Author Archives: admin

16th May 2023

6th Infantry battalion, The Royal Melbourne Regiment








The 6th battalion was raised from Melbourne and surrounding suburbs within 2 weeks of the declaration of war in 1914. They served in Gallipoli, Egypt, the Somme, Pozieres, Ypres and other battle; not surprisingly they suffered heavy casualties.

After WW1 as the Australian Imperial forces were demobilised, various battalions were merged as the numbers dwindled. In 1921 it was decided to honour the previous AIF battalions by adopting their numerical and battle honours in the new Citizen Force. These were organised to preserve the regional identities of the battalions whose memory they upheld. Thus the 6th Battalion was re-raised from various units. In 1927 territorial titles were adopted, with the battalion becoming the 6th Battalion, City of Melbourne Regiment. In 1935 it was re-designated as the Royal Melbourne Regiment on the approval of King George V during his jubilee.

Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW), 3rd June 1935 page 5.

During WW2 the militia served as home guard, and the 6th battalion served garrison duties. due to changes in politics and the economy, this and other units were disbanded. However, in 1948 the Citizens Military Force (CMF) was established, with the 6th re-re-raised!

The Age (Melbourne), 16th April 1948 page 3.

From 1960-1965 the adoption of the Pentropic divisional structure of the Australian Army resulted in the amalgamation of several units including the 6th, into the Royal Victorian Regiment (RVR). However, further changes in military philosophy/structure saw the 6th split off as the 6th Battalion, RVR in 1965. Declining numbers saw the amalgamation with the 5th Battalion from 1975 til 1982 as part of the 1st Battalion, RVR. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan prompted the expansion of the CMF, with the 5/6 RVR again split off as a second Victorian battalion.

Army newspaper, 28th July 1983 page 13.

The button above is anodised gilt, so could date from 1953 ( when Stokes introduced the anodising technology into Australia) until 1960, when unit was swallowed into the RVR. After 1962 Stokes & Sons became Stokes (A/Asia) limited, so it does not belong to later incarnations.

The Age (Melbourne), 3rd June 1953. “A scene during the Royal Melbourne Regiment’s Colour trooping.”

Australian Army newspaper, 8th October 1959 page 15.

To watch footage of the centenary of the regiment, see

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15th May 2023

University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ

According to      ‘The University’s original, unauthorised coat of arms was adapted from the Canterbury Provincial Government coat of arms in 1873. The coat of arms featured symbols including the sheep’s fleece, plow, and cross, which refer to the influences of the church and agriculture on the founding of Canterbury. These were accompanied by the Latin motto “Ergo tua rura manebunt”, meaning “therefore may your fields prosper”.’

The fleece symbolises the pastoral, the plough the agricultural of the region. The bishops’s pall and the cross represent Canterbury’s ecclesiastical connections. The open book denoted scholarship.

Founded in 1873 as Canterbury College, with the main campus in the suburb of Ilam. The name was changed in 1933 to Canterbury University  College, then in 1957 to University of Canterbury. Women were allowed to be admitted to the college from its inspection. It was part of the University of New Zealand until 1961, then became an independent university in its own right.

The University gradually moved from the centre of Canterbury to Ilam from 1961-1974. The original neo-gothic buildings are now used as the Christchurch Arts Centre. 

The Argus (Melbourne), 16th February 1874 page 5.

Otago Witness, 5th June 1901 page 38.

Press, 11th December 1957 page 9.

Press, 6th February 1960 page 14. The circular theatre of the new school of engineering at the University.

Press, 5th April 1960 page 14.

Press, 12th January 1965 page 12.

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14th May 2023

Tailor’s Button

J. B. Milton & Co. Melbourne

In 1860 upon the dissolving of a partnership “by the effluxion of time” (the end of a lease or agreement through natural course of events) Mr Milton continued in this new style at 54 Collins Street.

The Argus (Melbourne), 24th October 1860 page 3. The partnership and commenced in 1855.

John Barrow Milton supplied military uniforms:

The Argus (Melbourne), 21st January 1861 page 1.

The Argus (Melbourne), 25th February 1862 page 5.

The Star (Ballarat) 23rd October 1862 page 2.

His death in 1891 is a reminder of the danger of the ‘flu! Get vaccinated!!

The Herald (Melbourne), 5th October 1891 page 2.

A full page advertisment in Punch (Melbourne), 2nd March 1911 page 9. It boasts of appointment to the Earl of Hopetoun, the Marquis of Normanby, Sir George S. Clarke, Sir H.B. Loch and Lord Brassey.

From a long article about the early life of Melbourne:

The Age (Melbourne), 26th September page 8.

The firm continued, and in 1919 was restyled as “E. W. Roach and J. B. Milton P/L” and continued until 1937 when it was taken over by James Thelwell & Co.

For any comment or query, please use the Contact page.

13th May 2023

Possible New Zealand School Buttons

Please help with identification!

While you might guess this is for Christ’s College in Canterbury, Christchurch, the button doesn’t match the school crest.


An Anglican school, but which one?

