Monthly Archives: August 2019

25th August 2019

Wilkins & Jones, Bendigo

In 1889 James Berriman Wilkins (1863-1937) and John James Jones (1860-1915), both late of Cahill’s tailoring, started their partnership, “The “Busy Bee”, first in High street then from 1912, Charing Cross, Bendigo.

In 1915 the partnership dissolved with Wilkins continuing as ‘J.B. Wilkins’, possibly due to health reasons, as Jones died later that year, aged 55 years. He had lived all his life, except for a short while in Echuca, in Bendigo. Wilkins was still listed as a tailor in 1936, the year before he died. He had been a native of Cornwall.

Clifford & Fulton, Bendigo:

This partnership lasted from around 1931 until 1938, at Bath Corner, Bendigo.  Charleville (named after his birth place in Queensland) Clifford (1897-1955) was a  draper and mercer. He was bankrupt in 1940. I cannot work out who “Fulton” was, as no draper or tailor was listed by that name in the electoral rolls.

Advocate, 12th February 1931. Charling Cross was a tram stop at the intersection of  View Street and Pall Mall.




24th August 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

G. Loudon, Eaglehawk:

Unusual detailing: the name is set into a scroll.

George Loudon, a native of Stirlingshire, Scotland, arrived in Victoria in 1853.  He tried his luck on the goldfields before setting up as a tailor around 1888 in High Street, Eaglehawk. He was a lcal councillor, including mayor, for 27 years, and reknown as a keen and talented draughts player. He died in 1908, at the age of 75 years.

Weekly Times 11th August 1894.

M. Colgan, Bendigo:

Michael Colgan was born around 1837 in County Clare and came to Victoria in 1851. His father and grandfather had also been tailors. He arrived in Bendigo around 1878. Working at first for Moffatt  & Kitson, then the Taylor Bros before starting ‘Star Tailors’ in 1887.

Bendigo Advertiser, 6th October 1887.

He stopped using the name Star around 1898.  Michael had been a volunteer with artillery units for nearly 21 years, retiring from service in1884 with the rank of sergeant. On his death in December 1908 his sons John and Albert, who had been working with him for over 20 years, took over the business under the same name until around 1916.


23rd August 2019

New finds: Delphi

 These buttons do not come up often. They were only advertised from August to December 1954, when the brand seems to have been taken over by Walkers. Buttons such as the red examples look similar to Beutron Opal-glo’s or Beauclaire Moonglows; it is possible they were made by one of those companies and that Delphi were only distributors.

Woolworths: post 1971


Late 1930s koalas.

22nd August 2019

Tailors Buttons:

J. C. Rowe, Ballarat:

It took some guess work to read the scrated name!

John C. Rowe worked for David Moyle (see post from 12th July 2019). After Mr Moyle’s untimely death in 1916, John continued on his own until at least 1927 in Sturt Street, Ballarat.

Rainbow Argus, 17th Nov 1916.

Q’land Woollen Coy:

The Queensland Woollen Company was proposed in 1874, and its mill built in Ipswich near the Bremer River in 1875. The location near the river for shipping, and also a nearby railway made the location a successful one. It was the first woollen mill built in Queensland, saving locaal producers the cost of shipping their wool to Sydney or Melbourne. Initially producing only unfinished cloth, it expanded into clothing. It would in time produce blankets and uniforms during both World Wars. (The large number of female employees meant that production did not suffer as it did for many work forces during the wars.)

Illustrated Sydney News, 30th Aug 1890.

Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 23145

Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 23141

In 1968 the company bought out the Ipswich Woollen Company, forming the Australian Fabric Manufactures ltd., producing fabric until the 1980s. The mill is now a heritage listed building.

21st August 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

Denton Bros:

Button dates c.1890-1920.

William James Greaney Denton (1862-1936) with his brother Frederick John Denton (1864-1934) started the ‘Eclipse Tailoring’  establishment in Mitchell Street, Bendigo, in 1886. By 1890 they had a branch in Melbourne, which ran until 1912.

Ballarat Star 22 December 1920.

From the “Lost Bendigo” Facebook page.

Another brother, James Greaney (1866-1939), who had been an auctioneer in Melbourne, took over the Bendigo branch some time before 1903. His son Keith Douglas Denton (1890-1970) joined the firm. The Bendigo branch closed around 1922, and Fred moved to Melbourne to continue tailoring.  James was remembered as a renown charity worker in Bendigo.

