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From the Collection of Brighton Historical Society First Floor Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

A black silk, wood and ivory handled parasol from circa 1900. The black silk of the parasol body has been treated with a decorative hemstitch towards the lower edge. The handle and frame are made of wood, metal and either ivory or an early plastic designed to mimic ivory. The ivory section is carved with a design reminiscent of a palm tree trunk and finished with a ball. The handle also features a leather looped strap that the hand would pass through to aid holding the parasol.
Object Registration
clara miller, woolbrook, septimus miller, henry 'money' miller, gwendoline miller, cantala, parasols, caulfield, brighton general cemetery
Historical information
This parasol belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time.

In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault.

Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.
When Made
circa 1900
Made By
W.A. Hartnell & Co (Maker)
Inscriptions & Markings
The handle bears an engraved inscription that appears to be 'VML' in a highly florid script. The frame bears the name 'Hartnells'.
Last updated
11 Aug 2019 at 8:17PM