27th June 2022

More on Unusual Buttons

The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW), 3rd February 1938.

Presumably the above article was written in the USA, as we would call “eucalyptus pods” gumnuts.

Deanna Durbin wearing the buttons mentioned in the article.

Western Mail (Perth), 8th September 1949 page 8.

News (Adelaide), 23rd April 1952 page 36.

For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

26th June 2022

Unusual Button Detailing

Those were the days! Just write in to your newspaper to get with the latest fashions!

News (Adelaide), 13th March 1948 page 7.















News (Adelaide), 11th February 1949 page 12.

Brisbane Telegraph, 19th May 1949 page 16.
















The Herald (Melbourne), 7th June 1950 page 10.

















For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

25th June 2022

From the News of Yesteryear

Distinctive Buttons

The Mail (Adelaide), 2nd November 1935 page 22.

The spelling of “colored” makes me wonder if this piece was lifted from an American newspaper or magazine. Whatever, the buttons described vary from traditional to modern (for the times) materials with realistic designs starting their run on fashion’s conscience.

The Star (Sydney), 22nd May 1909 page 27.

This could only be a “good idea” in the era when buttons were removed from clothing before washing, and only if you did not stand too close to the fireplace!

Leader (Melbourne), 13th February 1909 page 45.

The buttons are “rather large”, but the bow on the hat is rather too, too much.

For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

24th June 2022 – updated

Mystery Button

Can anyone identify this? It may be a school button.







The 11th Regiment of Foot

Jennens & Co London

This variation with Roman numerals dates pre 1855. This regiment served in the colonies from 1845-1857. For the later version with arabic numerals, see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/companies-and-clubs-including-merchantile-marine/#Australian_National_Line

Goulburn High School

This may be a cadet button. Can anyone confirm this?

The first public (government) High School in Goulburn started in 1883 but failed due to low attendances and possibly high running costs. It also had to compete with several private high schools in the district.

Goulburn Herald (NSW), 19th July 1883 page 2. I note with displeasure that the advertised salaries were to be 400 pounds for the headmaster, but only 300 pounds for the headmistress.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 2nd April 1885 page 2.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 1st April 1886 page 4. It was closed on 30th September 1886.

The High School was re-established in 1913 from an existing public secondary school that provided only a two year course, in the Bourke Street Technical Building. A cadet corps was established by 1914.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 14th June 1913 page 4.

Sydney Mail, 20th July 1917 page 13. Some of the pupils with the Principal, Mr C. Blumer M.A., at the centre.

In 1927 a newly built school building was opened in Goldsmith Street, where it continues today with several extensions.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 24th July 1927 page 36.

For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.


23rd June 2022

Beutron cross promotion with Butterick/Vogue

Beutron ran cross-promotions with Butterick patterns from 1964. However, this example probably dates after 2001, when both Butterick and Vogue patterns were bought by McCalls. A card for one of the button featured above is shown below. It was available in 2 sizes.










For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

22nd June 2022

New Finds


The design started with General Plastics (Beauclaire) around 1950 and was still being used by Beutron in the 1970s.

The strip is c.1963 and the card 1966-67.

The card on the left is a strange one: the printing is thicker, the card slightly smaller and the buttons are stapled on. Although this method of attachment was commonly used in America in the 1940-50s, it was not popular in Australia, only appearing on a few Embassy cards around 1966-68 and Big W cards in the early 1970s. The staples are a nuisance to remove when you want to use a button, and go rusty on stored cards. I’m guessing the customer feedback prompted a return to sewing the buttons on.

For all comments and queries, please use the Contact page.

21st June 2022

Classic design.

Although this example dates from the 1980-90s, the same design appeared on variously branded cards since around 1950. I think it is the mark of a good design that it can be used for decades without appearing dated. This design, in common with the duck and fish designs used for decades, maintains its appeal by its simple yet pretty lines. The ‘flower’ outline is moulded into the under surface of the button. The colour of the underlying cloth would show through, with an added sparkle.

Leda c.1957 and Woolworths 1970s.

For all comments and queries, please use the contact page.


20th June 2022

The Australian National Line

Backmark: K. G. Luke Pty Ltd Melb.  As K. G. Luke Ltd changed its name to K. G. Luke (A/Asia) Ltd in 1953, they must have used old button backs for this button as the ACSC was established in 1956.

The letters ACSC on the house flag stand for the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, which was the title of this government owned shipping line established in 1956, taking over from the prior Australian Shipping Board.

The Canberra Times, 31st May 1956 page 1.“Australian National Line” was the business name. In 1974 the word ‘coastal’ was dropped from the title of the commission.

The ANL Princess of Tasmania took over ferry services to Tasmania on 23rd September 1959. She was a very successful ship until she was sold in 1972, her  Melbourne-Devonport route taken over by the Empress of Australia. Unfortunately, the ANL ship Lake Illawarra, a bulk carrier, was the ship involved with the Tasman Bridge disaster. ANL withdrew from ferry services in 1984. ANL ships were used to transport and supply troops during the Vietnam War.

