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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

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

View on Google Maps

The Bayside community is fortunate to have an extensive collection of costume, representing social life and fashions in our local area from early settlement through to the modern day. Our costume collection is of State significance and is the most comprehensive collection of costume in any historical society or small museum in Victoria. 

The collection includes children’s wear, evening gowns, dresses, hats, gloves, shawls, nightgowns, underwear, menswear, fans, shoes, swimwear and handbags. 

The Brighton Historical Society will loan costume to recognised organisations that use current conservation techniques. We have previously loaned items to the Bayside Council for an exhibition at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre and to the National Trust for exhibitions at Rippon Lea and Como House. 

We welcome donations to our costume collection. Items are assessed and accepted on the basis of their relevance to the ongoing history of the area, their connection to Brighton or their rarity.

Costume has been donated since the Society began in 1963. Some was even purchased in the days when Victorian items were still to be found on sale in local op shops. The origins and size of the collection are attributable to the foresight of the founder of the BHS, Mrs Rosalind Landells OAM. 

In the early days little was known of conservation techniques but as time progressed and we became aware of the treasures held, methods were implemented by volunteers to care for the costumes in the best way possible using available funds. 

Four conservation friendly wardrobes were purchased from the Performing Arts Museum to house the collection and later a Bayside Council Grant enabled us to have six more wardrobes built. Volunteers triple washed unbleached calico in pure Lux soap flakes before sewing covers for costumes and for coat hangers. Some acid free boxes were purchased from Zetta Florence to store our most important items. 

Thanks to a 2017 Local History Grant from the Public Record Office Victoria, we have been able to further improve our collection storage and records, and share more of our fascinating costume with the public. Items are continually being added to Victorian Collections, and a community workshop is being planned.

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173 items

173 items

Dressing gown

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand stitched purple pink silk quilted dressing gown with pale pink embroidery from circa 1894. The dressing gown is embroidered from the collar and shoulders though the centre front body to just above the hemline, on the cuffs and remaining pocket in a pale pink Perle thread embroidery featuring leaves and flowers. The entire gown is hand quilted with vertical parallel lines. The gown's neckline features a flat collar and the sleeve head fits on the neat shoulder line. The sleeve head is gathered and full tapering to a loose flat cuff at the wrist. The front of the garment is currently secured by fourteen decorative frogs of two different styles, none of which appear to be original. There is also evidence of a fifteenth toggle that has been removed from the base. The gown's original left hand pocket has been removed and attached to an area around the right breast presumably to patch a hole or obscure some damage. It is unknown when these modifications have been made. The back of the gown features a gathered pink and black concertina pleated silk insert panel from the neck through to the base of the garment. The garment is lined with a very fine pale pink silk over the woollen batting.

Historical information

This dressing gown belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Wedding dress made from silver metallic thread crepe. Fastens down front with small self-covered buttons and loops. Long fitted sleeves fastened with 10 covered buttons and loops. Full bias cut skirt with train.

Historical information

Louris Holly Larsen-Disney married Percy James White at Melbourne Grammar Chapel on 17 June 1948. In later years the dress was given to an opportunity shop and purchased by Mrs Landells of the Brighton Historical Society. Louris subsequently visited the Society and recognised her dress, and was able to provide BHS with information on it. Also in the Society's collection is a 1950s pink strapless silk chiffon dress worn by Louris, and a wedding photo of Louris taken at her mother and stepfather's home at 53 South Road, Brighton. The couple moved into a house just a few doors down, at 49 South Road.

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.

Parasol

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A grey silk parasol with mauve stripe decoration, wooden handle and brass fittings from the late 19th century. The handle appears to be missing a decorative finish from the end.

Historical information

This parasol belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Inscriptions & Markings

Mrs. S. Miller, Cantala, Caulfield.

Cover - Cushion cover

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black velvet cushion cover featuring the embroidered image of a white and yellow dove bearing red, white and blue ribbons along with red and pink flowers. Embroidered in pale yellow are the words "Souvenir de Salonigue / 1916".

