Historical information

This bodice was part of the wedding outfit worn by Grace Burland at her marriage to John Henty Hindson in 1912. Her husband's grandfather, Francis Henty, was the youngest son of Thomas Henty, who with his family, their retainers and property moved to the Australian colonies between 1829 and 1832. In 1834, Francis’ older brother, Edward, sailed from Launceston in Van Diemen’s Land to what was to become Portland in the western part of Port Phillip District [Victoria]. Francis, together with the first flock of Merino sheep [in Victoria], followed some months later. The first and second generations of the Henty family established vast pastoral properties in the Western part of the Port Phillip District. Francis Henty managed ‘Merino Downs’ near Casterton, while also living in his retirement at ‘Field Place' in Kew.


The Henty Collection of nineteenth and twentieth century clothing, including outerwear and underwear, was collected, stored and exhibited over time by female family members descended from Francis and Mary Ann Henty. During the twentieth century, items from the collection were modelled in two fashion parades by various descendants [1937, 1959]. The items in the collection are historically and aesthetically significant, with provenance provided by oral and written tradition within or held by the family. A number of the items in the collection are very rare survivors, and provide researchers with the evidence needed to reconstruct the lives of notable women in the Port Phillip District [later Victoria] during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Physical description

Silk crepe wedding bodice decorated with Mechlin lace, pearls and jet, which was worn by Grace Burland at her marriage to John Henty Hindson in 1912. A report in Punch [12 September 1912] described her outfit as “... white crepe de chene finished with Mechlin lace and pearl trimming; also pearl crescent brooch (gift of the bridegroom' s mother).” Mechlin lace or Point de Malines is an old bobbin lace, one of the best-known Flemish laces, originally produced in Mechelen, Belgium. Used for women's clothing, it was popular until the first decade of the twentieth century. The high silk net neckline is finished with pearls. These are repeated on the loose fitted diagonal ornamentation on the front and back which is finished with pearl and jet beading. Similar ornamentation finishes the elbow length sleeves. [The wedding skirt is not part of the donation].