Sporting and Volunteer Clubs/Organisations.

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. See

Ambulance Services

Several Australian States still rely on St John Ambulances as the government appointed service; West Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. In Victoria and Queensland, the service had its origin with St. John, and New South Wales it started as a community based service, but would amalgamate with St John Ambulance Brigade. See also St John entry.

Civil Ambulance Service

Stokes & Sons Victoria. 1950-1962

In 1883 a branch of the St John Ambulance Association was formed in Melbourne. Like in Brisbane, the beginnings were humble and funding an ongoing problem. In 1887 six litters were placed at police stations for use. In 1899 the first horse drawn ambulance, and in 1910 the first motor vehicle were used.

From the Melton Civic Library, image # FL134, c.1895.

The Herald (Melbourne), 29th May 1916 page 10. Most patients provided no payment for their transportation.

In 1917 the Civil Ambulance Service had four motor and three horse wagons. The service was in debt but was appealing for funds to buy another ambulance. The government did not support the service until a significant influenza outbreak in 1918. The extra funding allowed an increase in staffing to 85 drivers and attendants, with 16 horse and motor vehicles. Country services began in 1923.

The Argus (Melbourne), 10th February 1927 page 9.

The Argus (Melbourne), 23rd August 1938 page 3. An outbreak of “infantile paralysis (polio) that year had place strain on the service.”ANTIVAXERS TAKE NOTE!

It 1954 a new “two way” radio communication was installed. Until then the officers had to ring from a public phone to let the dispatcher know they had successfully received the radio message!

The Age (Melbourne), 12th February 1947 page 5. A radio dispatcher at work.

In the 1980s the Metropolitan Ambulance Service was formed from the merger of smaller services. In 1997 rural services were consolidated. The services were further merged in 2008 into Ambulance Victoria.


Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade

A. J. Parkes Brisbane

Ambulance services in Queensland date from 1892, but it was not until 1991 that 96 various services were amalgamated into the Q.A.S. under government control. The use of the Maltese Cross originates from the Badge of the Colony of Queensland. Queen Victoria favoured this emblem due to her concern for the sick and injured. The Colony Badge with this cross was adopted by many organisations within the Colony

The First Decade.

1892: The City Ambulance Transport Brigade started in the rooms of the Brisbane Newspaper Company with only a collapsible stretcher as equipment to transport patients on foot!

1893: A donation of £5 or more constituted life-membership. The service was raising funds to buy a litter.

1895: Many patients who used the service offered no payment. The litters wheels were on the point of collapse,  two new litters were required, as were new uniforms. The brigade consisted of a superintendent, three bearers and some assistant bearers. A branch was opened in South Brisbane. In November they were able to move out of the newspaper offices into their own office in Elizabeth Street. The Government offered to subsidise the brigade an amount equal to public subscriptions, which allowed the brigade to pay all arrears of wages.

1896: The service was now available at anytime, day or night. There were 6 permanent staff and 9 honorary bearers. If South Brisbane residents did  supply sufficient funds, the branch would have to close.  Lord Lamington became patron of the brigade. A branch in Gympie was suggested. First aid lectures were commenced. Funds were being raised to buy a Bath chair. Work had increased necessitating increasing the permanent staff to eight.

Detail from photo #2967/11 in Queensland State Library. two men pushing a bath chair.

1897: A sulky was purchased. A branch was opened in Maryborough. The brigade was to be brought under the provisions of the Hospital Act. New headquarters were purchased in Wharf Street.

1898: Two more sulkys were purchased. A brigade badge was registered. Insuring staff against accident was considered.

1899: The brigade oped three sulkies, 3 horse, 7 litters, 3 stretcher and  one invalid chair. The staff were now totaled 23.

1900: Branches were to be opened in Townsville, Biggenden and Charters Towers. The city brigade was now called the Metropolitan Ambulance and Transport Brigade. The debt incurred in building new facilities had been cleared.

1901 Branches was opened in Rockhampton, Ipswick, Cairns and Warwick.

1902: A Branch in Toowoomba was opened. During the previous two years 20,951 “calls” were responded to and 70,086 miles traveled. Permanent staff in the  Brisbane headquarters now numbered 25. They were concerned about a reduction in government support.

State Library of Queensland image #66929354. Officers on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached. 1898.

Boy Scouts


Scouting in Queensland started in October 1908, only 9 months after the publishing of Baden Powell’s famous book. Four separate patrols were started by church leaders of boys groups. In 1909 they joined into a State organisation.