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. The allies established a base at Thessaloniki in 1915. BHS records indicate that this cushion cover was among a collection of items received from the Harkaway studio of Brighton-born artist Jessie Traill following her death in 1967. During the First World War, Jessie served for three and a half years in hospitals in England and France with the Voluntary Aid Detachment. As she did not serve in Thessaloniki, where this item was made, it is unlikely she purchased it herself, but may have received it as a gift.

Parasol

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A black silk, wood and ivory handled parasol from circa 1900. The black silk of the parasol body has been treated with a decorative hemstitch towards the lower edge. The handle and frame are made of wood, metal and either ivory or an early plastic designed to mimic ivory. The ivory section is carved with a design reminiscent of a palm tree trunk and finished with a ball. The handle also features a leather looped strap that the hand would pass through to aid holding the parasol.

Historical information

This parasol belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Inscriptions & Markings

The handle bears an engraved inscription that appears to be 'VML' in a highly florid script. The frame bears the name 'Hartnells'.

Dressing gown - Peignoir

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A mid blue-green cotton and lace peignoir or morning gown, c.1860. The bodice starts at the neck with a clavicle height, rounded neckline with a turn down flat collar, and is finished with a cream lace frill next to the face. The sleeve starts at the natural shoulder line and its overall silhouette is reminiscent of a soft three quarter length imbecile sleeve constructed of four layers of alternating fabrics. At the shoulder, there is a blue-green flap, which crosses across the top and back of the shoulders towards the centre upper back in a 'v' shape. Here it finishes where it meets with the gathered top of the fabric that creates the train. Underneath this shoulder flap is a gathered, long cream frill that finishes just above the elbow. Underneath this frill is the full gathered blue-green sleeve. Finally falling from this a second gathered long cream frill finishes at the three quarter arm. The bodice buttons with five metal buttons from the neckline to just above the bust. Here it meets a heavily gathered front in two pieces, which falls with fullness to the floor. This full section is secured closed at the centre front with four hooks and eyes over the bust and then continues with shell buttons through the remainder of the garment.

Historical information

This peignoir or morning gown is believed to have belonged to Mrs Thomas Anne Ward Cole, an early Brighton resident and wife of George 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.

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

Badge - School badge

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Metal Shirley College school badge in the shape of a hollow crest containing the interlocking letters "S" and "C". The back has a hook rather than a proper clasp; possibly it was originally attached to a school hat.

Historical information

This Shirley College school badge belonged to Gladys Elvira Linton, nee Richardson (b. 1891). Shirley College was a private girls' school situated in a large single-storey house in Seymour Grove, Brighton from around 1898 until 1912. The school was first run by the Misses Bird and later by Miss Elizabeth Stewart. Gladys married First World War veteran and Brighton local Richard Vivers Linton in 1919. She looked back fondly on her days at Shirley College and helped to organise school reunions well into the 1930s, long after the school itself was gone.

Inscriptions & Markings

Motto engraved around border: "NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA" (Latin, "without God, [it is] in vain").

Gloves

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A pair of very fine ivory doeskin evening gloves. The gloves feature full pique insert seams around the fingers and thumb with a slit on the inside arm from mid thumb to mid fore arm and three white shell buttons. The gloves extend high to high on the upper arms and feature a ribbon covered elastic to aid hold on the upper arm.

Historical information

These gloves belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Inscriptions & Markings

A black ink stamp on the inside of the right glove over the wrist: 5 3/4, Made in France, Buckley and Nunn Limited, Melbourne. A black ink stamp on the inside of the left glove over the wrist: Grand Prix Exposition, 1900, Medallere D'or, Merlier, Depose (? Very faint), Made in France. A blue ink stamp on the inside of the left glove over the top side of the wrist: 797, 221'65, C51C

Bag - Bookmaker's bag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

White painted leather bag with metal fastening mechanism. A short painted leather handle is joined to the bag by metal fastening clips.

