27th May 2021

College Buttons

Due to the long history of some of these schools, it is not surprising there are some variations in the uniform buttons.

Adelaide High School

No marker’s mark. Post 1976.

Adelaide Boys High School opened in 1951 (from former versions of the school).  In 1977 it amalgamated with its girls’ campus, the ‘B’ for Boys being dropped from the school crest and the buttons.

Pre 1977 button for Adelaide Boys College by Schlank Adelaide.

Whilst not all Schlank buttons I own are back marked, they are all slightly convex (as are the buttons made by Olsen Badges who bought the firm). The new button above is flat with a slightly different shank. Don has a ABHS button with the lamp filled with the blue enamel. Is it a variation, or have I just lost my lamp’s enamel?


St Peter’s College, Adelaide

No Marker’s mark. Like the AHS example, it is flat.









Exisiting from 1847, there are (at least) 2 other variations of this college’s buttons.

26th May 2021

Variations of Uniform Buttons

You may be happy collecting uniform buttons from one area, or by one maker, or for one profession, or you may try to find every variation possible! I fall somewhere inbetween, not totally obsessive, but with an ever growing collection.


See also  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/companies-and-clubs-including-merchantile-marine/#Westpac

No markers mark


Generic Government Button

I have shared generic VR and Crown buttons many times. This one has the cypher  for Elizabeth II.

Stokes & Sons Melb. 1953-62.


NSW Prisons Department








Rider & Bell have been a metal manufacturing company in Sydney since 1920. See https://www.riderandbell.com.au/.

The only other button I have seen with their backmark is for the NSW Fire Department, and of much better quality. (See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/australian-button-history/federation-to-ww2/#Rider_and_Bell_Sydney) They are known for tools, whistles, clamps etc rather than buttons. Did they actually make these buttons, or out source them?

25th May 2021

Mystery solved?

Last month I wondered about a mystery uniform button, the image of which had been sent to me by Colin Hornshaw. Whilst browsing through my collection, the penny dropped …

maker unknown

This presumably graced the uniform of a attendant working in a New South Wales “Hospital for the Insane”. The NSW State Archives inform me that from 1811 the NSW government ran “lunatic asylums”, with the first purpose built facility opened in 1838. The names also included “psychiatric clinic” and “mental hospital”. As the term ‘hospital for the insane’ was not used in official titles, I questioned my indentification. However, the following article indicates that it was in fact ‘official’.

Empire (Sydney), 23rd January 1869 page 4.

Sydney City Council Law Enforcement Officer

No makers mark.

Council Officers police the City Council’s by-laws and regulations. The following article outlines the kind of actions taken in Melbourne in 1916, and were probably similar in most cities. Just remember, don’t cause a nuisance when feeding your horse!

The Herald (Melbourne), 29th April 1916 page 6.



24th May 2021


Church of England Grammar School Cadets

Backmark: A J Parkes Brisbane 1929-1952

The Queenslander, 1st September 1932 page 4.


The Anglican Church Grammar School (known as the Church of England Grammar School until 1984), was founded in 1912  as St Magnus Hall in Toowong. It relocated to East Brisbane in 1918. The crossed axes on the button symbolise Viking courage, and relate to the school’s patron saint, St Magnis, who was a Norseman.

The cadets corps of the school formed as part of D Company, 5th Battalion Australian Military Forces in 1919. After the suspension of compulsory cadet training by the Government in 1929 the school decided to continue none-the-less, its cadets becoming the Church of England Grammar School Cadet Corps.

The Brisbane Courier, 26th November 1930 page 16.

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 13th May 1939 page 14.

Many former cadets enlisted during both World Wars. In 1948 it was claimed to be the largest cadet corps in Australia.




Cadet Corps have existed in Australia since 1865. See  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/school-buttons/

The first official review of Victorian school cadets took place in 1885:

The Argus (Melbourne), 5th December 1885 page 13.

An article about the senior cadet (above 15 years) movement in Melbourne in 1888 follows:

The Age (Melbourne), 14th January 1888 p10.

The Victorian Volunteer Cadets were formerly gazetted in January 1885. In the above article it appears that the button had not yet been designed in  January 1888.



