An Australian Badge Collection

An Australian Badge Collection

Australia’s 150th Anniversary 1788-1938

Australia’s 150th Anniversary 1788-1938

Day Shift – 21/04/2009 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist

Newcastle University Newcastle University Archivist Gionni Di Gravio discusses the a collection of Australian badges belonging to the late Jim Downie of Mayfield. Jim was a Mayfield Businessman, local historian, Rotarian, Army Veteran, Scholar, and Poet who deposited his personal papers with the University of Newcastle. He passed away in his 95th year on the 12 October 2008. The badge collection records the fundraising and commemorative  initiatives mostly in the Newcastle and Hunter Regions during the period from the 1930s-1950s.

Broadcast Notes:

Mayfield Jubilee Celebrations 1900-1950

Mayfield Jubilee Celebrations 1900-1950

A digitised collection of around 107 of the badges are located on our Flickr site:

The James (Jim) W. Downie Badge Collection
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157616739534111/

It was such a relief to finally complete the accessioning of the personal papers of the late Jim Downie. It has been and off and on affair over the last two years.

When Jim passed away last year (in 2008) my great regret was that we were no longer able to speak with him about his life and collection, to order to gain further insights or clarify things if we ran into trouble. I will always remember the time I rang him over one of his photographs taken during his years as Captain in the armed forces during World War II. I couldn’t quite make out the writing on the back of the photo. He was able to talk to me for one hour about that single image! I realised then that human life and remembrance is sacred, and impossible to record everything, all we hold in archives are mnemonic aids, nothing can replace a human being. Archives are small signposts to a person’s life experience. So I felt a little better having taken two years to work my way through a 95 year old life’s work. At the end of the collection was a number of cassette tapes of Jim’ s personal memories as well as speaking engagements before a number of organisations. So all was not lost.

The Totally Permanently Disabled=

The Totally Permanently Disabled Soldiers’ Association

At the end of the collection I also found a small ice-cream container chock full of badges. For some reason, these were a real comfort to look through. I had sorted them into various groups and attached them to cardboard backing to avoid any unsuspecting bayoneting and the need for subsequent tetanus shots. What we had was a record of various fundraising and commemorative initiatives mostly held in the Newcastle and Hunter Regions during the period from the 1930s-1950s. Some of these organisations are still around, but many are not, or have changed their names over the years, to more appropriate titles. It appeared that whenever someone needed to raise funds, a badge was minted for the occasion. Badge making from my perspective appeared to have a revival during the late 1970s with the punk rock movement. It was a fashoon for Punks to wear a variety of badges and pins to adorn their individual ‘looks’. I remember my personal favourites were ‘Monkees’, ‘Ramones Rocket to Russia’ and ‘I’m not paranoid’ badges.

Lord Mayor's Flood Relief Appeal

Lord Mayor's Flood Relief Appeal

The full listing of all badges in the Downie collection are below and can be viewed online here:

A6610 A collection of Australian badges for commemorative and community fund raising initiatives mostly in the Newcastle and Hunter Regions 1930s-1950s, including:

Sheet A6610a
Ebenezer Australia’s Oldest Active Church 1809-1959 150 Years of Presbyterian Worship;
Souvenir of 1954 Royal Visit;
Australia’s 150th Anniversary 1788-1938;
Mayfield Jubilee Celebrations 1900-1950;
Cathedral Restoration Fund;
Mater Hospital Appeal;
Shirley McKinnon Memorial Hostel Appeal Y.M.C.A. Miss Sport;
Newcastle War Memorial;
St Gerard’s Home for Needy Travellers Appeal;
Rose Day (Assorted);
Wattle Day;
M.C.P. & F. Queen Beulah Bendeich;
M.B.T.H. School Popular Boy Rudi Vandenburg;
De Molays’ Mayfield Festival Queen Candidate Yvonne Clarke;
Popular Girl Competition Tighes Hill Pat Withers;
Shortland Parish Queen;
St Joseph’s Home for the Aged Sandgate( Assorted);
The Spastic Centre;
Aid Retarded Persons (ARP) Newcastle;
The United Nations Appeal for Children;
German Shepherd Dog Defence Committee;
Newcastle Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association;
Adult Deaf and Dumb;
Blind Centre Appeal;
Highland Gathering Newcastle Scots 1953;

