W. & A. Bennetts & Son, Wholesale and Retail Ironmongers. I have adjusted the address to be to 188 Brunswick Street, though they also owned and operated on 190-192 Brunswick Street as well as Moor Street.
“The firm of Messrs. W. And A. Bennetts and Son, ironmongers, is one of the oldest in Victoria, having been established in 1844 by the father of the present senior partner, Mr W.R. Bennetts. Upon the death of the founder in 1858, the business was carried on by his widow and son, under the style of W. And A. Bennetts, until 1864, when Mr W. R. Bennetts, jun., became a partner, and the title of the firm became as present. In the early days of the colony the business done was that of a general store, of which the grocery department was by far the most important. The premises were then known as the “Nugget Stores,” an appellation which tells a whole story of the early colonial enterprise and the crude conditions under which business was necessarily transacted. The grocery branch was relinquished in 1884, the other two – ironmongery and corn – increasing to such proportions as to require the undivided attention of the partners. The trade in ironmongery was, prior to 1888, confined chiefly to the city and suburbs, but in that year the firm decided to extend its operation to the country. This action brought Messrs. Bennetts into conflict with the Victorian Hardware Association, and a determined effort was made to induce the firm to abandon this extension of its wholesale trade. In the end opposition was overcome owning in some degree to the facilities possessed by this firm for buying direct in England, the Continent, America and India and the hearty cooperation of its staff. In 1895 a branch ironmongery establishment was opened at Kew under favourable auspices, and with every promise of success. ” The Leader Newspaper, 8 February 1896
“The firm is doing an ever increasing trade with the adjoining colonies, besides extending the already large wholesale and retail trade in Victoria. The premises comprise the splendid buildings, No.s 184 to 188 fronting Brunswick St, Fitzroy and include offices and stores 25 by 80 feet. Adjoining is a large, new, three storied brick shop, 40×90 feet, used as a retail department, also for supplying the city and suburban wholesale trade. At the rear of the latter is a commodious building 40 x 130 feet, running through to Moor-street, used principally for the country trade and as a packing room for bulk goods. Next to this there is another structure, 25 x 100 feet containing iron racks and paint shop. On the opposite side of Moor-street is another building 75×56 feet for storage of bulk goods as well as another 40 x 100 feet for storage of galvanised iron and other heavy goods, supplied with an overhead traveller. There are also a kerosene store and blacksmith shop. In addition to the ironmongery business, the firm conducts an extensive trade in corn and chaff, and has fine premises in Fitzroy replete with splendid machinery for grain crushing as well as chaffeutting, and storage at Clifton Hill” The Leader Newspaper, 8 February 1896