See also the entry for Australian National Airways.
Reg Ansett started Ansett Roadways with one car in December 1931. He ran it until 1935 then set up Ansett Airways.
Reg Ansett registered ‘Ansett Airways’ in January 1936 . From a single Fokker airplane the business grew. The logo of a double A (for Ansett Airways) with a pair of wings dates from around 1946 through to the takeover of ANA in 1957.
See also under entry for TAA and Qantas.
Australian National Airways
A.N.A was registered in 1936 from the joining of Holyman’s and Adelaide Airways. It soon absorbed West Australian Airways. In 1937 it obtained a controlling interest in Airlines of Australia (AOA). The company’s DC-3 aircraft were requisitioned by the Government during the war and it provided services around Australia for the war effort, including for American forces. After the war it faced competition from Trans Australian Airways (TAA), the state run airline that would ultimately lead to the company’s decline. It was floated as a public company in 1949. ANA was sold to Ansett in 1957 forming Ansett-ANA, which was renamed Ansett Airlines of Australia in 1968.
The buttons retained the same basic design, but dropped the lettering.
Post 1981. Backmark Stokes Melb.
British Commonwealth Pacific Airways
The British Commonwealth Pacific Airways was initiated in 1946. At first it chartered flights from A.N.A., the inaugural flight taking off from Laverton on 15th September 1946.
It flew from Sydney to San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean from 1949-1953. (Note the airline was erroneously called British Canadian Pacific Airways in some newspapers.)
A tragic crash occurred in 1953.
Guinea Airways Limited
Guinea Airways was formed on 4th November 1927 as delivering freight was difficult and slow by land in New Guinea. They were pioneers in the area of commercial air freight.
In 1937 they started a weekly service between Adelaide and Darwin, extending into regional South Australia. In 1942 the company’s headquarters in Lae were bombed with the loss of most of their aircraft. Government legislation prevented their return to New Guinea after the war. Their profitable Adelaide-Darwin route was awarded to TAA. GAL became a junior partner to ANA then in 1959 was taken over by Ansett. The airline became Airlines of South Australia on 17th January 1960.
See also the entry for Australian National Airways.
The Holymans were a shipping family in Tasmania. Victor Holyman flew with the British Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force during WW1. It was because of him that the family branched out into flying. In September 1932 Holyman Bros, Pty. Ltd. commenced services between Launceston and Flinders Island in their new De Haviland Fox Moth 4-seater plane, ‘Miss Currie’. They almost immediately merged with Mr Laurie M. Johnson, who had pioneered a similarb service in his Desoutter monoplane, ‘Miss Flinders’. In October they formed a new company, Tasmanian Aerial Services Pty. Ltd. Routes soon included Smithton, King Island, and by September 1933, Melbourne.
The Holymans bought out Laurie Johnson and launched a new airline, Holyman Airways Pty. Ltd. on 1st October 1934. Sadly, Victor and ten others were lost in a flight over Bass Strait on 19th October 1934. His brother Ivan took lead of the airline. Their brother Dare Holyman was also in the airline.
The first air hostesses in Australia were introduced by Holyman’s Airways in March 1936. “They will probably wear the Holyman Airways uniform, which is navy blue with brass buttons and white cap.” (The Argus, 12th March 1936 page 3). Victor’s widow Hazel was in charge of their training for many years. In May , Holyman’s and Adelaide Airways were merged to form a new company, Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd. West Australian Airways was sold to Adelaide Airways in July and so also became part of the new airline. A.N.A. formally began operation on the 1st August. This name recalled the pioneering Bass Strait service of the same name run by Kingsford-Smith and Ulm in 1931, which ran for 6 months only.
In 1939 the 17 year old nephew of Ivan, Maxwell Holyman, was granted his commercial pilot’s licence, and also joined A.N.A. The airline gained a controlling interest in ‘Airlines of Australia’ in 1937 which extended the company’s reach into Queensland, although A.O.A. maintained a public identity until 1942.
Qantas Empire Airways/Qantas Airways Ltd.
Qantas had its inception in 1920 as a regional service. I am not sure that they had an official uniform until the formation of Qantas Empire Airways Limited (QEA), a merged service with British Airways.