Highland Gathering Newcastle Scots 1953

Highland Gathering Newcastle Scots 1953

Sheet A6610b
Newcastle Sub-Normal School;
Newcastle District Crippled Children;
The Kindergarten Union of N.S.W.;
Newcastle District Physically Handicapped Association Rehabilitation Centre;
APEX Aid for Spastics;
Newcastle Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association;
Monte Pio Girl’s Home;
ADDS Newcastle;
Newcastle and Northern District – The Totally Permanently Disabled Soldiers’ Association Women’s Auxiliary;
Church of England Old Folks’ Home;
Subscriber 4 Liberty Loan;
Newcastle R.S.P.C.A (Assorted Dogs and Cats featured);
Church of England Homes for Children (Assorted featured children);
Murray Dwyer Boys Orphanage (Assorted versions);

Shortland Parish Queen

Shortland Parish Queen

A6610c
Newcastle Lord Mayors Appeal Overseas Comforts Fund;
Missions to Seaman Wakehurst Institute Jack’s Day;
Methodist Fuzzy Wuzzy Appeal (Various versions 1950-1953);
S.A. Appeal;
Newcastle City Mission Annual Appeal;
Sailors Day;
2NX Help Spread Sunshine (Various versions);
Church of England Diocese of Newcastle ‘For Faith and Freedom’ League of Patriotic Services;
Anti-T.B. Crusade;
Australian Merchant Seamans’ Day;
YMCA Week Newcastle;
Royal Blind Society of New South Wales;
Sydney Rescue Work Society Christmas Appeal;
Lord Mayor’s Flood Relief Appeal;

Cathedral Restoration Fund

Cathedral Restoration Fund

A6610d
The Man of Tomorrow Boy Scouts (2 versions);
The Newcastle City Mission (2 versions);
V for Victory;
T.P.I. Button Day and Building Appeal (Various)
Newcastle Methodist Home Nursing Services for Sick and Aged;
Avondale Old Peoples Home (3 versions);
Salvation Army (Various designs);
Red Cross Appeal (Various designs);

The Man of Tomorrow Boy Scouts

The Man of Tomorrow Boy Scouts

A6610e
Red Cross Appeal (Various designs cont.);
Newcastle Lord Mayors Appeal Overseas Comforts Fund;
Protestant Children’s Homes ‘Woodlands’ Newcastle March 1945;
United Protestant Homes (Various Designs);
United Protestant Homes Aged People (Various Designs);
Travellers’Aid  Society of N.S.W.

Newcastle R.S.P.C.A

Newcastle R.S.P.C.A

A6610f
Red Cross Pins (Various)
Legacy Pins (Various)
Tin Hat Day

German Shepherd Dog Defence Committee

German Shepherd Dog Defence Committee

We would be interested in knowing whether anyone recognises the people who had comemorative badges minted for them, or if they are still around we would love to hear from them.

M.C.P. & F. Queen Beulah Bendeich

M.C.P. & F. Queen Beulah Bendeich

M.B.T.H. School Popular Boy Rudi Vandenburg

M.B.T.H. School Popular Boy Rudi Vandenburg

Popular Girl Competition Tighes Hill Pat Withers

Popular Girl Competition Tighes Hill Pat Withers

De Molays’ Mayfield Festival Queen Candidate Yvonne Clarke

De Molays’ Mayfield Festival Queen Candidate Yvonne Clarke

Regards,

Gionni Di Gravio
University of Newcastle Australia

3 thoughts on “An Australian Badge Collection

  1. Pingback: Cultural Collections Annual Report 2009 « UoN Cultural Collections

  2. hi my name is chris i was wondering if their was any button pin/badge collectors in the newcastle area as i have around 30 old badges for sale if anyone is interseted please contact me on 0431400561 or 0488056653
    kind regard

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