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Brighton Historical Society Brighton, Victoria

Since our founding in 1963, the Brighton Historical Society has been working to collect, preserve and share items and information connected to the history and heritage of Brighton, Victoria. We have an extensive and diverse collection, including photos, documents, maps, art, artefacts and a large costume collection of State significance.

Contact Information

location
PO Box 266 Brighton Victoria 3186 (map)
phone
+61 03 9553 8650

Contact

Opening Hours

Our rooms are open to visitors and researchers on Thursdays from 12 noon to 5:00 pm, and at other times by appointment

Entry Fee

Entry is free. We undertake email and written research requests for a fee of $20 per hour which includes photocopying and postage

Location

First Floor Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

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The Brighton Historical Society has a large and diverse collection of material relating to the history of Brighton and the Bayside area, including documents, books, photos, artwork, artefacts and costume.

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194 items

194 items

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

One piece floor length dress of (originally) lavender, watered (moiré) silk taffeta with short sleeves and train that is controlled by interior tapes to create bustle effect. The bodice fastens down the centre front to the waist where the opening below the waist is concealed by side pleats. The bodice appears to have originally featured a piece of lace at the neckline and a textile ruched belt. The dress is backed with a cream cotton.

Historical information

This dress was worn by Julia Benjamin (1850-1927) for her marriage to Abraham Smith (of Polish descent) at the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in Bourke Street, Melbourne on 5 September 1868. Julia was the daughter of Joseph Benjamin and Hannah Soloman. Records suggest it may have been converted into her 'calling' gown for the three month 'bridal' period following her marriage. The gown would have been worn with accompanying accessories of a cape and gloves.

Significance

An early example of a wedding dress of the Melbourne Jewish community.

Pearl collars and box

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two artificial pearl collars in original cardboard box. One collar is constructed with two tiers of interlaced pearls and the other with three. The lid of the box is covered in a textured printed cream paper with a flower and sprig pattern in red, brown and green. T0099.1- small necklace T0099.2 - large necklace T0099.3 - box lid T0099.4 - box base

Historical information

The collars were made by Maria Frisch who had survived a number of concentration camps during the war and emigrated with her daughter Anne to Australia in 1948. Maria and her daughter Anne were Polish Jews. As a small child Anne had been smuggled out of the Krakow ghetto in 1942 and was taken in by a Polish woman. At the end of the war Anne was reunited with her mother in Krakow. When they emigrated to Melbourne they lived in Martin Street, Brighton. Maria's husband, and Anne's father, perished in Mauthausen concentration camp. Maria Entenberg married Jack Frisch in Melbourne in 1952.

Flag - School flag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Large navy blue flag with horizontal maroon stripe at top and bottom, and school crest in centre. Stylised maroon "A" topped with yellow crown. Yellow scroll below with motto in navy blue letters: "AMOR.VINCIT.OMNIA".

