Branded buttons: tailors’ buttons

 Here we show-case tailoring buttons, from the individual to  large emporiums such as The Leviathan. The buttons are listed alphabetically as the names were printed onto the buttons.

A. Boswarrick, Melbourne:

Arthur Boswarrick, originally from Ballarat, (1867-1944) was a tailor in Sale, Victoria, in partnership with Mr Herbert Phillips. They ended their partnership in 1889, with Arthur continuing alone. Unfortunately the business failed the following year. He moved to Melbourne by 1891 and by 1893 he was advertising for employees for his “Eclipse Tailoring Company” in Sydney Road, Brunswick. He was involved in the local council and also local sporting clubs.  His first wife died in 1904 and his second wife in 1909, only days after giving birth. How sad.

A. Bowley & Company, Melbourne:

Mr. Alfred Bowley. He was mayor of Camberwell in 1911-1913.

As  a naval and military uniform outfitter in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, they were importing items such as buttons from London from 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 (Melbourne),  26th September 1936.

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic) 22nd december 1899

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic),  22nd December 1899.

The Argus(Melbourne),  26th April 1945.

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Back of MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) uniform button that specifically indicates it was made in England.

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

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From an auction advert.







Above: Carol tells me this style button was for nurses uniforms.

From Museum Victoria: Officer’s Full Dress jacket c.1904 with brass buttons marked ‘Bowley & Co Melbourne”.

Alston & Brown, Melbourne:

Mr Alston was born in Glasgow and came to Melbourne in 1852. In 1857, due to the retirement of his previous partner, Thomas Alston went into partnership with William White Brown selling clothing and drapery. They became known as very fashionable, high class drapers in Collins Street until they closed the business in 1888. Mr Alston was to become a director of various companies and public institutions and a J.P. He died on Christmas Day,1907.

The article below was published in the Australasian, 12th July, 1884.

A. N. Lovick, Adelaide:


News, 10th April 1924.

Allan Andrew Nesbit Lovick was born in Banbury, England in 1880 and died in Adelaide in 1944. A. N. Lovick & Co were tailors located in King William Street from c.1923 through to 1938.

News (Adelaide), 26th March 1924.

News (Adelaide), 12th December 1936.

Archer & Cottrell, Richmond:

Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser, 3rd Jan 1914.

From around 1911 Denis Cottrell and John Harry Archer advertised as high-class tailors in Swan Street, Richmond. Sadly, in 1912 at the age of only 26 years, Denis died in hospital. Archer continued under the name of ‘Archer & Cottrell” until 1914, then continued as ‘Archer’s’ until  around 1937, two years before his death in 1939. He had been a former treasurer and president of Richmond football club, and a life member.

A caricature of ‘Jack’ Archer in 1931.


The actual man; 1931.















A.S. Austen, Melbourne:


Arthur Scott Austen( 1890-1960) operated his tailoring business from Howey Place, and later The Block Arcade, Collins Street from 1920, after the dissolution of a previous partnership, until 1943. He was very involved in  Red Cross and Legacy. In 1946 he joined the Victorian Soldier Settlement Commision.

Ashmans, Bendigo:

W. G. Ashman

William George Ashman (1870-1944) started as a tailor in High Street, Eaglehawk circa 1891.  In 1908 he admitted into partnership  his brother, Arthur Thomas Ashman, as “Ashman Bros. tailors, hatters and mercers”, but by 1915 the partnership was dissolved. William continued as W.G. Ashman “The Northern District Tailors” and Arthur moved to Bacchus marsh to run his own business, although he moved back to Eaglehawk in 1918.

Bendigonian, 16 December 1915.

William had some trouble along the way. In 1901 he has to give up all his assets to creditors. In 1909 he was sentenced to 6 weeks gaol for buying gold without a licence; the authorities clamping down on this practice due to its link with gold stealing.

In 1936 William registered a new company of Ashman (William George) and Sons Pty Ltd with his sons William Basil, Eric Raglus, John Osbourne and Charles Kenneth. This business was in liquidation in 2007.

Ben Cohen, Melbourne:

Benjamin Cohen (1853-1935),  tailor and outfitter, operated from 252 Collins Street from around 1902, then the Flinders Building in Flinders Street from around 1911. In 1920 he was listed in the Eastern Arcade. The Eastern Arcade no longer exists, but ran from Lt Collins Street to Bourke Street in between Russell and Exhibition Streets. In 1922  a Ben Cohen was arrested for running an illegal betting house in the Eastern Arcade, so presumably in was the same man.

Bidencopes Ltd., Hobart:









Joseph Bidnecope,  tailor and mercer,  advertised for tailors to work for him as early as 1861.  He was born in Poland and moved to Hobart in 1858.  The business was a  successful fashion house,  as well as supplying naval and military uniforms.  They became well known for their hats.  Two sons would join the business.  He was still working when he died in 1915,  aged nearly eighty years.  His grandsons would sell the business in 1977.

The Mercury (Hobart), 11th April 1921.

The Mercury (Hobart),  31st March 1921.


Burkby and Waggen,  Sale:

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Frederick James Burby and his son-in-law, Vincent St.Clair Wagglen, took over a tailoring business in Sale in 1923.