In 1944 the kangaroo logo was first introduced. In 1947 this changed to a blue ‘flying kangaroo’. In 1968 the flying kangaroo turned red. This logo lasted until 1984 when the wings were dropped.
These buttons have no backmarks, and may have been made in China, as the uniforms were.
For more photos, see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/2nd-march-2021/
Trans Australian Airways
The post WW2 Labour Government formed a government owned interstate airline. It was meant to be a monopoly, but this was successfully challenged in a High Court appeal by existing airways. The first official flight of Trans Australian Airways was on 9th September, 1946. See the Government uniforms page: http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/uniform-buttons/
In 1986 it was renamed Australian Airlines and merged with Qantas in September 1992.
Under the name ‘Virgin Blue’, this airline started in 2000, co-founded by Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey. The brand was changed to Virgin Australia in 2011; this is when the new uniforms including this button were introduced. Financial troubles plus the effects of Covid-19 led to the company entering voluntary administration in 2020, followed by a change of ownership to Bain Capital.
AMALGAMATED WIRELESS AUSTRALASIA LIMITED
In 1913 Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited was formed from the previous Australasian Wireless Limited (AWL) which had started in 1909. They were an electronics and broadcasting company located in Sydney. In 1918 the first radio broadcast from the UK to Australia was received by AWA of Prime Minister Billy Hughes praising the troops he was inspecting at the Western Front. In 1930 the first newsreel from Sydney to London was transmitted.
ATHENAEUM CLUB, MELBOURNE
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.
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 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 even 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.
Australia New Zealand Banking Group
ANZ was formed in 1951 from the merger of the Bank of Australasia (founded 1835) and the Union Bank of Australia Limited (founded 1837).
The official ANZ coat of arms has the motto ‘Tenax Propositi’ or ‘Tenacious of Purpose’ in the banner. It was granted in 1960. The official supporters are an Antelope and Unicorn, but the kangaroo and kiwi are nice.
Bank of New South Wales
It opened branches around Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century, then expanded into Oceania in the 20th century.
I am not sure when the above button dates from. I have not found mention of uniforms for men until 1982. Men seem to have worn suits to work. The first female uniforms were called ‘overalls’, but were more like dress coats. In 1934 brown dresses with yellow stripes on collar, cuffs and pockets were introduced. By 1956 the striped had disappeared.
In 1960 new female bank workers got taught deportment, fashion, etiquette and make-up as well as banking. I wonder if the males did too? No?
It was renamed Westpac in 1982. New uniforms were ordered but but slacks were not allowed for women!
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
The first insignia, from 1921 to the 1950s was the Australian Coat of Arms. For a short period during the 1950s light and dark blue entwined CBA letters were used. In 1960 the bank was formed into the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, with a new logo. The three rings represent the three parts of the corporation; the Savings, Trading and Development banks. The original version included the seven-point star and the words ‘Commonwealth Banking Corporation. The version without the star and wording dates from 1984-1991, then the yellow and black diamond was introduced.
National Australia Bank
The NAB was formed from the merger of the National Bank of Australasia and Commercial Banking Company of Sydney in 1982.
State Bank of South Australia
The bank was formed in 1984 by the merger of the State Bank of South Australia and the Savings Bank of South Australia. After problems with its loan portfolio, the bank collapsed in 1991, with a Royal Commission held into the collapse. A portion of the bank was sold to Advance Bank, which was in turn purchased by St George Bank, then merged with Westpac. That portion is known as BankSA.
St George Bank
St George’s was originally a Building Society formed in 1937. It became a bank in 1992. There have been mergers and acquisitions, notably of BankSA. In 2008 St George and BankSA became subsidiaries of Westpac. In Victoria, St George branches were rebranded as a (relaunched) Bank of Melbourne.
Originally the Bank of New South Wales (from 1817), the bank was rebranded in 1982.
BUS & COACH ASSOCIATION SA
The Bus SA is the industry association for the bus and coach operators.
Crown Melbourne Opened in Melbourne’s Southbank in 1997 after operating from a temporary location on the Northbank since 1994. It is a resort with three hotels, a casino, restaurants and entertainment.
THE MELBOURNE CLUB
The Melbourne Club was formed for “gentlemen” in November 1838, after only 4 years of Melbourne’s European settlement.