Historical information

This flag was used by Rosbercon Girls Grammar School, which operated in Brighton from 1906 until 1941. The school was established in 1906 by the Tisdall family. The Tisdalls were a family of educators: Irish-born Henry Thomas Normanton Tisdall and his wife Lucy taught for many years at the Walhalla State School in Gippsland, along with Lucy's sisters Alice and Clara Weekes. Three of the Tisdall daughters, Ethel, Constance and Theodosia (Theo) followed their mother and aunts into the teaching profession. Constance in particular considered education her true calling and harboured a dream of one day being principal of her own school. After Henry's death in 1905, faced with financial uncertainty and several unmarried daughters to support, Lucy Tisdall decided to take a risk. She sold the family's Toorak home and, together with her sister Alice, leased 'Ashburnham', a large Victorian villa at 106 North Road, Brighton. The plan was to open a private school, with Ethel and Constance as co-principals and Lucy, Alice and Theo teaching and managing the household affairs. This came as a "joyful surprise" to Constance, who was only informed of the plan after it had been finalised. The school was named Rosbercon after Henry's home village in County Wexford, Ireland. The crest, designed by son Bert Tisdall around 1910, featured a crowned letter 'A' above the motto "amor vincit omnia" ("love conquers all"), both inspired by a verse in Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Prioress's Tale": "about her arm she bore/A paire of bedes gauded all in grene,/And theron heng a broche of gold full shene,/On which there was first writ a crowned 'A',/And after, Amor Vincit Omnia." It was a motto Constance held close to her heart, embodying her values as a teacher. Reflecting in 1961, she wrote, "In a school without punishments, a school with love and understanding between teacher and pupil - with a love of teaching on one side, and a desire to learn on the other, love would indeed conquer all." The school's opening day in 1906 proved less than auspicious, with no pupils arriving at all. The women persisted and by the end of the first week, five students had been enrolled. From here, the school grew steadily in size. A new schoolroom designed by architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear was built in the house's orchard to accommodate the increasing numbers, but by 1911 the Tisdalls began looking for larger premises. They leased the nearby property 'Hazeldean' at 124 North Road and, during the 1912 school holidays, the Desbrowe-Annear schoolroom was raised onto a lorry drawn by sixteen horses and moved down the road to what would become Rosbercon's new home. In 1923, Constance instituted a modified version of the Dalton Plan, an education model based on individualised learning. Girls in senior years were encouraged to work more independently, making regular use of the reference library and working to a monthly assignment schedule. The school performed well academically and in competitive sport, but over time was eclipsed by the nearby Firbank Church of England Girls' Grammar School (established 1909), whose institutional backing provided it with access to wider resources and facilities than those of the small family-run Rosbercon. At the end of 1933, Ethel and Theo retired and Constance became principal of St Anne's Church of England Girls' Grammar School (now Gippsland Grammar) in Sale. Rosbercon was sold to Miss Iris Hay, who served as principal from 1934 until the school's closure in 1941. Following her own retirement in 1947, Constance Tisdall settled in Erica Avenue, East Malvern, in a house named 'Rosbercon' after her former school. She continued teaching English literature, mostly to migrants, and enjoyed regular visits from former students. Well into the late 1960s, old Rosbercon girls continued a tradition of coming together for an annual reunion on the first Saturday in November, on which day Constance would fly the school flag at her home.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sleeveless navy blue crepe dress. Scoop neck and high waist. Bodice features three self-covered fluorescent yellow buttons and fluorescent yellow bow. Two fluoresecent yellow stripes around hem. Zip at back.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Nola Jennings, a long-time Brighton resident. Nola purchased and wore this in the 1960s; she recalls that navy and fluorescent yellow were a popular colour combination at the time.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, cream with green text: "STYLED BY / Zal Miller / OF MELBOURNE" Two smaller labels attached underneath: "crepe / Finesse / an Alcorso fabric / 100% TRIACETATE / washable" and "XSSW".

Uniform - NSW Mounted Rifles waistcoat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black NSW Mounted Rifles officer's mess dress waistcoat. Black superfine wool front, with black cotton back and cream cotton lining. The neck, front and bottom front edge are edged with gold metal lace and gold cording in an Austrian knot style. Two front pockets are edged in the same looped cording. The left front opening is edged with a row of decorative gold metal studs, with hook and eye fastenings underneath.

Historical information

NSW Mounted Rifles officer's mess dress waistcoat worn by Lieutenant William Augustine Newman (1873-1955) during the Second Boer War. Born in Campbelltown, NSW, William began working in the colonial public service at the age of eighteen. In 1899 he travelled to South Africa to fight in the Second Boer War as an officer of the 1st NSW Mounted Rifles. Returning to Australia in time for Federation on 1 January 1901, William rejoined the public service and was appointed to the original staff of Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton, attending the first opening of Federal Parliament in Melbourne as Barton's private secretary. He went on to serve as the chief clerk of the Home Affairs Department, Commonwealth Electoral Officer for Victoria and official secretary to the Governor-General. In 1927 he was appointed Administrator of Nauru, a position he occupied until his retirement at the end of 1932. He retired to Brighton, where he lived with his family at 43 Martin Street until his death in 1955.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten in pen on lining: "MESS WAISTCOAT / BOER WAR / LIEUT. NEWMAN / Gift of Mrs. D. Kelly, daughter".

Suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pink taffeta suit comprising jacket, skirt and belt. Fitted jacket with peplum. Machine-quilted shawl collar and separate belt. Calf-length pencil skirt with V-shaped pleated insert centre back. .1 - jacket .2 - skirt .3 - belt

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven silver on cream acetate, centre back jacket and skirt: Prue Acton

Shoe - Child's shoe

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Brown leather child's shoe with an ankle strap, fastening with a mother-of-pearl button. Heavily deteriorated.

Historical information

This child's shoe was found underneath the floorboards of the historic Brighton house St Ninian's, 10 Miller Street, during its demolition in September 1974. One of Brighton's earliest buildings, St Ninian's was built around 1841 for merchant, politician and former British naval officer George Ward Cole (1783-1879) and his family. Ward Cole was a prominent member of Victorian society in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. He served in the Victorian Parliament from 1853-55 and 1859-79. His seaside home in Brighton was a fashionable rendezvous for many important identities who shaped Melbourne’s history. Victoria’s first royal visitor, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was a guest there in 1867. It is possible the shoe belonged to one of the Ward Cole children. During the demolition of St Ninian's in September 1974 the Brighton Historical Society's then-secretary, Rosalind Landells, snuck onto the work site in the hope of saving some part of the building and its history. She found this shoe under the partially-demolished floor of the house.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten in pencil on the sole of the shoe: "Found under floor at St Ninians 1974 Sept during demolition".

