Branded buttons: tailors’ buttons (I-P)

Here we showcase tailoring buttons, from the individual to  large emporiums such as The Leviathan. The buttons are listed alphabetically as the names were printed onto the buttons.

I. & J. Roff, Ballarat:

Brothers Isaac (1819-1892) and Joseph (1827-1894) Roff started the firm of I. and J. Roff  in 1854. As  ‘Tailors and Colonial Manufacturers’. Under Joseph’s management, they claimed to be the oldest tailoring firm in Ballarat.  The brothers also had a ‘bill posting’ and advertising contracting business with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Ballarat. Isaac was the director of the Melbourne office in Little Flinders Street. His son (also called Joseph) would join the tailoring firm, which was still going in 1928.

Ince Bros., Melbourne:

Richard Ince and his brother Arthur owned this tailoring firm. Richard was born in Collingwood in 1863. Soon after the family moved to Ballarat were his father, Richard senior, was a cutter for L. S. Christie & Co, before going into partnership  as ‘Young and Ince’. The sons also worked with this  firm. Around 1887 Arthur moved to Geelong and Richard moved to Melbourne. They operated as Ince Bothers, with Richard located in Swanston Street. They would travel to country towns such as Camperdown, Kyneton and Yackandanda to take fittings for suits.

Wahalla Chronicle and Moondarra Advertiser, 23rd April 1915.

In 1901 their mother died in Ballarat. Richard senior re-married in 1903, at the age of 71 years, to a 25 year old woman in Melbourne. Having  married in the afternoon they booked into a hotel. Twenty minutes after retiring, the new bride ran to the manager for help; her husband lying dead in his bed. Oh dear!

Ingerson Ltd, Adelaide:

See Syd Ingerson entry on Q-Z page.

Jack Meyer, Adelaide:

Jack Meyer, 1929.

Sport, 31st May 1918.

Johann (Jack) Meyer operated from 36 Grote Street, Adelaide, from 1917. He seems to have been quite the character, judging from this story published in The Mail, 19th June 1948:

Jacobs, Pizer & Co.  Geelong:

In 1935 Sam Jacobs (1852-1932) and Pizer & Co (ran by Abraham Pizer, 1879-1955) amalgamated.

Geelong Advertiser, 1st March 1929

In 1916 (with war-time sensitivities) there were questions asked as to whether Abraham and his brother Solomon were of German or Russian origin, despite being naturalised. They were  Jews born in Pyzdry, Prussia (now Poland).

Jas. Coultas, Perth. W. A:

In March, 1896 James Coultas (1850-1910) “the well-known Melbourne tailor”  commenced business in Barrack street, Perth. He was the brother of Southwell Coultas (mentioned previously) and had worked with him in Melbourne from around 1881-1888. He had set up on his own in Collins Street, but struggled, filing for bankruptcy in 1892.

The Daily News, 26th August, 1950. This old photo shows the business of James Coultas, tailor-mercer, beteen the two telephone poles.

He moved to Perth and  died there in 1910.

Western Mail, 2nd July 1910.

J. B. Leach, Melbourne:

John Benjamin Leach was born in Hampshire, England. He was in partnership with William D. Fetherston and Charles R. Dyson as “The Melbourne Tailoring Company” in Bourke Street, Melbourne from circa 1883. At the end of their lease, in 1894, Leach continued on his own. “Davies & Davies” succeeded Leach running The Melbourne Tailoring company in 1920. He died in 1929. His son John Benjamin jnr., was also a tailor.

Published in the Reporter.

J. Davies & Co., Sydney:

In 1874 J. Davies took over the drapery business of the late J. Exton at 301 George Street, Sydney. In 1889 they moved to 46 Carrington Street where they remained until at least 1894. The advert below comes from the Evening News, 5th January, 1884.

J. Dorance, Naracoorte:

James was quite the gypsy. In 1896 he moved from Albury to Bunbury, West Australia. He sold his tailoring business in 1903 “due to ill health” and traveled to England to recuperate. In 1910 he was back in West Australia, tailoring in Narrogin. In 1919 he moved to Dimboola Road, Horsham, then to Narracorte about 1924 for 5 years. In 1929 he moved to Kadina in South Australia as he wished to set up a massage clinic (?He had studied this whilst overseas.) He died in 1951, aged 86 years. At least we can date this button to a 5 year period, from 1924-1929!!

