This green patent snake-skin leather passbook cover and its blue papered passbook belonged to Stanio Fancoff and was used during his 1929 immigration to Australia. Similar to modern passport documents, this travel document exhibits Stanio's picture and provides his personal details along with the passport date of 1929. This passport was a required and necessary document for Stanio's immigration to Australia and as such it was a integral part of his immigration story.

Stanio Ivanoff Fancoff was born in 1908 in Bojentsi, a small village in Bulgaria. At age 11, Stanio left home to learn the shoemaking trade. In 1929, he immigrated to Melbourne, settled in Fitzroy and began to work for the V.G. Zemancheff & Sons basket shoe factory in South Melbourne. In1936, he married Dorotea Georgi Touzou who had recently arrived in Australia. Around this time, Stanio set up his own shoemaking business from home, with Georgi, her cousin and sister weaving the shoes which he then assembled. Select shoe samples were then taken to Sydney and Tasmania for sale. In 1942, Georgi and Stanio moved to Broken Hill for Georgi's health; there daughter Nancy was born and Stanio set up a shoe shop/factory. In 1945, Georgi died and by 1950 Stanio and Nancy had moved to Adelaide where he again opened a shoemaking business and shop. He passed away in 1978, having been in the shoemaking business for 59 years. This collection documents his migration and working life experiences.

Physical Description

The passport cover consists of a green patent leather with a snake skin styled pattern that encompasses cardboard, and folds out into a three sectioned book. The front cover has gold imprinted letter within a diagonal line upon it. The middle section has the green leather exterior and a plain cardboard interior with two hole punctures within its upper and lower left hand corners. The third section, has its internal section removed in which an ornate picture frame remains. Furthermore, this section having also two holes within its upper right, folds in on itself to enable the document to be viewed and simultaneously framed but also bound through the dual hole punctures.


This collection is significant in documenting a small migrant business as well as the fashion of a particular period. It is well provenanced and charts the application of trade skills in a new country. It also illustrates the stages of hand shoe manufacture from the 1930s, demonstrating the enduring nature of the tools and patterns that were used.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Migration & Cultural Diversity, Working Life & Trades

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Nancy Vasileff, 21/03/2207

  • Inscriptions

    Front Cover, Imprinted, Gold, Text:

  • Classification

    Migration, Processing - planning & departure, Identification

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • 2D format

    82 mm (Width), 122 mm (Height)

  • References

    R.A. Salaman, 'Dictionary of Leather-working Tools c.1700-1950 and Tools of Allied Trades,' London: George Allen and Unwin (Publishers) Ltd, 1986 [Section 2: Boot and Shoe Maker pp18-185]. John Peacock. 'Shoes, The Complete Sourcebook,' London:Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005. NAA holds file (online) on Vasil George Zemancheff, Fancoff's employer