A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. My Collections: Vintage Badges

    Vintage badge collection, via We Are Scout. Photo: Lisa Tilse for We Are Scout

    Well, this is a little revealing, isn’t it? In the first of a brand new We Are Scout series, Lisa and I will be sharing some of the things we like to collect. Or, as in the case of today’s post, sentimental collections we’ve inherited.

    Many of my old Wee Birdy readers might recall that I’ve inherited my mum’s love for collecting things. From my low-brow ’80s collection of rubbers (that’s what we called them back then – ‘erasers’ in suburban Australia was a foreign word) and stickers to Tudor tiles scavenged bankside on the Thames, you’ll find that my taste for curios is eclectic, to say the least.

    Today’s collection is one I mostly inherited from my mum, and it reveals quite a bit about my family’s political activist leanings. Collected mainly from the mid-60s through to the ’80s, you can tell that my parents and grandparents participated in quite a few May Day parades back in the day.

    From this group of vintage protest and activist badges, you can also see that they were basically activists for peace; human rights; women’s rights; indigenous Australians’ rights; and the environment. It might not sound exactly radical to our 2015-thinking, but back in the ’60s it was a totally different story. (No wonder I wandered around uni in the early ’90s in a Sinead O’Connor t-shirt with the slogan ‘Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies’…)

    Apart from their historical and sentimental significance, there’s also a lot to love from a design perspective. Personal favourites include the graphic ‘Resist’ badge; International Women’s Year Australia; ‘Uranium? No Thanks’; ‘Free Angela Davis’; and the Vietnam moratorium badges.

    Now, I bet you weren’t expecting that today! Next week, a peek into another personal collection.

    Tell me: have you inherited any vintage badges? What do they reveal about your family’s history?

    Photography and styling by Lisa Tilse for We Are Scout.
    This post was originally published on We Are Scout.

    • Big Sista

      Ahh, I wondered where they got to! I used to have custody of those – some of them I wore myself. Do we still have an “It’s Time” badge? Or maybe I’m imaging that one…I remember all those moratorium ones the most.

      • wearescout

        Of course I have them! Thank god. They’re still in the same orange ’70s plastic tub that someone decorated with stickers – you? I’m thinking of pinning some of them to a pennant and hanging them up. You’re welcome to any of them. There wasn’t an ‘It’s Time’ – that definitely would have made the edit.

        There’s another inherited collection coming up that you might recognise… can you guess what it might be? – Rebecca

        • Big Sista

          I’m glad you’re the custodian – I can fit my car
          in my garage!!!!!!
          Glass “jewels”/beads? Or the cereal box plastic collectibles?

          • wearescout

            I have no idea where the glass ‘jewels’ are but I want them. They were in an old cigar tin and they were ‘my precious’. You’re on the money with the second one. And shhh about our garage!

      • wearescout

        Also, there is a badge for local Commie candidate. Must have been Nanna and Poppa’s.

    • http://www.gemmajones.net Gemma

      love it!

      • wearescout

        Yay, thanks Gemma! – Rebecca X

    • Jenbug

      Great collection! Looking forward to seeing more too. You mentioned something about vintage tea sets? I have two from our wedding but would have more if I had room for it! I also collected rubbers and stickers like you. Sadly they are gone. I had a soap collection with about 100 soaps which I saved till my twenties, but ended up actually using those when I moved out of home. I’d like to collect something special now that can be handed down, actually that could be my ladybug collection – toys, jewellery, ornaments etc. x

      • wearescout

        I love that you actually ended up using your soap collection! That’s the best way to enjoy a collection. You’ll have to look at my rubber collection coming up and see if you recognise any! – Rebecca X

    • Mindful Stitcherie

      Beatiful! Back in the 70s I used to proudly own many of these buttons myself. Now I collect vintage Fisher Price pocket radio music boxes. They are really cute and come in all colors of the rainbow. 🙂