J. E. Buchan, Bendgio:

John Edward Buchan was born in Melbourne,  but moved to Ballarat as a child. He was a tailor situated at “Bath Corner”. In 1885 he partnered with Mr Jackson to form the “Gold Mines Clothing Company”. Several year later Jackson had to retire due to ill health and John continued alone. Unfortunately John contracted pneumonia and died in December of 1897, aged only forty-one years.

Bendigo Advertiser, 16th September 1885.

Bendigo Advertiser, 17th January 1888.

J. F. Holle and Co. Pty Ltd:  Sydney

In 1839 two tailors, John Frederick Holle, a native of Bremen, Germany, and Henry Stone arrived in Sydney aboard the ship ‘Eurphrates’ from London with a tailor named William Mueller to work for him. As Mr Mueller died in 1841, they established a partnership.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24th August 1841.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 27th March 1860.

Holle was well acquainted with tragedy. Four children died in infancy. A 6 year old son died and an 8 year old drowned. A 26 year old son suicided and later the same year, a 27 year old son also died. John,however died in his 80th year on the 23rd February, 1889. The firm continued as J.F. Holle and Co. Pty Ltd, and went into liquidation in 1957.

J. H. Cutler, Sydney:

Joseph Handle Cutler opened a tailoring shop in Sydney in 1884. It became the tailor to Sydney’s elite, and continues today as a 4th generation family firm of bespoke tailors.


J. J. Keneally, Sydney:

Canowindra Star and Eugowra News, 11th February 1910

Jeremiah Joseph Keneally (1867-1955). From around 1901 until 1910 he operated from 646 George St, Bickfield Hill, then from 1911-1922 from Adam’s Chambers, 482 George Street. A fire gutted the chambers and he restarted in Daking House, Rawson Place Sydney. He retired sometime between 1937 and 1945.

J. J. Larkins, Daylesford:

John James Larkins (1857-1919) was born in Ballarat, and was a partner in the firm of Harrison, Larkins & Co until 1885. Harrison continued in Ballarat, with Larkins working from Vincent Street, Daylesford.

Weekly Times, 1st December 1900.

J. J. Scotchmer, Lismore:


From the The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 7th March 1891: J.J.Scotchmer’s tailoring establishment in Nowra.

Northern Star, 17th Jul 1907.

Joe Taylor, Melbourne:







Known as ‘Joe Taylor, The Tailor’ operated from at least 1906 at 109 Bourke Street and 69 Swanston Street. They were successful enough to open branches in Footscray, Richmond, North Melbourne, Brunswick and Sydney. He was a master of self-promotion, and claimed ancestry to a line of notable English tailors who had dress royalty and Prime Ministers.

The Argus, 1st March 1913.

Table Talk, 22 May 1913

The Sun (Sydney) 22nd July 1917.

He made a big deal of selling bargain price (5 pound) suits of quality tweed post war, and this was part of his undoing. The price was not sustainable, and he used cheaper quality material, passing it off as the brand name product. This resulted in him being found guilty of breach of contract and fined. He was insolvent from 1922 to 1924.

J. Payne & Co, Ballarat:







These are buttons that can be dated to a narrow era. James Payne opened took lease on a store in Sturt Street, Ballarat in 1902. He was 35years old at that time, so had worked elsewhere, or for some other firm before then.

The Ballarat Star, 5th March 1902.

On Boxing Day of 1903 he embarked on a world tour that did not see him return to Ballarat until October 1904. In 1907 in was reported that he was well established as a wholesale woollen merchant in New Zealand.

J. P. Jorgenson, Marysborough:

Julius Peter Jorgenson was the son of a Danish born tailor. He set up as a tailor in Maryborough, Queensland.

Published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 24th August 1921.

published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 10 July 1936.

Published in Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 10 July 1936.

J. Rees, Wangaratta:

James Rees (1882-1930) styled himself as “Wangaratta’s leading tailor”. He advertised from 1924. In 1935, five years after his death, his son Laurence talbot James Rees (1908-1981) changed the name to L. J. Rees.

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.

Mr Scovell was also a wholesaler and wool buyer, and involved in other firms.

Museums Victoria collection. Painting from 1941.

J. Sinclair: Melbourne

See also Sinclair’s

James Sinclair, who died in 1908, was his father, and had started the business around 1896 in Swanston Street.  His son, Arthur James, did not change the company’s name until c.1921.