A. J. Parkes Brisbane


A. J. Parkes. Scouting buttons in both hollow and solid back types.

State Library Qld (Image Number  Lord Baden Powell meeting Patrol leaders in Queensland, 1911.

South Australia

Various scouting  troops started in 1908 in this state.

New South Wales

No backmark

Scouting in NSW also started in 1908. As the troops formed independently, there resulted in several separate associations. It is now predominantly a branch of Scouts Australia.


Unspecified Scouts

We have not seen a Scouts Victoria button; perhaps they only used unspecified buttons. Let us know (and send a picture) if we are wrong!


Stokes & Sons

A. J. Parkes Brisbane

A. J. Parkes

Modern plastic Scout Australia button with no backmark.

No backmark.

Girl Guides

Plastic Girl Guides and Brownies buttons, no backmarks.

Guiding groups formed  around Australia from 1909-1920, and formed a national organisation in 1926. Prior to 1996 girls aged 5-7 years were known as Brownies.

State Library SA Guides and Brownies, 1930.

Pipe Bands

See also the N.S.W. Pipe band on the Government uniforms page.

C. Hemsley Sydney


Small: Parkes. Large: Stokes Melb.  Are gilt buttons for band leaders?

Unearthed at old Sheridan factory site.

Sporting Clubs

Brighton Yacht Club

Stokes & Martin Makers Melbourne. The button dates from 1876-1893.


This club was established in 1875 as the Brighton Sailing Club, becoming the Brighton Yacht Club by 1876. The first Club House was built in 1877. In 1924 the Royal Warrant was granted.


Holdfast Bay Yacht Club

Critic (Adelaide), 4th December 1907 page 6.
Guests at the Holdfast Bay Yacht Club’s opening.

Critic (Adelaide) 4th December 1907 page 6.

The Holdfast Yacht Club was established in 1883. In 1998 it merged with the Glenelg sailing Club to form the Adelaide Sailing Club.

Huntingdale Golf Club

Stokes & Sons Melb. The horn on the button is a nod to the club’s  site origins as a hunt club.

Formed from a club started in 1896, the club opened in 1941 on the site of the old Melbourne Hunt Club in East Oakleigh.  Huntingdale has hosted the Australian Masters since 1979.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 10th October 1948 page 22. Jim Ferrier playing at Huntingdale.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club

Sheridan Perth. Pre 1953.



Established in 1896 on the banks of the Swan River in Freshwater Bay. It received the Royal prefix in 1935.

Western Mail ()Perth), 15th November 1923 page 24. The Club premises. New premises were opened in 1925.

The West Australian (Perth), 21st December 1925 page 12.

The West Australian (Perth), 11th November 1929 page 18.


Royal Motor Yacht Corp

Stokes & Sons Melbourne

Kitchener Sydney








The RMYC has operated from Pittwater since 1926. For their history see

From the club website.

Sydney Sportsman, 26th April 1927 page 16. Hugh ward and his wife in the Royal Motor Yacht Club races.

Royal Perth Yacht Club

The Perth Yacht  and Boat club was established in 1876, although the club claims on its website to have existed since 1865. I can find no confirmation of this, however regattas had held since 1841.

All these buttons are pre 1953 (King’s Crown).

The post 1953 design, with Queen’s Crown and upright anchor.


The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth), 7th June 1876 page 3.

The West Australian (Perth), 30th October 1952 page 15.

The original club house was opened in 1889. The following year the Royal prefix was granted by Queen Victoria, and the club  became known as the “Royal Perth Yacht Club”. A new club house was opened in 1953.

The West Australian (Perth), 5th November 1953 page 31.

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

Stokes & Sons King’s Crown

Tony Earle’s button from the VBCC magazine, May 2015. A. Hordern & Sons Sydney. QV crown.










In 1856 the first yachting club was formed in Sydney; the Mosquito Club. In October 1867, with the Prince about to visit, the club reformed to become the Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16th October 1867 page 4.

The Royal Sydney and Prince Alfred clubs’ yachts formed a guard of honour when the HMS Galatea sailed through Sydney Harbour. In 1911 the club was given permission to use the prefix ‘Royal’.

Crowds waving the HMS Galatea goodbye. Illustrated Sydney News, 22nd February 1868 page 1.

In 1919 the club moved to the less crowded waters of Pittwater, and stayed there until selling the land for a pretty penny in 1970. A second club house had previously built in the 1960s and was now the club’s sole location.

Royal Queensland Yacht Club

No backmark. 1902-1961

The club started as the Brisbane sailing Club in 1885. it was renamed the Queensland yacht Club in 1894 and gained the Royal title in 1902. Queen Elizabeth approved the name change to Squadron in 1961.

