1st December 2020

Follow up on the possible untitled rifle regiment button

Stokes & Sons Melbourne

There is uncertainty amongst collectors as to whether such uniform buttons were for rifle companies or civilan brass bands. The design is referred to as a ‘slung bugle’. A book published in 1924 titled ‘Common Commodities and Industries. The Button Industry.’ by W. Unite Jones shows an example on page 6 of this design  labelled ‘bronzed Bugle, Rifles’ in a collection of military buttons by Jennens & Co.

From a collection of military buttons made by Jennens & Co.

Therefore, even if this was at some stage adopted by civilian bands, the design has its root in use for rifle regiments. A badge for bugle proficency was used in WW2 era, but with long tassels on the cord (see below).


H.M. Customs – ?Victoria

Backmark Firmin & Sons London i.e. mid-late 19th century.

This button is similar, but not identical, to one of several H.M. Customs buttons shown on Cossum page 69. Each colony had its own service and uniform until Federation.

A customs service started in Victoria as early as 1836 in a tent pitch besides the River Yarra!

Illustrated Australian News, 1 June 1889 page 165.
Source: National Library of Australia

State Library SA PRG 280/1/44/622: Arthur Searcy Customs Officer 1891. He wears similar buttons.

29th November 2020

More Uniform Buttons

Royal Australian  Naval  Brigade

The Royal Australian Naval Brigade (RANB) was a division of the Citizen Naval Forces during World War 1 and the immediate post war period. Members were either volunteers or compulsory trainees who served shore duty or sea duty. According to https://www.navy.gov.au/brief-history-royal-australian-naval-reserve the title for the naval reserve of ‘Royal Australian Naval Brigade’ dates from January 1917 until 1920. However, the term was used in media from 1914-1931! Cossum’s pre-1910 dating must be in error.

Firmin & Sons London

Library SA [PRG 280/1/24/377] : member of the R.A.N.B. 1921. The word ‘Brigade’ can be seen on the cap.

Royal Australian Navy

Firmin & Sons London, thanks Ian. Button as worn by Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officers. 1911-1927


A history of Australia’s naval uniforms  worth looking at  https://www.navy.gov.au/customs-and-traditions/brief-history-australian-naval-uniforms-0

The Royal title was bestowed in 1911. In March 1928 a new style of RAN button was introduced, comprising a vertical stockless anchor replacing the previously worn ‘lazy’ anchor. 


General Staff


Thanks to Noble Numismatics. General Staff Button 1912-1948

General Staff are officers, enlisted and civilian personnel  responsible for the administrative, operational and logistical needs of defence forces. They provided communication between command and operational staff.


Tasmania Mental Hospital

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Stokes & Sons Melb. 1934-1937.

The Mercury (Hobart), 22nd September 1934 page 7.

The Hospital for the Insane was located in Humphrey Street, New Norfolk from 1859; renamed from the previous Lunatic Asylum instituted to care for unwell convicts.  In 1914 it was renamed the Mental Diseases Hospital, from 1934 the Mental Hospital then in 1937 Lachlan Park Hospital.

Examiner (Launceston), 21st May 1937 page 12.

In 1968 in was again renamed as the Royal Derwent Hospital.

From Wikipedia. Image released to common use by author, Campbellm31.

28th November 2020

New Finds:

Martart buckles. Notice that Maxart had their own price stickers. Did they sell retail?

American Styled: 1940s

Grant Featherston (Darian)

Loose buttons

I have the starfish on a ‘Fashionable Buttons’ card in grey. At the top is a Beauclaire rose and a ‘pearl blossum’ button. An Australian Donald duck. In the middle. well. how Aussie is that?!

27th November 2020

More Noble Nuministics Colonial Buttons

So desirable…

Top row: Hobart town Volunteer Artillery (1859-1975), Launceston Volunteer Artillery Corps (1860-1867), Launceston Volunteer Artillery (1868–1877).

