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

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