DAVID JONES CELEBRATES 180 YEARS OF STYLE
24 May 2018 marks 180 years of style in Australia, as premium department store David Jones celebrates its 180th birthday with customers. Celebrations include a series of in-store events, special birthday offers and a public exhibit of 45 artworks by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones, grandson of Welsh founder David Jones and the company’s longest running chairman, on display in the windows of its Market Street store.
David Jones Chief Executive Officer David Thomas said, “It’s an incredible milestone for David Jones to celebrate 180 years. When you look back at our history, David Jones has been part of Australia’s fabric since almost the beginning and a driving force for style throughout the decades. Everyone has a story about David Jones, and it’s an honour and a privilege to play a role in the momentous occasions and rites of passage of so many Australians. We are lucky to work with the best in the business in food, fashion and beyond and, as we look to the future, we look forward to continuing to delight customers as we embark on our next chapter.”
To mark the momentous anniversary, David Jones has also created a short film featuring Ambassadors Jessica Gomes, Victoria Lee and Adam Goodes, Food Partner Neil Perry and the most influential people in Australian fashion, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Edwina McCann and Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Kellie Hush, paying homage to the iconic store’s role in shaping style in Australia.
FACTS ABOUT DAVID JONES – CELEBRATING 180 YEARS
David Jones is Australia’s oldest department store, established in 1838 – only fifty years after
the founding of Australia.
David Jones is one of the oldest department stores in the world( a Canadian department store
Holt Renfrew is only older by 6 months) – Followed by Harrods (1849); Macy’s (1858);
Bloomingdales (1860); John Lewis (1864); La Bon Marche (1890); Neiman Marcus (1907);
Selfridges (1909) Galleries Layefette (late 19th century).
David Jones offers customers superior products and services across national and
international brands in fashion, beauty, food, technology, and homewares.
David Jones currently has 45 stores as well as a popular online store, including its first
international store in Wellington, New Zealand, and two boutique format stores at
Barangaroo, Sydney, and James Street, Brisbane.
In August 2014, David Jones was purchased by South African based company, Woolworths
Holdings Limited (WHL). WHL, which also owns Country Road Group, is one of the top ten
global department store operators, focussed on the Southern Hemisphere.
The original David Jones’ store was located at the corner of George and Barrack Streets,
Sydney (opposite the GPO and Martin place). The one storey store was rebuilt into a 5 storey
store by Edward Lloyd Jones (son of David) and reopened in 1887 in time for Queen
Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It was the most modern store in Australia with department style
retailing which had never been seen before in Australia.
In 1894 Edward Lloyd Jones was killed in an infamous rail disaster at Redfern
In 1906 Edward Lloyd Jones’ 2 sons Charles and Edward Junior were appointed to the board
later joined by the third son Eric Jones
Charles Lloyd Jones had the greatest influence over the business establishing a garment
factory in Surry hills 1914 and was the driving force for the two new city stores. Elizabeth
Street store in 1927 and Market Street in 1938 which coincided with David Jones’ centenary.
In 1919 David Jones became the first ever retailer in Australia to provide free aerial parcel
delivery in their own plane.
Highlights at the Elizabeth Street store have included hosting:
– the inaugural Australian Women’s Weekly’s French Fashion Parade in the Great Restaurant, on Level 7 in 1946;
– the ‘Paris Fashions For All’ parade –and Pierre Balmain’s special event, ‘Round the Clock Fashions’ in 1947,
– the first ever showing of Christian Dior’s collection outside Paris in 1948, and
– a special tribute to Christian Dior following his death in 1957.
The longest serving Chairman of David Jones was Sir Charles Lloyd Jones who served from
1906 until his death in 1958.
David Jones remained in family ownership until 1980 when it was acquired by The Adelaide
Steamship Company, ending 142 years of the dynastic family control of the company.
Descendants of Sir Charles and Lady Hannah Lloyd Jones have relived their personal
memories of family and store history for the book and the exhibition.
Staff employed by David Jones continue to uphold the values of the store’s founder who
believed that quality, service and loyalty were the essential foundations for success.
David Jones holds one of Australia’s most significant archives relating to retailing history in
Australia, documenting 180 years of the history of the company.
David Jones contributed significantly to the war effort in Sydney during the 1940s, closing its
Market Street store for the Ministry of Munitions, assisting with recruiting drives and ensuring
that every staff member had a job to return to after the war.
David Jones’ spectacular international festivals introduced Australians to things they had
never seen before. In 1954, the Made in Sweden event showcased Swedish homewares,
smorgasbord, Volvo cars and the first Wettex dish cloths. Even a small Safir aeroplane was
brought in for display.
In February 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip,
Duke of Edinburgh attended the official State Banquet in the Great Restaurant on Level 7,
Elizabeth Street store. Australian women had the chance to dress like the Queen with the
appointment of Norman Hartnell as a designer for David Jones and the exclusive manufacture
of his wonderful creations for David Jones at their Marlborough Street factory in Surry Hills.
Celebrations for David Jones’ anniversaries have included some amazing feats – in 1958 for
the 120th anniversary, ‘Eddie’ the elephant was the star of the children’s department.
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