Historical information

This ladies suit belonged to an elderly neighbour of the donor, Margot Miller, who lived in Black Street, Brighton in the 1970s. The neighbour had offered Margot a selection of her old clothing, dating from the early 20th century, as she wanted somebody to hold onto and care for the items after she died. Before Margot could take the items the neighbour was moved into a nursing home and, while cleaning out the house, the woman's son took the clothing to the tip with a load of rubbish. Margot happened to see him leave and was able to follow him and retrieve the clothes. They remained in the Miller family for many years; some were worn by Margot's daughters and some were ultimately passed on to others.

Based on our research, we believe that the suit's original owner may have been Julia Richards (nee O'Keefe, c. 1882-1976), who lived at 59 Black Street during this time. Born in Ireland, Julia emigrated to Queensland in 1900. She married William Alfred Richards in 1911 and lived with him in Ayr, near Townsville, where they ran a hotel. It is unclear what became of William, but by the mid-1920s Julia and her two children were living in Brighton, where she remained until her death in 1976, aged 94.

Physical description

Cream wool ladies suit consisting of a jacket and skirt. Jacket is partially lined with silk, quilted around shoulders. Fastens with four self-covered buttons, one attached to a belt. Two box pleats at front and back, each featuring four decorative self-covered buttons at the waist. Upturned cuffs, each with two buttons. The skirt features a fabric belt and triangular pockets in each side with decorative self-covered buttons. Hook fastenings at side.