From the Queenslander Pictorial supplement, 25th October 1919 page 27.

Royal Sydney Golf Club,  Sydney

Amor Sydney

Club Logo








According to the club’s website ( the first club house consisted of a couple of rented rooms in a cottage. The second clubhouse was built in 1897. It was at the official opening of this facility that it was announced that the club had been allowed the prefix “Royal” by Queen Victoria. The third club house was built on the site of the current facility in 1903 but burnt down in 1920.

The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, 12th April 1905 page 922. #4 Shows the original clubhouse, #5 the second club house, and # 3 the third clubhouse.

By 1919 the membership numbered almost 1,500. After the fire a larger building was built and opened in July 1922. Further renovations have been necessary due to another fire, however this allowed for increased membership.


Royal Yacht Club of Victoria

No backmark.

Established as early as May 1853 as the Victorian Yacht club, it is one of the oldest in Australia. it received the royal title in 1885.

The Australasian (Melbourne) 3rd June 1905 page 29.The new premises in St Kilda.

Weekly Times (Melbourne), 24th November 1906 page 9. “The run home.”


South Australian Yacht Club

The South Australian Yacht Club began in November 1869 on the Birkenhead side of the Port River.

The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 18th November 1869 page 2.

The Illustrated Adelaide News, 1st December 1876 page 1. Opening of the season.

In 1890 they received the Royal warrant, becoming the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, so this button dates before then. In 1901 the Semaphore Club merged with the RSAYS, with the old Semaphore club site sold in 1927.

In 1923 the squadron was forced to move to the “Outer Harbour” by the Harbour’s Board. This was not a pleasant place and facilities at the new location were poor.

During WW2 most racing and sailing was suspended. Some members served in the local Naval Auxilary Patrol. Post war a new mooring basin was dredged for the Squadron, and facilities finally improved from 1959 onwards.

Volunteer Organisations

Australian Red Cross Society


K. G. Luke Pty. Ltd. Melbourne

Stokes & Sons Melb

K. G. Luke Melb

Originally the British Red Cross Australian Branch, it was established in 1914, just 9 days into WW1. It provided services including knitting socks, rolling bandages, gathering information on the dead and missing and burial places. It sent civilian nurses to France. In WW2 it cared for the sick, injured, maimed and their dependents, ran hostels and provided contact with POWs. Most of the volunteers at that time were unmarried women.

It continues to provide humanitarian aid, both local and international, and community services including blood supply services. See also Red Cross Rest Home below.

Campaigners for Christ Volunteers


In 1936 a group of businessmen and Christian laymen in Melbourne and Sydney formed Campaigners for Christ. During WW2 they were given permission to serve the forces by setting up “Everyman’s Huts” (and later Everywoman’s) for refreshment and  entertainment. The staff wore military style uniforms and hold honorary Officer status. These services were funded by donations. They still support the military today.

Collingwood Fire Brigade

The stag head is featured on the Collingwood family crest. This may date post 1880. No back mark. Shank missing.

Late in 1854 a series of meetings to establish a fire brigade was held in the district of Collingwood, which was “extending its boundaries so rapidly as to bid fair very soon to rival the city itself in point of size “. Like many fire brigades of the era, it was to be supported by an insurance company.

The Argus (Melbourne), 17th January 1855 page 5.

By the end of the second year two stations had been built, one at the corner of Smith and Webb Streets, the other midway along Johnston Street. By 1860 there were two Collingwood brigades, a Collingwood Volunteer and an United Insurance Company Collingwood Fire Brigade.  On 18th June 1860 the volunteer brigade resigned due to a dispute with the insurance companies, and the assets were sold. However, by  1876 there were once again two rival Collingwood Brigades. By 1878 there were four! In 1878 the council forced them to amalgamate as four units of the Collingwood United Fire Brigade. However, jealousy and squabbling continued for years. In 1889 there were still disputes between insurance company and volunteer brigades in Collingwood.

Collingwood was declared a city in 1876. The button may date from after 1880, as that is when the Collingwood City Council paid for a copy of the crest to be sent from London.

Red Cross Rest Home

Bridgland & King, Melbourne

 Rest homes were built with money raised by the community. According to the National Trust:

Rest homes were built because there was nowhere for the soldiers to convalesce in the military hospitals other than on the verandahs or dining rooms and the men apparently soon became bored with these options. Rest rooms provided billiard tables, pianos and gramophones; they were centres for men to read and write and the Caulfield rest home had an excellent library. They offered the chance to see friends, play games and have morning and afternoon tea. The men were able to learn important skills such as wood carving, leather tooling, spinning, painting, raffia work and stitchery. It was thought these skills would enable them to supplement their pensions. The articles they made were often sold to raise more funds for the Red Cross. These pastimes were vitally important for the men’s physical and mental health. In 1919 the Rest Home was being enlarged to include a pavilion for sick nurses (The Age 24 March 1919, p8).

