Monthly Archives: June 2019

17th June 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

I don’t like to admit defeat, but tonight I have to do so twice! I cannot find the story of these two buttons:

B. Smith & Co, Tralee:

Tralee is a proposed (but not existing) suburb of Queanbeyan. There is/has been a racetrack there. I cannot find mention of a “B. Smith & Co” there or anywhere else.

Rosman & Leach, Smith Street:

I cannot find mention of this company. However, there was a James Rosman who was a tailor in Fitzroy, and a T. Leach who was a boot and shoe maker in the same suburb in the 1880s. Smith Street is a famous location in Fitzroy; perhaps they joined forces at some stage?

14th June 2019




Tailors’ buttons:

W. R. A. Clarke, Rockhampton:

William Robert Archerbald Clarke (1894-1972) had a tailoring store in Williams Street, Rockhampton, from around 1920 until 1932. He moved to larger premises at 39 East Street and was still advertising in 1949. He was an alderman of the city council for many years, and a keen lawn bowler.

Morning Bulletin, 27th April 1946.


Rd. Appleton, Horsham:

Richard Harwood Appleton was born in Yorkshire in 1864. He came to Australia in 1883 and originally worked for a firm of engineers before studying tailoring. He moved to Horsham in 1906. In 1924 he traveled back to UK to see family before becoming a grazier for a few years, changing back to tailoring, then becoming a shearing contractor in Harrow! Was he restless or adventurous?

The Horsham Times, 11th June 1912.

13th June 2019

This set of card sold for Au$125.50 on Ebay. Not a bad price per card for these collectable cards. Well done to the astute buyer.

New finds:

Orange buttons are not a common colour in the 1950s and 60s.
Made in West Germany (i.e. post WW2) but distributed by Rex C. Norris in Australia.
Late 1960s.
The partial cards above and below come from O.C. Rheuben/General Plastics probably in the 1940s.
Dated 1939.

11th June 2019

I have recently had brought to my attention a website run by Toby Billings, a detectorist. He has a passion for the metal trouser/braces/shirt buttons with the tailors’ branding, owning several hundred of them! He has written an Ebook  listing tailors’ buttons by location and tailor’s name.

For  Au $4.95 it is a bargain and a good resource. (It does not cover non-metal buttons, but we’ll forgive him for that … must be hard to ‘detect’ them.) Check it out on


“Colortone” carded buttons:

Despite the American spelling, I think this is another variation of buttons carded by Beauclaire. The same style card can be seen with Leda, Demetre and Terries; see posts on 15th May, 10th Oct and 13th Oct 2018.

10th June 2019

Tailors’ buttons:

Regular readers may be astonished at the number of tailors in Sturt and Bridge streets, Ballarat. Here are more…

Lyons & White, Ballarat:

In April 1898 James Lyons (formerly of Twentyman’s) and William White (formerly of J.B. Manning & Co) started ‘Lyons & Williams” at 12 Bridge St, declaring they were “Premier Tailors” as well as hatters and mercers.  James died shortly after suffering from a stroke whilst watching a local football match in 1924, aged 65 years. He had been a very keen member of the horse racing and the football communities. The business continued to operate until around 1939. Perhaps William retired at that time, as he died in 1946.

Sam Jamieson, Ballarat:

Samuel Jamieson (1856-1938) had his tailoring business in Ballarat from 1901 until 1917, when he took up a position with W. H. Bruce Ltd, tailors of Melbourne, as a traveling representative in Tasmania. He had been the secretary of the Victorian Band Association for 9 years. He retired back to Melbourne and died there in 1938.


9th June 2019

Tailor’s button:

Wilsons’, Sturt St. Ballarat:

Mahlon Stacey Wilson (1871-1951) was in a partnership, Purser and Wilson’ from around 1897-1904. Wilson continued on alone from the 79 Sturt Street store, moving to 209 Sturt Street by 1910. He remained a batchelor, leaving his estate to a bother, Lewis John Wilson, also a draper. The store ceased to advertise in 1924.

The Ballarat Star, 16th September 1922

William Young, Ballarat:

William Young took over the firm of J. Payne & Co in 1903 in Sturt Street, the Beehive store. He died in 1924, aged only 50 years.

M. Kino Melbourne:

Found by Karen

Mondola Henry Kino was born in Poland in 1850. From 1891 until this death in 1914 he was a tailor at 223 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

8th June 2019

Fitzgerald Bros., Ballarat:

Button dates 1870-1895

James Joseph Fitzgerald (1845-1895) came to Victoria from Ireland in 1865. He reached Ballarat in 1868 and opened a drapery store in Bridge Street in 1870.

Advocate, 5th February 1870.

Later that year his brother Edward (1849-1918), who had arrived in 1869, joined him to form Fitzgerald Bros.

His parents and siblings, including brothers John Michael (1851-1926) and Thomas Stephen (1852-1888) joined them in Ballarat in 1871 where his father John set up practice as a solicitor. These brothers also joined the drapery business. Things must have gone well, as in 1878 they bought a business in Errol Street, North Melbourne, next to the Empire Hotel which they purchased in 1884 and demolished in 1897 to expand their emporium.

Unfortunately, founding brother James died unexpectedly in 1895. At that stage they were described as “drapers and clothiers at Ballarat, North Melbourne and Dublin”. Thomas had also died by then. The remaining brothers had to sell the Ballarat store.

The North Melbourne store had to be closed in 1938. Apparently, the moving of the tram line from Errol Street reduced customers! A mail order section of the business continued until 1947.

Published 1895

Leader 17th Jul 1909. Fitzgerald Bros. in Errol Street.

7th June 2019

New finds:

Note the “Made in England” at the bottom. Walkers were an Australian Distributor from the 1954 onwards. They may have taken over distributing Cygnet and Delphi branded buttons (unless they were always owned by the company).

A Beutron innovation in 1953. I don’t think it was very popular, as it was only advertised for a short period. The fact that the ‘pearl’ tops could come loose may have been part of the problem!


The above button card dates mid 1960s. I think it was labelled ‘New Beutron’ due to the change of ownership of the company in 1963.


Lineker’s, Ballarat:

This button’s story was a little hard to chase down. Here’s the details as far as I can work out:

The Lineker family came to Australia from England in 1878. Brothers George Law (1851-1931)  and Robert Alfred (1857-1927) Lineker were both tailors. George was originally based in Sydney as a tailor then a mining broker, but seems to have joined Robert from around 1889 as the tailoring concern was called ‘Lineker Bros’, although he is not mentioned by name.  Robert moved around Victoria :  circa from 1889-1893 at Ararat, c.1887-1904 Hamilton, c.1901-1903 Nhill, c.1903-1905 Dimboola and c.1907-1927 Ballarat. 

The Hamilton Spectator, 10th May 1887.

George was back in Sydney from around 1905. Robert’s son Robert Law Lineker (1885-1968) also became a master tailor. After the war and his father’s death he continued as a tailor until at least 1948.

Robert Law Lineker

I am not sure which era this button belonged to, the Brothers’ era, or the son’s era.



5th June 2019

So sad when a good one gets away … this one missed at auction:

According to Museum Victoria, this is a c.1880-1892 Victorian Volunteer Forces button.  The motto translates as “either in peace or in war”. The design is like that seen on a badge in diggerhistory: