ was later moved to Melbourne in 1969.
We’d like to wish our Australian customers a very happy day!