J. W. Jones, Rockhampton:

With many years of experience in drapery, Jospeh Wellesby Jones (1869-1931) was  the manager of Mr Charles Gilbert’s Rockhampton branch of  tailoring company, when in 1902 his boss offered him the chance to by the store located in East Street. He renovated and set up the firm of J. W. Jones Limited.

J. W. Jones

Morning Bulletin, 27th April 1926.











In September 1931, Mr Jones died, aged 61 years. He had been active for many years in the local School of Arts,  a lodge member as well as a keen bowler and tennis player.In  January 1932 the firm of J. W. Jones Limited was in liquidation. The stock was sold by Kirby’s, and a new drapers set up in his former store.

Keast & Co, Castlemaine:

M. Keast & Co purchased the milinery 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 Keatch of the firm (I have not been able to find out who “M. Keatch” was; only his sisters and mother had names starting with ‘M’) then left Castlemaine and managed a tailoring depot in Brigport Street, Albert Park. He died there in 1906.

Kewley & Millsom, Melbourne:

Punch (Melbourne) 4th September 1913.

Punch. 20th November 1913.

William David Kewley and Henry Alfred  Thomas Millsom were high class tailors,  ladies costume and habit makers in the Empire Arcade,  266 Flinders Street next to the Mutal Store, from around 1906 until their partnership was dissolved in 1914.  Mr Millsom moved to Queensland and later Numurak Victoria,  with Kewley continuing in Flinders Street.

Kinos, Melbourne:

See the entry below for M. Kino

Kitchener & Co. Ltd.,  Sydney:

From 1910 the first version of this company, owned by William Charles Chorley (see also the entry further down page) was named Kitchener Tailoring Co, becoming Kitchener Ltd in 1911. It was a naval and military outfitters in George St, then Hunter Street, Sydney. It existed under this name until at least the 1990s. (Some items are labelled as Sandhurst. Kitchener & Co. Pty. Ltd. )

Grand Anzac military tattoo, navy, army and air force, official program April 1935. Here it states that they have been uniform specialists for 65 years (i.e.from 1870). As William Chorley started his tailoring business in 1883, perhaps this refers to Kitchener. I have been unable to find out who this was.

Buttons backmarker Kitchener Ltd Sydney

Buttons backmarked ‘Kitchener Ltd Sydney’ from an auction ad.

Lasker & Lasker, Sydney:

Abraham (David) Lasker, was a merchant tailor in Newcastle from 1874. From his large large family, mostly born in Victoria, several of his sons would join the business which became Lasker and Sons then Lasker Bros: Isaac (1863- 1939), Manassah (Arthur) (1865- ), Harris (Henry) Benjamin (1869-1929),  Joseph (1872- ), (Emanuael (1872- ) and a probable grandson, Victor Emanuel (1900- ). Around 1897 they opened for business in George Street, Sydney. The name then changed to Lasker & Lasker.

The Sydney Mail 18th September 1897.

The Sun, 20th December 1910.

The Newcastle branch of the business ended around 1927, the Sydney branch around 1931.

Layton Bros, Traralgon & Yarram:

Traralgon Record, 1st September 1907.

Brothers Alfred Ernest(1880-1969) and Arthur Layton (1878-1964) bought the stock of Messers Groga and Maxwell in 1907. They operated a grocery and draper store until selling up in 1936 to return to Melbourne.

Leviathan Limited,  Melbourne:

The Leviathan Limited was a tailoring/retail firm from 1865 until 1972. They built the Leviathan Building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets in 1912-13, the ground floor of which has been separated into smaller stores since the late 1970s. The firm had a link with another Victorian icon, Fletcher Jones, as Mr David Fletcher Jones was a director of Leviathan Ltd in the 1950s.


Sporting Globe, 24th September 1927.

Home, 1st December 1924.

Lewis & Corbould, Ballarat:







William Corbould, a native of Bath, came to Ballarat in 1858 to work as a tailor. From around 1877 he was in partnership with Abel Lewis until he retired due to ill health in 1883. Unfortunately, as reported in Ballarat newspapers on 29th July 1885 …

“Mr Abel Lewis, tailor, died at the Koh-i-noor Private Hospital last night. He was a comparatively young man, and had drunk too much. It is a co-incidence that his late partner, Mr Corbould, a much older man, has been in bed over 18 months with cancer, and his death has been expected for a long time.”

