This business has not been located in any sources relating to Toowoomba.
The Courier (Brisbane newspaper) for 13 February, 1863 carried an advertisement at the top of the front page for a new business being opened by a T.F. Merry. 'The Valley Drapery Mart' was set to be 'Opened on Saturday Next, the 14th instant.' The advertisement begged 'to inform the public generally that he intends to commence BUSINESS in Fortitude Valley with a First-rate lot of Goods which he purchased in England for cash.' The advertisement goes on to state that Merry had purchased the goods while in England.
A short biography of Merry by F. Simpson was published in the Australian Coin Review, September 1970. Simpson laid out the following chronology for Merry's life, but no sources are provided. His biography does, however, tie in with the advertisement found during research undertaken by the Museum in 2005. According to Simpson, Merry was born on 1 March 1829 in England. He migrated to Australia in 1851 and took up a position as a Draper's assistant in Hobart. In partnership with a Mr. Dunne, he ran a trading barge on the Huon River, Tasmania. After some years he travelled to England, then returned to Moreton Bay, Brisbane, arriving on 20 January 1863 on board the Flying Cloud. He started a business in Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, trading under the name 'Merry and Bush', and issued a token while in these premises. Of his presumed partner, Mr Bush, nothing is known. Eventually Merry sold the business to his assistants, Thomas Finney and James Isles. They expanded the store, and later moved to Queen Street. Their business was eventually taken over by the David Jones department store chain.
Some time later he moved to Toowoomba and established himself as a general merchant in Ruthven Street. He opened branches of his business in Warwick, Stanthorpe, Goondawindi and other Queensland locations. He was one of the first directors of the co-operative store J.P. Barnes & Co., which still existed as the Barnes Co-op in 1970. Further research in Toowoomba would no doubt reveal when Merry's store was opened, but at this stage it is unknown. No copper tokens are known to have been issued in Queensland after 1865, so it is likely that Merry had opened his Toowoomba store by that date.
Merry died in Brisbane 1 June 1911. Gates at the Neil Street Methodist Church, Toowoomba, were dedicated to his memory.
Merry's tokens were struck by W.J. Taylor of London.
Advertisement, The Courier, 13 February 1863, p.1.
Simpson, F. (1970). 'T.F. Merry', The Australian Coin Review, September, p.23.