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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

Sleeveless black silk crepe dress with V-neck and scalloped hem. Covered with black beaded designs, with white bead and iridescent pink sequin accents.
Object Registration
margaret lake, ellen davis, ellen mclaughlin, beading, 1920s
Historical information
This dress belonged to Ellen Davis, nee McLaughlin (1870-1956), great-grandmother of Margaret Lake.

Ellen was born in County Donegal, Ireland. She married George Washington Davis in 1890 and the couple moved to South Africa, where George owned a bicycle store. During this time, Margaret says, Ellen "had a life of luxury, having servants at her beck and call and even sleeping at the foot of her bed to protect her from any harm". She was a "tiny lady of 5 foot tall" and George "could put his hands around her waist of 18 inches".

On coming to Australia they opened a garage and taxi service in Graham Street, Port Melbourne. They lived here until Ellen's death in a road accident in 1956.

Ellen gave the dress to her great-granddaughter when Margaret was ten years old. Aged 62, Margaret told BHS, "I have worn it on several occasions, mostly to costume parties and fancy-dress balls when I was younger. I have loved it all this time and displayed it on a dress model in my last home". As she had no granddaughter of her own to leave it to, she decided to donate the dress so that it would continue to be cared for.
When Made
circa 1920
Last updated
10 Sep 2019 at 10:37AM