Abel was born in 1844, so was 41 when he died. His erstwhile partner in fact did not die until 1914 at the age of 87 years, although he had been in a wheelchair for years.

Lincoln Stuart & Co., Melbourne:

Navy: 1902-1926

Image H28190/390 National Library of Australia.   Francis Stuart c.1888

Francis (Frank) Stuart lived 1844 -1910. He was apprenticed to a draper in Sydney, but when he eloped with his bosses’ daughter, he high-tailed it to Melbourne in 1866. He worked for McIvor & Lincoln, and on the death of McIvor in 1889 the company was registered as Lincoln Stuart & Co. ltd. In 1885 they were contracted to supply uniforms for the NSW Sudan regiment. The Australian War Memorial has a doublet from a uniform of the Victorian Scottish Regiment (circa 1900) and Museum Victoria has a straw boater hat from the company. The company was taken over by John Snow & Co. Ltd in 1926, but traded under this name until at least 1951.  See more in his biography;

Image H96.160/893 National Library of Australia; company advertising

From Carol’s collection.

A postcard advertising the firm.

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

L. J. Brownbill, Geelong:

Lindsay John (Jack) Brownbill was born in Geelong West in 1896. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Bright & Hitchcocks. He enlisted in the A.I.F. in 1915. After the war he advertised as a high class tailor working in the Corio Chambers at the corner of Yarra and Malop Street before moving to Thacker’s Building in Ryrie Streets.

London Stores Limited, Melbourne:

Frank Samuel Meyers (1869 -1931) established this tailoring firm in Adelaide in 1896. He expanded to Melbourne, Launceston, Hobert, Colac and Castlemaine and publicly listed the company in 1911. Franks’s son Valleck continued the business after his father’s death. They made uniforms during WW2.

Screen shot 2017-02-18 at 7.41.42 PM

The Bourke Street, Melbourne, London Store.

The Age 10th September 1926

The Age (Melbourne), 10th September 1926.

The Argus, 8th August 1946

The Argus (Melbourne),  8th August 1946.

Louis Epstein Pty Ltd,  Melbourne:


Louis Aaron Valentine Epstein was born in England in 1879. His family emigrated to Melbourne in 1889. Of his ten children three sons, Keith, Phillip and Garth, joined his tailoring business which was located in Epstein House, 133 Flinders Street, Melbourne. They maintained the firm until retiring, gaining a reputation as bespoke tailors as well as uniform and equestrian clothing manufacturers (they supplied Victorian police uniforms). The firm was the first importers and retailers of Levi Strauss jeans in Australia.


Screen shot 2017-02-16 at 9.58.01 PM


Lowes Ltd, Sydney and Newcastle:

Founded in 1898 as W. Lowe and Company, tailors and outfitters, and still trading as a chain of men’s, boys’ and school wear stores. In 1911 it was reformed into Lowes. It existed as a single store until expanding in 1948.

Published in the Catholic Weekly (Sydney), 15th March 1951.

Screen shot 2017-03-23 at 8.10.47 PM

L. Sullivan, Euroa:

In 1919-1920 Laurence Sullivan advertised his tailoring shop in the former E.T. Stammers  (also country tailors) store.

Euroa Advertiser 23rd January 1920.

Lunn & Holmes, Shepparton:

In 1922 Arthur Lunn and Tom Holmes, who had previously worked for  John Zimmerman’s tailoring concern in Maryborough, established their own business in Shepparton at 170 Wyndham Street. They prospered and listed the company in 1929. Tragically,  Mr Lunn died suddenly of a seizure whilst driving his car. He was only 47 years at the time. The company continued until 1958.

Advocate, 4th August 1938.

Advocate (Melbourne), 4th August 1938.

Lyons & White, Ballarat:

In April 1898 James Lyons ( fomerly 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.

Mackenzie & Dunstan, W.A.

In 1905 the local newspaper reported that the new store of this partnership between Frederick Dunstan and Charles Mackenzie, only just erected, had blown down in a storm.

Coolgardie Miner, 22nd September, 1905.

In 1910 Charles left to catch up with family in Victoria, then to take an extended holiday, ending the partnership.