23rd May 2021


Beutron developed several lines of buttons around 1950 including metalised plastic fashion designs and cardigan buttons with backing disks. The free added cotton (mentioned below) first appeared in 1949 on their “All Purpose” cards of buttons.

The Newcastle Sun (NSW), 26 January 1950 p13. See the Beutron page for examples.

These larger cards of buttons were sold from (probably) the late 1940s and into the early 1950s, when they were phased out.

A 1965 dated store display card. In the mid 1960s Beutron were promoted as “Colour Matched” (see the bottom of the card.)

22nd May 2021

New Finds

“Joy-tu Boyl/Boil” is a mystery to me. The buttons were only advertised in 1947-8. They appear on cards of 12, 16 or 24 depending on the size. They are either 2 or 4 hole sew throughs in plain colours: I’ve seen pink, white, green, red maroon, brown, dark and light blue and black. Who made them? What does “No. 79512 Regd.”  (on all the cards) refer to?

“Modern Miss” buttons were not , as far as I can tell, ever advertised. They were almost certainly (from the identical designs of some of the buttons) made by General Plastics in the 1940s before they adopted the ‘Beaucliare’ branding around 1951.



late 1960s/early 1970s


20th May 2021

Beauclaire Buckles

I think the pale blue (and sometimes pink) cards with the cream border of stripes and dots is the earliest style bearing the Beauclaire brand. The first mention of “Beauclaire” is for buckles at 7½ and 10½ pence each during August 1951.

I have not seen a Beauclaire buckle like this before, although it does remind me of s flannel flowers, an Australian native.

State Library NSW file # FL1697463

The blue cards were replaced with this style artwork. (It appears in advertising from 1954.)

“Normal” button cards replaced the square cards.  The method of attachment is simpler: sewing in place with a couple of stitches rather than threading through a strip of card and taping in place. Perhaps the buckles came loose sometimes?

The above style buckle was reproduced in (probably) the mid-late 1970s on a Butterick branded card. Beutron had cross promotions with Butterick from 1970.

Around 1978 the script for ‘Butterick’ changed to all upper case lettering.

From a 1977 advert.

From a 1978 advert.



19th May 2021

Uniform Buttons

Adelaide Junior Musicians Club

No makers mark.

The Adelaide Drum and Fife Band made its first public appearance in December 1932, and first performed interstate in 1936. Newspaper articles seem to indicate that the “Adelaide Drum and Fife Band” and “Junior Musicians Club” were parts of a combined entity.

Chronicle (Adelaide), 1st December 1932 page 32.

The Mail (Adelaide), 26th August 1933 page 4.

Smith’s Weekly (Sydney), 23rd January 1937 page 6.



18th May 2021

Black Swan

The settlement that was to become Perth was originally called the Swan River Colony, or more simply, Swan River. Captain James Stirling led an expedition up Swan River Valley in 1827, and the colony was established in 1829. The river had been named by the Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlaming in 1697, not surprisingly, due to the large number of black swans. The figure of the black swan has therefore figured in the state from as early as the 1830s. It appeared on government papers, bank notes, stamps, newspapers, the state badge, flag, coat-of-arms, etc.

From Trove.

The State Badge was designed in 1870 and officially adopted in 1876; a black swan on a yellow background. This can be seen on the State flag.

The swan has appeared on many uniform buttons, including those for pre and post Federation military, tramways, railways, police, wardens, fire brigade and a shipping line. Below is a description of the new uniform for the state’s rifle volunteers at Guilford, Perth and Fremantle, organised in 1893 into the 1st Infantry Volunteer Regiment. This button appears on page 27 of Cossum’s book.

Tony Earl’s button.

The West Australian (Perth), 17th November 1893 p 6.

This may be one of the earliest uniform button depicting the black swan. However, there may have been, from 1886, a button for the West Australian Stem Navigation Company showing the house flag that included a swan.

Please let me know of any other early swan bearing buttons!

The West Australian, 14th September 1906 page 7. From an article about the WA Fire Brigades Association.

The Daily News (Perth), 27th June 1934 page 1. The Firm was Sheridan’s.

The Northam Advertiser (WA), 17th April 1953. The only traffic inspector button I own has no swan, so maybe the original design was simplified.