A. M.Poole, Bendigo:

In 1892 Alfred Morris Pool and J. T. Williams proudly announced they were opening, as ‘Pool & Williams’ as tailors and outfitters in the premises previously occupied by the ‘London & American Tailoring Co.”  (see post on 19th July 2019) Only two years later, Williams left. Pool continued as a tailor in Bendigo until a couple of years before hid death in December, 1930 in Melbourne.

Bendigo Advertiser 25th August 1914.


20th August 2019

Seen online:

Tailor’s button:

Wheeler Ltd., Adelaide:

The firm became a limited company around 1923.

In 1910 Mr Walter Harrison Wheeler (1881-1944) came from Victoria and together with his brother Louis Winslow Wheeler (1878-1943), started a tailoring and mercery store in Grenfell Street. In 1917 they purchased the established firm of William Bros  at 12 King William Street, Adelaide which seems to have been used for their ladies’ tailoring department, whilst they had men’s wear stores at North terrace and Hindley Street.

Critic, 27nd April 1921.

The Register, 15th November 1923. Despite the sale of the store, Wheeler’s continued to lease this address until around 1930-2, when they moved to Currie Street.

Critic, 25th July 1923.

In 1936 Walter was convicted and fined for tax evasion. His son Rex Harrison Wheeler (1912-2000), mercer, seems to have taken over the men’s wear business after his father’s death in 1944. When Lois died in 1943 he was remembered as a “prominent racing cyclist in his youth. He was one of South Australia’s best known iris and gladiolus growers.”

Louis Wheeler


18th August 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

R. T. Lloyd, 34 Bourke St Melb:

Reginald Theophilius Lloyd was a tailor in Bourke street from at least 1904-1930. he was born in Beechworth in 1884, and died in North Fitzroy in 1956.

W.D. Kewley,  Melbourne;

The Maffra Spectator 18th March 1920.

After the partnership of Kewley & Millsom was dissolved (see post 27th March 2017), William David Kewley  continued to work from the Empire Arcade, off Flinders Street, from 1914 until around 1942. Born in 1879 in Emerald Hill (now Richmond), he was a keen golfer. he died in 1955.

The Herald, 27th September 1938.

Plummers, Melbourne;

Edwin Thomas Plummer (1861-1959) was possibly a poor business man, or slightly dodgy!

The Herald, 17th June 1914.

Working at 146 Swanston Street from 1895, with a Mr Gardiner in 1897 at least, he also had a South Melbourne store which had to closed due to insolvency in 1901. He continued in Swanston Street, using the name “Plummer’s” in advertising from 1913 until 1930. In 1935 he was once again insolvent. In court in 1936 it was asked a to how he could not have known had financial problems since 1930. He claimed he never asked, and never checked or read his accounts; he just signed off on everything given to him! None the less, his bankruptcy was discharged the following year in 1937.

17th August 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

A. J. Cosson, Coolgardie:

Buttons date 1905-1910

Arthur James Cosson was born in Surrey, England in 1867. He arrived in Melbourne by 1894, as he married then, and worked as a tailor at the corner of Swanston and Lygon Streets. In 1897, lured perhaps by the large gold nugget found that year, he moved to Bonnievale, just out of Coolgardie. His business, Cosson & Co operated until 1905, when it was bought by Mackenzie & Dunstan (see below). He presumably then worked by himself before moving to Freemantle in 1910, then Perth in 1937. He was still listed as a tailor’s cutter in the year he died, 1958, in his 91st year!

Mackenzie & Dunstan, W.A.

Button dates 1905-1910

In 1905 the local newspaper reported that the new store of this partnership between Frederick Dunstan and Charles Mackenzie, only just erected, had blown down in a storm.

Coolgardie Miner, 22nd September, 1905.

In 1910 Charles left to catch up with family in Victoria, then to take an extended holiday, ending the partnership.

16th August 2019

A relic of Melbourne’s pioneering days turned up on Ebay recently. I bid because of its age, but did not win.






It is possibly a partial button. On the rim is printed F. C. Bennett, 60 Gt Bourke St East Melbourne. (Bourke Street was known as Great Bourke Street until around 1900.)

A Mr F.C. Bennett arrived in Melbourne in 1853. The firm of F. C. Bennett & Co, shoe and boot saloon, lasted from 1953-1957.

The Argus, 18th August 1853.

Interestingly, a belt buckle labelled the same way turned up in the California goldfields by a metal detector.