Mackintosh & Co, Adelaide:

Donald Macqueen Mackintosh (1857-1935) came to South Australia from Moy, Scotland around 1890.

Detail from a photo c.1890 in the collection of the State Library of South Australia. the tram carries advertising for the firm.

In 1897 the firm purchased and merged with the tailoring firm of T. G. Brown. It continued under the original name until 1903, when Donald moved to Melbourne and the firm was renamed E. Lucas & Co.  Donald worked Melbourne for Holle, then on his own; he also opened a branch in Perth. he was still operating in Melbourne in 1923.

Maguire, Singleton:

William Arthur Maguire (1870-1942) lived his whole life in the one house Singleton, NSW. He joined his father John working as a tailor on leaving school. When he died at the age of 72 years, it was the end of 86 years of the family business working from the one store. His father had come to Australia in 1856 from Ireland.

Mark & Philip, Ballarat:

These tailors operated from bridge Street, Ballarat in the 1930-1950s.

Marks & Kent, Melbourne:

Marks & Kent first advertised in Melbourne newspapers in 1884. Their tailoring and outfitting business was in the “The Little Monster” store, 107 Swanston Street (current site of the Manchester United Building). In 1886 Henry Morris Marks  and Albert Samuel Kent ended their partnership with Kent continuing alone, possibly until 1891. He left for West Australia before 1903 and died there in 1916.

Henry (Harry) Morris Marks (Zvi Ben Moshe) became a sharebroker and lived in Albert Park. He died in 1909.

Mather Bros, Ballarat:

James Walter Oliphant Mather, a Scot by birth, was a tailor in Armstrong Street, Ballarat. In 1918, two years before he died, he handed over his business to his sons, Walter Percival, James Lewis and Francis Richard to run as Mather Brothers. James died in 1931 and ‘Perce” retired in 1946. I don’t know if the business continued after this.

Hopetoun Couier and Malle Pioneer, 23rd August 1918. I was unable to find advertising for Mathers Bros.

McDonald & Walter, Adelaide:

In 1882 Charles Walter joined in partnership with George McDonald in Rundle Street. He was born in Somersetshire in 1844 and had arrived in Adelaide in 1874.

Evening Journal, 10th August 1882.

Troops parading in Rundle Street circa 1900. Mcdonald & Walker’s can be seen in the background.

The Advertiser, 16th November 1953.

In 1908 the partnership dissolved, with Walter continuing as ‘Charles Walter & Sons’ in Rundle Street. His sons would continue in the business after his death in 1913. McDonald operated as G. McDonald & Co. at ‘The White House” 88 King William Street.

Millers, Ballarat:

Miller’s the Clothiers was an early Ballarat institution. It must have predated 1863, as it issued trade tokens that were banned in Victoria from that year.

The Ballarat Star, 4th March 1924.

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.

M. Kino Melbourne:

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.

Here is another button from either this tailor, or his son, Albert Edward Kino, 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. O’Grady, Geelong:

This button dates between 1881-1894.

Michael O’Grady was employed by Thomas Flynn in Geelong. In 1878, along with Mr Butter as a partner, he acquired the stock of his late employer and continued to run a drapers store in Moorabool Street. In 1881 Mr Butters left the partnership and Michael continued until 1893, when he nearly died from the effects of chloroform given during a painful operation. By 1874 he had sold the store. He moved to Rutherglen the following year, where he re-entered the drapery business. His favourite cat, unhappy at the move, walked back to Geelong to the old home, travelling 214 miles in 4 days!

Moubray, Rowan & Hicks:

From the” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers” 9th November, 1868. He was a city councillor and mayor.

Thomas Moubray came to Melbourne in 1848, and worked for William Williamson in his “new drapery and general outfitting establishment” at 45 Collins Street. In 1853 he bought the business with partner Joseph Lush to form “Moubray & Lush”. In 1878, after the retirement and death of various business partners, the firm became “Moubray, Rowan and Hicks” . The business moved soon after to 350 Collins Street.

Robert Hicks, c.1888

Frearsons Monthly Illustrated Adelaide News 1st February 1881.

After Moubray’s death the firm traded as “Hicks, Atkinson & Sons” from 1892 until around 1948, then Hicks Atkinson until 1967.

