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Bed jacket

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

Cream crocheted wool bed jacket. Loose around bust with wide sleeves and open sides. Fastens at collar with thin braided ties, and at waist with two pearlescent plastic buttons.
Object Registration
bed jacket, migration, 1950s, carmela auditore, carmela materia, giuseppa auditore
Historical information
This bed jacket was crocheted for Carmela Materia (1931-2018) by her mother, Giuseppa Auditore, around the time they emigrated from Italy to Melbourne. Both women were longtime Brighton locals, residing in the area from the 1950s until their deaths.

Carmela Auditore was the first woman from her home village of Scaletta, Italy to emigrate to Australia. Setting sail alone in 1950 at the age of 19, she joined her brother John and uncle Frank in McCallum St, Brighton. Frank had arrived some years earlier and had spent the duration of the First World War in an internment camp. John worked at the Brighton Case Company, a box manufacturer on Nepean Highway, and paid for her passage.

Carmela found a job sewing children's clothing at Drummonds, a small factory in Church St. Working eight hours a day, five days per week, netted her a weekly wage of three pounds. To earn a little extra, she washed dishes at a St Kilda Road restaurant for ten shillings a shift.

Her parents, Salvatore and Giuseppa Auditore, joined her in Brighton in 1952. They rented a house behind an antique shop in Bay Street. Salvatore had been a fisherman in Scaletta, but quickly adapted to the job he found helping around the Garage at Brighton Motors in Male Street.

On 14 February 1953, Carmela married her sweetheart, Salvatore Materia, at St James Catholic Church in Gardenvale. Salvatore had been living with his aunt in Well Street and worked on the wharves.

Both Carmela and Salvatore were hard workers. They owned a fruit shop in Church Street where Woolworths now stands, and years later Carmela recalled the familiar 6am tap on her window each morning when her husband returned from the market. On dark winter mornings, she felt as if her hands would freeze as she helped Salvatore unload cold cabbages and cauliflowers from his truck. They later owned a shop in Ludstone Street in Hampton.

After Salvatore died suddenly at the age of 48, Carmela returned to sewing, working at the Willow Fashions knitting mill in Gardenvale. She later went into partnership with her sister and brother-in-law, this time in the delicatessen business.

Her parents, Giuseppa and Salvatore, spent the rest of their days with Brighton. Carmela recalled her father cheerfully walking the streets, greeting people by name. He knew everybody. He loved being in Australia and enjoyed life to the last, insisting on having bread and wine on the table at every meal.
When Made
circa 1955
Last updated
18 Sep 2019 at 10:12PM