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Edward Francis Dease, Draper, Launceston

By Museums Victoria    |   Saturday, 19 December 2020

Edward Dease arrived in Tasmania in the early 1840s but little is known of his life there before he established his drapery store The Golden Fleece in Brisbane Street, Launceston in 1851. He hung a golden fleece as the sign for his store. Dease issued a huge number of trade tokens. According to Roger McNeice in 1855 he imported 10,000 penny and halfpenny tokens, an event which made the local papers and must have had a big impact on the scarcity of small change to which the Launceston Examiner referred in its article.

Edward Francis Dease - Draper

Dease sold his business in 1862 but returned to Launceston in 1877, dying there in 1883.

McNeice also reports that the Cyclopedia of Tasmania credited Dease with issuing a leather trade token, bearing the same designs as appeared on his copper tokens, but notes that no collector has ever seen one, and that a silver four pence is also reported to exist. This fourpence is not listed by Andrews or Heyde.

The Launceston Assessment Roll for 1856 included two listings for Edward Francis Dease:

  • DEASE Edward Francis House & shop/Draper 130 Brisbane Street ER Bus owner House ann rent 50/- 11 Mar 1856.
  • DEASE Edward Francis House & shop 100 0 Charles Street 11 Mar 1856.

Petterwood's research has turned up additional details as follows:

Mr. Edward F. Dease of Charles Street, Launceston was listed in the electoral roll of 1866. The Golden Fleece store was located on or near the corner of Charles and Brisbane Sts. Launceston, however, the whole area has undergone several major developments over the last 50 years. The famous Golden Fleece store symbol, that still remained suspended outside the premises well into the mid 1900's, is now in the care of the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery in Launceston as part of the commercial heritage of the city.

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