Summary

Single, left shoe, circa 1930, made by Paragon, "The Shoe Beautiful". Exclusive to the Sydney retailer Mabs McGuirk.

Paragon Shoes Pty Ltd was one of the most significant 20th century Australian shoe retailers, and at one time was the largest manufacturer of high quality of women's shoes in Australia. Its factory was located in Melbourne, and its shoes were sold throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Physical Description

Lace-up, leather and patent black leather. Scallop shaping around top of shoe and bottom of front. Closed toe; taps on bottom of soles; 4 eyelets

Significance

The Paragon Shoe Collection comprises over 90 objects, including pairs of shoes and single shoes, point-of-sale materials and promotional materials such as business cards and an umbrella bearing the company name. The Collection documents the business and products of Paragon Shoes Pty Ltd, one of the most significant 20th century Australian shoe retailers, and at one time the largest manufacturer of high quality of women’s shoes in Australia. Its factory was located in Melbourne, and its shoes were sold throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The collection was largely donated by a member of the Davison family, which ran the Paragon business for most of the 20th century. It documents the changing designs of Australian women's footwear, from the 1910s to the 1980s. It illustrates the development of new shoe styles, from sample shoes bought overseas to shoes that went into production and were worn by Australian women. The collection is complemented by an archive held at the State Library of Victoria, including company records, shoe design sketch books and further point-of-sale material.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Paragon Shoe Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Clothing & Textiles, Working Life & Trades

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Mrs Diana Gaze, Mrs Diana Gaze, 26/10/2005

  • Manufacturer

    Paragon Shoes, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1930

  • Inscriptions

    Insole: ""PARAGON" / The Shoe Beautiful / EXCLUSIVE TO / Mabs. MacGuirk / SYDNEY"

  • Classification

    Clothing, Female, Footwear

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Technology

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Object Measurement

    21.4 cm (Length), 7.1 cm (Width), 7.1 cm (Height)
    Width is both shoes combined.

  • Maximum dimensions

    212 mm (Length), 70 mm (Width), 142 mm (Height)
    Measurement From Conservation.

  • References

    Howard, G., 2004. Lex Davison: Larger Than Life'. Turton & Armstrong, Sydney. Copies of several newspaper articles about Paragon from the early 1920s were included with the donation. The State Library of Victoria holds an archive relating to the Paragon business, containing receipt books, account books, advertising, clippings, sample book, sketches, photographs and a poster - MS 13570. The content dates range circa 1928-1988. An additional archive, PA 01/05, ranges 1940s-1980s.

  • Keywords

    Footwear Industry, Manufacturing, Making History - Paragon Shoes