John Pettigrew was born in 1832 in Tarshaw, Scotland. He was educated in Ayr, and a was apprenticed to a draper in Kilmarnock. He arrived in Australia in 1850, and moved to Brisbane in 1851, where he joined his brother William in his sawmilling business. He left Brisbane for Ipswich in 1852 and founded a general store. As well as running his store, he served as an alderman and briefly as Mayor on the Ipswich Council. He served in the Queensland parliament as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the electorate of Stanley, from 20 November 1873 to10 December 1878. He was also involved in pastoral speculation at Maranoa with F.A. Forbes until 1866. He died on 10 November 1878 at Ipswich and was buried at the Ipswich Presbyterian Church.
The centenary history of the Ipswich Municipality includes two additional references to John Pettigrew, a photograph, and a piece about the opening of the first bank branch: "(A) branch of the Bank of New South Wales was opened (in Ipswich) on September 24, 1853…The first account [sic] with the Ipswich branch were those of…John Pettigrew…(and others)'
In an advertisement in The North Australian, 3 January 1862, John Pettigrew & Co. advised ' friends and the public that they have made extensive alterations on their premises to be up with the times.' After a decade in business in Union Street, Ipswich, Pettigrew decided to remodel the premises, to better present the stock of 'New and Fashionable Drapery,' 'Family Groceries', the products of 'The boot and shoe department' and their range of 'wines and spirits.' According to the advertisement the renovated premises were to open on 1 December 1861.
Pettigrew & Co. also took out a quarter page advertisement in Pugh's Queensland Almanac for 1862, outlining their stock in trade, and giving their address as 'Corner of Union and East Streets, Ipswich'. Ipswich's first railway station faced Union Street, putting Pettigrew's store right at the centre of movement of goods from the Bremer River to the hinterland. The railway line between Ipswich and Grandchester, completed in 1865, was the first in Queensland.
The 1867 Assessment Book for Ipswich Municipality (rates book) shows that Pettigrew owned eight properties in Ipswich, including his brick store on the corner of Union and East streets, assessed at 100 pounds, and a brick hotel in Brisbane Street, assessed at 50 pounds. Twenty years later John Pettigrew & Co. had disappeared, but the Ipswich, Toowoomba and Drayton Almanac for 1885-1886 included an advertisement for McKay, Pettigrew, Byrne & Co., Drapers, and the directory listed a J. Albert Pettigrew, Draper. It seems probable that J. Albert was the son of John Pettigrew, and that the business was an extension of the earlier company.
John Pettigrew & Co. issued one variety of penny tokens and one variety of halfpenny tokens in 1865. The tokens were struck by W.J. Taylor of London.
The Ipswich Library has a biographical file on John Pettigrew, and their assistance in providing information about him and his career is appreciated.
Obituary. The Queensland Times. 12 November 1878.
Waterson, D.B. (2001), Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, p.156 .
Advertisement. The North Australian. 3 January 1862, p.1.
Slaughter, L.E. Ipswich Municipal Centenary, 1960, pp. 50, 30.
Advertisement. Pugh's Queensland Almanac for 1862. Unnumbered page.
Assesment Book for Ipswich Municipality. 1867.
Advertisement. Ipswich, Toowoomba &; Drayton Almanac for 1885-1886. Unnumbered page.