The Argus, 17 April 1880. This was to be the start of one of Melbourne’s most famous stores.
In 1880 London-born brothers William Henry Harrison George (1855-1935) and Alfred Harley George (1857-1930) opened their drapery store at 11-17 Collins Street, moving to larger premises in 1883 at 280 Collins street. In 1888 they merged with Equitable Co-operative Society at 162-168 Collins street to become George & George Limited.
1885: 280 Collins Street prior to the merger.
Weekly Times, 11th June 1887: A. Harley George, and the Emporium below.
A disastrous fire in 1889 destroyed the 280 Collins St premises, as well as killing 3 firemen and injuring 10 others. They moved into the other premise, refurbishing and extending 2 years later. William had lost a lot of money during the depression of the late 1880s. He left for New Zealand where he ran another business until about 1920 when he returned.
The firm was known as Georges & Georges Pty. Ltd. from 1914-1933, but was known as “Georges'” from at least 1908 onwards. The store motto was “What we do, we do well”, with an emphasis on exclusive , quality goods and meticulous service.
Melbourne Punch, 11th Oct 1894. Outfit available at George & George Ltd.
c. 1908. The store boasted an indoor garden cafe with an aviary, water features and live music.
The store was taken over by Cox brothers from 1960-66, then David jones from 1981-1995 when it finally closed.
This less than pristine card went for $26 Au, surprising me as I have never paid more than $14 for a less crumpled one! Dates 1940s.
On the 9th June shared a metal-detector find of a Mr M. Kino button. Here is another from either this tailor, or his son, Albert Edward Kono, who was also a tailor in Bourke Street, Melbourne. Albert worked with his father from at least 1896, and continued the business after his father’s death until at least 1939.
M. Joseph, Melbourne:
Maurice Joseph (Moshe Ben Yosef Rafael HaLevi) was born in London in 1862. He arrived in Melbourne around 1887 and established a tailoring business in 1892. Trading as ‘Marks, Joseph & Co’ at Little Collins Street, a partner absconded with 80 pounds of goods in 1894, leaving him insolvent. By 1895 was working from Bourke Street. He must have been more successful, because in 1907 he needed to move to a larger premise at 137 Swanston Street. He was also a director for his brother Louis’s firm, “Trucut Clothing”. He died in St Kilda in 1947.
In 1897 Joseph Lewis Glick, a Russian by birth, came to Australia to visit his sick sister, and decided to stay. He started the Adelaide Tailoring Company in Adelaide. In 1904 he expanded to Perth and Freemantle then to other sites in West Australia. In 1915 he opened in ‘Elizabeth House’ at the corner of Elizabeth and little Collins Streets.
Elizabeth House, c.1916. The name ‘Adelaide tailoring’ can be seen over the doorway at the corner.
During 1917 he opened in Sydney. In 1930, to fight against the effects of the Depression, he gave an extra pair of trousers away with each suit. He then decided to only use Australian tweed and woollens to support local jobs. By 1934 there were 8 branches around Victoria and New South Wales. Unfortunately he was declared bankrupt by the Taxation Office in 1943, owing the firm a lot of money that he could not repay. He died the following year in 1944 aged 76 years.
The Herald 21 May 1915, looking very dapper with that moustache.
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Harvey Chalmers & Son, Amsterdam N.Y.
According to The Daily Gazette (new York) in 2017, “Harvey Chalmers & Sons made a splash in the industry in 1911 when it was the first button maker to advertise in women’s magazines and newspapers. The company became the biggest manufacturer of pearl buttons in the world with sales offices in New York and London.”
So much for the power of advertising! Below is a copy of that advertisement.
I have come into ownership of one of these cards, and have seen online a shop display box of the cards. I would like to have that!
I’m not the only one with a liking for American cards MOP (mother of pearl) buttons: Pat has shared some of her collection. See also my posts dating from 25th April onwards:
Excuse my lack enthusiasm (that is missing posts) … am suffering from winter snuffles.
A. E, Spicer, North Fitzroy:
Albert Edward Spicer lived from 1882 til 1951. He worked from 556 Nicholson Street from at least 1920 until 1949.
H. Brewer, North Fitzroy:
Henry (Harry) Brewer, 1868-1946, was a renown champion lawn bowler. He also was a tailor and cricketer!
Sporting Globe 4 October 1924.
The Argus 17 February 1940.
C.T. Hasler, Castlemaine:
Here is another draper better known for his accomplishments outside of work. He was a singer, choir master, organist and conductor. Born in 1863 he was a son of John Darby Hasler, draper, woollen draper, hatter, hosier, etc., of Market Square in Castlemaine. Presumably Charles took over the business after the sudden death of his father in 1896 due to pneumonia. Charles moved to Melbourne in 1922 and died there in 1946.
Please note: The new address for this blog is austbuttonhistory.com
More tailors’ buttons:
Keast & Co, Castlemaine:
M. Keast & Co purchased the millinery and draper stock of Messrs Best & Co in Barkers Street in 1879. Only the next year they “had made other business arrangements” and so were having a clearing sale. Despite that they continued in Castlemaine until 1888. (Perhaps the other business deal fell through?)
Mt Alexander Mail, 25th April 1881.
John Buckley Keast of the firm (I have not been able to find out who “M. Keast” was) then left Castlemaine and managed a tailoring depot in Brigport Street, Albert Park. He died there in 1906.
J. Scovell, Footscray:
In 1903 Alexander John William Scovell (a.k.a. John, 1880-1960) was engaged to manage the tailoring workroom of C. Forge in Footscray. The next year he bought this branch of the Forge business. In 1906 he joined in partnership with David Spurling to form Scovell & Spurling, which lasted until 1982. The button above thus belongs to a narrow time frame, from 1904-1906.
Child’s Scottish costume by Scovell and Spurling P/L c.1917. (Museums Vic)
Mr Scovell was also a wholesaler and wool buyer, and involved in other firms.