News & Articles

Lustre : Pearling & Australia is a touring exhibition from Western Australia.

Lustre has been to Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville, Canberra and South Australia.  It is currently in transit but will open at the Western Australian Museum in Kalgoorlie on 25th May 2019, running until 1st September 2019.  WAM Kalgoorlie, 17 Hannah Street - (08) 9021 8533.  After Kalgoorlie it will visit Albany and Geraldton in Western Australia.

Lustre delves into the gritty human story of pearling in Broome, weaving together intersecting strands of Aboriginal, Asian and European histories to reveal insights into one of Australia's oldest industries.

Discover the intriguing stories behind northern Australia's unique pearling tradition, immerse yourself in the qualities of the shell itself, its evolution and habitat, and the people who have collected and harvested these treasures from Saltwater Country.

Among the exhibits is a panel of mother of pearl buttons with examples from the 18th to the 20th Century, a drilled shell and accompanying buttons, and a Pearly King costume on loan from a museum in the U.K.



Pinctada Maxima Shell with ormolu decoration - French 1930's, Drilled Shell & Finished Buttons , Large Button circa 1810;  Small Button circa 1960, Late 18th Century Button - Probably French

SATURDAY 12th October 2024, 9.30am to 3.30pm at Burwood Heights Uniting Church, Corner Blackburn Road & Burwood Highway, Burwood East. Entry $4 per Adult (Children under 12 free).

ON DISPLAY :   TO BE ADVISED  (Ignore "Gorgeous Glass" - last year's Buttonfest Flyer)

Buttons for Sale :- Collectable buttons – including military & uniform buttons. Buttons for craft projects & clothing. Button-related items.

Enquiries: [email protected] or Tel: 0412 783 320

Transport - 

  • Tram 75 runs along Flinders Street from the City, past Federation Square, into Bridge Road along Camberwell Road, Toorak Road, then all the way along Burwood Highway terminating at Vermont South Shopping Centre. Get off the tram at Stop 70 for the Buttonfest, next to the huge shopping centre at the corner of Burwood Highway and Blackburn Road.
  • There is also a bus service from Glen Waverley along Blackburn Road.
  • Closest train station is Glen Waverley.

Accommodation - 

  • There are many places to stay in the surrounding area:
  • The Burwood East Motel is situated right next door to our venue at 355 Blackburn Road - Tel: 03 9803 8211 -
  • Quest Burwood East, 315 Burwood Highway, Burwood East - Tel:- 03 9069 6888. This hotel is on Tram 75's route and quite close to our venue. It is walking distance.

Food - here is a variety of places to eat at the shopping centre opposite the venue, along Burwood Highway, and restaurants on the corner of Burwood Highway and Station Street.

On Saturday 18th May, Bacchus Marsh (60km west of Melbourne) was the setting for our first Buttonfest for 2013. It was probably a bit of a surprise for some local people to discover that a Club for collecting buttons existed.

Saturday was cold but fortunately not wet, and driving into Bacchus Marsh at 7.30 am past river flats planted with vegetables and fruits, bright and colourful autumn trees, through the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour in memory of First World War soldiers, was a very pleasant way to start the day.

The Laurels – Bacchus Marsh Community College was a wonderful venue. We had hired two adjoining class rooms, which became one large room by pushing aside the concertina doors, making a perfect space for our event. Large windows on the outside walls of the room provided good light, which is important for looking at small objects!

Fourteen members had either double or single sales tables with a variety of wonderful buttons of all types, or button-related items. As well as local residents, people drove from Melbourne, Melton, and other nearby towns, to have a look. The raised area at the end of one room was a great place to have a combined display, provided by members, of wonderful examples of collectable buttons from the early 19th century to the mid 20th century. The raffles were popular, and children attending received a small bag of buttons to take home.

It was a very enjoyable day, and a great way to get together to share the button-collecting experience. It is always rather fun to see the incredulous looks on peoples’ faces when they discover ‘buttons’ for the first time!

Henry's Buttons in Dorset   -

If you look up this website, and click on "Events", you will see there is a Button Project taking place in Macclesfield from 14th June - 8th August as part of the Barnaby Festival of Art Trail.  Artists and makers have been invited to create a button for this event.  Susan, one of our members, has created her own special Dorset design and sent the button over to be part of the exhibition.

Update for The Button Project   (19/3/2013)

Click on the link below to see some of the gorgeous buttons entered in this event.

The following article, associated with The Button Project in the U.K. makes interesting reading.

March 8 2013

 The nation’s makers roll up their sleeves for The Button Project

 A stunning exhibition of contemporary handmade buttons will go on show alongside the silk costume collection at Macclesfield’s Heritage Centre this June.  Running from June 14 – August 8 the exhibition will be launched at Barnaby, the town’s summer festival of art and fun, and will showcase work by artists and makers from across the UK, and even beyond.

 The Heritage Centre – one of Macclesfield Museum’s four venues in the town - features fine examples of the local Macclesfield silk button as well as a nationally important collection of silk clothing, fashion and accessories from throughout the town’s silk-making history.  It is an ideal setting to complement top-notch buttons by contemporary makers. And at the nearby Silk Museum – formerly the School of Art where textile designers were trained – there will be more buttons on show in a companion display, creating a button bonanza that spans the town.

 Well over 300 makers have put themselves forward for The Button Project. Whether in silver, gold, enamel, glass, wool or silk, these buttons will be tiny works of art, and beware! they can be highly addictive. The artists have many different approaches and techniques, and include those who are just starting out as well as the internationally renowned, plus many who create simply as a labour of love. 

