Bertie Davies - Our Man in Melbourne

Letter from Melbourne

A quick note to say that after our latest plea for men on the ground in the Five Eyes nations, a dead letter drop has confirmed the successful recruitment of a Melboune operative. This is very pleasing. As any Sydney resident will tell you, Melbourne is the finest city in all Australia.

Gentlemen, I give you Bertie Davies. (Now imagine an Australian person standing at a rostrum and nodding a greeting to you.) Please make him feel very welcome.

What can Bertie tell us about Melbourne to begin with? Over to you Bertie:

Dear Tweedy

You are right in highlighting that R M Williams moleskins (while not forgetting their wonderful boots) are one of Australia’s major contributions to traditional dress. They are worn in the Australian countryside across the complete social spectrum (viz: pastoralists, graziers, farmers, shearers and farmhands) for their practicality and durability. But in the major cities, moleskins and boots are a social signifier, worn by an Antipodean version of the Sloane Ranger. Moleskins go perfectly well with a tweed jacket, a Barbour or a polo shirt and are often worn by the urban haute bourgeoisie as an act of social solidarity. They’re also worn by 'Collins Street Cockies', 'Pitt Street Farmers' and 'Queen Street bushies' who wear this outfit to signify their connection to the land.

Marvellous Melbourne offers the very traditional gents outfitter Henry Bucks, and the less traditional but bewhiskered (and sometimes even tattooed!) younger chaps at Captains of Industry and Smart Alec Hatters

Most importantly it gave tweedy icon Barry Humphries (above and below) to the world.

Best wishes, 


We look forward to any further intelligence from Bertie. And we really must cover Barry more — we've only ever written on his wonderful music series So Rare. We must have him in our gallery.

Tweedy's Note: 'Collins Street Cockies', 'Pitt Street Farmers' and 'Queen Street bushies' are Australian terms for affluent city dwellers. 


  1. Ah, Henry Buck. Sydney no longer has anything to match, unless I have missed something.

    Until about a decade or so Sydney had Gowings, a true men's store, which country boys in city boarding schools or the University colleges would frequent. Alas, in the 90s they modernized and expanded and so killed themselves off.

    A small point for the record - Pitt Street Farmers are Sydney-siders not Melbournians. :-)

    1. Thanks Hugh. Gowings had the right ring to it, for sure. Bring back the real Gowings. Pitt Street Farmers equal Sydney-siders — got it, and changed it before others notice my complete ignorance. Best wishes, Tweedy


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