This article appeared on the 6th April 1947 in the Daily Telegraph (Sydney). The buttons are apparently all Australian made, but it is not stated by whom. I don’t recognise any of them … but I wish I had them all. Sigh. Note that it states that pre-war buttons were utility in nature and made of casein. These buttons include casein,perspex and metal.
City of Melbourne, Stokes & Sons:
This is only one of several designs used over the years using details from the coat of arms. From the City of Melbourne Collection:
We know that buttons are interesting, but did you know they could be subversive?
Northern Star (Lismore) 23rd September 1950.
One piece brass Queensland Scouting button by A.J.Parkes.
New tailoring button: Reg Taylor, Moonee Ponds
Unfortunately, the only record I could find was of the sale of the business.
The Argus, 23rd November 1922.
Referring to my post from the 30th October, Carol has shared with me apictures of similar ‘ceramic’ buttons. We’d love to know who made then and when. They do have a 1950s look and possibly were made in Melbourne.
New NZ buttons:
General Plastics (and their predecessors) produced buttons in both Australia and New Zealand from the 1930-40s (see the NZ and General Plastics pages for more details). Below are 3 variations of branding/printing on Beauclaire style cards:
And here are some more photos showing styles and colours:
Sorry it is hard to see, but these are dark green.
The buttons on the right are burgundy.
Vintage advertising from the era of novelty buttons:
The Daily Telegraph (Brisbane), 12th October 1937. “It’s the little thing that count … engaging little etceteras that make people recognise you as somehow subtly “Different”.
The Sun (Sydney), 12th May 1938.
The Sun (Sydney) 9th June 1938.
Any collector will affirm that buttons are “Exciting spirit lifters”.
Herald (Melbourne) 10th Nov 1938.
New buttons: Country Fire Authority, Victoria
From Wikipedia: The CFA was created on 2 April 1945 following significant bushfires during the period 1939–1944 which killed 114 people, destroyed nearly 1400 homes and damaged large areas of the state. Significant numbers of livestock also perished. Subsequent investigations by a royal commission in 1944 showed a lack of cohesive firefighting ability outside the central metropolitan area. The CFA took over existing brigades, many of which had been established in the 19th or early 20th century.
The button on the left is backmarked Stokes & Sons Melbourne. This one has more detail on the hat and a textured background around the stars, which are themselves of poor definition. This button would date pre 1962 when Stokes & Sons wound up and the company was listed publically and renamed Stokes(Australasia) Ltd. The middle one has no backmark. The smaller CFA button is backmarked Stokes Melb., so probably dates post 1962.
I have previously shared 2 other CFA buttons, one with more detail and definition, especially for the stars and hat, and one by A.J. Parkes. Presumably the more detailed version is the oldest.
Stokes & Sons Melbourne
A. J. Parkes
New finds: Grant Featherston buttons
and with a similar style but some type of ceramic…
It is some kind of glazed and fired material, but softer than ceramic as I can scratch a white powder from the unglazed section of the shank. Could it be an example of the Melbourne made buttons described below? It was sourced from a Melbourne button dealer.
The Herald (Melbourne) 19th April 1950.
Spotted online but too expensive:
S.Sclank & Co. button.
This company produced buttons and badges from 1887 until 1970.
Stokes and Sons: W.A. Fire Bigade 1909.
There is a button of the same design backmarked ‘Sheridan Perth’.
A query as to whether this set of buttons (found in Idaho) was of Australian origin came our way. For the record, I don’t think it is, as the construction (celluloid with embedded steel loop shank) is not something I have seen made by any Australian manufacturer. However, the set is fascinating. The card they were sewn on was labelled as “Allied Forces of WWII” and depicts the USA, Britain, China, Australia and Russia. This dates the buttons as 1941 or after, as that is when Russia joined the Allies.
It made me wonder about the use of the ‘boxing kangaroo’ as an Australian mascot, so I did some research:
The first boxing kangaroo of fame was named Jack and trained by ‘Professor Richard Von Lindermann’.
Punch, 16th April 1891.
They performed in shows around Australia from 1891 and then traveled to London in 1892 where they were a great success. Jack died there in 1896, having made his trainer a lot of money. Later boxing kangaroos included two called ‘Peter Jackson” in 1897 and1908, ‘Aussie’ from Adelaide trained by Lindsay Fahre around 1926-9, ‘Chut’ trained by Harry Abdy who appeared in the film “Orphan of the Wilderness” in 1936 and ‘Peter the great’ who performed around America in 1940. “Peter the Great’ was not the first boxing kangaroo to travel to the States. The first reference I found was in 1893. Photos, illustrations and cartoons of boxing kangaroos had been published since 1891, so the imagery was well known by WW2.
A Cartoon in Punch (Melbourne) 26th December 1895. The “Boxing Kangaroo” is telling off Britain and America as they squabble over a disputed border of Venesula.
The Australasian, 30th December 1911. “Parramatta” was a mascot aboard an Australian destroyer.
Sun (Sydney) 25th July 1915.