An early reference to button manufacture in Melbourne:
Robert Barbour was born in Beith, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1827. He immigrated to Melbourne in 1851 and ran a business as a retail and wholesale warehouseman, which evolved into a drapery business. He was also a squatter, running dairy and beef cattle as well as saw-milling. He was first listed at 117 Swanston Street, then 119 and 121 Great Bourke Street and later 83 Bourke St. He established drapery outlets in Emerald Hill, Castlemaine, Maldon and Bendigo, the stores being named ‘Britannia House’. He sold these business in 1858 and concentrated on his sawmilling business. He would become a member of Parliament, and was known as a difficult but clever man.