The Blue Bird Sewing Machine

Bebarfalds, a retailer of home furnishings and manufacturer of furniture, traded for many years from its landmark location opposite the Sydney Town Hall on the corner of George and Park Streets.

They are best remembered for their sewing machines, introduced around 1917, and branded as ‘Blue Bird’ from about 1926.

Elegant cabinets, made with Australian wood and iron bases,  some with leadlight inserts, were made at Bebarfalds’ furniture factory. They concealed British-made Vickers sewing machines, giving the impression of a substantial piece of furniture that would sit in harmony with other home furnishings.

They had a range of over 50 different styles, more than any other Australian company.

Bebarfalds offered customers free dressmaking courses and established an advisory bureau headed by Mona Moncrieffe. More frocks for less money, according to their catalogue, which gave an overview of the services offered to their sewing machine customers.

“Bluebird” tea sets and thimbles were used as enticements to purchase sewing machines. Bebarfald’s were so confident that their machines were the finest available that they offered £5 to anyone offering a practical improvement that they accepted.


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