21st February 2021

Tailor’s buttons

W. Lowe & Co., Sydney

Evening News, 10th October 1903 page 5. 


William Lowe came to Australia around 1889. He started in 1899 as a hat and mercery importer and manufacturer in Oxford Street, with just two employees. Prior to this he had worked at Gowing Bros., and Mark Foy’s.

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 12th September 1906 page 653. The first store in Oxford St.

They soon expanded next door. Another sign of success was the registering of a trademark, and expansion into outfitting.

Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales, 30th July 1901 page 5873

The Catholic Press (Sydney), 13th November 1902 page 24.

They continued to expand, purchasing a four storey building in George Street in 1903, then extended to next door in 1904. That year they opened a footwear department and started mail order.

The Bulletin, 26th January 1905 page 21.

Evening News (Sydney), 7th September 1904 page 3.












For the first anniversary of the George St store, every 25th customer received his or her money back! By 1905 over 300 people were employed by the firm. In 1906 the Oxford Street branch became exclusively for ladies apparel, and the George Street store for boys and menswear. By 1907 they no longer traded in ladies wear, “owing to the great growth of their tailoring, hat, and ready-to-wear clothing for men and boys. The George St building had a four storey expansion  started in 1910. In 1911 the business was registered as a company, Lowe’s Ltd. The business extended to Newcastle in 1916.

‘Bill’ Lowe died of pneumonia in August 1936, aged 61 years. The business then comprised eleven stores and employed more than one thousand people. He was a well liked boss who had promoted better wages for retail staff.

The Argus (Melbourne) 14th August 1936 page 10.

The Newcastle Sun (NSW), 13th August 1936 page 10.


See also  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/branded-buttons/branded-buttons-tailors-buttons-g-l/#L

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