20th August 2022

Stokes & Martin Buttons


Although Gregory C. Eccelston suggests that the partnership of Stokes & Martin started in July 1868, it may have started in 1867. One of the medallions struck for the laying of the foundation stone of the new Melbourne Town Hall on 29th November 1867, was marked Stokes & Martin. It is possible this was struck 6 months later, but that seems unusual. Certainly the business was so named in newspapers from 1870, and lasted until the partnership was dissolved in 1893.

I have complied a list of Stokes & Martin buttons that I am aware of, knowing it will not be complete. The actual defence corps may have extended for longer than Thomas Stokes and G. F. Martin’s partnership, so the dates below are for the period they may have produced the button, not for the corps/organisations.

1867-1893 Victorian Police Force

1867-1893 The Melbourne Club

1870s New Zealand Volunteers

1876-1893: Bright Yacht Club

1878-1884 Tasmanian Rifle Volunteers

1880 -1893 NSW Military Forces.

1880-1893 Victorian Military Forces

1884-1893 St Kilda Yacht Club

1891-1893 Victorian Rangers

1888-1893 Victorian Volunteer Cadet Corps

unknown date: H. M. Customs – Victoria

?- 1893 South Australian Fire Brigade

?-1893 Post Office Victoria


Buttons backmarked C. R. Martin would definitely made by Stokes & Martin in the era 1867- 1894, as he (Charles Roper Martin) was a financial backer of the partners until 1893, and the older brother of G. F. Martin. He could have sourced buttons before and after the partnership from Stokes or from England.

1870-1880 NSW Artillery

1870-1893 Volunteer, Medical & Retired Staff

c.1870 NZ Volunteer Forces

c.1875 Victorian Volunteer Service

pre-1885 Queensland Volunteers

1867-1893 Queensland Railways

1867-1893 Victorian Railways

1885-1893 Victorian Naval Brigade

Other military outfitters may have used buttons supplied by the partnership, too. For example, I have reason to believe that Wiseman Bros. sourced some buttons from Stokes . See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/6th-august-2021/

If you are aware of any ‘Stokes & Martin’ or “C. R. Martin” buttons, and better still, have any picture you are willing to share, please contact me using the Contact page.