Historical information

This sewing kit was issued to W.R. Angus during his Military Service in WWII. It is sometimes referred to as a soldier's ‘housewife’ and includes items necessary for mending and adjusting a soldier’s clothing and other fabric items. Earlier Army issue sewing kits were made of leather but were subject to deterioration due to holding moisture if they became wet. The sewing kit is now part of Flagstaff Hill’s comprehensive W.R. Angus Collection, donated by the family of Dr W R Angus (1901-1970), surgeon and oculist.

Dr W R Angus was a Surgeon Captain for the Australian Defence Forces, Army Medical Corps, stationed in Ballarat, Victoria, and in Bonegilla, N.S.W. He completed his service just before the end of the war due to suffering from a heart attack.

The W.R. Angus Collection: -

The W.R. Angus Collection includes historical medical equipment, surgical instruments and material belonging to Dr Edward Ryan and Dr Thomas Francis Ryan, (both of Nhill, Victoria) and Dr Angus’ own belongings. The Collection’s history spans the medical practices of the two Doctors Ryan, from 1885-1926 plus that of Dr Angus, up until 1969. It includes historical medical and surgical equipment and instruments from the doctors Edward and Thomas Ryan of Nhill, Victoria.

Dr Angus married Gladys in 1927 at Ballarat, the nearest big city to Nhill where he began as a Medical Assistant. He was also Acting House surgeon at the Nhill hospital where their two daughters were born. During World War II He served as a Military Doctor in the Australian Defence Forces.

Dr Angus and his family moved to Warrnambool in 1939, where Dr Angus operated his own medical practice. He later added the part-time Port Medical Officer responsibility and was the last person appointed to that position. Both Dr Angus and his wife were very involved in the local community, including the planning stages of the new Flagstaff Hill and the layout of the gardens there. Dr Angus passed away in March 1970.


This item is significant in Australia's War History and its connection with local history. It aids in understanding life in the military and the changes to normal life.
Dr W R Angus (1901-1970), surgeon and oculist, collected a range of military objects including those he personally used during his time as Surgeon Captain in the Australian Defence Forces in World War II.
The W.R. Angus Collection is significant for still being located at the site it is connected with, Doctor Angus being the last Port Medical Officer in Warrnambool. The Collection includes historical medical objects that date back to the late 1800s.

Physical description

Australian Army sewing kit, WWII era. A rectangular khaki cotton fabric pouch with pockets containing sewing needles, threads of various colours, a thimble and a reel of cotton. The pouch rolls up and is secured with its own ties. It has a handwritten inscription.
The cloth patches belonged to Dr W R Angus and are now part of the W. R. Angus Collection.

Inscriptions & markings