Gippsland Times, 12th March 1923.

Gippsland Times, 12th March 1923.

Less than 18 months later they dissolved the partnership, with Mr Wagglen continuing alone.  There must be a sad tale underlying this, as he only kept the business going for another two years before starting again in Sunshine. This business in turn only lasted for around 3 years. In the following years he was separated from his wife then in 1941 he died at the young age of 50 years.

C. A. Jago,  South Melbourne:

Charles Arthur Jago (1893-1955),  in partnership with his uncle,  Holmes Gillman Jago,  were merchant tailors in Bank Street.  His uncle retired in 1927.

Published in the Record, 4th September 1908.

Possible original premises in Bank Street.

189 Bank Street, the advertised new premises.

Capon & Montgomerie, Melbourne:

In 1902 Messers Capon and Montgomerie were delighted to announce their new tailoring store in Collins St. Walter William store has previously managed the Mutal Store.

The Herald, 11 Sep 1913.

Norman Leslie Mongomerie, supposedly the best dressed man in Melbourne, died in 1926 aged 55 years. After this the business was sold to Walter Arnold Walker who continued trading under the Capon & Montgomerie name, but had to sell everything to pay his creditors in 1927. After his partner’s death Mr Capon continued as an outfitter until his retirement. He lived in Camberwell and died in 1941.

Norman Montgomerie, 1925

C. Anderson,  Sydney:

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Charles Anderson, circa 1900.

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

N.S.W. military brass uniform button dated 1881-1901 made by C. Anderson, Sydney.

From the Australian War Memorial collection: “Original mounting board and paper containing 24 large size (24mm diameter) Australian Commonwealth buttons. All the buttons are identical and un-issued and have the British Monarch, Edward VII’s royal cypher under a King’s crown, and the words ‘AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH’ around the bottom edge. The reverse has stamped ‘ANDERSON SYDNEY BRITISH MAKE'”. Dated 1936.

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. The business had it’s beginning a decade pre- federation importing hats and was initially called the ‘New Federal Hat Mills of Sydney’. From as early as 1895 he was described as a “military tailor”. The company was registered as ‘Charles Anderson and Company Limited’ in 1903 and was called ‘Anderson’s Industries Limited’,  by the time of his death in 1924. They supplied uniforms, trimming and buttons for the armed forces and police. 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.

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New South Wales tramways uniform buttons. Note the “British Make” , this indicates that the buttons were sourced from English makers.

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Above: NSW Mounted Rifles 1892-1901 motto “TOUJOURS PRET”( Always Ready). Backmark: C.Anderson Sydney.

Chas. Lane & Co, Melbourne:

Charles Lane ran a high class tailor’s in Flinders Street from 1902 until the business was absorbed into the business of a neighbouring tailor’s in 1929.

Table Talk, 5th April 1917.

The Herald, 28th Oct 1921.

Charles bought pasture in Coleraine in 1933,  and despite having no prior experience as a grazier was very successful. He appeared to have a long term connection with Western Victoria: a local agent was selling clothes from his business in 1906. Unfortunately, he seemed to have seperated from his wife; they were not listed living together in the electoral rolls after 1919.









C.K.Moore, Sydney:

Charles Kelso Moore (1834-1894) was an Irishman and merchant who lived in Sydney from 1859 onwards. His business supplied tenders for the public service and Post Office. He was very involved in public life, running as Major for Waverley, as well as being involved in the New South Wales Rifle Brigade and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

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Queanbeyan (NSW), 30th October 1873.

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Clayton and Croucher,  South Melbourne:

Published in Record, 1926

Published in Record, 1926.

All I can find is that these gentlemen were tailors/clothing manufacturers operating from the corner of Docas and Clarendon Streets, South Melbourne, in about 1925-27.

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Cramond & Dickson, Warrnambool:

In 1855 John Glass Crammond (1831-1910) and James Dickson ( 1831-1910)  started a general store specialising in drapery imported from London. The partnership was dissolved in 1886, with the business staying with the Dickson family until 1974.  It was the oldest store in Victoria trading under its original name.  James Dickson junior, who married the daughter of the co-founder, would manage the business after his father.

Sadly, the store has been demolished. For further information, see and .

C.R. Hiam, Balaclava:

The name is rather worn.

Charles Robert Hiam (1855-1924) established his tailoring business in 1887 in Carlisle Street,  Balaclava having previously worked for Gissing and Co. He advertised “cricketing and sporting garments made to order” and was at one time “the oldest established tailor in St Kilda.”

C. R. Martin, Melbourne:


The Age (Melbourne), 3rd July 1884.

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 importing/manufacturing of military trappings. The button above shows a Queen Victoria crown and was produced for the Queensland Railways. The one below is apparently a Queensland Volunteers uniform button.







David Campbell, Warracknabeal:

David (Davy) Campbell described himself as a Scotsman, but was born in Melbourne in 1875. He came to Western Victoria circa 1899 where he ran a tailoring business, first in Warracknabeal, then Horsham, then Dimboola before moving back to Melbourne. He died in Yarraville in 1945. He must have had quite a sense of humour ( and a ‘thing’ about camels)… just look at his advertising!

