Good news! Cam Smith has found the identity of the recent mystery uniform button: It is a “Campaigners for Christ Volunteers” button. He identfied it from a reference book: Metal Uniform Embellishments of the Australian Army Post 1953 (QEII Series) Volume 1.
From Cam Smith
A couple of fellow collectors have asked me about a firm of button distributor, Grotjan & Co. The business card below is affixed to the cover of a sample folder of pearl shirt buttons owned by Jean.
F.C. Grotjan was Frederick Campbell Grotjan, son of the founding partner, Emil Grotjan, a merchant born in Hamburg who came to Melbourne in 1903. The company originally described themselves as cork merchants and indenters. They would import and distribute quite a variety of goods including foodstuffs, metal scrap and ores, horse hair and artifical limbs. In the 1930s increased tariffs on imported pearl buttons were being debated in parliament, to protect the fledgling local industry. Emil, as spokesman for pearl button importers spoke against increased tariffs. By the 1950s they were describing themselves as a wholesale hardware firm. Frederick retired from the firm in 1952.
Pat has sent me an absolute treasure trove of button pictures: I think I’ll start with a Beutron catalogue pre-1966 (i.e. pre-decimal currency). Note that the cards with curved tops (for the Opal-glo) and the rectangle card with the legend “Always matches. Never clashes” at the top were both being used at the same time. Consistency in the styling of advertising was not considered necessary!
“Fashion selected by world’s leading stylists … New York, London, Paris, Rome” Is this a confession that their designs were copied from overseas? Or a case of cultural cringe (Foreign was better than Australian)?? Or simply boastful advertising???
Love this button dispenser. As it contains ‘Tecpearl’ buttons it dates from 1958 onwards.
Some of the “fashion” (their latest designs?) appear in 1963 advertising; so possibly this is a 1963 catalogue.
This uniform button poses a mystery. What do the letters C,C,V stand for? ‘Something’ City Council? Victorian ‘Something’ Club??
Perhaps the Victorian Coursing Club!? Coursing was the sport from which greyhound racing originated. From 1860 greyhounds were taken to vacant or bush land and released to chase down wallabies or hares. Later formal courses were built. One of the first clubs to start in Victoria was the Victorian Coursing Club, still in existence today. Coursing was a very popular sport, with big money spent on imported dogs, and on betting.
Illustration of the 1881 “Waterloo Cup” in Melbourne, run by the V.C.C. A race official is on horseback.
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.