Knitting project - Lovely Learned Luscious Ladies of Brighton knitting project

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Irregular-shaped knitting project consisting of multicoloured knitted stripes in a variety of yarns and stitches created by a group of women over a period of eighteen years. The piece includes numerous additions and embellishments by the various makers, including sequins, beads, shells, badges, ornaments and laminated images.

Historical information

Formed in 1990 by a group of current and former social services and administrative staff at the then-Brighton Council, the Lovely Learned Luscious Ladies of Brighton were a group bound by friendship, humour, fun and a delightfully strange knitting project. Each member took turns to add ten rows ten rows of knitting to the piece, following a series of handwritten rules on an attached card. The wool used was not to be bought, but could be "begged, borrowed or stolen", and previous work was not to be altered. The ladies met bi-monthly over dinner at local restaurants and hotels to swap gossip, play games and share the progress of the knitting. The work of twelve women over eighteen years, the piece documents fond memories, personal passions, wedding celebrations, the birth of a grandchild, footy triumphs, holidays and major events. It is a testament to a close-knit friendship, as expressed on the rules card: "MAY THIS PIECE SERVE TO BIND US TOGETHER".

Inscriptions & Markings

Attached yellow laminated rectangular card with handwritten rules: "1) Nominated member is to knit (in any stitch of choice) 10 rows of your best by the next meeting. 2) The yarn to be used is not to be purchased for the job but can be begged, borrowed or stolen. 3) The colour of yarn is to be left to member's discretion, but judgement will be passed by others. 4) The nominated member will not tamper with, pull out or destroy a previous member's work. 5) On returning the work to the meeting the member shall declare to what genuine purpose the piece will be put on completion (as a guide for future knitters), e.g. rug for favourite chardy, cock sock for lover. 6) The next knitter can (and shall be encouraged to) change the purpose as stated by the previous knitter. 7) This tag must not, without the permission of a majority of members, be removed. MAY THIS PIECE SERVE TO BIND US TOGETHER."

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Beige taffeta silk dress with fine black woven stripe. Olive coloured bias satin trim and vandyked horizontal panels down front of the dress. The dress has a train.

Historical information

This dress was donated to BHS in 1973 by local teacher Miss Jean Mole (1910-1984). Information provided on donation suggests that it was worn by Jean's mother, Lottie Richmond Bryan (1873-1959), on her marriage to Ernest Mole (1863-1929) in Daylesford on 27 May 1908. However, the style of the dress indicates an earlier date, circa 1978. It is possible that the dress was in fact worn by Jean's grandmother, Jane Crowe McNeil (1850-1933), who married James Bryan (1838-1886) in Daylesford on 9 February 1870.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Short sleeved peach silk dress featuring beige lace appliqué on neckline, along with original rectangular brown cardboard box.

Historical information

This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999-2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical Society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own large collection of costume and ephemera, a significant portion of which she donated to BHS in 2017-19. Di purchased this dress as a vintage item and wore it around 2010-18, before donating it to BHS. The Mooney sisters, Nell and Ida, were situated beside the Regent Theatre in Collins Street, Melbourne and were well respected milliners and dressmakers.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "MF 2900 / Misses Mooney / of Collins Street" Printed on lid of box: "Misses Mooney / 189 Collins Street, Melbourne"

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sleeveless gold lurex evening dress. Zip at back, partially covered by three small cream bows.

Historical information

This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999-2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical Society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own large collection of costume and ephemera, a significant portion of which she donated to BHS in 2017-19. Di purchased this dress as a vintage item. Brian Samuel, son of Hartnell owner Ralph Samuel, viewed this dress at BHS in 2019 and suggested that it may potentially have originally belonged to his mother Shirley Samuel (nee Slonim, 1922-2006).

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, pale blue on cream "Exclusively Yours / Hartnell / REGD / MELBOURNE"

Earrings

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Six-sided bell-shaped silver screw-back earrings for non-pierced ears. Each of the six sides features a vine pattern with black inlays. Each earring has a hollow interior containing a small metal bead dangling on a chain, causing the earrings to jingle when the wearer moves.

Historical information

These earrings were given to Marlene Austin, nee Trenberth by members of the Thai Olympic delegation when she drove them around Melbourne during the 1956 Olympic Games. Marlene, who was living with her parents in Brighton at the time, took leave from her job as a stenographer to work as an official driver at the Olympics. She drove officials and dignitaries from a variety of nations (including Thailand, Italy, Cuba and Sweden) to and from events, collecting a number of souvenirs. Marlene's family have lived in Brighton since 1941, when her parents moved into a house at 15 Moffat Street. The house remained in the family for more than 75 years, before it was sold in 2018.