Murdoch’s, Sydney:

Established by Sir James Anderson Murdoch (1867-1939) in 1893, it was claimed to be “the world’s largest store for men and boy’s ware” in 1928. James had previously worked for Hordern’s (see story above). The store still existed after WW2, when was sold to Walton’s.

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Murdoch’s store (later Walton’s). It was demolished in 1984.

Musgrave & McKenzie, Lithgow:

Thomas “Tom” Musgrave was born in Tasmania in 1866. He served in the Boer War, then came to Lithgow around 1911. He and  William Michael McKenzie (1880-1963) worked for L. Levine, buying the business in 1917.

Freeman’s Journal, 5th April 1917.

Tom was the managing partner as well as in charge of the mercering section. William was in charge of the tailoring section. Tom died of a heart attack at the age of 65 years in 1931. He was remembered as a cheerful and honest man.

Newbury & Son, Melbourne:

Charles Hyatt Newbury junior, son of Charles Hyatt Newbury senior, grocer, and later his son,  Charles Robert Newbury, were mercers and drapers in City Road, Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne) from before 1890 until at least 1922. The next Charles (Renton) Newbury let down the family by becoming an orthodontist.

1934 CR Newbury

The Record (Emerald Hill) October 1922.

Norman Stanley Ince, Geelong:

Norman Ince and partner Thomas Robert Balfour bought the ABC Tailoring Company, Geelong, in 1910 and operated as Ince & Balfour. In 1912 the partnership was dissolved. Norman continued alone. He moved within Geelong a couple of times and was still trading in 1952.

O. A. Plunkett, Parade Norwood:

Quiz, 4th August 1905.

Southern Cross, 5th Jan 1894.

Oliver Ambrose Plunkett (1870-1941) advertised his tailoring from 1894 to 1914 in the Parade, Norwood. Olly was a cricketer, footballer, athlete, and member of the Druid’s Lodge.

O’Brien & Earle, Melbourne:

Frederick Davidson Earle (1888-1947) and Lorne Alfred O’Brien were tailors in the Manchester Unity Buildings from 1928 to 1936. In that year O’Brien & Earle Pty Ltd was wound up. However, the firm was rebirthed and continued until 1999 or later.

Mr Earle had been head cutter at  Leviathan Ltd.

The Argus (Melbourne), 5th January 1934.

O’Neill & Co., Sydney:

Michael O’Neill was a master tailor in Sydney. In 1843 he moved to King Street then in 1844 to Bridge Street.  In 1847 he was planning to leave Sydney due to ill health, but if so, he soon returned as he advertised as he recommenced business in 1848. He advertised as “M. O’Neill & Co., Outfitters and Tailors” at 555 George Street (opposite Bridge Street)  until 1855, and died in 1856.

Merchant shipping company uniform button: Edward Smith






From 1853 there was advertised the tailors “O’Neill & Ross”  then later “O’Neill & Co” in Lower George Street. This was James O’Neill, possibly a relative (?son). There is a connection with the O’Neill’s of Maitland, New South wales, where another James O’Neill  ran a draper’s store in the 1860s.

According to the Australian National Maritime Museum:

“Howard Smith Limited was established in 1854 by Captain William Howard Smith, who began transporting both people and supplies to the goldfields. Originally founded as William Howard Smith and Sons Pty Ltd, the company became Howard Smith Company Ltd in 1901 and in 1914 changed to Howard Smith Limited. The company has interests in distribution of hardware, towage and safety. According to the website ‘deListed’ Howard Smith Ltd. was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange on 17 October 2001 because it was taken over (compulsory) by Wesfarmers Retail Pty Ltd.”

It is therefore likely that the button came from the business belonging to James, but possibly Michael.

Palmers, Sydney:

Palmers (F. J. Palmers and Son’s Ltd) was a menswear department store selling “Everything for Mankind and The Boy”. The photo below, from the 1930s in the NSW State Library collection, shows the store close to Murdoch’s.

Frederick John Palmer was born in 1854 in Bristol, England. He started as a hat manufacturer in Sydney in 1880, then expanded into tailoring and mercery.  His son Ernest Albert Palmer would run the Haymarket branch of their business. He died suddenly after a short illness in 1920, at the age of 63 years.

Frederick John Palmer

Ernest Albert Palmer








The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th May 1931.

Parker & Geertz, Ipswich:

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 18th August 1906.

