18th February 2024

Tailor’s Buttons

John Martin & Co. Ltd.

This department store became a limited liability company in 1889, the year Mr Martin died, dating this button from that time until the last store was closed in 1988. See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/branded-buttons/branded-buttons-department-store-buttons-h-z/.

The Illustrated Adelaide News, 1st November 1878 page 3. John Martin’s grew from an earlier partnership.

Frearson’s Monthly Illustrated Adelaide News, 16th October 1880 page 20.

The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 26th November 1889, page 3.

The store adopted the “early closing” time of 6pm in 1891. They had an athletics club, a football team, a cricket team and a literary club. In 1898 the store had undergone significant extension. it comprise three floor, the basement dubbed “the magic cave” featuring a painting of a waterfall. It was devoted to toys for the Christmas season, and “Santa Claus” was in attendance:

South Australian Register (Adelaide), 15th December 1898 page 6. Guns for children guaranteed to kill birds and cats … a thousand shots… WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

State Library SA # PRG 631/2/1141. 1900. A fire damaged the 3 storey section to the left in 1901, necessitating a rebuild.

In 1933 “Jonnies” (or “the Big Store”) held their first Christmas pageant, which became a beloved institution.

The Advertiser (Adelaide), 16th November 1933 page 17.

During the 1960s suburban branches were opened. Whilst in Melbourne you may be described as having “more front than Myers”, in South Australia you have “more front than John Martin’s”.

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