Historical information

The Manifolds were a significant pioneering pastoral family in Western Victoria. The donated riding jodhpurs originally belonged to Mrs Edward Manifold, formally Beatrice Mary Synnot Anderson. Beatrice was Edward Manifold’s cousin once removed whom he married in 1900.

Edward, the son of John Manifold, was born on 15 November 1868 and educated at Geelong and Melbourne Grammar schools and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (B.A., 1891). He chose the Danedite portion of land at Purrumbete, and on the death of his bachelor brother Thomas Peter (1863-1895), after a hunting accident, he took over his allocation, Wiridgil. He also owned Boortkoi, near Hexham and on these properties, he ran merino sheep, a Lincoln stud which dated back to 1870, and Shorthorn cattle. 3000 acres were also leased to dairy farmers.

Edward was a member of Hampden Shire Council in 1909-31 and three times president at Camperdown. The town was largely bordered by Manifold land and partly dependent upon the local pastoral dynasties, which benefited the local area from the families’ various business interests. Though an offer to build public baths to commemorate the Queen Victoria Jubilee in 1897 was not proceeded with, the town acquired a hospital, a reserve on Mount Leura, a clock tower and a cricket pavilion, as well as notable donations from the Manifolds to St Paul's Church and the grammar school.

Edward was a keen polo player and racing man. He was also a successful owner of steeplechasers and a committeeman of the Victoria Racing Club for many years. He was also a member of many Western District racing clubs.

On the 16 July 1900, Edward had married his sixteen-year-old cousin Beatrice Mary Synnot Anderson by whom he had three sons Thomas Peter, Andrew and Robert Edward Manifold. Edwards's estate at his death was valued for probate at nearly £500,000.

Edward died following an operation on 14 February 1931 at a private hospital in Yarra Vale Melbourne. Beatrice passed away in 1954, aged 79 in Ballarat where she was born in 1874.

Contextual historic Family background:

The Manifold brothers Thomas (1809-1875), John (1811-1877) and Peter (1817-1885) were the fourth, fifth and sixth sons of William Manifold and Mary, nee Barnes, of Courthouse Farm, Bromborough, Cheshire, England.

The family had decided to emigrate to Van Diemen's Land. Thomas was sent ahead, arriving in Hobart Town on 23rd January 1828 with £1500 and a letter of recommendation from the Colonial Office. Thomas acquired 1280 acres on the west bank of the Tamar River. John and Peter, with their parents and three sisters, arrived on 8th July 1831. Land grants by then had finished but William brought ninety acres next to his son Thomas’ land and on the combined properties the family built Kelso House.

The Manifolds’ properties were comparatively poor and when news of the Port Phillip District, in Victoria reached Thomas, he lost no time in coming to see for himself in February 1836. He was impressed with what he saw and hurried back to Tasmania to buy lambs and ewes. With one of his brothers, on July 9th he landed his stores at Point Henry and proceeded to occupy both sides of the Moorabool River. Thomas, at the end of the year, returned to Tasmania and left Peter and John to run the new property.
Thomas, however, returned to Victoria for several visits and on one of these visits he, along with his brothers, examined the country near Ballarat. In December 1838 they managed to penetrate the Stony Rises, and Peter and John reached Lake Purrumbete and the Mount Leura country.

During this time, on 4th July 1838, Thomas married Jane Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Captain Walter Synnot, formerly of Ballinate, County Armagh, Ireland, and then of Van Diemen's Land. Thomas joined his brothers, and they occupied the Purrumbete run in January 1839. On the journey to Purrumbete they could not take their stock and drays through the Stony Rises, so went north of Lake Corangamite, to the neck of land between it and Lake Gnarpurt. By April the move from Moorabool area was complete. As yet they had no hut and were working day and night, but their delight in their new run was unbounded. John wrote to his mother:
“We are at last got to the land we wished for it is a beautiful place, and cannot be surpassed by any I have ever seen”.

The three brothers occupied Purrumbete together, breeding both sheep and cattle until Thomas went to Grassmere run on the Merri River near Warrnambool in 1844. John and Peter soon gave up breeding sheep but retained the well-known '3M' brand for the cattle. These were Shorthorns, derived from four bulls originally imported by the Boldon brothers and later improved by further importations, and were renowned for size and quality. By the time of the gold rush in 1851, John and Peter were breeding over 1000 head a year, as well as fattening stores.

The diggings at this time had disorganised Grassmere by drawing away Thomas's men, and his wife decided to take her two sons and two daughters to Europe for their education. Thomas gave up the property next year, went to England to join his family, and eventually brought the family back to live in Melbourne.

At Purrumbete things were different. The brothers, John and Peter, preferred black stockmen to white, so the discovery of gold upset them very little while providing the very market they required. John was on his second visit to England when the rush started, and Peter went in his turn soon after John returned. On 2 September 1856 John married Marion Thomson, at Cormiston, Van Diemen's Land. They had four daughters and five sons, from three of whom, William Thomson, James Chester and Edward, the later generations of the family descend.

Through the years the brothers had to contend with the scab, fluke and footrot, depression, rabbits, bush fires and pleuro-pneumonia. In 1861 they appointed as manager Henry Manifold Matson, their nephew, who had already been with them for five years. Thomas died in Melbourne on 7 November 1875, John at Purrumbete on 3 January 1877 and Peter at Purrumbete on 31 July 1885.

Devout members of the Church of England, John and Peter, during their lives, gave generously towards building St Paul's Church, Camperdown, and guaranteed part of the vicar's stipend. Peter was a member of the Hampden and Heytesbury Roads Board from 1859 and carried on into the Hampden Shire Council when it was formed in 1864. However, it was not for public works that they were known, but for their personal example. In a new land where speculators and adventurers were all too common, the Manifold brothers were among those who intended it to be their home and their children's home. Industrious, unpretentious and hospitable, they were respected in their community as men of the highest integrity.


This riding habit is a characteristic example of the type and style of riding clothes that well-dressed ladies wore in the 1920s. It highlights the changes that were beginning in society for women. Prior to 1918 ladies still had to ride side-saddle with skirts over Jodhpurs. Society of the time regarded women riding astride as unseemly and just not done.
This riding habit is particularly significant on a number of levels, it shows the beginnings of change in society's attitudes through women's fashion after the First World War. A change that was to bring a start to a more liberating societal attitude towards women after the successful establishment of the Representation of People Act 1918 that gave women the right to vote.
This garments provenance is linked to one of Victoria's important pioneering families the Manifolds, one of the first families that came from Van Diemen's land to settle the Western District of Victoria in 1844. Originally the garment belonged to the wife of the great-grandson of pioneer William Manifold, Edward Manifold who married Beatrice May Synnot Anderson, Edwards Cousin in 1900.

The garment was made by the Mayfair tailors J. Busvine & Co. in the early to mid-1920s (estimate) who at the turn of the century were tailors to the Courts of Europe. Their clothing is highly collectible today and examples can be found in a number of significant museum collections around the world, notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the FIDM in Los Angeles.

Physical description

Jodhpurs, part of a three-piece, side saddle riding habit tailored for Mrs Edward Manifold, with four buttons to the front material black woolen twill the legs are cuffed below the knee with 8 buttons holes which are reinforced to the inside with fabric. Cream Satin waistband and removable chamois lining to the seat makers label Busvines Co. tailored for Mrs Edward Manifold.

Inscriptions & markings

Embroidered in blue on a Satin Cream label to Jodhpurs "Busvine Ltd / 4, Brook St, London. W. No."
Hand written in black ink script "523/ Mrs Edward Manifold"