F & W Stewart, Jewellers, was established at 147 Charles Street, Launceston, in 1879 by brothers Frederic and William Stewart. The Stewart brothers are considered Tasmania's first medallists. The business prospered, and was listed as a shareholder in the Princess River Gold Mining Company in 1887. In 1902 the brothers purchased a property at 100 Charles Street, where the business remains to this day, still in family hands. According to Roger McNeice, it was described as a 'palatial jewellery establishment' and one of the finest in Australia.
The company struck 'quite a few' medallions and medalets for local events and exhibitions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The issues are of importance because they cover five major events: the Launceston Industrial Exhibition of 1886-67, the Jubilee of Queen Victoria 1887, the Tasmanian exhibition of 1891-92, the Centenary of Launceston 1906 and the Australian Natives' Association Exhibition, Launceston, 1908. Of greater importance was the fact that the company was the first in Tasmania to import machinery and strike their own medals.
The metal dies initially used in striking medals were prepared on site, but later dies were made in Melbourne by Thomas Stokes of Stokes and Martin. Striking continued to be undertaken in Launceston (although McNeice notes that the Centenary of Launceston Medal was struck in Melbourne by Stokes).
The Tasmanian Numismatist Internet Edition, 3, 4 April, 1988.
Rootsweb.com, viewed 12/9/2003
McNeice, Roger. Historic Medals of Tasmania (Vol.1.) The Medals of F. & W.Stewart, Launceston, Tasmania.