Historical information

The included wooden mannequin made by J.A. Walker of Melbourne has been very well used, as can be seen from the pin marks and split and torn fabric in areas where pins would have been used many times. The painted wood of the bodice is wearing away. The top of the neck is very rough in the centre, indicating that it possibly had a knob, handle or even a head shape on top.

The mannequin could have been used for storing and cleaning of the evening outfit and even in the process of making it. It is made to match the measurements of the outfit beautifully and would be close in measurement to Mrs. Isabella Mitchell. Isabella’s sister-in-law Eliza Russell made her own wedding dress and perhaps she or Isabella herself made the evening outfit using the mannequin for fittings.


The mannequin is significant as its size gives an image of the shape of the evening outfit’s owner. It is also significant as an example of the process and skills to create garments of fashion during the period, with many people making their own garments.
The mannequin is also an example of an item manufactured in Melbourne in colonial times.

Physical description

This wooden display mannequin is from neck to floor length. It has a round pedestal. The mannequin’s bodice has been painted black. It is padded then covered in black fabric. The maker of the mannequin was J.A. Walker of Melbourne. It dates to the mid-late 19th century.

Inscriptions & markings

Mannequin maker’s fabric label “J.A. WALKER / MANUFACTURER / MELBOURNE”