Nelson College for Girls









Nelson College for Girls was established in 1883. It is a private school that offers boarding.

Press, 17th December 1976 page 13.

Press, 21st February 1983 page 14.

The school has ties with Nelson College, established in 1856; the oldest state secondary school in New Zealand. It is a boys only school from years 7 to 10, with boarding provided.

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

12th May 2023

New Zealand Buttons

Thanks to Carol.

Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland.









Epsom Girls Grammar was established in 1917. It caters for girls from years 9 to 13 and offers boarding.

The Colonist (NZ), 14th February 1917 page 4.

Auckland Star , 10th December 1936 page 9. A massed physical drill display. Oh, how exciting!

New Zealand Herald, 10th December 1943 page 5. Prize-giving at Epsom Girls grammar.

For any comment, question or query, please use the Contact page.

11th May 2023

Exclusive Buttons

As I’ve mentioned previously, these yellow cards of buttons were also made exclusively for Farmer’s and Grace Bros! Perhaps not so exclusive?

Here are adverts with other “exclusive to David Jones” products.

Sunday Times (Sydney), 26th October 1919 page 28.

The Sun (Sydney), 14th March 1920 page 20.” … many exclusively to David Jones own designs”.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 12th May 1934, back cover.
“Five Toes” shoes exclusive to David Jones’. Notice the unshielded and uncontrolled Xray exposure to check to fit of the shoes (see enlarged below). It’s Free!

Understandably horrified by this, I found another example from a shoe store in 1925. Imagine the Xray dose absorbed if you worked in this store! It was still being used  in 1946.

The Brisbane Courier, 28th April 1925 page 19. The whole family gets irradiated together!

For any comment, questions or contributions, please use the Contact page.

I still remember the fun in looking down the ( periscope, viewer) to see my feet and wriggling toes in the 1950’s.


10th May 2023


These are, by the imperial prices, pre February 1966.

Black 28mm diametre black buttons with a textured ‘woven cloth’ pattern. 1 shilling each.

Grey must have been a fashionable colour when these buttons were sold. These are 33.5mm diametre.

Maxart supplied polyester buttons to the Australian Government Clothing Factory in 1986. However, from the notice published below, the property of the Maxart Group was in the process of liquidation from 1988.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Business, 23rd March 1993 page 924.











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9th May 2023

Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps uniform

Vietnam War Era

Thanks for the use of this image from breakspear721 on Ebay.

This button is seen on page 51 of Cossum’s book. It is one of the many Staybrite anodised aluminum uniform buttons made by Stokes from the 1953 through to at least the 1980s. For information about Stokes introducing this type of button into production in Australia, see the 1956 article

For any questions, comments or contributions, please use the Contact page.

8th May 2023

Arthur James Parkes

CityRail buttons (1989-2003): backmarked AJ Parkes

Arthur Parkes was born in West Bromich, which is only 10.5 kilometres from Birmingham. Here is the exert of the 1851 census listing Arthur, his parents and baby sister.

Sometime between 1873 and 1876 the family moved to Lodge road, Birmingham. In the 1861 census, three more siblings have been born. Arthur, aged 13, is listed as a scholar. He was apprenticed as a die-sinker to the Royal Mint in London in the 1880s. In 1889 he travelled to Australia in the ship Ormuz. His family stayed in England, so I wonder what prompted him to sail around the world to start a new life in Brisbane.

Arthur sold the firm in 1941 to Eric Faux. The new owner kept the name of the business, as this advertisment from 1954 shows:

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 10th April 1953, page 11.

The company is still in business, making badges, medallions and other items. it is now located in salisbury, Queensland.

Examples of the firms work exist in many museum collections. See trove for examples:

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7th May 2023

‘Edgbaston’ Alphington: Home of Thomas Stokes.

Thomas Stokes was born in the Parish of Edgbaston, which today is an affluent suburb of Birmingham. Here is his family’s listing in the 1841 census. His parents, Thomas (carpenter) and Ann, aged 50, are living at Wheeleys Lane with seven of the children, aged from 5 to 15 years (three elder children were not living there). Thomas junior, who would move to Melbourne, Victoria, was aged 10 years. (The ages written for the children are inaccurate. There were not three 15 year olds! Isabella was 20,  William 18, and Eliza was 15 years.)

By the 1851 census,  Thomas, now 20 years, is listed as a die sinker apprentice.

On New Year’s Day, 1854, he arrived at Melbourne to try his luck during the gold rush. However, later that year he returned to his trade. It was the start of big things!

From 1883-1886 he built a grand family home on Heidelberg Road, Alphington that he named after his birth place; Edgbaston. He lived there until his death in 1910.

Weekly Times (Melbourne), 18th June 1910 page 24.

The residence was  divided into 3 townhouses, and the land subdivided and sold in 1914.

Heidelberg News and Greensborough and Diamond Creek Chronicle, 7th February 1914 page 2.

From Google Street View, Jan 2019, the residence can be seen at the corner of Margaret Grove and Tower Avenue.

For any comment or questions, please use the Contact page.