Monthly Archives: November 2018

28th November 2018

New Finds:

Embassy cards 1980s:

From Trove:

Researching hand plaited leather buttons, I learnt that not only was this done by  women as outworkers in their own homes, but also by “crippled children”, presumably as a sheltered workshop activity. A lady in Perth did buttons and other leather work as her own small business in Perth.

The West Australian, 23rd April 1953.



26th November 2018

Mystery solved: Who were the manufacturers of buttons in Queensberry Street and also Flinders Lane (previously mentioned on the “Frederation to WW2” page)? The same company …

Bijou Ornaments Manufacturing Company: Melbourne

In 1938 this company was at 132 Queensberry Street, Carlton. In 1939 it became a propriety limited company with Nitalis Barski  and William Hoffman as directors.

The Herald (Melbourne) 25th October 1939.

They advertised as button manufacturers. In October 1939 they also advertised as located at 110 Flinders Lane, though they stayed at Queensberry Street until 1940. In 1942 they were in liquidation.

Victoria Gazette, 29th April 1942.

The company was revived as the “Bijou Button and Buckle Manufacturing Co.”  in the Leroy Buildings, Higson Lane (opposite 129 Flinders Lane) under the management of the widow (Elsie Gintz) of one of the listed liquidators (Charles Gintz. who died in 1943).

The Leroy Building in 1985, prior to demolition. It had been rebuilt after a fire in 1919 from a building existing prior to 1914.

Weekly Times 6th November 1946.

Weekly Times, 6th November 1946. Note the miss spelling of her surname.

Karel (Charles) and Eliska (Elsie) Gintz had fled to Melbourne from Czechoslovakia in 1939. As her husband became unwell and then died in 1943, she had gradually taken over management of the factory, despite not having previous experience. During the war the entire output diverted to military stock. In 1946 the article about her in The Weekly Times claimed there was only one other factory of this type in Melbourne at that time.

To see the whole article:


24th November 2018



Wardens uniform buttons:

NSW  Department of Correctional services; Amor Sydney

The term “Department of Correctional Services” dates from 1970. As Amor became Amor-Sanders in 1978, perhaps these buttons date prior to then.

Penal Department Vic; Stokes and Sons

The term ‘Penal Department’ is an older one. I guess these buttons date between 1952-1962 when Stokes and Sons became Stokes (Australasia) Ltd.

23nd November 2018



New uniform buttons:

24mm diameter gilt SAR button by Stokes & Sons, QV crown (pre 1902). As mentioned earlier, SAR may mean ‘South Australian Rifles’ or ‘South Australian Railways’.

Merchantile Marine 17mm by  Stokes & Sons.

Australian Crest by British Naval suppliers ‘Miller, Rayner, Haysom Ltd: Naval, Military, Shipping & Colonial Outfitters’. Although not an Australian company, I’ve included it as is a nice button. It has a lot of detail and depth.

21th November 2018

PLEASE NOTE: the new address for this blog is


Tailor’s buttons:

Thurling & Hamilton, Melbourne:

Walter Ernest Thurling ( 1898-1933) and William Herdam Hamilton (1864-1917) traded at 45 Elizabeth Street from  around 1895-1912. After that, Walter worked for Southwell Coultas, another Melbourne tailoring establishment, whilst William changed career and worked as a traveling salesman.

Craig, Williamson Propriety Ltd:

In 1874 William Craig entered into partnership with the retail drapers ‘William Weaver & Co’ to make the firm  becoming ‘Weaver, Craig and Orrock’ in Elizabeth Street. It later became  ‘Craig, Williams and Thomas’ when Caleb Williams and Thomas William Thomas were admitted as partners in 1879 and traded under that name until 1897. There were branches in Ballarat and Bendigo. (The Bendigo branch was later bought by Sidney Myer.)

The founder of the firm, William John Craig, died in 1899.

The Argus, 4th May 1935, showing the business in 1883. A seven story warehouse was erected in 1889-90.

