23rd October 2018

Mason & Culley, Williamstown:

In 2015 Robyn Caddy,  a fellow Button Cub member wrote an interesting story about a ‘Water Police’ button in the collection of the Police Museum. At that time some questions remained about this button, so I took a look into the story.

The backmark is MASON & CULLEY WILLIAMS TOWN. The partnership lasted only from the 1st July 1852 until the 1st November 1854 when they were described as Auctioneers and General Dealers. It is not clear as to whether the above button was actually produced commerically, or is a prototype made to show the customer. It is not known who produced the button. If it was not Thomas Stokes (who started his die-sinking business in Melbourne in 1854), it would have likely been British in origin.

This portrait of Thomas Mason hangs in the Williamstown council chambers.

Thomas Mason (1823-1896) came to the colony in 1841. He was one of Melbourne’s earliest Justice of the Peace and would become Williamstown’s first mayor.

(Article from the Williamstown Chronicle, 25th August 1883)

Benjamin Culley was born in Norfolk, England in 1824 and came to the colony in 1848. He left Williamstown in 1860-61. He ran stores in Talbot, Amherst, Talbot, Albury then Urana. Until his 94th year he was still in business! He died at Urana in 1921 at the age of 96 years. I haven’t been able to find an image of him.

1 thought on “23rd October 2018

  1. Carol Fenselau

    A most interesting story about the Mason & Culley partnership. The Water Police Button may still have a few secrets yet to be discovered. Thanks for your research! It will be interesting to know if anyone has any other button with a Mason & Culley Williams Town, backmark.


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