16th Jan 1914.

5th May 1914.

7th July 1914.

25th September 1914.

26th Oct 1915.

2nd Nov 1915.

7th February 1919.

18th July 1919.

Davies & Leon,  Melbourne:


The Herald, 8th August 1940. The tailors were enlisting (“joining the The Colours”) and so sold their stock to Myer’s.

D. J. Humphreys, Sydney:

Mr D.Humphrey was listed as a tailor in Sydney from around 1863-1883.

Evening News, 28th June 1883.

E.J. & D. Curran, Bathurst:

Edward J. Curran (originally Curren) was originally a cutter for W.G. Ward in Bathurst. He set up his own business, Curran and Taylor, in 1892,  then E.J. & D. Curran (with his brother Daniel) in 1895, which was very successful.

The building of E.J. and D. Curran, Bathurst.

National Advocate (Bathurst), 1st April 1932.

This remarkable man went back to school, studying science and law, and worked as a Barrister in Sydney. He then studied medicine, and went on to establish the Opthamologly Department at Kansas University, USA, becoming known as “the miracle man of Kansas”, and was a pioneer in the area of glaucoma. He was also the Professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology at the Kansas University. Not bad for a tailor! He died in 1962.


E. THOMAS, St Kilda:

Mr Elijah Thomas, tailor and outfitter of Grey Street,  St Kilda. According to the information found in , he came from England around 1900. Three generations of his family operated  “E.Thomas Pty. Ltd. Mercers and Men’s Ware” from then until 1980.


F. A. Johnson, Richmond:

Frederick Adolph Johnson was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1888.  From 1930 he lived in Richmond, moving to Morwell around 1939.

F. A. Pearse, Corowa:

Frederick Arthur Pearse (1879-1952) described himself as  an ‘art tailor and mercer” in 1912.  He re-badged himself as a “Ladies’ and Gents’ Modern tailor” and advertised until 1932.

The Corowa Chronicle 1st May 1926.

The Corowa Chronicle 26th November 1927

F. Bourne & Son, Adelaide:







Frederick Bourne was born in 1855 in Kent and arrived in South Australia in 1873. He started as a tailor in 1888 in Adelaide, then in Kadina and Moonta before moving back to Adelaide in 1903. One of his 5 sons, a George Horation Bourne worked with his father and continued the business after Fred died of injuries sustained when a train hit the car he and three others were traveling in. (All 4 men died as a result of the crash.)

Unley Gallipoli Day program, 12th October 1918.

F. Williamson, Warrnambool:

Warrnambool Standard, 8th October 1918.

Edward ( 1841-1925) passed his tailoring business on to his son in 1918. Fredrick( 1880-1945) became the mayor of Warrnambool. He collapsed and died suddenly during a council meeting, soon after an operation.

Gilbert A. Parker,  Melbourne:

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Gilbert Alexander Parker was born in 1897 in Bunbury, West Australia. His family moved to Melbourne after the death of his father. He started work as a tailor’s cutter, progressed to tailor and then manager. In 1929 to 1931 he advertised for sewers and machinists to work at 152 Elizabeth Street, 4th Floor.

The Age, 15th November 1929.

The Age (Melbourne), 15th November 1929.

G. L. Fuller & Co.Ltd.: Sydney

George Lawrence Fuller, son of Sir George Fuller (former N.S.W. premier) listed a company of tailors and mercers in September 1932 with a Mr George Newton. Not suprisingly, they were called Newton & Fuller Limited, operating from 84 Pitt Street, Sydney. The name was changed in November 1934 to G.L.Fuller & Co.Ltd, probably to take full advantage of the upper-class value of his name. The company advertised until 1945, after which George became a member of the Stock exchange, and in 1950 joined the partnership of J.Neil and Fuller. Unfortunately, he died in 1953 at the young age of 49 years.

The Sun (Sydney), 16th April 1935.

The Bulletin, 26th May 1938.

Guest & Glover: Melbourne


Guest and Glover were tailors from around 1930-1952, at first on the second floor, The Block, then later at 234 Collins Street.

Advocate(Melbourne) 21st June 1934.

Advocate(Melbourne),  21st June 1934.

 G. Waldrop Pty. Limited, Melbourne:

George Waldrop started his tailoring and mercers business around 1885. It was taken over by Roger David Pty. Ltd. in 1977.

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Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser 14th October 1921

Haigh Brothers:  Melbourne

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Haigh Brothers were tailors and outfitters in Collins Street from 1853 through until at least 1926.

The Argus 18th June 1853.

The Argus (Melbourne), 18th June 1853.

The Argus 27th November 1923.

The Argus (Melbourne),  27th November 1923.

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Circa 1883.  Collins Street from Town Hall.

Howes and Howes, Sydney:

The Sun, 8th June 1911.

Howes and Howes opened in Pitt Street  in 1889, and started to be wound up in 1971. One of the original “Howes” was Alfred Howes; the other may have been a brother. His father, George Howes was also a tailor in Sydney from at least 1854, and was considered a father of the  trade in that city, having trained or employed many of the city’s tailors. He died in 1909 at the age of 81 years. Alfred was born in Sydney in 1864,  and died after surgery for appedicitis in 1919. In his will Alfred left the business to be run as a limited company, with his family and old employees as the founding shareholders.