The ANL naming rights and cargo business was bought by the French company CMA CGM in 1998.

Museum Victoria Collection, image 126741: Australian National Lines cargo ship ‘River Burnett’ pictured at dock, 1957.

I have two buttons of a differing design (backmarked Miller Rayner & Haysom Ltd) that I have been informed are also from ANL. Is this the newer design, dating from after 1974 when the commission’s name changed to the Australian Shipping Commission?







For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

19th June 2022

Royal Australian Artillery

Stokes Melb

This is a extra small (12mm diametre) blackened brass button. These would be used on side caps, peaked caps, gorget patches*, etc.

* The  patches  worn on each side of the collar of the tunics  are called “gorget patches” in reference to the historical piece of armour that covered the neck.

 History of the RAA:

Did you know that the Royal Australian Artillery came into existence before Federation?

In 1898 the government of New South Wales sent a request to Downing Street that their artillery be named the ‘Royal Australian Artillery’, which seemed a bit cheeky, even to Downing Street, so they in turn suggested the combined colonial artillery units of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria be thus named, as there existed a permanent artillery only in those colonies at that time. The Victorian Government thought this step should wait until Federation. Then the Premier of NSW then suggested that the permanent artillery forces of each colony could be be designated a battery of the RAA, so if such forces in the other colonies be raised they would then be included. The Victorian government accepted this idea, and the Queen gave her assent on 14th July, 1899.

Geelong Advertiser (Vic), 21st August 1899 page 1.Each colonial artillery then became, for example , the Queensland Regiment of the RAA.

Only months later, the whole of the Victorian regiment of the RAA would be volunteering for service in the Transvaal. They were joined by the machine-gun section of the Queensland Regiment and 17 men and officers from the NSW regiment. A further field artillery unit left with the second division later that year.

The photos below are from Royal Australian Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 28th October 1899 page 25.

“Royal Australian Artillery-The New South Wales “A” Battery, which was Offered to the imperial Government, and Refused.”

“A Gun in Action.”

“No. 1 Gun and Men.”

From Federation until 1962 the artillery was referred to as the Royal Australian Artillery. Prior to 1947 the artillery in Australia were mainly militia units.

Sydney Mail, 2nd February 1938 page 40.

Since the 19th September 1962, the artillery were renamed the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery as it is now a regiment of the Australian Army.

The Age, 31st March 1949 page 3.

The Canberra Times, 22nd November 1963 page 36. Note the new title.

For all comments or queries, please use the Contact page.

18th June 2022

Royal Australian Engineers

Backmarks: Bentley Melb and Stokes Melb

The insignia on this button is called the ‘Flaming Bomb’ or the ‘Shell & Flame’ or simply the Grenade. It depicts an iron hand grenade loaded with a powder charge and a fuse that would be lit before throwing. The insignia’s use dates in Europe for several centuries, and was associated with varying corps, e.g. fusiliers, grenadiers, artillery and engineers. The grenadiers were the first associated with it, as they were the tall, strong troops who threw the heavy hand grenades in battle.  In America the insignia was used by the Ordnance Corps from 1832. In  Britain, according to the Corps of Royal Engineers Memoranda, 2017, “An embroidered Grenade was first worn on the tail of the RE Officer Full Dress scarlet Coat of 1824. A brass Grenade was introduced for a similar purpose on the Rank and file Coattee of the Royal Sappers and Miners in 1825. The adoption of the Grenade as a Badge became associated with those who would routinely fight alongside the Grenadier (or assault) companies of the Army. Curiously, its adoption coincides with the withdrawal of the Grenade from British military service.”  This explains the use of this symbol by the Australian Engineers.

The  Australian colonial engineering corps were amalgamated as the Corps of  Australian Engineers in 1902. From 1903 until 1910, the uniform button had ERVII cypher surrounded by a garter and surmounted by the Crown. The motto within the garter reads “Hon Soit Qui Mal Pense” (Shame on him who thinks evil of it) which puzzles me as this did not get used on the hat badge until 1947, as an honour for their service during WW2.

Annual report upon the Military Forces of the Commonwealth of Australia. 1903. Page 65.

In 1907 the regular (permanent) engineers received permission to be called the Royal Australian Engineers (the militia engineers had to wait until 1936 for this honour). I cannot find out when they adopted the design of uniform buttons with the flaming bomb. This type are labelled in Cossum as 1920-1940.  Perhaps they wore the CMF button before then, or Cossum was in error?

In 1947 because the Corps was honoured with a new motto, from the original “Facimus et Frangimus” (We make and we break) to “Hon Soit Qui Mal Pense”  which appears on the buttons with a leather garter, surrounding the cypher EIIR (see below). Of course, this button dates from 1953, so maybe the button design did not change until then? Did the prior button stay in use until then (despite Cossum’s dating), or did the engineers revert to using a AMF button? So many questions, so few answers.



State Library SA #PRG 280/1/14/228  Royal Australian Engineers, 1914.

For all comments or questions, please use the Contact page.