Technically, a gentleman was a member of a family with a coat of arms, but more broadly it included those those families owned landed estates in England, Ireland and Scotland. It initally met at John Pascoe Fawkner’s hotel, but moved into a purpose built building in 1859. It was the premier social institution in terms of power and prestige. It still does not allow female membership, however there is the neighbouring female only ‘Lyceum Club’.
Adelaide Steamship Company
According to Wikipedia, it was formed as a cargo and passenger company between Melbourne and Adelaide in 1875. In the 1930-40s it diversified, including the formation of Adelaide Airways in 1935, which was one of the founding airlines that merged to form Australian National Airways (ANA) in 1936. The company was liquidated in 1997.
Australasian Steam Navigation Company
The company commenced as the Hunter River Navigation Company in 1839, renaming in 1851. This company merged around 1886 with the Queensland Steam Shipping Company to for the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company Limited.
Australasian United Steam Navigation Company
This shipping company was formed in 1887 from the merger of two other companies, and lasted until 1961.
In 1940 one of their ships ran aground near Barwon heads during a storm and caught fire. A newspaper reported that ”the bursting of an oil pipe in the Orungal fortuitously spread a calming film of oil over the sea and made it possible to bring the lifeboat alongside to pick up the first load of 17 passengers and 23 seamen.”
Australian National Line
Both buttons are backmarked Miller Rayner & Haysom Ltd.
This was a coastal shipping line set up by the Government from 1956 until sold in 1998 to a French company.
Australian Steamships Line
The Australian Steamship line was managed by Howard Smith Ltd, (see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/companies-and-clubs-including-merchantile-marine/ ) from around January 1913-1938 to cruise Australian coastal waters.
Australind Steam Shipping Company.
In October 1904 a new shipping company was registered in London. It’s owners had been operating a twice monthly service from London to Fremantle and Albury since the 1880s in their ship the Australind. They transported emigrants, and were to own five ships by 1912. The company ran until 1981-2.
The company started as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in the year after oil was found in Persia after a mammoth 7 year effort. British Petroleum was actually a German firm (so named for marketing purposes) whose assets were ceased by the British Government during WW1 and sold to Anglo-Persian, later Anglo-Iranian, in 1917. The company’s name changed again to The British Petroleum Company in 1954.
The Australian Government formed a joint venture with Anglo-Persian Oil to construct our first refinery at Laverton, Victoria in 1924, which sold fuel under the C.O.R. brand BP bought the Commonwealth’s share of the refinery but did not change the branding until 1959.
B.H.P. chartered vessels from 1915 and owned ships from around 1918. From 1939 it was building ships at its facility at Wyhalla. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BHP_Shipping
Black Ball Line (of Australian Packets, Liverpool)
Although not Australian owned, this company was greatly responsible for immigration to Melbourne and to Queensland.
Despite a “Black Ball Line” plying a trans-Atlantic trade from 1817, James Baines & Co also named their line of packet ships traveling from Liverpool to Melbourne as the Black Ball Line, which was cheeky to say the least. The ships carried cargo and passengers from 1851 with the ship ‘Marco Polo’, expanding with another four ships during the gold rush.
From 1860, with trade to Melbourne dwindling, they had a monopoly in bringing people to the Queensland colony. At that time they had a fleet of 86 ships. Unfortunately, the ships were often dirty, crowded and poorly ventilated. Many of the ships had to be sold in 1866 due to the firm’s bank failing, but it continued trading using chartered ships until 1871.
Canadian-Australian Steamship Company
James Huddart owned two ships which he traded separately from Huddart Parker & Co under the name New Zealand & Australian Steam Navigation Co. from 1892.
The name was changed in 1893 to the Canadian Australian Steamship Co to focus on trans-pacific services to Vancouver then on to England. In 1896 it was renamed the Canadian-Australian Royal Mail Steam Ship Company. It was taken over by the New Zealand Shipping company, which in turn was in turn absorbed into Union Steam Ship Company by 1910.
Commonwealth Oil Refinery
From Wikipedia: The Commonwealth Oil Refineries ran between 1920-1952 as a joint venture by the Australian government and the Anglo-Persian Oil company. Billy Hughes initiated the partnership. In 1924 the first Australian refinery opened near Laverton. The Menzies government sold their interest in 1952 to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which in 1954 become the British Petroleum Company (BP). The brand COR was continued until 1959.
