OLDEN DAYS: Michael Joseph Reddan and his wife Elizabeth and their family, circa 1914.
OLDEN DAYS: Michael Joseph Reddan and his wife Elizabeth and their family, circa 1914.

Reddan family a part of past

REDDAN & Mellor had been synonymous with essential shopping in Bundaberg for almost 100 years.

Michael Reddan and William Buxton Mellor, two young men with backgrounds in retail sales, decided to try their luck with their own business and signed a paernership for a drapers, to be called Reddan & Mellor, on May 1, 1886.

Each man brought capital of £350 to the business, which was located on Bourbong St.

Michael Reddan was born in Penrith, New South Wales, in 1860, and apprenticed as a store clerk with the large Sydney firm of Anthony Horderns.

By the time he left in 1882, he had a thorough knowledge of the drapery business.

He moved to Maryborough and worked for Stuparts for a year, then accepted a position at Buss and Co, arriving in Bundaberg on June 26, 1883, on the steamer Governor Blackall.

It was in this employment that he met William Mellor and the two eventually became business partners.

Members of the Reddan family at the beach in the early 1900s.
Members of the Reddan family at the beach in the early 1900s. Crystal Jones

The Ledgers from 1886 record that both men paid themselves a salary of £13 per month, and living expenses for Michael Reddan for the years 1886-87 were £201, and William Mellor £185.

At the time, Michael Reddan was living on Targo St, but like many other early families, decided to move to safer ground after the 1893 floods.

A block of land was purchased at 268 Bourbong St and in 1908 Reddan House was built.

The stock records in their store show that the major items listed were clothing, woollens and mercery.

Mercery is a French term, which originally referred to silk, linen, and textiles imported to England in the 12th Century.

The term later came to mean goods made of these materials and the sellers of those goods.

Other stock listed included millinery, boots and shoes, dresses, manchester and "fancy and hosiery”.

Each of the men took on different roles in the business - Michael Reddan was the business manager and often seen on the floor of the shop chatting to customers, while William Mellor ran the office.

The business was prosperous from the start, and by 1916 it employed 30 staff in various areas.

The wages of the staff ranged from 3 pounds 10 shillings per week down to 7 shillings per week.

The two men remained partners until the death of William Mellor on 23 December, 1926, and several months later Michael Reddan passed away on April 20, 1927.

Michael Reddan left his share in Reddan & Mellor equally to Esme and John Reddan, and by that time, the next generation of the Reddan family was working in the family business, son John Reddan.

The store remained family-owned but closed in February 1984.

The family name lives on in Reddan St, Bundaberg.