Fitzgerald Bros., Ballarat:
James Joseph Fitzgerald (1845-1895) came to Victoria from Ireland in 1865. He reached Ballarat in 1868 and opened a drapery store in Bridge Street in 1870.
Later that year his brother Edward (1849-1918), who had arrived in 1869, joined him to form Fitzgerald Bros.
His parents and siblings, including brothers John Michael (1851-1926) and Thomas Stephen (1852-1888) joined them in Ballarat in 1871 where his father John set up practice as a solicitor. These brothers also joined the drapery business. Things must have gone well, as in 1878 they bought a business in Errol Street, North Melbourne, next to the Empire Hotel which they purchased in 1884 and demolished in 1897 to expand their emporium.
Unfortunately, founding brother James died unexpectedly in 1895. At that stage they were described as “drapers and clothiers at Ballarat, North Melbourne and Dublin”. Thomas had also died by then. The remaining brothers had to sell the Ballarat store.
The North Melbourne store had to be closed in 1938. Apparently, the moving of the tram line from Errol Street reduced customers! A mail order section of the business continued until 1947.