Eastern & Australian Steam Ship Co (E & A)
Originally established in 1873 as the Eastern & Australian Mail Steamship Co. to carry mail between Australia and Asia. When the mail contract was not renewed in 1880, a new company was formed; the Eastern & Australian Steamship Co. Ltd. It was taken over by P&O chairman Lord Inchape in 1918 but continued to run its passenger/cargo liners separately until 1946 when the shares were owned by several P&O subsidiaries. In 1966 it became part of P&O.
Howard Smith Limited
According to the Australian National Maritime Museum:
“Howard Smith Limited was established in 1854 by Captain William Howard Smith, who began transporting both people and supplies to the goldfields. Originally founded as William Howard Smith and Sons Pty Ltd, the company became Howard Smith Company Ltd in 1901 and in 1914 changed to Howard Smith Limited. The company has interests in distribution of hardware, towage and safety. According to ‘deListed’ website, Howard Smith Limited was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange on 17 October 2001 because it was taken over (compulsory) by Wesfarmers Retail Pty Ltd.”
Huddart Parker Ltd
Started in Geelong in 1876 by James Huddart, Thomas J. Parker, and others as Huddart, Parker & Co. P/L. It moved to Melbourne in 1890.
It traded the main intercolonial routes as well as to New Zealand with fierce rivalry occurring with other shipping lines. It became a public company in 1911. The firm was taken over in 1961 by Bitumen and Oil Refineries Australia Ltd.
James Patrick & Co. Ltd.
Founded by James Patrick in 1919 as the Patrick Steamship Company, becoming James Patrick & Co Ltd by 1925 and operating ships until 1962.
Melbourne Steamship Company Ltd.
In 1884 the Melbourne Coal, Shipping and Engineering Co Ltd became the Melbourne Shipping Co. Ltd. then in 1895 the Melbourne Steamship Co Ltd. They opened branches in Fremantle, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle. In 1961 the firm was taken over by Howard Smith Ltd.
NB: There was an earlier similarly named Melbourne Steam Ship Company 1864-1883.
Mercantile Navy (unspecified)
The Newcastle & Hunter River Steamship Company Ltd.
In 1892 this company was formed from the amalgamation of the Newcastle Steamship and the Hunter River Steam Navigation companies. It operated until 1956. It was delisted and became the Southern Shipping Company Limited in 1965. For detailed information and pictures of the fleet see https://www.flotilla-australia.com/nhrsn.htm
By 1904 they provided services between Sydney, Newcastle, Morpeth, Raymond terrace, Miller’s Forest, Paterson and Clarencetown. By 1914 they also serviced Bulahdelah and Port Stephens. The advent of rail and road transport lead to the demise of the company.
Pacific Steam Navigation Co.
The company was founded in London in 1838, carrying mail along the Pacific coast of South America. Around 1876 it gained a mail contract from London to Sydney; this route was sold in 1905 to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company followed by the rest of the company five years later.
Royal Dutch Shell Group
In 1833 Marcus Samuel started selling shells imported from the far-east from his antiques business. This was the start of the Samuel family’s import/export future. In 1892 they arranged for a bulk steamer to ship oil from Baku to the United Kingdom through the Suez canal for the first time. In 1903 ‘The Shell transport and Trading Company’ started to merge with the Royal Dutch petroleum Company. By 1907 they had became Royal Dutch Shell group.
In 1904, the scallop shell (or pecten) had replaced Shell Transport’s first marketing logo, a mussel shell.
Shell started shipping bulk fuel to Australia in 1901. In 1905 Shell and Royal Dutch established the ‘British Imperial Oil Company’ in Australia. Over the years they expanded into storage, distribution, refining and service stations.
In an 1925 newspaper article boasted of the companies policy of “… preference for Australian workers and Australian products …. The Shell Company here is proud of the fact that everything, from its Motor Spirit to its back-country Depots is All-British, and most of it All-Australian. It is the Spirit of the Flag.” So while I can’t find a reference to when the uniform button was produced, it could have been as early as this era.
Tasmanian Steam Navigation Co.
Note there is some possibility this is another company, as according to heraldic rules, the button shows a white cross on a red background, rather than the reverse.