Bed jacket

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream crocheted wool bed jacket. Loose around bust with wide sleeves and open sides. Fastens at collar with thin braided ties, and at waist with two pearlescent plastic buttons.

Historical information

This bed jacket was crocheted for Carmela Materia (1931-2018) by her mother, Giuseppa Auditore, around the time they emigrated from Italy to Melbourne. Both women were longtime Brighton locals, residing in the area from the 1950s until their deaths. Carmela Auditore was the first woman from her home village of Scaletta, Italy to emigrate to Australia. Setting sail alone in 1950 at the age of 19, she joined her brother John and uncle Frank in McCallum St, Brighton. Frank had arrived some years earlier and had spent the duration of the First World War in an internment camp. John worked at the Brighton Case Company, a box manufacturer on Nepean Highway, and paid for her passage. Carmela found a job sewing children's clothing at Drummonds, a small factory in Church St. Working eight hours a day, five days per week, netted her a weekly wage of three pounds. To earn a little extra, she washed dishes at a St Kilda Road restaurant for ten shillings a shift. Her parents, Salvatore and Giuseppa Auditore, joined her in Brighton in 1952. They rented a house behind an antique shop in Bay Street. Salvatore had been a fisherman in Scaletta, but quickly adapted to the job he found helping around the Garage at Brighton Motors in Male Street. On 14 February 1953, Carmela married her sweetheart, Salvatore Materia, at St James Catholic Church in Gardenvale. Salvatore had been living with his aunt in Well Street and worked on the wharves. Both Carmela and Salvatore were hard workers. They owned a fruit shop in Church Street where Woolworths now stands, and years later Carmela recalled the familiar 6am tap on her window each morning when her husband returned from the market. On dark winter mornings, she felt as if her hands would freeze as she helped Salvatore unload cold cabbages and cauliflowers from his truck. They later owned a shop in Ludstone Street in Hampton. After Salvatore died suddenly at the age of 48, Carmela returned to sewing, working at the Willow Fashions knitting mill in Gardenvale. She later went into partnership with her sister and brother-in-law, this time in the delicatessen business. Her parents, Giuseppa and Salvatore, spent the rest of their days with Brighton. Carmela recalled her father cheerfully walking the streets, greeting people by name. He knew everybody. He loved being in Australia and enjoyed life to the last, insisting on having bread and wine on the table at every meal.

Jacket - Evening jacket

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Evening jacket made of gold metallic fabric. Deep cross-over front with curved peplum and flared cuffs. Peplum and cuffs feature 7 rows of pale blue stiching. Lined with pale blue silk.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Purple silk full length dress with cream neckline and arm hole band trim and white decorative beading over waist. The bodice joins front and back at the shoulder with a decorative purple ring. The lining is made of magenta coloured silk.

Historical information

Gifted to Di by a previous manager of the Bayside Gallery, who herself wore this dress to a fancy-dress event after finding the dress in a local opportunity shop. This dress was subsequently worn by Di Reidie to a party with friends at the Windsor Hotel, Melbourne to celebrate and watch the televised royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018

Significance

Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 - 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the Costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own significant costume and ephemera collection. The 2018 wedding of British royal Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex to American actress Meghan Markle was a significant historic and popular event, as is common for royal marriages. The Windsor Hotel in Spring Street Melbourne established in 1883 and originally called The Grand Hotel is the last grand standing hotel of its kind in Australia and is the work of famed architect of the era Charles Webb. It once had many peers now demolished. The hotel was renamed The Windsor in 1923 in honour of the visit of His Royal Highness, the Prince of wales. The hotel has hosted Royalty, distinguished guests and celebrities.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Exclusively Yours Hartnell REGD Melbourne", "Exclusive Finest Imported Fabric"

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A silver and brown striped silk taffeta dress comprising separate bodice and skirt. The dress features a high round neckline fastening down the centre front with concealed hook and eye closures with ten (two missing) decorative brown silk velvet buttons. The front and back feature a briown silk velvet ribbon that forms a v shape from the shoulder to the centre front just below the bust and centre back below the shoulder blades. From the ribbon falls a brown and silver silk fringe approx seven cms deep. The bodice is shaped and boned into the waist and finishes in a deep v over the stomach. At the back the bodice is shaped to the body finishing in a smaller curved v over the small of the back. The sleeve attaches to the bodice at the true shoulder and falls in a pagoda sleeve to the mid forearm. The sleeve is also trimmed with brown silk velvet ribbon near the base of the sleeve. The full skirt is pleated at the waist, falling to the floor, longer at the back to accommodate the crinoline.