Hughes & Co, Sydney:

Edward Hughes was the owner of this establishment, which operated from Erkine Street, Sydney, from around 1894 to 1931.

The Worker (Wagga Wagga) 17th June 1899.

I. & J. Roff, Ballarat:

Joseph Roff (probably the younger).

Brothers Isaac (1819-1892) and Joseph (1827-1894) Roff started the firm of I. and J. Roff  in 1854. As  ‘Tailors and Colonial Manufacturers’. Under Joseph’s management, they claimed to be the oldest tailoring firm in Ballarat.  The brothers also had a ‘bill posting’ and advertising contracting business with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Ballarat. Isaac was the director of the Melbourne office in Little Flinders Street. His son (also called Joseph) would join the tailoring firm, which was still going in 1928.

From Museum of Applied Arts and Science c.1910. This is in Sydney. the name Roff can be seen above the posters.

Ince Bros., Melbourne:

Richard Ince and his brother Arthur owned this tailoring firm. Richard was born in Collingwood in 1863. Soon after the family moved to Ballarat were his father, Richard senior, was a cutter for L. S. Christie & Co, before going into partnership  as ‘Young and Ince’. The sons also worked with this  firm. Around 1887 Arthur moved to Geelong and Richard moved to Melbourne. They operated as Ince Bothers, with Richard located in Swanston Street. They would travel to country towns such as Camperdown, Kyneton and Yackandanda to take fittings for suits.

Wahalla Chronicle and Moondarra Advertiser, 23rd April 1915.

In 1901 their mother died in Ballarat. Richard senior re-married in 1903, at the age of 71 years, to a 25 year old woman in Melbourne. Having  married in the afternoon they booked into a hotel. Twenty minutes after retiring, the new bride ran to the manager for help; her husband lying dead in his bed. Oh dear!

Jas Marshall and Co;  Adelaide

In 1879 James Wadell Marshall (1845-1925) along with William Taylor and James Porter bought out the business of retiring John Hodgkins in Rundle street,  and set up as James Marshall & Co, drapers and importers.  They grew to be a large department store,  until they were taken over by Myers in 1928.

Detail from advertising in The South Australian Advertiser, 19th August 1879.

James Waddell Marshall 1845-1925 was born in Scotland and moved to Adelaide in 1867.

The store in Rundle Street, 1881.

J. Dorance, Naracoorte:

James was quite the gypsy. In 1896 he moved from Albury to Bunbury, West Australia. He sold his tailoring business in 1903 “due to ill health” and traveled to England to recuperate. In 1910 he was back in West Australia, tailoring in Narrogin. In 1919 he moved to Dimboola Road, Horsham, then to Narracorte about 1924 for 5 years. In 1929 he moved to Kadina in South Australia as he wished to set up a massage clinic (?He had studied this whilst overseas.) Ind until his death in 1951, aged 86 years. At least we can date this button to a 5 year period, from 1924-1929!!

J. E. Buchan, Bendgio:

John Edward Buchan was born in Melbourne,  but moved to Ballarat as a child. He was a tailor situated at “Bath Corner”. In 1885 he partnered with Mr Jackson to form the “Gold Mines Clothing Company”. Several year later Jackson had to retire due to ill health and John continued alone. Unfortunately John contracted pneumonia and died in December of 1897, aged only forty-one years.

Bendigo Advertiser, 16th September 1885.

Bendigo Advertiser, 17th January 1888.

J. H. Cutler, Sydney:

Joseph Handle Cutler opened a tailoring shop in Sydney in 1884. It became the tailor to Sydney’s elite, and continues today as a 4th generation family firm of bespoke tailors.

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J. J. Scotchmer, Lismore:

John James Scotchmer was born in England in 1854. He moved to New South Wales and started tailoring, first in Milton in 1880, then in Nowra from 1883,  and then at Woodlark Street, Lismore from 1907. From 1922 his son Randolph Charles Scotchmer (who had worked with Hooper and Harrison) joined him, so the business became J. J. Scotchmer and Son.

From the The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 7th March 1891:  J.J.Scotchmer’s tailoring establishment in Nowra.

Northern Star, 17th Jul 1907.

J. P. Jorgenson, Marysborough:

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Julius Peter Jorgenson was the son of a Danish born tailor. He set up as a tailor in Maryborough, Queensland.

published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 24th August 1921.

Published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 24th August 1921.

published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 10 July 1936.

Published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 10 July 1936.

Kewley & Millsom, Melbourne:

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William David Kewley and Henry Alfred  Thomas Millsom were high class tailors,  ladies costume and habit makers in the Empire Arcade,  266 Flinders Street,  next to the Mutal Store,  from around 1906 until their partnership was dissolved in 1914.  Mr Millsom moved to Queensland and later Numurak Victoria,  with Kewley continuing in Flinders Street.

Punch (Melbourne) 4th September 1913.

Punch (Melbourne) 4th September 1913.