 Among the many artists who have committed to the project is Gina Barrett, a talented maker with extensive experience of providing reconstructions of traditional costume accessories for theatre, film and museums as well as supplying today’s designers and artists with modern trimmings; Nancy Sutcliffe is a world-class glass artist who specialises in delicate figurative diamond-point engraving and has work in many collections including Broadfield House Glass Museum. She muses “It's an opportunity to do something new, to experiment, who knows, I might not even use glass or my drill at all!”

 Alexandra Abraham makes luscious paintings and jewellery using found and vintage items, often from the Thames foreshore near where she lives. For the show Alexandra has created a button that includes fragments of glass buttons made by Lionel Nichols, England’s last couture button maker (his clients included Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies). Sue Brown is recognised for her printmaking, but has recently been combining this practice with enamels. She has made a delicate moth-button that seems to flutter off the surface on which it sits – very apt considering Macclesfield’s silk-making past.  Sabine Krump is a self-confessed button obsessive, who is utterly dedicated to the gloriously named ‘Austrian Twist Knob’, and she has sent one of her finest examples of the form.

 Buttons have a fascinating history, it is no wonder they attract so many people. Going back a couple of thousand years at least, they have a practical use in fastening clothing, but they are much more than that, and have been used as items of jewellery, decoration, status, and even currency.

 For Macclesfield, silk buttons are where it all began.  This cottage-based business flourished into major industry and shaped the town into what it is today. Macclesfield Museums, which recently have been designated the official western end of the Silk Road by the United Nations World Tourist Organisation Silk Road Project, present all aspects of silk use and production. The museum curator, Annabel Wills, says “The great thing about The Button Project is the way that it brings together the historical collections with contemporary artists. The town has its beginnings in the button trade, and Macclesfield silk buttons were all handmade. Today’s makers help to keep that heritage very much alive.”

 The Button Project is the first of its kind for the town. The show has been organised by Victoria Scholes, an exhibition organiser with some experience in putting together this kind of collective show, and also a well-respected glass artist in her own right. “I’ve been blown away by the response so far, and by the ingenuity and passion of the artists” says Victoria “New technologies mean that the skills of the hand are dwindling – only a handful of people know how to make a Macclesfield button today – and these makers are a real cause for celebration of what we have”.

 All details about The Button Project can be found at

 Macclesfield Barnaby Festival is a Festival of contemporary arts, culture and fun, celebrating the town's rich heritage. A recent reinvention of the centuries old tradition of celebrating the feast day of St Barnabas, it's held every June in the town centre.

 The four sites that make up Macclesfield Museums – the Heritage Centre, the Silk Museum, Paradise Mill and West Park Museum – are an acknowledged treasure, showcasing all aspects of silk use and production plus other aspects of local and international history.

Roy setting up his button display and sharing his knowledge of military and uniform buttons during May.

On Mother's Day, while I was working at the Yarra Valley Antique Centre, a customer came to the counter wearing this little button brooch.

The lady and her husband worked with an NGO (Non-Government Organisation) in Cambodia, rescuing young children from the sex trade.

The brooch was made by a young girl who makes button jewellery, providing an income for herself and her family. Unfortunately, the customer left the shop before I could find out the name of her organisation.

Does anyone know the name of such an organisation so that buttons can be donated?

Alan Ussher is an Australian glass artist working in a style of glass blowing known as lampworking and flameworking.

Alan is happy to make studio buttons for collectors.  In the past he has made seahorse realistics, and paperweights featuring anemones with a sea star on the outside, corals, and various coloured mushrooms.  Commissions welcome.

Alan lives in Lismore, New South Wales, and can be contacted from his website


My girlfriend's son, Dean, was getting married, and I said to Dean, that his Wedding present was going to have a button twist to it. He said bring it on. As is the case now with a lot of weddings, the bride and groom have everything, and ask for some money for the honeymoon. Rather than put the money in with the wedding card. I made three size 70 dome (44mm) buttons. The first one I embroidered with their names, Dean and Belle and the wedding date 17th Dec 2011. On the second button I embroidered Costa Rica, and the third one I embroidered Denver Colorado, as that was where they were off to for their honeymoon. I boxed them up in a silver-covered box with a ribbon, along with the card, on which I waffled on about throw away bouquets, and keep the first tier of the cake etc etc. Well I wrote on the card that there were a couple of throw awayfolded  buttons, that they had to break into to get the present; I had put a 50 US dollar note, folded up as small as I could, in each button as I was making it.

They had not been in Costa Rica long, when Dean's back pack was stolen with all their passports, cards, all the important stuff was gone. They were in their hotel room feeling pretty low, and all of a sudden Belle said to Dean, didn't your mum say there was money in the buttons. They were so grateful and relieved to have some money on them until they could sort out their finances. They also had the keepsake button to prove that they were married on that day. Dean said to Toni, to tell me when he sees me he is going to give me the biggest hug ever, as my buttons saved the day.

I am sure it is one wedding present that they won't forget.

Kind Regards,

Kate Boulton.


Thursday August 11 2011 in The Age page 22 there is an article entitled Devotees keep TAA legacy aloft. Carol Webb writes about a band of volunteers made up of ex-TAA staff who have collected together 200,000 items since the first TAA flight, September 9th 1946, until 1986 when the airline merged with Australian Airlines. You can see how the TAA airline buttons changed from the conventional style civil uniform buttons to the trendy nylon buttons of the seventies.

This curious museum is well worth a visit to find our more about your buttons, and to help date your buttons.

The TAA Museum is at 7 York Street, Airport West.

Open Tuesday-Thursday 10.00 a.m.-2.30 p.m.