Author Archives: admin

22nd January 2023

Design Problems from the Army.

The Canberra Times. I am not sure if these are buttons are being referred to, but many collectors will be aware the coating on some “Staybrite” anodised uniform buttons did not wear well.


Army newspaper, 21st April 1983 page 11.


The term “housewife” dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century, when soldiers were issued with a pouch containing spare buttons, cotton, etc. The term is now considered as being sexist.

21st January 2023

Corps Buttons

Australian Army newspaper, 15th October 1964 page 11.


From 1984: can you believe this from the Army?

Army newspaper, 1st November 1984 page 11.

No; He wasn’t asking about how the buttons were sewn on; he wants to button up his jacket. Surely this was obvious?!!!

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20th January 2023

Introduction of the “Skewered Roo” button: 1998-99

Army newspaper, 24th November 1998 page 3.



As mentioned above, there was talk in 1980 of a single Army button:

Army newspaper, 4th December 1980 page 15. Part of a criticism of post WW2 corps regalia. At this time, many soldiers were favoring the concept of a ‘single’ Army uniform button.

Army newspaper, 12th November 2009 page 2. It appears the roll out of the unified butyon was not complete, even in 2009.

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19th January 2023

Teenage Fashions: 1980s

The concept of teenage fashion by the 1990s was so accepted, so everyday, that journalists no longer seemed to comment on it. However, department stores had dedicated sections catering for these clients, for example, “Myers Miss Store”( which started in the late 1960s), although there were cross-overs with children’s wear.

The Canberra Times 13th September 1981 page 11.

The Canberra Times, 9th August 1984 page 24.

The Canberra Times, 28th March 1985 page 15.

Times (Victor Harbor, SA), 17th May 1989 page 12. Views from a couple of teenagers.

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18th January 2023

Teenage Fashions in 1970

What a difference from the last decade. I’m not convinced that “teenage” fashion was really different from adult fashion, but the mini dresses undoubtedly suited young people more! Farmer’s in Sydney now had a “Teen Scene Shop”, recognising these customers as a seperate entity.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 19th August 1970 page 47. A sleeveless maxi-coat worn with a mini-skirt; an “ensemble chosen for a teenage reader”.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 14th January 1970 page 40.

The Australian Women’s Weekly,27th May 1970 page 53.  A mini dress worn with/without pants.


























The Australian Women’s Weekly, 18th February 1970 page 4.

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17th January 2023

April 6th, 1960.

















The shoes are (mostly) pointer than a decade ago. Gloves still appear. Many fashions are still the same as for older women, but some are quite ‘boyish’.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 24th August 1960 page 61. “Princess-line frock for the fashion-conscious teenager. Sophisication is no longer a bad thing for a teen.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 7th September 1960 page 69. A “full skirted summer frock for the teenage.”

















The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27th April 1960 pages 8 and 9 of its ‘Teenage Weekly’ section.











The Australian Women’s Weekly, 2nd March 1960 page 1 of its ‘Teenage Weekly’.






16th January 2023


“Australian girls dress as well as girls overseas – says noted Melbourne designer” (Linda Patricia), quoted in the Argus (Melbourne) newspaper on 32st August 1950, page 24. Note the unintentional sense of cultural inferiority! The shoes are “sensible” and gloves common.

Truth (Brisbane 20th August 1950 page 22. Circle skirts and ‘mix-and-match’ separates.

“Gay, young fashions for teenagers bear the same important styles as those for adults, but with the avoidance of any exaggeration.”

Truth (Sydney), 20th August 1950 page 39.”Boat neck edged in white eyelet embroidery trims this slim-hipped, full skirted afternoon dress of rust shantung. The same eyelet edging follows the tiny rows of buttons and simulated peplum. The model is Jane Powell, a 21 year old MGM star, so not quite a teenager.

“Bolero suit with a high cut skirt of grey and white, topped with a snug little jacket of brilliant coral. Blouse is of white pique.”


















The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate (NSW ), 24th October 1950 page 4. “A smart suit for teen-ager”.  Why is this a teenager suit? The short sleeves?

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27th May 1950 page 60.

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15th January 2023


War-time restrictions limited the styles available.

Johnstone River Advocate and Innisfail News (Qld), 23rd August 1940 page 5.














The Sydney Morning Herald, 6th May 1941 page 5. “This neat spectator sports outfit in blue novelty crepe or lightweight flannel has white embroidery on the skirt and a smart loose-fitting jacket.”

The Sun (Sydney), 30th August 1942 page 5.














The Age (Melbourne), 30th October 1945 page 5. ‘Black satin worn by the debutante need not bring sophisicstion”. Sophistication was a bad thing for a teen in 1945.

“A casual button-up frock for a fashion-conscious teen-ager. Note the large cape sleeves.”

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 10th May 1947 page 30.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27th November 1948. Dior is not referenced, however all these dance frocks have his soft shoulders and exaggerated waist. Very different to the uniform-like square shoulders of the preceeding years.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 31st December 1949 page 44. A “shortie for a teenager.”

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14th January 2023


People think the 1950s birthed the rise of the teenager as a highly visible demographic group of economic and political influence, but the term was used earlier.

