A digest of buttons and stories from May 2018
New Zealand finds:
MSS Security: Stokes
According to its website: “MSS Security’s history dates back to 1896, when Chubb, as we were previously known, opened its first Australian office. Over the past century not only has our ownership changed, but so has our name, from Wormald Security before becoming MSS Security in 2008.”
Chubb was T.C. Chubb & Co., lock and safe merchants based in London from circa 1818. Wormald, mainly into fire saftey equipment, has existed from circa 1889. It took over operations of Chubb in Australia from 1972 til 1988, when its security services were sold off to MSS.
At the time of federation Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmanian naval forces were combined into the Australian Navy’s (AN) Commonwealth Naval Service, which received Royal patronage in 1911. From 1911-1928 the RAN buttons displayed a ‘lazy’ (i.e. tilted) anchor. After 1928 the design was changed and the anchor became upright. The 2 buttons with the Queen Victoria crown also have an upright anchor, but must date from colonial navies, or the first year of Federation. Below are some images of colonial navy buttons found online:
The King’s crown larger button has an upright anchor which dates it from 1929-1952. The smaller ‘STOKES VIC’ buttons also show a King’s crown. I had thought that the “& sons” was not dropped from the makers mark until 1962, but it seems not, at least on smaller buttons.
The bird is meant to be a Wedge-tailed eagle. Now this is Wedge-tailed eagles …
Only the middle button even tries to approximate a wedge shaped tail, and the one on the left looks more like a pea-hen …
Canada and New Zealand have similar insignias for their airforces. In Canada it is meant to be a Golden eagle, in new Zealand a Haast eagle. They too have funny looking eagles on some of their buttons!
South Australian Railways or South Australian Rifles?
It is wise to be aware that information sourced online (or for that matter, in print) can be misleading … SAR stands for South Australian Railways, doesn’t it?
It seems that it may be a button from the South Australian Volunteer Rifles. There is a terrific Russian web page, whose name Google did not translate but is subtitled: “Historical buttons site for collectors”: see http://www.pugoviza.ru/files/other_cut3.shtml?avstr_col.shtml
From November 1854, the history of infantry in the colony of South Australia was quite convoluted, with volunteer forces being repeated raised, merged and disbanded. From the Diggers History web site ” The constant raising and disbanding of Militia Forces in the early colonial days, was a direct result of the citizen’s reaction to direct threats to their security. Their numbers rose and fell as these threats were realized and then subsided.”
The first reference to a Rifle corps appears on 10th November 1854 in the South Australian register:
In 1859 there is reference to both a South Australian Volunteer Rifle Corps, and South Australian Free Rifle Corps, the latter being renamed the South Australian Auxillary Rifles in 1860. By January 1861 a South Australian Rifles Association had been formed from numerous volunteer companies that then existed, and would continue right up to the present. Therefore, where my button hails from remains a little confusing! It is backmarked Stokes & Sons, and so dates from 1895-1901. I also have an A.J. Parkes S.A.R. button with a Queen’s crown (i.e. post 1951) so perhaps this is a button of the South Australian Rifle Association after all? Any advice welcome!
Note there are also SAV (South Australian Volunteer) buttons.
Maritme Services Board of New South Wales:
The Maritme Services Board of New South Wales was established in 1936, replacing the previous Sydney Harbour Trust and Department of Navigation, and would continue until 1995. It administered the ports of Sydney and Newcastle as well as issuing watercraft licences. The button shows a simplfied shield of N.S.W. with a King’s crown and an anchor.
In December 1941 Japan invaded Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as U.S. military and naval bases in the Pacific. Soon the Japanese conquered the Dutch East Indies for their valuable oil reserves. Dutch civilians, military and government representatives from the Netherlands East Indies (N.E.I.) were transported to Australia, where a N.E.I. government-in-exile was established first in Melbourne, then later moved to Queensland. Members of their army, navy and airforce worked with the Allies from January 1942. Three joint Australian-NEI squadron were formed. Several Dutch ships were based in Australia and 17 submarines operated in the Pacific. Dutch army units were attached to Australian Army units fighting in Borneo. Presumably the buttons above were produced by Stokes and Sons of Melbourne during this time.
And from Pat, just for fun!