Historical information

Bags such as this one were used by bookmakers (in this case, C. C. Cox) to collect and securely hold punters' bets at racing events. Charlie Cox was a second-generation bookmaker, the son of George Gordon Cox, who operated primarily during the 1920s and 1930s. After serving in the Air Force during the Second World War, Charlie entered the bookmaking business during the 1940s, initially fielding at greyhound, trots and gallop meetings. In the early 1960s he moved to Melbourne, where he got his first big financial break when he was offered an interstate license to operate on the rails at all city tracks. He was a leading Melbourne bookmaker on the interstate rails racing circuit from the 1960s to the 1990s, from which period this bag originated.

Inscriptions & Markings

Painted on one side of the bag in black letters: "C.C. COX / INTERSTATE RAILS".

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"

Suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece women's suit made of maroon corded silk; comprising fitted jacket and straight skirt. Jacket fastens with one large black faceted glass button. Jacket lined with pink satin; skirt unlined.

Historical information

This suit was tailor-made for Latvian dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Vija Vetra, who lived at the Old Hall, 93-95 Bay Street, Brighton and ran a dance academy at 97 Bay Street during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Born in Riga, Latvia in 1923, at the age of sixteen Vija ran away from home in order to study classical, character and modern dance at the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts. She spent several years performing on European stages. When Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944, more than 100,000 Latvians fled, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Vija's sister, mother and aunt were among them, managing to join her in Vienna. The following year, all four had to flee again when the Soviets moved into Austria. Escaping to Bavaria, they spent three years in displaced person camps before emigrating to Sydney as refugees in 1948. Vija found success as a dancer in Sydney. She toured Australia and New Zealand with the Bodenwieser Ballet, formed a Latvian folk dancing group and established a dancing school. By the mid-1950s she had gained recognition as a recitalist in her own right. She developed a passion for Indian classical dance. In the late 1950s she moved to Victoria. She opened a dance school in Bay Street, Brighton, while continuing to perform on stage in productions such as the musical 'Kismet' and the ballet 'Corroboree'. In 1959 she starred in the four-part live ABC television program 'Music and Dance'. She left Australia in 1964 for a tour of the United States and Canada, ultimately settling in New York City. Interviewed in the 'ABC Weekly' in 1957, Vetra described her taste in clothing as minimalist, saying she preferred to own as few clothes as possible to save the trouble of deciding what to wear: "And no bows or extravagances, but always a simple line."

Crinoline skirt - Crinoline

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A cream paper silk taffeta crinoline skirt c.1862. This skirt features a flat front across the front waistband but a gathered across the back. At the front it is floor length whilst at the back it features a small train. Presumably the skirt was concealed at the sides and back at the front features decorations that do not continue around the back. The front decoration consists of three tiers of pleated pale violet to pale pink silk ribbon with a deep drop of cream lace. The final lace tier is gracing the floor.

Historical information

This skirt belonged to Miss Margaret Morison Ward Cole and was reportedly worn for her role as bridesmaid for the marriage of Miss Barkly, daughter of Sir Henry Barkly. George Ward Cole, father of Margaret, 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 sub divided and later demolished. Sir Henry Barkly was the second Governor of Victoria.

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 an ancestor 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 Martin. 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. A. Rodin Cook is the granddaughter of Walter Francis Newing, who was Jessie’s grandson. Walter Newing had a small printing business in Bay Street and from 1910 lived at Kinane Street. He was secretary of the Life Saving Club that stood at the end of Kinane Street in the 1920s and 30s.

Hat - Headdress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn cream lace cap from late 1800s. A silk satin ribbon that encircles the back of the crown of the head, creates the structure of this cap. Towards the front it also has a net and wire-reinforced peak. Over the top of this support is a central diamond shaped lace piece of seven and a half centimeters diameter to which is attached a fine lace net that is gathered and stitched around the edge of the central lace. Two decorative bows of the same silk satin fabric are positioned on the support over the top of the lace at either temple of the wearer.

Historical information

A lace head dress belonging to the women of 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.

Inscriptions & Markings

"W-COLE" hand stitched on inside of band. It is unknown when and by whom this inscription was made.

Blouse

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream silk short-sleeved blouse. Hand embroidered around inside of stand collar, centre front panel and sleeve edge in red, blue, black and green floral and geometric design.