In 1897 a disastrous fire destroyed nearly the whole city block from Flinders Street to Flinders Lane, and from Swanston Street down to Elizabeth Street with an estimated 1,500,000 pounds loss, including their store.

Weekly Times, 27th Nov 1897.

The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, 27th November 1927.

With the erection of a new building, the firm was made a propriety limited business under the name of Craig, Williamson P/L. The business was bought by Marcus Clark Limited in 1926, but later was re-bought by the Craig family. It closed on 25th march 1937, with the stock purchased by Anthony Horden Ltd, thus ending trading after 63 years.

The Australasian 18th June 1898. A sketch of the new building. It would be expanded several times in following years.


19th November 2018



Spotted online:

Adelaide Steamship Company:  backmarked Kersley & Crawford, Sydney


George Buchanan Crawford (1874-1928) and Ernest Edward Kersey (1870-1945) were in partnership  as mercers and outfitters from c.1909 until 1928 when Kersey  continued trading under the name of ‘Kersey & Crawford’ alone. The firm operated from 365 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Evening News (Sydney) 19th February 1909.

Naval Dockyard Police: backmarked Stokes & Sons


Unknown uniform:  possible SEC: backmarked Stokes & Sons

18th November 2018

Please note the new address of this blog:


Tailor’s buttons:

Joe Taylor, Melbourne:

Independant (Footscray)             31st October 1908.

Known as ‘Joe Taylor, The Tailor’ operated from at least 1906 at 109 Bourke Street and 69 Swanston Street. They were successful enough to open branches in Footscray, Richmond, North Melbourne, Brunswick and Sydney. He was a master of self-promotion, and claimed ancestry to a line of notable English tailors who had dress royalty and Prime Ministers.

The Argus, 1st March 1913.

Table Talk, 22 May 1913

The Sun (Sydney) 22nd July 1917.

He made a big deal of selling bargain price (5 pound) suits of quality tweed post war, and this was part of his undoing. The price was not sustainable, and he used cheaper quality material, passing it off as the brand name product. This resulted in him being found guilty of breach of contract and fined. He was insolvent from 1922 to 1924.

17th November 2018

Tailor’s buttons:

W. McElwee, Melbourne:

William Colin McElwee (31/10/1889-1978) advertised as located at Union House, 284-6 Little Collins Street around 1930-33.  The eight story Union House was built in 1922-3 and demolished in 1939 to make way for the extension of G. J. Coles Bourke Street store, now occupied by David Jones.

Farmer’s, Sydney:

The tailor’s button below is interesting in that it not only has the store’s name (Farmers) inscribed, but also an advertising phrase: ‘The Store for Boys’.





The Sun (Sydney) 4th December 1935.

The details of the advertisment are amusing:

“Holiday clothes are always a problem. Young fellow-m’lad, who’s going away to have a high old time, has to be kept looking somehow smart sitting down to breakfast and lunch with other guests at wherever it is you’re staying. Farmer’s solves the problem with British Khaki drill play suits.”

16th November 2018

Please note: the new address of this blog is


New tailor’s button:

Bright & Hitchcock, Geelong:

William Hitchcock (1811-1867) emigrated from Devonshire, England, to Geelong with his sons George Michelmore (1831-1912) and Walter Michelmore Hitchcock (1833-1923). They started a drapery business , Hitchcock Brothers & Co., between 1850-52. They went into partnership in 1853 with William Bright (1803-1875) under the name Wm. Bright & Co. 

After Bright retired around 1857 they changed the name to Bright & Hitchcock. The company was listed in 1950. It was sold and re-sold in 1959, 1968, 1969 and 1976 then closed in 1979. Since that the building has been subdivided into smaller shops.

Geelong Advertiser, 18th July 1923. Walter M. Hitchcock.

Geelong Advertiser, 8th May 1912. George M. Hitchcock.

Leader, 12th August 1893.

Late 1940s.