The company was established in Hobart in 1853. it provided shipping between Tasmania and the mainland, then later to New Zealand. It was bought out in 1891, but traded under this name until 1922.
Union Steam Ship Co.
See the full entry on the New Zealand Page.
METROPOLITAN ABATTIOR BOARD, ADELAIDE
After long years of strenuous fighting and planning those whose brains conceived the idea of municipal abattoirs to control the meat supply of this city reaped their reward today, when what might be termed the city’s great meat shop was officially declared opened. “The days of the old cattle market on North Terrace … have gone forever.”
The abattoirs had 17 ‘motor lorries’ to deliver meat to Adelaide and suburbs and the drivers were provided with uniforms. Perhaps the button is from one such uniform.
METROPOLITAN SECURITY SERVICES (MSS)
In 1956 M.S.S. started supplying security guards to various work places, initially to the upset of various unions that believed the security guards were armed thugs spying on the workers. In 1970 M.S.S. (ACT) was taken over by Mayne Nickless Limited. It was part of Mayne Nickless until 1992, when company sold of its security and transport interests. Both M.S.S. and the Australian Watching Company (later Wormald Security) were bought by Chubb Security. After 20 years Chubb sold off the security services.
On its webpage of the current version of M.S.S the company tries to claim it traces back to 1896 (which Chubb does) which is a little rich, as they were only owned by Chubb from the 1990s for twenty years. It is owned by SIS (Security and Intelligence Services).
All this is confusing, but there have been multiple mergers and demergers in the security industry.
State Library Victoria: MSS officer (Mr Day), 1974.
NASA was a private training school for pilots, based on the methods of the Empire Air training School in Canada in February 1967. It was named in jest after the “other” N.A.S.A. and an acronym was made up to suit; Nationwide Aviation Space Academy. It was renamed the Civil Aviation Training Academy (C.A.T.A) in the late 1970s and closed in the 1980s.
NAVAL AND MILITARY CLUB (VICTORIA)
According to the site http://www.emelbourne.net.au/
“Formed in 1881 as a meeting place for officers, the Naval and Military Club is reputedly the oldest service club in Australia with a continuous history. First known as the Pipeclay Club … It moved quarters many times before acquiring 7 Alfred Place (the former German Club) in 1920. By then, as a result of World War I, its membership had greatly increased. In 1967 it moved to a new clubhouse at 27 Little Collins Street. In its first years it held lectures on military topics but this activity was taken over by the United Services Institution after 1889. The current name dates from 1952*. Distinguished presidents include General Sir John Monash and Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey. Membership was extended to civilians after long years of peace, and to women in 1992.”
*However, from Trove, comes these articles, which indicate that the Pipeclay club was merged with the Naval & Military Club in 1889. It was referred in newspapers under that name from that time.
See entry for State Government Insurance Office on the Government uniform page. This insurer was privatised in 1994.
SOUTH MAITLAND RAILWAYS
The South Mailands Railways P/L is a privately owned railway company. It was established in 1891 by the East Greta Company to service the coal fields in the region, and link them to the Great Northern Railway. The initial gravitation and horse drawn trains were replaced by steam locomotion from 1895. As the region developed over the next couple of decades the network grew to service up to 26 mines. In 1918 two private mining railways merged to form the South Maitland railways. It is now owned by H&M Holdings P/L.
Wikipedia reports the “mothballing” of the last line ( to the Pelton Colliery) as of March 2020, but the company’s webpage seems to indicate it is still operating for maintenance, training, repair and tourism.
The company was originally the ‘Australian Watching Company’ from 1957. It was taken over and called Wormald International Security from 1972. Around 1988 the company sold off the security part of the business to concentrate on fire protection services (Wormald International).
YELLOW CAB COMPANY
In early 1924 Mr Pearson William Tewksbury proposed to introduce to Australia the “Chicago Yellow” cab. He had already been involved several other taxi companies, the City Motor Service Ltd. (from 1911) and the Royal Blue Motor Service Pty. Ltd. (from 1921) in Melbourne, and the de Luxe in Sydney. This company, ‘The Yellow Cabs of Australia Limited ‘, was the first in Australia to run meter-operated cabs, and did not to charge the customer for the return journey when the cab was empty! This was achieve by locating various depots in the suburbs so the taxi could wait at the nearest location rather than return to the city.