‘No.1 Red Cross Rest Home, at Prince’s bridge. Published in The Australasian, 1st April 1916 page 60.

But who made the buttons?

The original Bridgland and King were Charles Everest Bridgland and Percy John King, the same P. J. King of the famous firm. The partnership started in 1893 as engravers of brass plates and general work, in Little Collins Street. The partnership dissolved in 1899 with King continuing alone.

Published in The Age, 6th August 1903 page 18.

The usurpers may have been the firm advertising as located at 378 Post Office Place (Lt Bourke Street) and offering the same services. They advertised heavily over the coming years, and were responsible for at some uniform buttons.

Richmond City Fire Brigade.

No backmark. Squashed loop shank. c.1883-1891.

 The original Richmond Fire Brigade was established around 1852, being one of the oldest in the Melbourne district. It received its first engine (water pump) and ‘appurtenances’ in 1855 from insurance companies. In 1865 it was reported that there was both an old and new brigade. Five years later in 1870 the Volunteers (the old) were disbanded due to council interference . In 1871 the ‘new’ brigade organised by the council managed to put out a fire in St Stephen’s Church without spoiling the recently purchased organ! However, this brigade did not last long and in 1872 there was a “newly formed” Richmond Fire Brigade. In 1874 this consisted of 12 paid firemen. As they were paid per fire attended, coincidentally there seemed to be an increase in the number of fires! As this was costing the council a lot of money, the council changed the brigade to be partly staffed by volunteers. The number of fires dropped off! However, there was resentment from the volunteers that they were not being paid as were their professional colleagues. Therefore the brigade was re-reformed as volunteer only.

In 1883 the Richmond City Fire Brigade was first mentioned, operating along with the Richmond Volunteer Fire Brigade. I’m not sure if the volunteer unit existed after 1889, but the ‘City’ brigade existed until the formation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria: View of Richmond looking north, taken from the old fire bell tower, taken by G.R. Reid.

St John Ambulance Brigade

The Brigade has it’s origins in 1877 when the Order of St John (a  British chivalric order dating back to the Knights Hospitaller in the 12th century) founded an association to provide first aid training, and later,  volunteers capable of providing medical assistance at public gathering and during emergencies.

Stokes Vic







Millers Ltd.


St John Ambulance teaches first aid, and provides emergency medical services, primary staffed by volunteers. The first local branch was established in Melbourne in 1883. The first ambulance brigade was at Glebe, New South Wales, in 1903. The title St John Ambulance Australia was adopted in 1987.

The St. John Ambulance Association, horse and covered cart outside the Eastern Hill Fire Station c.1901. State Library Victoria

Volunteer Fire Brigade

No backmark. The motto is Honi soit qui mal y pense. It was made for un-named fire brigade(s) in Melbourne, 1880s.

“The United Fire Brigades Torch-light Procession.” Leader (Melbourne), 3rd June 1882 page 5.

Young Australia League

Stokes & Sons Melbourne







The YAL was founded by John Joseph  (Jack) Simons (1882-1948), a West Australian businessman, newspaper publisher  and politician.

The advance Australia (Magazine), 11th October 18910 page 228.

The ‘Young Australia League’ was renamed in 1905 from the ‘Young Australia Football League’ which had been started in Perth and Fremantle that same year to promote the Australia code over other codes as part of a broader nationalist agenda, with a broadened interest covering literature, literature, debating, band music, sport and theatrical performances, and well as outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. They believed in “Education through Travel” and organised tours for West Australian school aged boys. After WW1 branches were started in other States. In now operates only in West Australia.


Women’s National Emergency Legion

Cam Smith








The Telegraph (Brisbane) 25th January 1939 page 1.

It provided first aid and other training to allow women to help with the war effort, and was an  auxiliary of the Department of Defence. Despite being a civilian organisation, it adopted military style uniforms and ranks.  Around 1940 they became affiliated with Britain’s First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (F.A.N.Y.)

State Library Queensland item item: 99284843402061: Members in 1943.

Following the outbreak of the Pacific War members were attached to U.S. units as drivers and clerks. Some watched for mines for the Naval Corps and some with the Volunteer Air Observers.