Historical information

A dress believed to have belonged to a family member of Mrs. Jessie Somerville Singer (nee Watson), 1849-1935. As the dress dates from circa 1850, it could have belonged to someone from one generation previous, possibly her mother Elizabeth Watson. Jessie Somerville Singer was the second wife of Mr. Edward Singer (1829 – 1904) of 'Somerville', New Street, Brighton Beach. Edward's first wife, Maria, died in 1861; their son William died approximately 12 months later. In the 1861 census of North Bradley England, Edward was recorded as a carpenter journeyman. After these tragedies Edward, then aged 30, left England to start a new life in Australia. He emigrated as an unassisted passenger on the steamship 'Great Britain', departing from Liverpool and arriving in Melbourne in April 1863. Edward worked as a joiner and overseer for a timber merchant in Franklin Street, Melbourne. In December 1869 he bought a property at 1115 Hoddle Street, East Melbourne, between Hotham and George Streets. At some stage he also acquired 1117 Hoddle Street. He also owned another property in Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy. On 10 July 1873 Edward married Jessie Somerville Watson, the daughter of William Watson and Elizabeth Martin. They lived at Hoddle Street for some years, later moving to Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy before in the 1880s settling in what was then the semi-rural suburb of Brighton. Edward is recorded as working there as a joiner. The house 'Somerville' was built by the Singers in circa 1880 at 100 (now 78) New Street, Brighton. The family moved there upon Edward's early retirement and lived there until 1941. 'Somerville' was sold, the house demolished and the land subdivided in the 1930s. Edward and Jessie appear to have lived comfortably. Edward died on 30 July 1909. Jessie died on 11 November 1935. Many members of the Singer family have lived in and around Brighton since Edward and Jessie first made their home there. The donor, Mrs Dorothy Constance Cook, was Jessie's granddaughter.

Rug - Possum skin rug

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Possum skin rug made from 15 rectangular cut pelts mounted onto a brown wool felt with cut scalloped edges.

Historical information

For the First Peoples of south-eastern Australia, making possum skin cloaks has long been a culturally important practice. But during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, possums and other native animals were also heavily hunted by white colonists who coveted their warm and fashionable furs. This rug, made from fifteen possum pelts, was used in a Brighton home during cold winter months in the 1920s.

Cover - Cushion cover

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pale pink satin cushion cover with pale blue fringe. Embroidered with the words "Souvenir From Egypt / Cairo / 1915", above the image of a crown flanked by crossed Australian and French flags. Below this is embroidered two pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, bordered by flowers, with a red bow at the bottom.

Historical information

Items such as this cushion covers were purchased by Australian men and women serving during the First World War as souvenirs of their travels and gifts for their loved ones at home. BHS records indicate that this cushion cover belonged to Mary Crombie, an early Victorian dentist who lived in Brighton while she was studying at the Australian College of Dentistry in the mid-1900s, and later returned to the area in her retirement from 1949-1971. It is likely it was given to her as a gift by a friend of family member who served in Egypt.

Inscriptions & Markings

Written in blue pen on reverse side: "Memento of World War I / from Mary Crombie".

Parasol

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue silk parasol with cream silk printed with floral design in beige, brown, turquoise and terracotta. Metal spokes tipped with horn coloured bakelite. Wooden handle with traces of iredescent paint. Dark brown twisted cotton cord hanging from handle.

Inscriptions & Markings

Cast in metal spokes: THE ARMSTRONG REGD BRITISH MAKE

Dress - Visiting dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A black and mint green wool, velvet, lace and silk dress from circa 1882. The bodice features a wired, standing collar, finishing just under the chin and open at the front of the throat. On either side at the front of the throat it features long black lace ties with black jet bead fringe. The centre front of the dress from the neckline to the base of the skirt features an insert panel of mint green corded silk. The silk is gathered and the neckline and waist and overlaid a panel of gathered lacy net. Inserted into the seam at either side of this panel at the waist are two velvet ties. The dress secures closed with eight black buttons and one hook and eye down the right side of the mint panel to mid thigh. The edges of the collar and black front panels are finished with a looped ribbon trim. The remainder of the dress is made of a black wool fabric woven a checkered pattern of larger and looser threads and smaller and tighter threads creating a seersucker like pattern. The bodice features a natural shoulder line and an Amadis sleeve of full cut gathered to the bodice at the shoulder and finishing at the elbow with a large black lace flounce. The front panels of the dress are flat and shaped neatly to the body from neck to hip line and gently out to create the Victorian silhouette. On the back of each shoulder the dress features a leaf like, small jet beaded embellishment with multiple long loops of jet beads falling down the back to the waist. Underneath this embellishment is a pleated black ribbon that runs from the shoulder to the back of the pelvis. Over the pelvis are another two jet beaded embellishments of a floral design with two tassels. The skirt is full and pleated in under this embellishment and fulls to the floor with a small train. The base of the dress is finished with a ruched band of the main dress fabric.

