Thursday, 20 June 2013

Vintage Johnson of Australia

A recent vintage purchase were these great Johnson of Australia retro stoneware dinner Plates. I'm very familiar with the Johnson of Australia stoneware dinner sets, that these lovely plates originally came from. They were the everyday crockery in our home, when I was growing up. Our family had a number of J of A wonderfully patterned dinner sets over the years.

The patterns I remember most are, yellow roses that came with dark brown bowls and saucers. And  Autumn leaves, that had mustard coloured bowls and saucers. I can't remember really liking either of those patterns at the time, I think as a child, I found them a little somber. Though my feelings toward the crockery could have something to do with the fact, that we weren't allowed to speak at the dinner table! Well I imagine seven little voices given free range could give any parent indigestion!

Don't get me wrong, I have many many fond memories of meals served and family moments amidst the various patterns of my childhood, including these. But as far as the actual patterns were concerned... 
well I suppose to me it was just crockery.

Johnson of Australia plate

But I do wish I had eaten my childhood meals from dishes with this bright spring garden pattern, with its cute little blue  flowers (forget me not ?)  Or these ( groovy! ) fun daisies. These I'm sure are patterns a child would love. Just Imagine, even if your nightly meal was a calm and orderly - definitely no speaking affair, you could still have calm, orderly and quiet enjoyment, uncovering these bright blooms as you ate your food.

Now I`m not sure if the patterns we did have in our family home were my mothers preference, or if they were the patterns produced in those particular years. Or perhaps they were the only ones available at the time she needed a new dinner set. Well I should say sets, as we were a family of seven children and I'm sure I and my siblings, probably broke quite a few dishes with our rowdy rat-baggy ways. Or with an accidental soapy slip of the hand, during the much hated dish duty!

Whether those were our mothers favourite patterns or not, the one thing I am sure of, is that the now - vintage Johnson of Australia dinner sets, would have been a god send for her. With the multitude of patterns in similar colour ranges, along with the solid colours of the bowls and saucers. I can see how she was able to mix the various pieces that were left from one set and match it with another, yet still have some continuity, and perhaps a bit of whimsical fun!

As the name suggests these stoneware dinner sets were made here in Australia.The factory opened in Croydon, Queensland in 1957 as a subsidiary of Johnson Brothers in England.Thousands of these dinner sets and other assorted pieces were produced during the 70s and 80s, in a multitude of patterns. How many? and what are the pattern names?
These are Questions we can not answer at the moment. There seems to be very little information available about pattern names or dates of production. Which is quite a nuisance, especially for Me as its just the sort of thing she likes to jump into and delve around in. But she shall keep up the research and see what  can be snooped out.

Nameless or not, many of the patterns we are seeing around the web lately are so lovely, with their bright colours and great retro looks. Milk jugs, sugar bowls and butter dishes are appearing from the nooks and the crannies of many a household. Jam dishes, cake plates and best of all, we have heard, but sadly not seen, that there are tea pots !!

I can feel a new vintage craving coming on!I want more of these wonderful patterns brightening my day. I would like to drink from the many cups with their lovely vintage patterns, and if I didn't eat my dinner on dishes I loved as a child, well I certainly can now! 

I can picture it exactly. All the fun I will have searching for, and finding, the various pieces. Then mingling together the different patterns, and mixing together the base colours of  brown, yellow mustard and green

This will match with....


These poppies can go with...


 And definitely that.

And these will go with...


That, goes with this.

Goes with those!

vintage Johnson of Australia cup and saucer

Matched and Mixed Up Sets! Yes, a definite winner in my books. Swap and change around depending on your mood (or personality in our case)And this last one is my absoluuuute favourite, so retro! I like this last one so much, I might just have to try and find a whole set.

So dear readers, I am bound for some homegrown hunting for vintage Johnson of Australia stoneware retro pieces. Wish me luck!


There has been a concerted effort to find pattern names by some lovely people, and they have gathered quite a few. So if you are interested in the pattern names, you can find them on Facebook and Pinterest.

A number of  pieces shown here are courtesy of the wonderful   
The yellow rose pattern and first cup are courtesy of the delightful 

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