21st December 2020

New finds:

I have not been able to find out anything about the Cygnet brand, although the buttons and buckles may have been produced by General Plastics.

 

Mid 1950s Beauclaire and late 1950s-early 60s Leda.

 

Athenaeum Club, Melbourne

No backmark.

The Athenaeum Club was founded in May 1868, making it the second oldest in Melbourne, as a meeting place for ‘the purpose of providing a suitable place of resort for gentlemen belonging to the various professions, the civil service, and those connected with trade and commerce, who are recognised as having literary, artistic, or scientific tastes, or who may be otherwise considered eligible as members of such an association”.  The club was joined by men who shared scientific and literary interests . There were evenings devoted to music, literature and science. It was first owned by entrepreneur  J.G. Knight. The club’s earliest house was at 26-28 Collins Street East, the second, from 1891, at 290-292 Collins Street.

State Library Vic # H39357/46, Architect’s drawing of New Athenaeum Club, 1886-7.

The third and present site, from 1930, is at 83-87 Collins Street. The new building included a swimming pool, squash courts, hairdressing salon, gymnasium and masseurs room, billiard room, card rooms, bars, dining rooms and accommodation. The top floor was for servants quarters. Presumably it was these servants who wore uniforms with these buttons.

The Age (Melbourne), 14th June 1930 page 12.

The new building, for the first time, included a dining room where members could invite their wives and women friends. Up til then, women were not allowed to enter the club. However, there was no intention of allowing them to be members.The Athenaeum ceased to be a proprietary club when the Moorhead family sold it to its members in 1918. It is now composed mainly of professional and business people. It is still a ‘gentlemen’s only club. If they are truly ‘gentlemen’, it is time they did something about that. It is also hypercritical, in that it is named after Athena, goddess of wisdom, who’s image appears on the building and button. She couldn’t be a member!

From the Facebook page.

4 thoughts on “21st December 2020

  1. Carol

    Cathy, what a great story and rare button, regarding the Athenaeum Club. You really touched the Achilles in your summing up of exclusively.
    I am envious of the button, so I am on the hunt.

    Reply
  2. Carol Fenselau

    I see a great similarity of the two Athena buttons in Don’s book. He states ‘Stokes Die’ ? not definite makers mark? But given a number.
    More details needed, but certainly if Australian made it is a most interesting button with a possibility of being an Athenaeum Club button

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      My example has a smooth ‘spun’ back, but the longevity of the club would make it likely that differing makers and designs could have existed.

      Reply

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