Historical information

This gown, one of two similar items in the collection, belonged to one of the daughters of George Ward Cole, Miss Margaret Morison Ward Cole or Miss Agnes Bruce Ward Cole. George Ward Cole was an early member of the Victorian Parliament and the family featured prominently in Melbourne Society in their time. They established a substantial home known as “St Ninians” at 10 Miller Street in 1841. The family reportedly entertained Melbourne’s first Royal visitor the Duke Of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s second son, at St Ninians in 1867. In later years St Ninians was subsequently subdivided and later demolished.

Dress - Child's dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

White cotton piqué dress. Square neck. Skirt gathered at waist. Broderie anglais trim around neck and sleeves. Hand-embroidered cornelli work on sleeves, bodice, and skirt. Small frill on skirt. Three self-covered buttons at back.

Historical information

This dress was worn by Nancy Kirsner (nee Rosenhain, b. 1906) and her older sister Mona (b. 1903) as children in England. Nancy Bertha Rosenhain was born in Worchestershire to German-Australian metallurgist Walter Rosenhain and Australian Louisa Rosenhain (nee Monash). Louisa was the sister of Sir John Monash; the couple met through a synagogue in Melbourne before settling in England. Nancy travelled to Melbourne in 1929 and was married to Marcus Kirsner on 24 July 1932. Nancy and Marcus lived together at 3 Baroona Court in Brighton.

Shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream doeskin leather shoes with glass and metal bead floral decoration on vamp and decorative bow.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label stamped in gold on sock (inside lining): FROM / R. White / Melbourne

Scarf - Victory scarf

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Victory scarf with the flags of France, the United Kingdom, USA and the USSR. 'Victory' printed in yellow in the centre surrounded by names of countries and regions.

Historical information

This scarf belonged to Olga Black, a longtime Brighton resident. Olga Maria Black was born in Melbourne in 1930, the daughter of Ithacan migrants Constantine and Toula Mavrokefalos. Constantine first emigrated to Australia in 1902, returning to Greece circa 1912-13 to serve his home country in the Balkan Wars. Toula's family had left Ithaca for Romania when she was only six months old, but she happened to be visiting the island at the very time that Constantine arrived, fresh from the war. Within three weeks they were married, and when Constantine returned to Melbourne in 1914 his new bride came with him. Constantine had trained as an accountant, but his qualifications were not recognised in Australia. Changing his surname to the Anglicised "Black", he started off working in his older brother Dionysios's cafés before going into business on his own. In 1917 he opened the Paris Residential Café at 54-56 Swanston Street, which offered both dining and accommodation. The business saw some years of success, but did not survive the Great Depression. Constantine died in 1944. Olga's mother Toula learned to sew as a child, while growing up in the Romanian village of Brila. She developed her skills making lace and embroidering items for her trousseau. Some of the linen she embroidered had been woven from flax on Ithaca by her own grandmother, Efstathia. During the Depression, when money was scarce, Toula embroidered at home, doing work for a factory in Flinders Lane. Using a cotton reel, a threepence and a sixpence she created and embroidered designs on hundreds of blouses. Olga spent her preschool days sitting at the table where her mother worked. Toula would involve Olga by allowing her to help choose the colour combinations. Toula lived with Olga in Brighton until her death in 1976. Olga inherited her mother's sewing skills. She re-invented some of Toula’s trousseau nightdresses and skilfully altered other clothing, making dresses which she wore around Brighton for many years.

Hat - Mourning bonnet

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Navy silk velvet mourning bonnet with black silk train, circa 1915. The bonnet’s shape is created by a horseshoe shaped rib that sits across the crown of the head and shapes in to cover and conceal the back of the head. Across the crown, the bonnet features a navy silk velvet bow. The veil is constructed from a very fine black corded silk and hangs to approximately just below the wearer’s bottom.

Historical information

This item is from the "Barone" Collection. "Barone" (also known as "Seaview") was a stately Brighton home built at 9 Moule Avenue prior to 1855 and demolished in 1986. The house's residents included Edward Elgin Browne (during 1859-72), a Melbourne tea merchant, and the family and descendants of retired Scottish Army captain Archibald Black (during the period 1880-1970). Its neighbors included “St Ninians” owned by the Ward Cole family, “Seacombe” owned by the Moule family, and the home of James Grahame and his family. The items in the "Barone" collection were largely donated by two of the house's later owners, Mrs Doris Halkyard and Mrs Brian Brandt. Brighton Historical Society records indicate this bonnet was worn at the death of Archibald's widow, Isabella Black, in 1912. Other records held place Isabella Black's death in 1915.