Punch 20th Nov 1913

Punch(Melbourne) 20th November 1913



















Kitchener & Co. Ltd.,  Sydney:

1916 photo from Sydney archives. 161-163 George Street, Sydney. Kitchener’s is in the central building.

From 1910 the first version of this company, owned by William Charles Chorley (see also the entry further down page) was named Kitchener Tailoring Co, becoming Kitchener Ltd in 1911. It was a naval and military outfitters in George St, then Hunter Street, Sydney. It existed under this name until at least the 1990s. (Some items are labelled as  Sandhurst. Kitchener & Co. Pty. Ltd. )

Grand Anzac military tattoo, navy, army and air force, official program April 1935. Here it states that they have been uniform specialists for 65 years (i.e.from 1870). As William Chorley started his tailoring business in 1883, perhaps this refers to Kitchener. I have been unable to find out who this was.

Buttons backmarker Kitchener Ltd Sydney

Buttons backmarked ‘Kitchener Ltd Sydney’ from an auction ad. Below: An example from Carol’s collection.















Leviathan Limited,  Melbourne:

The Leviathan Limited was a tailoring/retail firm from 1865 until 1972. They built the Leviathan Building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets in 1912-13, the ground floor of which has been separated into smaller stores since the late 1970s. The firm had a link with another Victorian icon, Fletcher Jones, as Mr David Fletcher Jones was a director of Leviathan Ltd in the 1950s.


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Sporting Globe 24th September 1927


Lincoln Stuart & Co., Melbourne:

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Image H28190/390 National Library of Australia.   Francis Stuart c.1888

Francis (Frank) Stuart lived 1844 -1910. He was apprenticed to a draper in Sydney, but as he eloped with his bosses’ daughter, he high-tailed it to Melbourne in 1866. He worked for McIvor & Lincoln, and on the death of McIvor in 1889 the company was registered as Lincoln Stuart & Co. ltd. In 1885 they were contracted to supply uniforms for the NSW Sudan regiment. The Australian War Memorial has a doublet from a uniform of the Victorian Scottish Regiment (circa 1900) and Museum Victoria has a straw boater hat from the company. The company was taken over by John Snow & Co. Ltd in 1926, but traded under this name until at least 1951.  See more in his biography;

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Image H96.160/893 National Library of Australia; company advertising











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From Carol’s collection.

London Stores Limited, Melbourne:

Frank Samuel Meyers (1869 -1931) established this tailoring firm in Adelaide in 1896. He expanded to Melbourne, Launceston, Hobert, Colac and Castlemaine and publicly listed the company in 1911. Franks’s son Valleck continued the business after his father’s death. They made uniforms during WW2.

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The Bourke Street, Melbourne, London Store.

The Age 10th September 1926

The Age (Melbourne), 10th September 1926.

The Argus, 8th August 1946

The Argus (Melbourne),  8th August 1946.

Louis Epstein Pty Ltd,  Melbourne:

Louis Aaron Valentine Epstein was born in England in 1879. His family emigrated to Melbourne in 1889. Of his ten children three sons, Keith, Phillip and Garth, joined his tailoring business which was located in Epstein House, 133 Flinders Street, Melbourne. They maintained the firm until retiring, gaining a reputation as bespoke tailors as well as uniform and equestrian clothing manufacturers (they supplied Victorian police uniforms). The firm was the first importers and retailers of Levi Strauss jeans in Australia.


Photo from 1985

Photo from 1985.

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Brighton Southern Cross, 8th feb 1908

Published in Brighton Southern Cross, 8th February 1908.

Lowes Ltd, Sydney and Newcastle:

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Founded in 1898 as W. Lowe and Company, tailors and outfitters, and still trading as a chain of men’s, boys’ and school wear stores. In 1911 it was formed into Lowes. It existed as a single store until expanding in 1948.

published in the Catholic Weekly (Sydney), 15th March 1951

Published in the Catholic Weekly (Sydney), 15th March 1951.

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L. Sullivan, Euroa:

In 1919-1920 Laurence Sullivan advertised his tailoring shop in the former E.T. Stammers  (also country tailors) store.

Euroa Advertiser,  23rd January 1920.

Lunn & Holmes, Shepparton:

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In 1922 Arthur Lunn and Tom Holmes, who had previously worked for  John Zimmerman’s tailoring concern in Maryborough, established their own business in Shepparton at 170 Wyndham Street. They prospered and listed the company in 1929. Tragically,  Mr Lunn died suddenly of a seizure whilst driving his car. He was only 47 years at the time. The company continued until 1958.

Advocate, 4th August 1938.

Advocate (Melbourne), 4th August 1938.

Mark & Philip, Ballarat:

These tailors operated from bridge Street, Ballarat in the 1930-1950s.

Marks & Kent, Melbourne:

Marks & Kent first advertised in Melbourne newspapers in 1884. Their tailoring and outfitting business was in the “The Little Monster” store, 107 Swanston Street (current site of the Manchester United Building). In 1886 Henry Morris Marks  and Albert Samuel Kent ended their partnership with Kent continuing alone, possibly until 1891. He left for West Australia before 1903 and died there in 1916.

Henry (Harry) Morris Marks (Zvi Ben Moshe) became a sharebroker and lived in Albert Park. He died in 1909.

