15th September 2020

Dating Woolworths buttons.

Unlike G. J. Coles who stuck to Embassy branding of their buttons, Woolworths had multiple brands; Hi-Style, Moonglow, Boilproof, Kiddietone, Spares, Woolworths and Grandway. Why so many?

Recently I discussed dating cards of Embassy buttons. To recap: On 14th February 1966 our currency changed from imperial to decimal. From that time until 1st August 1967 there was a “dual currency”  transitional period. You may notice old goods with dual prices printed. You may also have the same buttons carded with pre, dual and post dual pricing allowing you to date to early 1960s, 1966-7, and post August 1967. See also the Woolworths page.

Feb 1966-Oct 1967, and post August 1967.


From the printing on the back of the cards, I think the ‘Spares’ were Woolies’ earliest branded buttons. They were supplied by General Plastics. This would be some time between 1951 and around 1954. (Mention on the cards of the ‘Federal Council of Dry Cleaners’ dates from 1954.) Later Spares cards are labelled Woolworths as well as Spares.










From around 1954 you had the following brands: The endorsement of the  Federal Drycleaners is now added.

Later cards of this era have the ‘Woolworths’ name added.

The cards without ‘Woolworths’ on them are older.

From around 1958 the cards changed to the style of  cards with added yarn, and stayed like that until around 1972. I suspect the pink ‘Moonglow’ cards date from around 1958-1960, then the new triangle logo appears (see below).

The Spare cards below show the transitioning of those cards from pre-1954 to 1958.


In 1958 Woolworths opened the first supermarket. From April 1960 a triangle surrounding the letter W and the Southern Cross was  used as Woolworths’ new logo. This was printed on the cards of buttons. From 1960-1965 these cards were coloured blue. For some reason, they switched to both yellow and white cards during 1966-67.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th April 1962 page 40. Hats and white gloves to visit the supermarket. Very nice.


Around 1968 the cards changed again, with the new brand now  Sew’N’Save.

1969 advert.

The next change of logo did not occur until late 1972, when the Big W Chevron was introduced.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 29th November 1972 page 85.

The most recent label used on Woolworth cards of buttons was Grandway. Although this brand was sold in Woolies from 1969, the prices on the cards, 85 cents to $1.25, indicate these cards date later than on the previous cards, perhaps from the 1980s.

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