Evening dress and bag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black silk satin sleeveless full-length evening dress. The attached bodice floats over the top of the under-dress. Asymmetrical opening on bodice which features five large flat self-covered buttons. The black suede bag has chrome fittings and buttery cream coloured satin interior.

Historical information

The dress was worn by Mrs Dot Paroissien in the 1950s. She remembers wearing it to a ball at the Royal Exhibition Buildings for Wesley College. The black suede bag was bought in London for her by her husband David. Dot wore suede shoes with a medium heel with straps across the instep and long white kid gloves. She wore a baguette choker and drop earrings.

Inscriptions & Markings

.1 dress - Label, woven black on white acetate centre back: CROYDE / MELBOURNE .2 - bag - Label, printed, black on cream acetate, interior pocket: Susan / HANDBAGS / LONDON; Label, printed, copper on black metal, interior pocket: MADE IN ITALY / FOR SUSAN

Bag - Bag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Oval shaped bag made from armadillo leather with head and feet attached. Leather straps may be a recent addition. Metal clasp. Mirror on inside of lid. Interior lined with blue silk.

Historical information

This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999-2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own significant costume and ephemera collection, some of which she has donated to BHS. Di purchased this bag from Tyabb Packing House Antiques in Tyabb, Victoria.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue and white gingham one-piece swimsuit. Short overskirt. Two rows of white cutwork lace form a frill along neckline and down either side of back straps, which fasten with buttons. Inbuilt bra with label: "Miss Watersun", size T14.

Historical information

Polish-born designer David Waters first began producing swimwear in 1952. His mother Halina had recently opened a stall at Melbourne Queen Victoria Markets and was looking for swimsuits to sell; unable to find any she liked, she asked David to design something. He began making swimming costumes using his mother's sewing machine, in between his shifts working at a knitting factory. He had soon set up a small business in his parents' home, cutting patterns in one room while a machinist sewed them together in the next. His company, which he named Watersun, would become an iconic Australian swimwear label. During the early 1960s, Watersun developed its "Unquestionable Bra", an inbuilt moulded bra which was marketed as giving wearers a more natural bustline than other labels. The company was also known for its matching swimwear and beachwear, producing dresses, kaftans, tops and skirts in identical colours and prints to those used for many of its swimsuits. By 1967, the company was reportedly one of Australia's two biggest swimwear manufacturers, with over one hundred employees. Watersun was sold to Ada Productions in 1984 and was later acquired by Trackerjack Australasia. This swimsuit is believed to be one of a large quantity of samples, seconds and unsold Ada Productions stock donated to Brighton Historical Society in late 1990 by Brian Samuel, who worked at the company between 1979 and 1990.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra, blue with yellow sunburst logo containing the words “Miss Watersun” in red, above the text: “T14”

Bonnet

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn ivory cotton, embroidery anglaise child’s bonnet from the late 1800s. The bonnet fabric design combines features a combination of narrow pin tucking and embroidered flowers on a vine. The bonnet edge is finished with a double-layered delicate gathered lace ruffle around all the edges. The bonnet secures under the chin with a delicate tie made of a similar but plain fabric.

Historical information

A cotton bonnet belonging to the family of George Ward Cole’s in the late 1800s. George Ward Cole was an early member of the Victorian Parliament and the family featured prominently in Melbourne Society in their time. They established a substantial home known as “St Ninians” at 10 Miller Street in 1841. The family reportedly entertained Melbourne’s first Royal visitor the Duke Of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s second son, at St Ninians in 1867. In later years St Ninians was subsequently subdivided and later demolished.

Shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black silk linear quilted uppers of single piece construction with feature centre front vamp seam. Horsehair wadding can be seen along the side of the forefoot where the upper is coming away from the leather soles. Approx 4.5 cm plain black silk covered heel with leather top piece missing from right shoe. Both shoes feature the head of a small preserved mink with glass eyes. The toppling of the vamp features a decorative strip of mink fur. Inside of both shoes is a gold printed manufacturers label on the black silk insole.

Historical information

Di Reidie purchased these c1890s shoes in c1990s and worn them to approx three events within the last 25 - 30 years. Di enjoyed the novelty and conversation they would inspire due to their unusual appearance by modern standards. The wearing of these shoes is indicative of Di's playful approach to clothing and life.