Mather Bros, Ballarat:

James Walter Oliphant Mather, a Scot by birth, was a tailor in Armstrong Street, Ballarat. In 1918, two years before he died, he handed over his business to his sons, Walter Percival, James Lewis and Francis Richard to run as Mather Brothers. James died in 1931 and ‘Perce” retired in 1946. I don’t know if the business continued after this.

Hopetoun Courier and Malle Pioneer, 23rd August 1918. I Couldn’t find any advertising for the brothers.

Millers, Ballarat:

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Miller’s the Clothiers was an early Ballarat institution. It must have predated 1863, as it issued trade tokens that were banned in Victoria from that year.

The Ballarat Star, 4th March 1924.

The Ballarat Star, 4th March 1924.

Murdoch’s, Sydney:

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Established by Sir James Anderson Murdoch (1867-1939) in 1893, it was claimed to be “the world’s largest store for men and boy’s ware” in 1928. James had previously worked for Hordern’s (see story above). The store still existed after WW2, when was sold to Walton’s.

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Murdoch’s store (later Walton’s). It was demolished in 1984.

Newbury & Son, Melbourne:

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Charles Hyatt Newbury junior, son of Charles Hyatt Newbury senior, grocer, and later his son,  Charles Robert Newbury, were mercers and drapers in City Road, Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne) from before 1890 until at least 1922. The next Charles (Renton) Newbury let down the family by becoming an orthodontist.

1934 CR Newbury

The Record (Emerald Hill) October 1922.

The Record (Emerald Hill, Melbourne), October 1922.

O’Brien & Earle, Melbourne:

Frederick Davidson Earle (1888-1947) and Lorne Alfred O’Brien were tailors in the Manchester Unity Buildings around 1929 to 1956.

The Argus, 5th January 1934.

The Argus (Melbourne), 5th January 1934.

O’Neill & Co., Sydney:

Merchant shipping company uniform button: Howard Smith Line

Back mark: O’Neill & Co Sydney







Michael O’Neill was a master tailor in Sydney. In 1843 he moved to King Street then in 1844 to Bridge Street.  In 1847 he was planning to leave Sydney due to ill health, but if so, he soon returned as he advertised as he recommenced business in 1848. He advertised as “M. O’Neill & Co., Outfitters and Tailors” at 555 George Street (opposite Bridge Street)  until 1855, and died in 1856.

From 1853 there was advertised the tailors “O’Neill & Ross”  then later “O’Neill & Co” in Lower George Street. This was James O’Neill, possibly a relative (?son). There is a connection with the O’Neill’s of Maitland, New South wales, where another James O’Neill  ran a draper’s store in the 1860s.

According to the Australian National Maritime Museum:

“Howard Smith Limited was established in 1854 by Captain William Howard Smith, who began transporting both people and supplies to the goldfields. Originally founded as William Howard Smith and Sons Pty Ltd, the company became Howard Smith Company Ltd in 1901 and in 1914 changed to Howard Smith Limited. The company has interests in distribution of hardware, towage and safety. According to deListed Howard Smith Ltd. was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange on 17 October 2001 because it was taken over (compulsory) by Wesfarmers Retail Pty Ltd.”

It is therefore likely that the button came from the business belonging to James, but possibly Michael.

Palmers, Sydney:


The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th May 1931




Palmers (F. J. Palmers and Son’s Ltd) was a menswear department store selling “Everything for Mankind and The Boy”. The photo below, from the 1930s in the NSW State Library collection, shows the store close to Murdoch’s.

Frederick John Palmer was born in 1854 in Bristol, England. He started as a hat manufacturer in Sydney in 1880, then expanded into tailoring and mercery.  His son Ernest Albert Palmer would run the Haymarket branch of their business. He died suddenly after a short illness in 1920, at the age of 63 years.

Frederick John Palmer

Ernest Albert Palmer









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.

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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 although stores continued to trade under the name ‘Pikes Brothers’, then later ‘Pikes’.

4th July 1903

Published in The Telegraph(Brisbane),  4th July 1903.

R.C.Hagen, Sydney:

Richard Charles Hagen (1855-1944) worked as a tailor for Farmer’s (see above) before starting his own business in 1880.

published 1 September 1937, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Published 1 September 1937, The Sydney Morning Herald.





















R. C. Norman, Melbourne:

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Richard Charles Norman was born in Middlesex in 1874. He was a tailor in Melbourne from at least 1903 and died in 1943.

R.Finch, Beechworth:

Richard Finch (1830-1910) was one of the earliest settlers of Beechworth.  He came to Victoria in 1854,  lured by the gold rush.  He would set up as a clothier and tailor in Ford Street,  later joined by his sons. After his retirement in 1902 his sons  to continued the business.

Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 12th October 1901.

R.W. Raby, Melbourne:

Sorry about the definition; the button is quite worn.

Robert William Raby was a tailor and outfitter in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne from at least 1894.  Around the years of 1896-1905 his business was known as “Raby and Co.” then he was in partnership with Alexander Wilson as “Raby and Wilson” from around 1909-1913.  After that he operated as R.W. Raby until his death in 1939.