At the time of Federation, very few children continued schooling into secondary level, and there were only four universities in the nation. By 1910 it was reported that most children left school at the age of 14, before entering apprenticeships, trades, service, etc, so that childhood transitioned straight into wage earning and/or marriage. As the years of education increased, and with increasing mobility provided by private car ownership, a period of life of semi-adulthood started to emerge.

In 1920 the Y.W.C.A. ran program for adolescent girls between 14 to 20 years as “the ‘teen age is the period when the battle for an honest, pure, clear, righteous type of womanhood must be waged and won.”

The Sun (Sydney), 25th January 1920 page 13.

The Methodist (Sydney), 27th March 1920 page 4.

From 1920 the title was often written as ” ‘teen agers”, with an apostrophe, and as two words. From 1930 it was also written ” ‘teener” as well as ‘teens’. It referred to a school leaver, someone who would experiment in fashionable clothes, make-up, and attend tennis parties and dances.

The Gundagai Independent (NSW), 6th March 1930 page 1. “A smart business or street frock for the fastidious ‘teener.”

In 1928 United studios made a film called ‘Harold Teen’ about the adventures of a high school student. It can’t have been at all risque, as it was described as a ‘perfect picture for children’. From 1937-1941 a cartoon of the same name ran in the Philippines, and from 1949-50 in Sydney, about a lazy, soda drinking, banana-split eating young man.

The Tribune (Philippines), 22nd May 1938 page 37.

Fashions for teens were originally simplified adult fashions, or still a little juvenile.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 28th August 1937 page 2.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 4th May page 35.

Truth (Sydney), 28th January 1945 page 27. War time teen fashion?

By 1946 some adults in America were decrying the “leggy, spotty adolescents known as teenagers” for their increasing rates of delinquency, with crime rates rising and increasing venereal disease. Apparently Australian teens were comparatively well-behaved, even if “harassed parent were constantly under the impression that their offspring are skidding rapidly down the road to perdition”, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, in March 1946.

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW), 9th May 1946 page 2.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 9th June 1946 page 49.

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12th January 2023

Tailor’s Button

Beehive Clothing, Melbourne


A clothing  company was established by Lawrence Benjamin during the late 1850s, on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke streets, opposite the General Post Office. (His brother, Samuel Benjamin, also had a store at this intersection.) In 1873 Lawrence erected a three storey building on the site, the Beehive Clothing Company building.

The Argus (Melbourne), 13th March 1873 page 4.

The building was taken over by F. S. Meyer in 1902 and re christened the State Supply Stores, then  merged with the London Tailoring Depot in 1906, although the beehive trademark remained on the building until the 1930s. However, the name “Beehive Clothing Company” seems to have been used until 1931.

Punch (Melbourne), 21st August 1902 page 26.

State Library Victoria photo 1716815. Ca. 1862-1879. Looking east along Bourke Street, with the Post Office on the left, and the Beehive Clothing Company building on the right hand corner of Elizabeth Street.

State Library Victoria photo H81.111. Ca.1888. View of Elizabeth Street, looking towards Collins Street showing the Beehive Clothing Company and the Beehive Chambers, corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets.


I was curious that the term ‘beehive’ had been used to name stores and buildings multiple time around Australia. Beehives are symbolic of attributes such as industry, diligence and wealth, amongst other things, so perhaps indicates the value of successful business through hard work, like that of the bees building the hive. Examples dating from 1840-1860  included (with the date first advertised):

  • Beehive stores, New Wharf, Hobart Town, 1841
  • Beehive Stores, Sydney, 1844
  • Bee-hive General Stores, Auburn St Goulburn, NSW 1845
  • Bee-hive stores, Mudgee, NSW 1847
  • Bee Hive Stores, Gawler Town, SA, 1848
  • Beehive Corner, King William & Rundle Sts, Adelaide, 1849
  • Beehive Grocery Store, 45 Elizabeth St Hobart Town, 1849
  • Beehive Store, Queen St, Nth Brisbane, 1849
  • French Bee-hive Stores, South Gundagai, NSW 1850
  • Bathurst Bee Hive General Store, NSW, 1850
  • Beehive Stores, Carcoar, NSW, 1853
  • Beehive Store, Great Brighton,Melbourne, 1854
  • Bee-hive Store, Tarrengower (Maldon), Vic, 1854
  • Beehive Store, Johnston St, Collingwood, Melbourne, 1854
  • Beehive Store, Blackwood St, North Melbourne, 1854
  • Bee-hive Store, Eastern Market, Melbourne, 1854
  • Beehive Store, Braidwood, NSW, 1854
  • Beehive Grocery Store, Charles St, Launceston, 1855
  • Beehive Store, Spring Creek, Victoria, 1855
  • Bee Hive Store, Morpeth, NSW, 1855
  • Beehive Stores, Pall Mall building, Bendigo, 1855
  • Beehive Store, Ballarat, 1855
  • Beehive Store, Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Melbourn, 1856
  • Bee-Hive Store, Bundendore, NSW, 1856
  • Beehive Store, Bathurst, NSW, 1856
  • Bee-hive Stores, Nine Mile, Vic, 1857

There would be plenty other examples, but I’ve had enough searching!

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