For over 140 years the company has been operating in the plumbing and air-conditioning service industry. Established in January 1880, Alexander Fraser bought out his business partner William Pyle after William Pyle & Co was dissolved by mutual consent.
1880 – The Argus Sat 6 March 1880 and renamed the business Alex. Fraser & Co.
Sat 8th Jan 1881
Australia saw the start of a severe depression starting in 1890. Overseas investors became more concerned with the difference between expected returns and actual returns on Australian investment and withdrew further funding.
• 1892 – 133 limited companies go into liquidation in Victoria alone
• 1893 – major international depression
• 1893 – Australian banking crisis of 1893: The Federal Bank collapses; many financial institutions, including several major ones, suspend trading
It is believed that during this time Alexander Fraser’s brother in law William Mountain became a partner in the business, an injection of funds being the probable reason for the partnership.
1896 June – The Traveller advert.
WJ Mountain (1836-1906) was a wealthy timber merchant. Arrived Melbourne 1852; after unsuccessful goldfields experience, worked in the lightering business, then became a wharf clerk and later manager of the firm; partner in Gibbs & Mountain, timber storage business, 1886-1897 Melbourne Harbor Trust commissioner 1883-1906, chairman 1891-1893; commissioner Metropolitan Board of Works; president Seamen’s Institute; Member South Melbourne council about 30 years, mayor 1880-1881 and 1901-1902.
At some point between 1880 and 1896 Alexander Fraser’s wealthy and very well connected brother in law bought into the company and the name changed to Fraser & Mountain
1897 – Fraser and Mountain was supplying plumbing services to South Melbourne Council.
Jan 1900 – Fraser and Mountain advertises for staff for work in country Victoria
May 1900 – Fraser and Mountain won a large tender for sewer connections etc. at the South Yarra post office. Their office was still 64 Swanston Street.
June 1900 – Fraser and Mountain donate goods and services to the South Melbourne football club.
April 1901 – When the second son of William Mountain is married at “Fortrose”, Albert Park, the family home, the employees of Fraser and Mountain present the newlyweds with a marble clock.
August 1906 – William Mountain died of heart failure.
October 1906 – Fraser and Mountain Pty Ltd, 134 Flinders St, is put up for sale either as stock plus goodwill, or as a going concern. A subsequent buyer kept the trading name of the business.
1906 – The Age – Wed 24 Oct 1906
It seems that Mr Fraser still maintained some association with the business until at least 1908, when his name appears in the press as part of the celebrations for a visiting US fleet.
1908 – Punch Sat 29 Aug 1908
The ownership of the company between 1907 and 1938 is unclear however it remained in operation throughout this period.
In 1938, Ray Peterken purchased the company and continued operations. Ray’s intuition led him to convert his Ford sedan into a utility; he removed the rear body and was also forced to add a coal burner due to the shortage of petrol.
The war years saw Fraser & Mountain’s work move into the Military Services, installation of hot water systems and building ventilation was the beginning of Fraser & Mountain’s entry into the Mechanical Services industry.
Following the companies Post War growth, Fraser & Mountain were forced to move from their Flinders St basement into premises located in Weston St, Brunswick. Further growth saw the company move to its current location in Clarke St, Brunswick East.
Advertisements for Plumbers.
In 1962 Geoff Peterken, Ray’s son, joined the company as an apprentice plumber. During 1967 Ray Peterken was diagnosed with Asbestos related cancer and passed away two years later in 1969.
Geoff and Fraser & Mountain’s loyal employees were able to continue operations, and then in 1981 Graham Brunning joined the company. Graham’s experience in Mechanical Services added further support to Fraser & Mountain’s knowledge. Geoff also saw a need to expand the refrigeration and service section of the business. Martin Morey joined the company and developed F&M Commercial Maintenance, Fraser and Mountain’s Service Department.
In 2005 David Greig joined the company allowing Graham to retire from the industry. The company is currently owned and operated by, Martin and David.