Historical information

The child's silk smocked dress with feather stitching is believed to have been worn by Mary Hodgetts, sister of the donor's mother. The dress is estimated to have been made in c.1919, but from its style it may date from the 1900s. This would not be uncommon as children's clothing was often 'passed-on' or reconfigured to fit a new wearer.

Mary Hodgetts grew up in Kensington Park, Adelaide. As an adult, Mary enlisted in 1941 to the 1st AWAS camp. After six months she volunteers for the 58th AASL (Anti Aircraft Searchlight Battery). She was sent to Sydney where she attended Training School with 33 males and one other female. Mary was the first AWAS to receive a Commission in the RAA (Royal Australian Artillery). Mary Downer was one of many under Mary's command on returning to Adelaide. After a March through the streets of Adelaide, most of the unit transferred to Western Australia (Fremantle area) in 1943 and were scattered amongst the 55th and 65th AASL Batteries.

At the conclusion of WW2, Mary travelled to Melbourne to be with her sister and studied Accountancy. She first lived in Mary Street, Hawthorn, and then bought a unit in Harcourt Street, East Hawthorn. During this period she worked as Bursar to St Catherine's Girls' School. On retirement, she purchased a house in Edgecombe Street, Kew, and lived there happily for many years. During this time she was active with the Kew Meals on Wheels, receiving her 10-years of service certificate. Mary Hodgetts died in 2018.


Child's clothing associated with the history of a significant Australian woman who served with the 2nd AIF

Physical description

Child's silk smocked dress
Shoulder width 26 cm / Length 52 cm