Other pre-federation button makers.

Alfred Bowley & Company, Melbourne:

I include this company with the caution that they may have not manufactured their own buttons.  Certainly, as naval and military uniform outfitters in Flinders Lane,  Melbourne,  they were importing items such as buttons from London before federation.  The company continued to at least 1945, when Alfred Bowley died.

from a larger article published in The Age, 26th September 1936

from a larger article published in The Age, 26th September 1936.

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic) 22nd december 1899

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic) 22nd December 1899

Screen shot 2016-05-09 at 7.03.27 PM

Back of MFB uniform button.

Screen shot 2016-05-14 at 3.15.29 PM Screen shot 2016-05-14 at 3.15.19 PM

The above button  of the Commonwealth Cadet Corps, from Carol’s collection, dates from 1901-1910 (Edward VII) and is not marked as to where it was made.  The infantry button (also from Carol’s collection) is marked BOWLEY & CO  MELBOURNE.

Screen shot 2016-05-14 at 3.26.39 PM Screen shot 2016-05-14 at 3.27.08 PM







Screen shot 2017-01-14 at 4.14.45 PM

A,Bowley uniform button (Ebay advert)

Screen shot 2017-01-14 at 4.14.35 PM











A.J.Parkes & Co,  Brisbane:

Established in 1896 as a medallion,  medal,  uniform button and badges manufacturer.  Mr Arthur James Parkes (c. 1867- 6th May 1950) was an experienced die-sinker from London.

AMF button, backmarked A.J.Parkes. Brisbane.

AMF button

NSW Tramways backmarked A.J.Parkes. Brisbane.

NSW Tramways

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 6.24.33 PM

L to R: N.S.W. Railways,  Post Master General Department,  Queensland Railways

Commonwealth gazettes, 1953

Commonwealth Gazettes, 1951

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-2-46-23-pm screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-2-46-09-pm






An unusual A.J.Parkes scout button in plastic.


Anthony Hordern & Sons,  Sydney:

This was once the largest retail company in Australia.  It became Anthony Horden and Sons in 1869,  from earlier versions of the family’s draper and retail business.  The company established factories across Sydney which produced a diverse range of items, including,  it seems,  buttons. Tony Earl has kindly shared this picture of a button of the Prince Alfred Yacht Club back-marked A.Hordern & Sons,  Sydney that dates from 1867-1911.


The business was finally sold to Waltons in 1970. They also retailed Beutron buttons; see below.

Screen shot 2016-07-22 at 8.54.22 PM


C.K.Moore. Sydney:

This article from NSW newspapers in 1873 is the sum of my knowledge!

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 6.15.47 PM Screen shot 2016-05-15 at 4.29.49 PM Screen shot 2016-05-15 at 4.29.40 PM







The above button is NSW goal wardens button from this maker that sold on Ebay.

Charles Anderson and Co., Ltd ,  Sydney:

Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 6.01.16 PM

Charles Anderson, circa 1900

NSW military brass uniform button dated 1881-1901. made by C.Anderson, Sydney

NSW military brass uniform button dated 1881-1901 made by C. Anderson, Sydney.

Charles Anderson was born in 1838.  He came to Australia from Scotland about 1880 with his wife Mary-Jane.  He established a large hat factory on the corner of Nicholls and Albion Streets, Surry Hills,  next to his home, Durham Hall,  where he lived until his death in 1924.  By around 1900 he was described as a “civil,  military and naval tailor”. The business had it’s beginning a decade pre- federation importing hats and was initially called the New Federal Hat Mills of Sydney.  It was registered as Charles Anderson and Co,  Limited in 1903 and was called Anderson’s Industries,  Limited,  by the time of his death.  It produced buttons for the armed forces and police  including during the periods of WW1 and WW2.  Examples,  like the above one,  are found in the Powerhouse museum and Australian War Memorial collections.  Here is an exert from N.S.W. tenders showing orders for buttons from the company in 1910.

Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 5.30.04 PM

Screen shot 2016-09-05 at 7.55.12 PMScreen shot 2016-09-05 at 7.55.24 PM







C. R. Martin; Melbourne:

Screen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.29.11 AMScreen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.28.59 AM 

Charles Roper Martin (1833-1910) arrived in Melbourne in 1852 on the same ship as my husband’s great-grandfather. In 1885 he established an importing business in Flinders Lane,  particularly gold and silver lace.  He was a pioneer of the Melbourne Cavalry Troop,  and rose to the rank of Commanding officer,  retiring with the rank of Major. His interest in military matters extended to manufacturing of military trappings.  The button above shows a Queen Victoria crown, and was produced for the Queensland Railways, so he was also producing government uniform buttons.

G.A.Miller,  Sydney:

The company's current logo.

The company’s current logo.

Gustav  Adolph Carlberg (Miller),  who despite being quoted by the company he started as Swedish born, was born in Sydney in 1879 to Swedish parents.  He was apprenticed to W.J.Amor (see below) before joining a Mr Morris in 1900 in partnership as badge and medallion makers ‘Miller and Morris’,  which became ‘Miller and Sons’ in 1910.   A tender was accepted in 1906 (along with Stokes & Sons) to supply military uniform buttons. Gustav died in Sydney on the 9th January 1947.  It continues today as G.A.Millers.

Parsons, Thompson, and Co,  Sydney:

Here’s a nice little story from the Sydney Morning Herald, 10th February, 1881

Screen shot 2015-11-20 at 7.40.04 PM

The firm was later renamed as Messrs. Thompson & Co. and traded in Victoria as well.

Jewish Herald, 26th April 1889.

