Monthly Archives: June 2018

June 2018



From June 2018, a selection of buttons and stories


Buttons shaped like the actual objects they depict are known as ‘Goofies’ (especially in the USA), realistic or figural buttons. They existed, but rarely, before the 1930. In Australia, they were first written about in 1936.  They were very fashionable for ladies for the next few years. Sometime between 1940 and the mid 1950s they morphed into something for children’s clothes, like the buttons below, excepting occasionally, such as for flower-shaped examples.

Townsville Daily Bulletin, 16th December 1937. Detail from advert for McKimmins & Richardson, Drapers and Funeral Directors (I kid you not).

At the bottom are a new version available from Spotlight.

Middle and bottom rows: Beauclaire styles. The bottom row also became a Beutron buckle.

2nd and bottom rows: Beauclaire styles.

Beauclaire and Beutron buckles.

Beauclaire buckles.


General Plastic double sided buttons.

Mother-of-pearl Australia shaped button.


Late 1950s and early 1960s Beutrons.


Styles of Beutron Opal-Glo buttons: Unfortunately there were several styles marked 11!










also #11

#11 (or possibly 36)



































New Zealand buttons:




















Spotted on Ebay:

I guess that tailors would need to buy standard buttons by the box lot.


New South Wales Police:

The origin of policing in New South Wales was the use of marines that came with the first fleet in 1788, followed by the short lived appointment of a civilian constable, Mr. John Smith. This was followed the following year by the appointment of trusted convicts to the role of Night Watch which in turn became the Sydney Foot Police. Early policing was to protect Sydney from thieving and petty crimes after dark. In 1862 all the colonial police forces, such as the Gold Escort and the Mounted Police, were amalagmated.

Amor Sydney.

South Australian Fire Brigade:

In the early days of Adelaide, water carriers would rush to a fire upon the ringing of an alarm bell at the fire station. Then in the 1850 fires were (inadequately) fought by volunteers and the police. The South Australian Fire brigade was formed in 1862. It was renamed in 1981 as the SAMFS. It is one of the oldest governmental fire services in the world.

SA Fire Brigade. QV crown. Markers mark: Stokes & Sons Melbourne

New South Wales Fire Brigade:

The Daily Telegraph, 6th July 1944. Very dapper, and only 12 buttons per coat to sew!

What could have prompted the Prime Minister to intervene over firemen’s coats?

Apparently the N.S.W.  brigade were the only firemen in Australia not to receive a overcoat as part of their standard uniform. Earlier the union’s request for uniforms had been knocked back “due to the war situation”. However, having shivered through the previous winter, they were not prepared to do so again, and were happy to accept surplus military coats. Only 669 were needed to supply each man. There was only one overcoat for general use at each station. These were, to quote “.. old, battered, not weatherproof, and are supposed to be used in turn by men who go on watching duty. They are not fit to put on a dog.” Whilst the union’s demand for coats within a month seemed rather abrupt, in fact “Our men have been demanding coats without success for 15 years.”

At first they only refused to perform non-emergency outdoor duties without coats, but when some men were suspended, a general strike was called. That is when the prime minister stepped in. It seems ridiculous that with coats available for use, an 8-hour strike had to occur before this was resolved.

Matron Shaw:

Australian Women’s Weekly 12 Nov 1952

Edna Mary Anna Jane Shaw was born in Gudagai in 1891. She trained as a midwife and enlisted in 1918, being called up just before Armistice.

Melbourne, 1944 Matron Shaw, Principal Matron of the Australian Army Nursing Service chats to Colonel N.L. Speirs, Director Medical Services (I think that’s her on the right.)

She worked at the Crown Street Women’s Hospital (1893-1983) which became the largest maternity hospital in Sydney, from 1919 until she retired in 1952. She was awarded an O.B.E. in 1950, and was known as “the mother of 100,000 babies” although she never married. After retirement she spoke on radio, wrote for magazines and remained very involved in women’s and babies’ health. A much loved woman.

Sunday Times 6 Jan 1920

Pix, 16th April 1949.


Australian Women’s Weekly, 17th October 1956.