24th May 2018

New finds:


In December 1941 Japan invaded Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as U.S. military and naval bases in the Pacific.  Dutch civilians, military and government representatives from the Netherlands East Indies (N.E.I.) were transported to Australia, where a N.E.I. government-in-exile was established first in Melbourne, then later moved to Queensland. Members of their army, navy and airforce worked with the Allies. Three joint Australian-NEI squadron were formed. Several Dutch ships were based in Australia and 17 submarines operated in the Pacific. Dutch army units were attached to Australian Army units fighting in Borneo. Presumably the buttons above were produced by Stokes and Sons during this time.


23rd May 2018

New finds:

New school buttons (thanks to Carol): The Adelaide Boys HS button has a ‘Schlank Adelaide’ backmark. The others don’t, but are of similar construction.

Adelaide Boys High School:









Adelaide Boys high school opened in 1951 (from former versions of the school).  In 1977 it amalgamated with its girls’ campus, the ‘B’ being dropped from the school crest as seen on the right.

St Peter’s College:

This boys’ college was established in 1847 by members of the Anglican Church.

Rostrevor College:

A Roman catholic college for boys established in 1923.

New uniform button:

Back-mark: Stokes & Sons Melbourne. Date 1937-1952.

The  Maritme Services Board  of New South Wales was established in 1936, replacing the previous Sydney Harbour Trust and Department of Navigation, and would continue until 1995. It administered the ports of Sydney and Newcastle as well as issuing watercraft licences. The button shows a simplfied  shield of N.S.W. with a King’s crown and an anchor.

21st May 2018

New  1940-50s Beutron buttons:

My research into the South Australian Rifles has also explained something that confused me: some buttons don’t have SAR on them but I wasn’t sure what the script said. It is SAV i.e. South Australian Volunteers. Oh dear, so confusing!



19th May 2018

Carol is on one of her button-hunting expeditions (she is a Big Button Hunter, with pith helmet and rifle). She sent me a photo of “one that got away”…

Unfortunately, this Leda display stand was not for sale.

However, she did purchase this card.

I have just received another variation of the ?South Australian Rifles button: This one is a modern Staybrite type by A.J. Parkes, with only ‘SA’ under a King’s crown instead of ‘SAR’. It’s all very confusing.

19th May 2018

It is wise to be aware that information sourced online (or for that matter, in print) can be   wrong …

I thought, as did other people that the Button I shared recently was a South Australian railways uniform button; for example …

However, it seems that it may be  a button from the South Australian Volunteer Rifles. There is a  terrific Russian web page, whose name Google did not translate but is subtitled: “Historical buttons site for collectors”:  see http://www.pugoviza.ru/files/other_cut3.shtml?avstr_col.shtml 

This comes from this website, showing some of the South Australian Colonial buttons.

(I’m going back to correct my mistake on old posts!  However, some mystery still remains. Read on!)

From November 1854, the history of infantry in the colony of South Australia was quite convoluted, with volunteer forces being repeated raised, merged and disbanded. From the Diggers History web site ” The constant raising and disbanding of Militia Forces in the early colonial days, was a direct result of the citizen’s reaction to direct threats to their security. Their numbers rose and fell as these threats were realized and then subsided.

The first reference to a Rifle corps appears on 10th November 1854 in the South Australian register:

In 1859 there is reference to both  South Australian Volunteer Rifle Corps, and South Australian Free Rifle Corps, the latter being renamed the South Australian Auxillary Rifles in 1860. By January 1861 a South Australian Rifles Association had been formed from numerous volunteer companies that then existed, and would continue right up to the present. Therefore, where my  button hails from remains a little confusing! It is backmarked Stokes & Sons, and so dates from 1895-1901. I also have an A.J. Parkes S.A.R. button with a Queen’s crown (i.e. post 1951) so perhaps this is a button of the South Australian Rifle Association after all? Any advice welcome!


18th May 2018

A batch of naval buttons from 3 different makers:

Top row: Stokes & Sons pre 1902. CR Martin pre 1902. Lincoln Stuart & Co 1901-1926

Bottom row: Stokes pre 1952.

At the time of federation Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmanian naval forces were combined into the  Australian Navy’s (AN) Commonwealth Naval Service, which received Royal patronage in 1911. From 1911-1928 the RAN buttons displayed a ‘lazy’ (i.e. tilted) anchor. After 1928 the design was changed and the anchor became upright. The 2 buttons with the Queen Victoria crown also have an upright anchor, but must date from colonial navies, or the first year of Federation. Below are some images of colonial navy buttons found online:

1865 Victoria Navy button

‘HMCN’ her Majesty’s Colonial (South Australia) Navy button


‘HMQN’ stands for Her Majesty’s Queensland Navy’


NSW Naval Brigade button







The King’s crown larger button has an upright anchor which  dates it from 1929-1952. The smaller ‘STOKES VIC’ buttons also show a King’s crown. I had thought that the “& sons” was not dropped from the makers mark until 1962, but it seems not!

17th May 2018

New uniform buttons:

South Australian Rifles, pre 1901, Merchant Navy, Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board. All by Stokes and Sons.

South Australian. Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways board existed between 1919 and 1983.

British Petroleum post 1961, backmark Stokes Vic

AMF by K.C. Luke A/Asia Ltd and RAAF by Stokes & Sons pre 1952.

The AMF button is a puzzle. The company changed its name to K.C. Luke (A/Asia) Ltd in May 1953, and yet the button features a “Kings Crown”. As King George VI died on the 6th February 1952, this crown should not have been used! I wonder if the button was made in 1953 but not issued.

2 Royal Marine buttons by Stokes post 1961.

It is not clear from the photo, but some ‘Staybrite” buttons in the gold tone made by Stokes seem to have faded. I have a few buttons with the coating look faded and chipped. Perhaps they had a quality control issue, or they did not wash well?

16th May 2018

New finds:

Just received 2 Leda cards that complement a couple I had already:

And I have been able to identify some random buttons. The Larger grey is a Walker design. The others are by Beauclaire.

A closer look at a RAAF button revealed an AGM (Australian Glass Manufacturers) logo I had overlooked:


15th May 2018

Warrnambool tailors:

W. J. Armstrong:

Warrnambool Standard, 5th October 1914.

Unfortunately, only 4 years of local newspapers from Warrnambool are available on Trove, so all I know is that Mr Armstrong moved from Kepler Street to Liebig Street in 1918.

F. Williamson:

Warrnambool Standard, 8th October 1918.

Edward ( 1841-1925) passed his tailoring business on to his son in 1918. Fredrick( 1880-1945) became the mayor of Warrnambool. He collapsed and died suddenly during a council meeting, soon after an operation.

Cramond & Dickson:

In 1855 John Glass Crammond (1831-1910) and James Dickson ( 1831-1910)  started a general store specialising in drapery imported from London. The partnership was dissolved in 1886, with the business staying with the Dickson family until 1974.  It was the oldest store in Victoria trading under its original name.  James Dickson junior, who married the daughter of the co-founder, would manage the business after his father.

Sadly, the store has been demolished. For further information, see http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dickson-james-5978 and http://www.picturevictoria.vic.gov.au/site/corangamite/wmbl/8723.html .







14th May 2018

New tailor’s buttons:

Two more variations of buttons from Haigh Bros.

News from 1942:

The Argus, 6th November 1942.

News from 1949:

Australian Women’s Weekly, 2nd April 1949.

Advertisment from Stokes web site:

For more images, see www.stokesbadges.com.au