See also T. J. Geertz

Peapes & Shaw/Peapes & Co, George Street, Sydney:

In 1866 George Peapes (1838-1898) and William Shaw (1835-1915) bought the business of Michael Goulston at 355 George Street.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4th June 1866.

From the booklet “After 50 Years: 1866-1916”. See

In 1866 George Peapes (1838-1898) and William Shaw (1835-1915) bought the business of Michael Goulston at 355 George Street.

George Peapes







In 1898 Mr Peapes died, and later that year the firm became a limited company. As business increased over the years the premises became too small, so in 1905 it underwent a major refurbishment. The follow photos were published in The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser on the 13th September, 1905.

In 1915 there were plans to raze the building and rebuild, as it was still too small, but this was delayed due to the War.

A selection of suits available in 1916.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney),12th December 1923.

In the Sydney Mail, 19th December 1923, there was much interest in the new Georgian Revival style Peapes Building. This was located opposite to the site of the original business.

“View of Hunter-street, showing Peapes and Co’s new building, which commands the George-street end.”

“A corner of the ground floor.”

“The first floor in the new Peapes building, showing the balustrade of the centre gallery.”

“A corner of the handsome room on the first floor.”

In the Powerhouse Museum collection. 1920s.

In 1970  the business closed and the building was sold. The demolition of a neighbouring building over the last couple of years uncovered an old painted advertisement on the side of the former store.


Phillips/B. Phillips, Pitt Street only:










In 1897 in Newcastle Mr B. Phillips “The Record Tailor” started his tailoring business.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’, 10th July 1897.

In 1906 he moved to Sydney to take over the business of Hagan brothers in Pitt Street.  He would advertise as “the House of Phillips” at “Pitt Street only”,  hence the legend on the buttons.

In 1918 the business was merged with another tailoring business to become Verey-Phillips.

Pike Brothers, Brisbane:

Two English brothers, Edwin and Walter Pike, came to Brisbane in 1883. They established their business, Pike Brothers, in 1885.

Published 16th may 1885 in the Queensland Figaro.

Published 16th may 1885 in the Queensland Figaro.

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They were successful, and opened branches around Queensland, as well as an office in London. In 1956 the firm was bought by the Melbourne outfitters, Leviathan although stores continued to trade under the name ‘Pikes Brothers’, then later ‘Pikes’.

4th July 1903

The Brisbane Courier,  4th July 1903 page 12.

Plummer’s & Co/ Plummers  Melbourne:








Edwin Thomas Plummer (1861-1959) was possibly a poor business man, or slightly dodgy!

The Herald, 17th June 1914.

Working at 146 Swanston Street from 1895, with a Mr Gardiner in 1897 at least, he also had a South Melbourne store which had to closed due to insolvency in 1901. He continued in Swanston Street, using the name “Plummer & Co.” from 1898-1913  then “Plummer’s” in advertising from 1913 until 1930. In 1935 he was once again insolvent. In court in 1936 it was asked a to how he could not have known had financial problems since 1930? He claimed he never asked, and never checked or read his accounts; he just signed off on everything given to him! None the less, his bankruptcy was discharged the following year in 1937.

Reporter, 30th August 1907.

Pool & Williams, Bendigo:

This button dates from a narrow time frame. In  January 1892 Alfred Morris Pool (1857-1916) and Joseph Thomas Williams started their business  in the premises previously occupied by the “London and American Clothing Company” in Mitchell Street, Sandhurst (later Bendigo). In February 1994, Williams left to go to Sydney, whilst Pool continued under the name “A. M. Pool”.

(see also A. M. Pool)

Price & Co, Sydney:

Price and Co were tailors from 1878 at 114 King Street, Sydney, then from 1915 at 329 George Street. The article below shows they did military work.

Queaneyan Observer, 20th August 1901.






The company was started as woollen importers and merchant tailors by Richard Atkinson Price and his brother Thomas Atkinson Price. The brothers were both involved in mining and  politics. Richard died in 1936, aged 71 years. Tom died of pneumonia in 1922 at the age of 60 years.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Adcocate, 31st July 1894.

Richard Atkinson Price, M.L.A. for Gloucestor.

In 1906 the company was bankrupt, but it must have survived because in 1917 they were proud to be flicking the switch of their new, Australian invented air-gas lighting plant at the store. The company may have closed upon Thomas’s death.

From the State Library of NSW. Price & Co, King Street.