Significance

Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 - 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the Costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own significant costume and ephemera collection. The decorative preserved mink pelt with head featured on vamp of these shoes is typical of Victorian era interest in and prevalent use of preserved animals for decorative purposes in clothing, millinery and household adornment. This fashion reflected social positing of oneself as being affluent, educated and worldly. Following the death of Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert in 1861, the Queen's approach to mourning his death influenced social conventions for the public with the wearing of black becoming a significant aspect of Victorian fashions. Kendal Milne & Co was a large department store on Deansgate, Manchester. It has traded under various names and owners since it opened in 1832; it traded as Kendal Milne & Co from 1862-1919, and continued to be known by this name for many years after. The store is currently owned by the House of Fraser department store chain and known as House of Fraser Manchester.

Inscriptions & Markings

Manufacturers label - Made expressly for Kendall Milne and Co, Manchester.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand and machine sewn cream, pale blue, orange and gold embroidered satin formal dress, the bodice dates from circa 1890. This dress shares a skirt with T0004.3, which dates from circa 1840. The bodice features a high scoop neckline with gathers at the base of the scoop and directly below where the bodice finishes creating fullness over the bust. The bodice front encloses the bust with a right panel over the top of a left panel and securing with two hook and eye closures over the left shoulder. The panels are secured together with 15 hook and eye closures. The sleeves are set neatly on the true shoulder and are elongated full puffs to just above the elbow. The fullness is created by nine pleats from the top of the shoulder over the back of the shoulder. At the base of the sleeve the fullness is gathered just above the elbow. At the centre back of the bodice are four inward facing pleats running from the centre neck to the waist. The bodice is secured around the waist with a tape and four hook and eye closures. The bodice is boned around the sides and back of the torso with eight bones. This bodice is finished at the waist with a pleated cummerbund of the dress fabric that is designed to appear to be a sash with two decorative bows. One front left of centre and one back right of centre. The skirt secures at the waist with an opening to the left of centre at the back. The skirt gathers tightly at the centre back with a dart on either side. The skirt has a front central panel and the skirt falls to floor length. At the back, the skirt is also floor length. The back of the skirt may have been modified at some time and may have originally finished in a train. It would be more appropriate to the period of the bodice, and the believed use of the dress with a train.

Historical information

The donor and family of this gown were long-term Brighton residents, and the gowns were held by them as family heirlooms prior to donation to Brighton Historical Society. Originally owned by Elizabeth Emma Adams and Cecilia Elizabeth Adams, it is believed that the dress was brought to Australia by either a half brother, James Smith Adams, or a younger sister, Sophia Charlotte Louisa Adams (later known as Mother Rose Columba Adams). Elizabeth and Cecilia were the daughters of James Smith Adams (a squire, 1780-1860) and Elizabeth Emma McTaggart (1793-1843) of Tower House, Woodchester in Gloucester, a property which Elizabeth later inherited. Originally a monastery, Tower House had been converted into a stately home after the Reformation. According to information originally provided by the donor, the skirt portion of this dress (along with the bodice T0004.3) was made for either Elizabeth or Cecilia to be worn at the young Queen Victoria’s first 'drawing room ball' following the end of court mourning in 1838 for her uncle William IV who died in 1837. In 1838 Cecilia would have been twelve years old and Elizabeth would have been ten years old. It is possible that this dress was worn by one of the girls to this event as it is of appropriate dimensions for a child of that age, although its design is very formal and adult. Elizabeth was born on 30 June 1828 at Tower House and died on 1 May 1909. She created a scandal when she eloped with her first husband, Thomas Charles Gardiner at the age of 18. The validity of the marriage was later formally investigate and, while it was confirmed as valid, a second church wedding was subsequently held. Thomas died in 1878. Elizabeth subsequently remarried Reverend R. E. Blackwell, but was widowed again by 1889. Cecilia was born on 17 December 1826 and died in 1902 a spinster recluse in England. At the inquest into Cecelia's death in 1904 it was revealed that she had clearly come from a family of means as her home was filled to the brim with highly valuable goods, many in boxes. She was buried in the family vault at Woodchester. Elizabeth and Cecilia's sister Sophia converted to Roman Catholicism in 1851 and became a nun, taking the religious name 'Rose Columba'. In 1883 Mother Rose Columba led a group of eight to Australia, answering a call for Dominican sisters to nurse the sick in Adelaide. Upon arrival, she founded St. Dominic's Priory and the Church of Perpetual Adoration in North Adelaide, using her inheritance to build the chapel. Elizabeth's second son, George Henry Somerset, who inherited the Adams family estate dropped the 'i' in Gardiner and added the maiden name of his grandmother. Therefore, the family name has now become Gardner McTaggart. These Adams family entries have been updated with information provided by Dr Herbert Gardner McTaggart, great-grandson of George Henry Somerset in April 2016. Mr McTaggart contacted the society after finding our entries online.