3oth January 2020

Tailor’s buttons:

Wills & Co, Adelaide:







G. & R Wills & Co were a major softgoods wholesaler in South Australia started by brothers George (1824-1906) and Richard Wills ( 1829-1862). Richard arrived in Adelaide in 1849 with some drapery, and set up a store. They moved to Rundle Street in 1853. George returned to England in 1859 to manage the purchasing for the company, leaving the Australian end of the business under the care of other partners. Unfortunately, Richard died in 1862 of typhoid. His son Kenneth would join the firm after discharge from the army in 1919. He would restructure the company, leading it through the Great depression years.

Kenneth Agnew Wills, KBE, MC 1896-1977.

By 1922 the company had branches in Melbourne, Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorie, Broken Hill as well as agencies in Brisbane and Sydney. In 1946 the firm was listed publicly and are still trading as wholesalers.

George Wills

Drapery outlet at 80 Rundle Street, built in 1853.

 Head Office corner Gawler Place and Fisher Place, built 1914.

(Photos from the State Library of South Australia’s collection.)

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