White and tan leather left shoe, made by Paragon in 1936, from the "Practical Shoes" design range. It was probably sold at Myer, since 'Myer' is inscribed in the shoe.

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 shoes were sold throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Paragon factory was located in Argyle St, Fitzroy, in the 1920s, one of the largest single-storied factories in Australia.After reaching the height of its business in the late 1980s, with 100,000 pairs of shoes produced per year, Paragon closed in the early 1990s.

Physical Description

White and tan leather Paragon left shoe, size 8, comprised of a rounded toe and high heel. Uppers of white leather with panels of perforated circles and stitched borders. The toe, base of uppers and heel are covered with red/brown leather panels.


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

    Working Life & Trades, Clothing & Textiles

  • Acquisition Information

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

  • Date Made


  • Manufacturer

    Paragon Shoes, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

  • Inscriptions

    Printed on inside of sole in gold: "PRACTICAL / SHOES / A PARAGON PRODUCT / BENCH MADE" Label attached to inside sole: "MYER / 8 / 4517"

  • Classification

    Clothing, Female, Footwear

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    20.2 cm (Length), 7.3 cm (Width), 14.5 cm (Height)

  • Maximum dimensions

    225 mm (Length), 73 mm (Width), 142 mm (Height)
    Measurement From Conservation. Left

  • 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