Middle row: Her Majesty’s Colonial Navy (Sth Aust) (c.1899), Victorian Naval Brigade x 2 (c.1899)

Bottom row:  Tasmanian Defence Forces (1884-1901)¹, Victorian Horse Artillery (1889-1897), 12th regiment of Foot (British, 1854-1860).


1/ The Tasmanian DF dates from 1885 not 1884.

26th November 2020

From an historic auction by Noble Numismatics:

A Colonial button lot to sigh for …

In 1988 Mr J. K. Cossum published a book entitled ‘Buttons of the Defence Forces in Australia’. He also authored several books on Australian Army Badges. It remains a good resource for history buffs and collectors, although there were omissions (due to the rarity of some examples) and some errors in dating. According to this book, the above buttons and their era are as stated Those marked with an asterisk I have corrected below.

Top row:   Royal Victorian Volunteer Artillery Regiment (1860-1870) x 2 ,and Victorian Volunteer Artillery Regiment (1856-60)¹

Middle row:  Hobart  City Guards (1860-1867)², 1st Rifles Southern Tasmania Volunteers (1860-1866), Victorian Naval Artillery (c.1863).

Bottom row: Victorian Volunteer Service (1870-1880)³ ,  unknown colonial artillery , NSW Artillery (1871-1880)


1. The Royal title was given in 1859 not 1860.

2. The Hobart  City Guards was the Hobart Town City Guards. Hobart Town became Hobart formally in 1881.

3. The motto on the button dates it from 1875. In 1891 the motto changed from’Aut Pace Aut Bello’ to ‘Pro Deo Et Patria’.


25th November 2020

1st Australian Horse

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: backmark Hobson & Son.

The First Australian Horse was a volunteer unit gazetted in 1897 with detachments of fine horsemen raised from from all over country NSW in 1898.

NSW Government Gazette, 5th August 1897 page 5519.

They wore a uniform of dark (myrtle) green with black embroidery in a hussar pattern. The buttons and badges were originally black, but later changed to brass. The slouch hat was turned up at the left hand side and featured the regimental badge. Two contingents were sent to the Boer Wars.

Australian War Memorial image P01578.001 Trooper Curtis c.1899.The sword was carried by Australian cavalry during the 1900-01 campaign.

This regiment became a militia (partially paid) in 1900. In 1903 as part of the new Federal forces, they became the 3rd Australian Light Horse, then in 1908, the 11th Light Horse.

See  http://www.lighthorse.org.au/1st-australian-horse/


24th November 2020

New South Wales Mounted Rifles

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Cossum has several variations shown on pages 6-7, and dates them from 1892-1901. Is this a tiger’s head, or perhaps a leopard as it is spotted?

Evening News (Sydney), 20th July 1893 page 2.  The Mountry Infantry was called the NSW Mounted Rifles from 1893.

They would  serve in the Boer War. Post Federation they were retitled the 2nd Light Horse.

Australian War Memorial image A04542. Private Du Frayer of the NSW MR, wearing the Queen’s scarf for Bravery in South Africa.

See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/defence-forces-uniform-buttons/pre-federation/#New_South_Wales_Mounted_Rifles

23rd November 2020

Queensland Colonial Forces

See also http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/18th-october-2020/

Queensland Scottish Volunteer Corps

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Queensland Scottish Volunteers 1886-7, by H.W. Martin London.

In 1885 a Queensland Scottish Rifle Volunteers corps was established in Brisbane. By 1888 their strength was 335 of all ranks. Their full dress uniform was the same as that worn by the Gordon Highlanders (Her Majesty’s 92nd).

The Brisbane Courier, 16th May 1885 page 5.

The Queensland Figaro, January 1889. A member of the Queensland Scottish Rifles.

By 1896 the corps had dwindled, and was briefly revived in 1897.


Queensland Permanent Artillery

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Queensland Permanent Artillery 1885-1901.

Staff Sergeant Gorman of the Permanent Artillery. Nice props for the photo, especially the conch shell in the pot plant!

In common with other colonies at that time, a Defence Act was passed in 1884, then a permanent artillery established in Queensland in 1885. In 1899-1900 the name was changed to the Queensland Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.