Monthly Archives: November 2017

30th November 2017

Oh, dear … the computer/internet ate last nights post!

What I was trying to tell you was that Carol noticed plastic ware in NZ with the same trademark as featured on a card of NZ sourced buttons I’ve featured,  as well as the name ‘Falcon Plastics”.  I had a look on Trademe auction site and discovered that Falcon Plastics used to make “Duraware” melamine picnic ware in New Zealand.  It confirms that the card of buttons featured on the NZ Buttons page was in fact from Falcon Plastics.

 Note that historically there were “falcon ware” ceramic vases etc that were not connected with this firm. Also, there is a current firm by the same name based in America; again, no relation.

28th November 2017

Final of the current series of tailor’s buttons:

S.J. Dalley, Melbourne:

Samuel John Dalley (1868-1923)  operated from the first floor of the Finks Building around 1901-1905.

The Finks Building stood on the corners of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets,  opposite the station.  It was one of the tallest buildings erected in the boom-time of the 1880s in Melbourne.  In 1898 a fire nearly destroyed a whole city block,  including this building.  It was rebuilt some years later, but the original ornate roofline was not restored.  The building was finally demolished in 1960.

C.R. Hiam, Balaclava:

The name is rather worn.

Charles Robert Hiam (1855-1924) established his tailoring business in 1887 in Carlisle Street,  Balaclava having previously worked for Gissing and Co. He advertised “cricketing and sporting garments made to order” and was at one time “the oldest established tailor in St Kilda.”

27th November 2017

Another tailor’s button … and this one deserves its own post.

Robertson and Moffat, Great Bourke Street east, Melbourne:

What we now know as Bourke St was originally known as Great Bourke Street from  the 1840s until around 1900, and the section of Little Bourke street between  Queen and Elizabeth Streets was known as Post Office Place (this was never official, but was widely used from 1866.) William Robertson and William Turner Moffat came to Melbourne during the gold rush to start a drapery store in Great Bourke Street, to take advantage of those who found gold and wished to spend up big!

The photos in this post all come from an article published in the Punch newspaper, 27th August 1907, describing the history of the firm.

They were successful,  and the store expanded.  They promoted themselves as “The House of Quality”, and as “Drapers,  Tailors,  Boot and Shoe Importers,  Furniture,  Furnishings and Carpet Warehousemen.” They set up factories to manufacture quality furniture themselves and had a notable art department.  William Robertson,  whose health had always been poor,  died after only five years in the colony,  so for many years Moffat continued alone.  In 1922 that great business dynamo,  Sidney Myer,  sucessfully negotiated the takeover by Myers Emporium of Robertson and Moffat,  which were located next to each other.

Below: the store from Post Office Place,  and then from Bourke Street:

A selection of fashions available from Robertson and Moffat through the years: all but the first were published in ‘Punch’,  a Melbourne newspaper.

Australasian, 24th November 1894

As sketched at Robertson and Moffat; 1907

Elegant race model; 1907

A charming opera Coat; 1913


Smart styles; 1915

26th November 2017

What?! More tailor’s buttons?

A. Boswarrick, Melbourne:

Arthur Boswarrick, originally from Ballarat,  (1867-1944) was a tailor in Sale, Victoria, in partnership with Mr Herbert Phillips.  They ended their partnership in 1889,  with Arthur continuing alone.  Unfortunately the business failed the following year.  He  moved to Melbourne by 1891 and by 1893 he was advertising for employees for his “Eclipse Tailoring Company” in Sydney Road, Brunswick.  He was involved in the local council and also local sporting clubs.  His first wife died in 1904 and his second wife in 1909,  only days after giving birth.  How sad.

Alston & Brown, Melbourne:

Mr Alston was born in Glasgow and came to Melbourne in 1852.  In 1857, due to the retirement of his previous partner, Thomas Alston went into partnership with William White Brown selling clothing and drapery. They became known as very fashionable, high class drapers in Collins Street until they closed the business in 1888. Mr Alston was to become a director of various companies and public institutions and a JP. He died on Christmas Day, 1907.

The article below was published in the Australasian, 12th July, 1884.


Mark and Philip, Ballarat:

These tailors operated from bridge Street, Ballarat in the 1930-1950s.

25th November 2017

Even more tailor’s buttons:

Ben Cohen, Melbourne:

Benjamin Cohen (1853-1935),  tailor and outfitter, operated from 252 Collins Street from around 1902, then the Flinders Building in Flinders Street from around 1911.  In 1920 he was listed in the Eastern Arcade.  The Eastern Arcade no longer exists, but ran from Lt Collins Street to Bourke Street in between Russell and Exhibition Streets.  In 1922  a Ben Cohen was arrested for running an illegal betting house in the Eastern Arcade, so presumably in was the same man! Readers may realise he is not the first tailor in Melbourne to be charged for this!

Howes and Howes, Sydney:

The Sun, 8th June 1911.

Howes and Howes opened in Pitt Street  in 1889, and were still located there in 1954.  I have not been able to find out how long the firm lasted.  One of the original “Howes” was Alfred Howes;  the other may have been a brother.  His father, George Howes was also a tailor in Sydney from at least 1854, and was considered a father of the  trade in that city, having trained or employed many of the city’s tailors.  He died in 1909 at the age of 81 years. Alfred was born in Sydney in 1864,  and died after surgery for appedicitis in 1919.  In his will Alfred left the business to be run as a limited company,  with his family and old employees as the founding shareholders. 

24th November 2017

More tailor’s buttons:

R.W. Raby: Melbourne

Sorry about the definition; the button is quite worn.

Robert William Raby was a tailor and outfitter in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne from at least 1894.  Around the years of 1896-1905 his business was known as “Raby and Co.” then he was in partnership with Alexander Wilson as “Raby and Wilson” from around 1909-1913.  After that he operated as R.W. Raby until his death in 1939.

Published in ‘Freelance’, 21st May 1896.

Published in ‘Winner’ 5th Aug 1914.

A. Phillips: Minyip

Published in the Minyip Guardian and Sheep Hills Advocate, 7th Novenber 1916.

Andrew Phillips, a native of Derry, Ireland, came to victoria in 1878.  He moved to Minyip around 1883 to run a general store.  The business was successful,  and grew to be known as “The Big Store”. Mr Phillips was very involved in community life, and became a local councilloras well as a Justice of the Peace.  In 1916 he was tragically killed,  falling from a train.

21st November 2017

New tailor’s buttons from Helen’s collection:

J. J. Scotchmer, Lismore:

John James Scotchmer was born in England in 1854.  He moved to New South Wales and started tailoring, first in Milton in 1880,  then in Nowra from 1883,  and then at Woodlark Street,  Lismore from 1907.  From 1922 his son Randolph Charles Scotchmer (who had worked with Hooper and Harrison) joined him,  so the business became J. J. Scotchmer and Son.

From the The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 7th March 1891:  J.J.Scotchmer’s tailoring establishment in Nowra.

Northern Star, 17th Jul 1907.

Palmer’s: Sydney


The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th May 1931




Palmers (F. J. Palmers and Son’s Ltd) was a menswear department store selling “Everything for Mankind and The Boy”. The photo below, from the 1930s in the NSW State Library collection, shows the store close to Murdoch’s.

Frederick John Palmer was born in 1854 in Bristol,  England.  He started as a hat manufacturer in Sydney in 1880,  then expanded into tailoring and mercery.  His son Ernest Albert Palmer would run the Haymarket branch of their business.  He died suddenly after a short illness in 1920, at the age of 63 years.

Frederick John Palmer

Ernest Albert Palmer