Button club history shared

BUTTONS: Cowell Probus Club secretary Barb Shearer and president Mike Talbot with August guest speaker Kylie Martens from the Franklin Harbour Button Club.
BUTTONS: Cowell Probus Club secretary Barb Shearer and president Mike Talbot with August guest speaker Kylie Martens from the Franklin Harbour Button Club.

THE Probus Combined Club of Cowell’s August meeting guest speaker was Kylie Martens who spoke on the work and activities of the Button Club.

The Franklin Harbour Button Club was formed in 1977 after local identity, the late Colin Turner, was on holidays near Broken Hill and the locals were talking about their buttons.    

Mr Turner got as much information as he could and brought the idea back to Cowell where he was the barman at the Franklin Harbour Hotel.

It started out as a men’s only club for social parties with women allowed as members a few years after.

Initially, the club was designed to be fines only and 50 per cent collected would go to charity and the other 50 per cent to club functions.

Friday night raffles were started in 1979 but these are now held on Wednesday nights.

From December 1980 to 1985, more than $18,000 was donated to local organisations and another $21,000 to outside charities.

The club has donated about $100,000 to community organisations in just over 10 years.

In the 1980s and 1990s membership reached 150 with a waiting list especially for those who wanted a favourite number.

There has been a variety of buttons over the years, the blue metal one was ordered in 1990.

In 2006, the club changed its name to Franklin Harbour Button Club and moved its meetings to the Commercial Hotel.  

The club has 90 members and some of the rules of the club are that buttons must be carried in right hand pockets or in purses for women; no buttons are allowed on Fridays and members must drink with their left hand; anyone caught drinking on Fridays with their right hand is fined 20 cents.

In late November, the club hosts a Christmas picnic with Santa and face painting for children.

For this year’s social function, the club is trying to organise a quiz night.

There are a lot of local charities and community groups who have benefited from the Button Club.

In the early days, this included St Paul’s Kindergarten, Neighbourhood Watch, the knitting club, show society, Red Cross, Guide Dogs, cranio-facial unit, St John’s Ambulance, Lucky Bay pontoon, Cowell Physical Culture Club, cemetery committee, National Trust, Rifle Club and more.

More recently the swimming club, Cowell Area school, Air Sea Rescue, Cowell Institute, early childhood centre, Lions Club, pyrotechnic night, aged care, boat ramp committee, RSL, sports complex and skate park have received donations

The Button Club is a very important part of the Cowell community and it is hoped it continues for many years to come.