Published in ‘Freelance’, 21st May 1896.

Published in ‘Winner’ 5th Aug 1914.

Samuel Holden, North Fitzroy:

Samuel Holden (1869-1935), then later his son Samuel Garth Holden (1894-1958), were tailors with a shop in Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy. Samuel senior was listed in local directories as a tailor from 1888. It seems he had some employment issues;

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The shop in Brunswick Street.

The shop in Brunswick Street.

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Shierlaw & Co., Adelaide:


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Top row: from my collection. Bottom row: from Carol’s collection.

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From Commonwealth Gazettes. 1902.

From Commonwealth Gazettes 1902.

From Powerhouse Museum collection: South Australian military uniform button.

The Shierlaws were a Scottish family who came to South Australia around 1852. Three bothers, George, William, Joseph then later a nephew, Mr F.B. Shierlaw, ran the tailoring firm of ‘Shierlaw & Company’ from 1860 until around 1920. Shierlaw and Co. were tailors, outfitters and merchants who had a large mail order business. They supplied uniforms for South Australian military forces from around 1877. They also supplied uniforms for the railways, the Cadet Corps and the police. For many  years they were the governments sole supplier of uniforms. In 1906 when they opened a new store of “excellent design” in Gisbourne, New Zealand. 

The Express and Telegraph, 18th June 1904.


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

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

Sinclair’s Pty. Ltd, Melbourne:

Arthur James Sinclair started a tailors and costumers around 1910. It must have been a bit posh as it was known as ‘Sinclair’s of Collins Street’. The business went into liquidation in 1938.

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S.J. Dalley, Melbourne:

Samuel John Dalley (1868-1923)  operated from the first floor of the Finks Building around 1901-1905.

The Finks Building stood on the corners of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets, opposite the station.  It was one of the tallest buildings erected in the boom-time of the 1880s in Melbourne. In 1898 a fire nearly destroyed a whole city block, including this building. It was rebuilt some years later, but the original ornate roofline was not restored. The building was finally demolished in 1960.

S. J. Derrett, Bellinger:

Nambucca and Bellinger News, 19th November 1915.

Samuel John Derrett was born in Queensland in 1886. His father, a chemist and optician, moved the family to Sydney around 1900. Sam went into partnership with Claude James as ‘Derrett and James’ from 1911 to 1914, when he moved with the rest of his family to Bowraville, advertising as a ‘tailor, hatter and mercer’. He moved to nearby Bellinger by 1915, although he continued to visit Bowraville professionally once a fortnight. He moved to Sydney for the years 1930-34, but perhaps he didn’t enjoy city life, as he moved back to Nambucca Heads, operating as a storekeeper until he retired around 1958. He died in Coffs Harbour in 1961.

Southwell Coultas & Co, Melbourne:

The Argus 22nd August 1875.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 1965.

3 Pioneers Band Parade 1916. Southwell  Coultas can be seen behind the crowd to the left.

The above indicates the beginning of this high class tailoring firm that would including royalty and other leaders. They started in 1875 Swanston Street, but  moved to Collins Street later that year. In May 1881 it was reported that “the shop and land in Collins-street, between Swanston-street and Russell-street, with a frontage of 33ft, in the occupation of Messrs Stokes and Martin, was sold to Messers Scourfield and Coultas for 3712 pounds 10 shillings”. (Presumably this is why Stokes and Martin moved from 100 Collins Street.)  Robert Scourfield left the partnership in 1889 to run his own establishment, which however amalgamated with the original firm in 1897 after the death of Mr  Southwell Coultas in 1895. (After Mr Coultas death there was an extraordinary court case, with a lady suing his estate for ‘breach of promise’, claiming he wooed her and told her to stop working, when she did not realise he was already married.) Mr Scourfield died in 1909, having retired to Woodend.

The firm traded as ‘Southwell Coultas & Co’ from 1889 until 1896, then as ‘Southwell Coultas Ltd’  it went up for sale in 1909, but continued trading and was registered as Southwell Coultas P/L  in 1926. Then from 1962 until 1993 the firm traded as Southwell Coultas and Co. P/L.Therefore, this button dates from  1889-1897.

Syd Ingerson,  Adelaide:

Philip Alfred Sydney Ingerson (known as Syd) was born in South Australia in 1882. He worked for Parker & Co, tailors and outfitters in King William Street, Adelaide. Early in January 1906 he opened a store in Argent Street, Broken Hill known as ‘The Don Tailors’

Barrier Miner 31st October 1906.

By around 1923 he had opened a second store back in King William Street, Adelaide and in 1925 established a new company, ‘Ingerson Limited’, with the Adelaide branch trading as ‘Syd Ingerson’.

The Diggers’ Gazette, 15th December 1919.

The Diggers’ Gazette, 21st April 1921.


In 1942 Ingerson Ltd was fined under the ‘Control of Clothing (Male Outerwear) order’ for making a suit with too much material …

The Sun (Sydney), 11th November 1943.

The firm moved to Gawler Place in 1953.









T. H. French, Melbourne:

Thomas Henry French was born in Cambridge, England in 1854. I don’t know when he came to Victoria, but he was married here in 1883. In 1916 he was listed as working from 291 Swanston Street. He died in 1917 at the age of 63 years.