Screen shot 2017-04-14 at 7.36.40 PM

Jewish Herald, 26th April 1889.

Pike Brothers. Brisbane;

Two English brothers, Edwin and Walter Pike, came to Brisbane in 1883.  They established their business,  Pike Brothers,  in 1885.

Published 16th may 1885 in the Queensland Figaro.

Published 16th may 1885 in the Queensland Figaro.

Screen shot 2017-02-25 at 7.53.59 PMScreen shot 2017-02-25 at 7.54.19 PM






They were successful, and opened branches around Queensland, as well as an office in London. In 1956 the firm was bought by the Melbourne outfitters, Leviathan (for more, see the tailor’s button page) although stores continued to trade under the name Pikes Brothers, then Pikes’.

4th July 1903

Published in The Telegraph 4th July 1903.

P. J. King Pty. Ltd. Melbourne:

Percy John King (1870-1933) established his business in 1893.  It covered engraving,  die sinking and rubber stamp making.  The company also made uniform buttons (see below).  Together with Brim Medallions,  Wheelan’s Castings and Swan & Hudson,  the company was amalgamated into JJ Cash in the late 1980’s,  now Cash’s Australia.

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 9.47.49 PM

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 10.24.56 PM

RAA buttons: backmarked P.J.King Melb.

RAA buttons: back-marked P.J.King Melb.

S.Schlank & Co. Ltd., Adelaide:

Salis P. Sclank  (Salias Schonlank) was a Prussian Jewish jeweller who started his own company from the Adelaide branch of a previous partnership (P.Falk & Co.) in 1877.  The company was a leading medal and badge maker until 1971.

The Express and Telegraph, 27th Jun 1892

The Express and Telegraph, 27th Jun 1892.  After his death his widow, and later his sons, continued the business.  The button below was seen on Ebay.


Shierlaw & Co. Adelaide:

Screen shot 2016-05-20 at 3.59.35 PM

From Carol’s collection.

Screen shot 2016-05-20 at 3.59.24 PM







From Commonwealth Gazettes. 1902.

From Commonwealth Gazettes 1902.

The Shierlaw’s were tailors, outfitters and merchants from 1860 who had a large mail order business.  They supplied uniforms for South Australian Military Forces from around 1877 through to 1901. They also supplied uniforms for Station Masters, for Cadet Corps and for the police.  In 1906 when they opened a new store of “excellent design” in Gisbourne, New Zealand.  The business continued in family hands until approximately 1920.

see: http://www.auspostalhistory.com/articles/1902.php

Published in The Advertiser (Adelaide) on the 24th September 1860

Published in The Advertiser (Adelaide) on the 24th September 1860 The brothers Geprge and William Shierlaw started their partnership at this time. The name was changed to Shierlaw & Co. on the death of George in 1890. The family came from Scotland.

Walter Mockton: Fitzroy, Melbourne:

This  rare button from Carol’s collection is believed to be from the Castlemaine Fire Brigade.  The Backmark is W.MOCKTON. FITZROY.  It took some effort,  but I managed to find a reference online from a 1913 street directory;

Screen shot 2016-05-19 at 9.16.06 PM


Screen shot 2016-05-19 at 8.49.41 PM Screen shot 2016-05-19 at 8.49.50 PM








W.Chorley, Sydney:

Australian Horse uniform button c.1898-1921

Australian Horse uniform button c.1898-1921 from an auction ad.

Screen shot 2016-06-14 at 6.37.57 PM


William Chorley

William Chorley

William Chorley (1860-1935),  tailor,  came to Australia from England in 1883.  ‘Chorley & Co. Tailor and Robe Maker”  in George Street, Sydney became renowned,  and specialised in formal court dress and service uniforms. The firm continued until 1980.   See also  http://www.bchg.org.au/index.php/en/people/individuals/a-f/56-chorley-w-xxxx

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-23-19-pm screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-23-49-pm screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-4-24-03-pm

Published in The Sun (Sydney) 29th January 1950.


William Henderson, Sydney:

William Henderson was a warehouseman/merchant whose company,  William Henderson & Co.,  Pitt Street,  Sydney,  supplied military and government uniforms, including buttons, by tender in the 1880’s to 1890’s.

Evening News (Sydney) 30th March 1886

Evening News (Sydney) 30th March 1886

WISEMAN BROS. : Melbourne

In the 1880’s  Albert and Walter ran a business in Flinders Lane, Melbourne,  as soft-goods warehousemen.  Along with their brother Arthur,  they were well regarded as philanthropists.

Mount Alexander Mail, 26th October 1906

Mount Alexander Mail, 26th October 1906

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-54-00-pm screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-54-13-pm







W.J. Amor,  Sydney:Screen shot 2016-07-20 at 7.09.16 PM

William Joseph Amor (1860-1955)  was a skilled English  medalist and die engraver who established his business in Sydney in 1888.  It became a limited company in 1917.  From 1943 til 1978 it traded as Amor P/L when the company was renamed Amor-Sanders  and continued to 1997 as the premier medal,  badge and institutional button manufacturer in New South Wales.  The company then split into two smaller entities.  For more information see http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=10737&utm_source=api&utm_medium=api&utm_campaign=828f4d948d537cf

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 3.45.09 PM

Extracted from an article published in the Sunday Times (Sydney) 11th May 1919

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 3.47.00 PM

Screen shot 2016-02-12 at 3.38.25 PMScreen shot 2016-02-12 at 3.38.44 PM


dies from Amor-Sanders used to make medals, Badges and Buttons, from the Power House Museum.

Dies from Amor-Sanders used to make medals, Badges and Buttons, from the Power House Museum.