Monthly Archives: March 2017

19th March 2017

I continue with my series on tailor’s buttons.

The Mutual Store,  Melbourne

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The Mutual Store Limited was Melbourne’s first department store, established in 1872.  A fire destroyed the original building in 1891,  but was rebuilt successfully.

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The second building.

The department store traded until 1965.  It was used for the Council of Adult Education for many years, and then converted into apartments.

Gilbert A. Parker, Melbourne

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Gilbert Alexander Parker was born in 1897 in Bunbury,  West Australia.  His family moved to Melbourne after the death of his father.  He started work as a tailor’s cutter,  progressed to tailor and then manager.  In 1929 to 1931 he advertised for sewers and machinists to work at 152 Elizabeth Street,  4th Floor.

The Age, 15th November 1929.

The Age, 15th November 1929.

W. G. Scates, Swanston St. Melbourne

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William Gardiner Scates was born in Ballarat East in 1892.  He became a tailor with outlets in Swanston Street and also Footscray.  He died in 1973.

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934. What pray-tell, is a practical tailor?

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934.  What pray-tell,  is a practical tailor?


16th March 2017

Thank-you to all those who attended my presentation on Australian buttons at the Victorian Button Collectors Club meeting on Tuesday.  Perhaps you may be more intrigued about the subject now!  I had fun and I hope you did too.

New finds:

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I don’t know where ‘Latest Style’ comes from,  but the graphics are quaint.

Thanks, Nadia for these!

Thanks, Nadia for these!

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I’m working through a new collection of tailors’ buttons:  here’s one as an appetiser.  Check out the ‘tailors’ page for more.

Woulfe & Son, Brisbane:

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Patrick Woulfe (1888-1948) set up his tailors establishment in Adelaide Street,  Brisbane,  in 1913.  He was a successful businessman;  by 1939 he employed 400 people with outlets in other Queensland cities.  The family continued with the business after his untimely death,  with it finally being wound up in 1972.

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This photo is so daggy!  I love Harry-high pants in the middle.  From the Telegraph, 3rd November 1953.     “Here are three well-dressed men,  unperturbed at the prospect of hot summer days,  yet fully prepared for the cooler evenings.  They are dressed by Woulfe and Son Pty. Ltd.




14th March 2017

Carol F. has kindly sent me a new button photo for the collection.

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Charles Roper Martin (1833-1910) arrived in Melbourne in 1852 on the same ship as my husband’s great-grandfather.  In 1885 he established an importing business in Flinders Lane,  particularly gold and silver lace.  He was a pioneer of the Melbourne Cavalry Troop,  and rose to the rank of Commanding officer,  retiring with the rank of Major.  His interest in military matters extended to manufacturing of military trappings.  The button above shows a Queen Victoria crown,  and was produced for the Queensland Railways,  so he was also producing government uniform buttons.

13th March 2017

I received some feedback that other people are finding the vintage advertising helpful to identify and date buttons from their own collections.  This motivated me to return to Trove and re-trawl through advertising,  looking for illustrations of buttons,  and I made a couple of discoveries…

The Daily News, 14th Jan 1942


23 sep 1943


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I suspected that these 11×7 cm cards dated from the 1940’s,  so it’s great to have these ads for confirmation.


1946. The profile of the card on the left was familiar…

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And yet this is a Coronet design button! (see the Coronet page).  Presumably both Coronet and ‘Latest fashion’ buttons were produced by the same firm.

I’ve added more to the ‘vintage advertising’ page.  Have a look!

10th March 2017

Old buttons continue to come out of the woodwork.  The Beutron buttons obviously date from around 1950 as they have the same artwork as the “clothes line” cards,  but are printed to be cut into half dozens.

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The yellow buttons look like painted wood,  but are plastic.  The Word ‘Australia’ can be seen at the bottom.

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These tubes of buttons are from Terries,  except for the short one which is from Astor.

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7th March 2017

The issuing collecting of commemorative medallions has a long history.  Many Australian die-sinkers produced these as well as buttons, badges, medals and the like.  Here is a medallion struck to commemorate Stokes and Sons centenary.  It includes the first likeness of Thomas Stokes I have found!

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Perfection Plate, a silverware firm, produced buttons for the military in 1942.

Commonwealth Gazette, 1942

Commonwealth Gazette, 1942

I couldn’t resist this quirky offering from the company in 1954.

detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th Novemeber 1954.

Detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th November 1954.  A Commonwealth Military Forces button with the Perection Plate backmark in the foreground.

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Detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th November 1954.

3rd March 2017

Ladies in advertising from 1960 wore gloves and a hat with their nice suits to go shopping for buttons …..

What fun to shop for buttons! Published in the Australian Women's Weekly 6 January 1960

Published in the Australian Women’s Weekly 6 January 1960

…. what a revolution was on its way. By 1969 we had this….

Australian Women's weekly, April 16th 1969.

Australian Women’s weekly, April 16th 1969.

Here’s an example of one of the kits and buckles shown above:

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2nd March 2017

I’ve some new buckles to share with you.

Astor buckles from the 1970's.

Astor buckles from the 1970’s.

The buckles below are labelled “Brighton Buttons and Buckles”.  (They were seen on EBay) There is a Brighton Button shop in Bay Street, Brighton that has been there for over 100 years,  so maybe this was a display in this shop. Does anyone know?

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White Beutron and 2 Beauclaire on the right.

On the left,  my first “Sunup Accessories” buttons,  2 white Beutron and 2 Beauclaire on the right.

Coronets,Fashionables and Beutron.

Coronets, Fashionables and Beutron.

Below I have assembled a nice little collection of memorablia of the  Commonwealth Railways, since absorbed into the Australian National Railways in 1975.  It includes a menu and  a C.R. button  made by Stokes and Sons.  Interestingly, the souvenir plate/ashtray was produced by the post 1962 version of the company, Stokes (Aust).

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