10th February 2021

The Herald (Melbourne), 13th August 1947 page 9. Post WW2 the need for an updated uniform was addressed. As it can be seen, the men were sick of polishing buttons! The following news in 1948 would have been welcome:

The West Australian (Perth), 13th April 1948 page 8.

It was noted that the old stocks of uniforms were expected to last until mid 1949, so that dates the modern “Staybrite”  (anodised aluminium) buttons from 1949-1950 on Australian uniforms, although they had obviously been developed in 1948 if not earlier. Aluminium uniform buttons (possible not anodised?) occurred much earlier.

The Bendigo Independent, 10th April 1901 page 1.

The World News (Sydney), 2nd September 1916 page 32.

The Age (Melbourne), 8th October 1953 page 4.

Aluminium Buttons

When aluminium was first developed in 1825 it was as expensive as gold. When bars of aluminium were exhibited in Paris in 1855, Napolean wished to equip his army with the light-weight metal. As it was too expensive, he settled for aluminium buttons for his own uniform and a set of forks and spoons. Aluminium buttons and Belt fasteners were advertised in Australian newspapers from 1861. In 1886 a 22 year old American chemist discovered how to produce it inexpensively. From then on fashion buttons and uniform were made of the metal.