Historical information

Frances Rigg was a local business identity in Kew, at one stage managing the local branch of the English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank at 175 High Street from c. 1920 until the 1940s. After Francis Rigg’s death, the collection of buttons and medallions was inherited by his son, Ken Rigg (1922-2014). The collection was subsequently donated to the Kew Historical Society in 2015 by Francis' grandson, Adrian Rigg, at the time of the Gallipoli & Beyond Commemoration in 2015. The collection covers a period of almost 40 years. The majority of the buttons are patriotic buttons, issued and sold during and immediately after the First World World War (1914-1918) to raise funds for national and overseas causes. The collection also includes a number of locally significant sporting event buttons and sporting club medallions, issued in the 1920s and 1930s.


Patriotic and other pressed tin buttons and badges were produced in large numbers in the first decades of the twentieth century. By nature, insubstantial and ephemeral, they have not always survived. The collections of badges, buttons and medallions in the Kew Historical Society collection is homogenous and yet diverse, ranging from buttons sold to raise funds for the war efforts in 1914-18 and 1939-45, to those used at festivals and sporting events. Because of the manufacturing process, many surviving buttons and badges have been affected by inadequate storage, suffering from oxidisation and physical damage. These survivors are now historically and socially significant artefacts, revealing much about the attitudes and values of the period in which they were produced. Their widespread distribution means that they are frequently significant at a local, state, national and international level.

Physical description

A pressed metal fundraising button released in 1919 to support the Royal Women’s and Queen Victoria Hospitals. In June 1919, The Argus reported that a ‘A well attended public meeting was held at the Town Hall yesterday afternoon to complete arrangements for the Button Day on June 27 in aid of the Women’s and the Queen Victoria Hospital. The Button Fund committee desires it to be known that several busy city sections are still vacant and that further offers of help in the sale of buttons will be welcomed’. It would appear that different buttons were released on the same day to support different hospitals in various urban and rural locations in Victoria.

Inscriptions & markings

"Women’s Day / Women’s Hospital 27th June 1919 [&] Queen Victoria Hospital"