Our History | FW Peterson's life as a Yass draper

Born in Queensland in 1866, Francis William Peterson had moved to Sydney with his family. 

There he gained experience in the warehouse of W&S Gardiner, before moving to Yass around 1890.

BUSINESSMAN: Frank Peterson arrived in Yass in 1890 and soon opened a drapery. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

BUSINESSMAN: Frank Peterson arrived in Yass in 1890 and soon opened a drapery. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

At first, he was employed as a draper. It was not long before he began his own drapery business.

The Sydney Morning Herald on November 8,1892, reported that Frank married Agnes, eldest daughter of TJ Leonard of Ledgerton, and grand-daughter of Mrs M Ledger of  Yass, on October 24 in Yass.

By 1898, FW Peterson ‘House of Drapery’ was established at 82 Comur Street in what had been Michael Coen’s Australian store until he built new premises.

STREETSCAPE: FW Peterson's store c.1900. The banner reads: "Where biz hums". Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection

STREETSCAPE: FW Peterson's store c.1900. The banner reads: "Where biz hums". Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection

A monthly account statement from April 1917 gives an indication of some of the stock sold by FW Peterson’s store at that time, and the availability of telephone and motor cars.

Some ‘bloomers’ costing four shillings and sixpence bought on April 21 were returned the next day. Wrong size or colour perhaps?

But more intriguing is the return of some combs. Were these tried and found wanting?

Monthly Acccount Docket 1917, Peterson’s Store. Courtesy of Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

Monthly Acccount Docket 1917, Peterson’s Store. Courtesy of Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

A later photo shows advertising for Christmas shopping Peterson’s store, next to the new Memorial Hall, with Santa in a motor car.

After being in business in Yass for more than 20 years, FW Peterson sold his business to Mr TS Booth in 1921.

Peterson moved to Sydney where he supported his sons’ rural businesses in Cowra, Harden and Gundagai as their buyer.

XMAS SHOPPING: Advertisement for Christmas sales at Peterson’s Store with Santa in a car. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

XMAS SHOPPING: Advertisement for Christmas sales at Peterson’s Store with Santa in a car. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

Whilst living in Yass, Peterson was a member of St Clement’s Church of England choir, and reputedly also a vocalist at local musical entertainment in Yass.

He and his wife had two daughters and three sons. Sadly one of their daughters died in infancy.

On March 19, 1925, the Yass Courier reported that FW Peterson died on March 17, at age 60, and that he ‘had not enjoyed very robust health for some years.’

The Peterson monthly account statement forms part of a collection of local business invoices held in the Yass Archives.

The archives are open every Tuesday from 2-5pm and the first Saturday every month from 11am-3pm for research.

More details at yasshistory.org.au. Fees apply for visitors, but members are free!

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