Thos Bourke, Launceston:

Thomas Bourke (1846-1924) had a tailors, mercers and hatters establishment in Brisbane Street, Launceston from 1881 through to 1952.

Daily Telegraph, 12th September 1921.

Examiner, 28th March 1929.

Vereys, Sydney:

Ernest Verey in 1939.

Vereys operated as “tailors for men who care” from around 1909. In 1929 they moved across the road to new  premises. The business closed down in 1953.

Advert from the magazine ‘Everyones’ 2nd October 1929.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8th October 1940.

W. Beckefeld, Albert Park:

From 1921 until circa 1933,  the premises of William Frederick Beckefeld’s tailoring business was in Bridport Street, Albert Park. 

W.Chorley, Sydney:
Australian Horse uniform button c.1898-1921

Australian Horse, N.S.W. uniform button c.1897-1903 from an auction ad.

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William Chorley

William Chorley (1860-1935).

Powerhouse Museum collection: NSW Military Forces button.

William Chorley, 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

William also ran a military uniform tailoring firm (see Kitchener & Co on this page).

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


A P&O button. Backmarked Chorley and Co Sydney. Thanks to Helen.

W. D. Fetherston, Sydney:

William Daniel Fetherston, tailor, advertised from 1919. The business was bought by Farmer’s department store in 1930. He died in 1954.

4th September 1930. The Sydney Morning Herald

W. Gribbles & Co, Ballarat:

1896 advertising from the Sovereign Hill and Gold Museum.

W. Gribbles and Co., tailors, were located at 27 Sturt Street, Ballarat. They used material from the Ballarat Woollen Mills for their expertly cut suits. They bought out an existing business in 1887 and were still trading in 1954.

W. G. Scates,  Swanston St. Melbourne:

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William Gardiner Scates was born in Ballarat East in 1892. He became a tailor with outlets in Swanston Street and also Footscray. He died in 1973.

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934. What pray-tell, is a practical tailor?

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934. What pray-tell, is a practical tailor?

W. H. Bladwell, Goulburn:

button dug up by Mick Thompson.

William Henry Bladwell, from Bath, Somerset, opened a tailoring establishment in Goulburn in 1882 in conjunction with his father. This firm ran until around 1950.

Goulburn Herald (NSW),  21st October 1882.

Whiteside, Ballarat:

The Ballarat Star 12th September 1865.

Myles Pennington Whiteside, born in Lancaster, England in 1831, arrived in Melbourne in 1854 and moved to Ballarat the following year. He opened his own tailoring and general mercery establishment in Ballarat in 1865. In 1867 he was described as a military tailor. Around 1891 his son Norman Ernest Whiteside joined the firm, now called Whiteside and Son, then after his death in 1908, Whiteside’s.

From the State Library of Victoria c.1940-54.

William Henderson, Sydney:

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

Evening News (Sydney) 30th March 1886

Evening News (Sydney), 30th March 1886.

Wiseman Bros.,  Melbourne:

In the 1880s  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.

Albert Wiseman

Mount Alexander Mail (Victoria), 26th October 1906.

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W. J. Armstrong, Warrnambool:

Warrnambool Standard, 5th October 1914.

Unfortunately, only 4 years of local newspapers from Warrnambool are available on Trove, so all I know is that Mr Armstrong moved from Kepler Street to Liebig Street in 1918.

W. Monckton (a.k.a. Mockton or Moncton), Fitzroy, Melbourne:

Walter was born in Fitzroy in 1856. Around 1870 he was apprenticed as a tailor, and with his brother John continued in this trade until retirement. He first traded from Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, and later in Flinders Street, Melbourne. He emmigrated to Surrey, England some time after 1919 and lived out his years there.

This reference came from a 1913 street directory;

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Queensland Times 11th February 1911. This article references Mockton and Co. as one of many firms accepting contracts for uniforms.

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This rare button from Carol’s collection is believed to be from the Castlemaine Fire Brigade. The Backmark is ‘W.MOCKTON. FITZROY’.

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There is a picture of a ‘W. Moncton’ uniform available via Trove:

W. Morrow, Port Pirie:

William Morrow was born in Bairnsdale, Victoria in 1872. He became a tailor in Port Pirie

from 1891-1915, when he became a member of the South Australian Parliament until his

death in 1934. He had been a local councillor and mayor in Port Pirie, and was prominent

in the South Australian Churches of Christ.

The Advertiser (Adelaide) 10th May 1898.

Photo used in the election campaign in 1914.

















Woulfe & Son, Brisbane:

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Patrick Woulfe (1888-1948) set up his tailors establishment in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, in 1913.  He was a successful businessman. By 1939 he employed 400 people with outlets in other Queensland cities. The family continued with the business after his untimely death, with it finally being wound up in 1972.

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This photo is so daggy! I love Harry-high pants in the middle. From the Telegraph (Brisbane), 3rd November 1953.  “Here are three well-dressed men, unperturbed at the prospect of hot summer days, yet fully prepared for the cooler evenings. They are dressed by Woulfe and Son Pty. Ltd.”