Historical information

Silk blouse made by Toula Mavrokefalos, the mother of long-time Brighton resident Olga Black. 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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pink floral dome-shaped hat made up of silk and velvet pink hydrangea petals and mauve silk stems attached to a stiffened net base.

Historical information

Thomas Harrison (1897-1981) was a leading Melbourne milliner from the 1930s. He began his millinery career in 1920, and by the late 1930s had a salon and workshop at 163 Collins St. He later moved the business to Toorak Road, South Yarra. He continued millinery work until 1975.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, printed black on white acetate, centre back: THOMAS HARRISON

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A yellow and lime green silk and net evening dress from c.1909. The bodice is constructed of a golden silk satin with an over bodice of a very soft gold net with soft gold and lime green embroidery decorated with flower and bow motif's. The neckline is bateau like in shape with the edge following the flowers of the lace design. The bodice is sleeveless with a loose detached cap that hangs down over the top of the arm with a lace covering. The under fabric of the bodice is shaped and lightly boned but the over lace is looser, nipping in at the waist where it joins the skirt. At the back, the bodice neckline scoops lower than the front with the lace overlay creating a v shape at the centre back. The bodice is secured with hooks and eyes and waist tapes. The skirt is flat fronted and floor length consisting of the same golden yellow silk with soft gold and lime green embroidered net over skirt. The lace net over skirt features larger motifs and greater embellishment towards the bottom of the skirt. The lace over lay also has an edge that follows the design of the lace rather than a straight edge. At the back the underskirt is flat and shaped but the over skirt is lightly gathered and loose hanging. The skirt finishes in a full skirt and a rounded, small train.

Historical information

This evening dress belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Cloak

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A cream, green, brown and red striped cotton evening cloak with a brown silk velvet collar from the 1880s. The cloak features a double tiered velvet capelet with high standing collar that meets in the centre front, fastening with three hook and eye closures and finishing just below the shoulder line. At the centre front throat is an additional piece of lined cloak fabric which may have attached across the throat, purpose unknown. The lining of the throat and collar of the capelet appears to be a replacement with a darker red silk. The original red silk lining features through out the remainder of the garment. Inside the front left breast, the lining features two pockets; inside the right breast, the lining features a single pocket. The lining also features a waist tie to secure the cloak to the body. The cloak is approximately mid calf to ankle length.

Historical information

A cloak believed to have been worn by Captain George 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 sub divided and later demolished.

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream silk princess line wedding dress with scalloped neck edge, ruched front bodice panel and ruched and gathered panels on skirt. Three-quarter length sleeves with slashed sleeve details. Centre back opening fastened with silk thread covered buttons.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue one-piece swimsuit with waist tie and short finely pleated overskirt. Sleeveless with thin elasticised straps. Inbuilt padded underwire bra with label and pale pink ribbon rosette on centre gore. Fastens with back zip.

Historical information

This swimsuit belonged to Brighton local Joyce Fuller, nee Harries (1920-2018), who wore it at Dendy Beach in the 1950s. Ada of California was a Melbourne swimwear company founded in the early 1950s by Brighton locals Ada and Toni Murkies. Born in Poland in 1922, Ada was 17 when the Second World War reached her doorstep. She and her family were torn from their home by Soviet soldiers and sent to a brutal labour camp in Siberia as part of a series of mass deportations. In order to escape the horrific conditions of the camp, Ada and her sister Barbara joined the Soviet-backed Polish Army. During her time in the military she became close with a handsome young Jewish officer, Lieutenant Antoni Murkies, who later became her husband. After the war Toni was awarded 15 medals including the highest Polish military honour, the Virtuti Militari. Ada was awarded 10 medals, including the Order of the Cross of Grunwald. Emigrating to Australia as postwar refugees in 1948, Ada and Toni arrived in Melbourne with little to their name. Working initially in garment factories and building their connections, by the mid-1950s the couple were able to start a company of their own, with Ada designing the garments and Toni managing the business. Within ten years, Ada of California swimwear was being sold in department stores throughout Australia, and the Murkies family were able to build a permanent home of their own in Brighton. By the early 1980s they had acquired several other major labels, including Watersun. Visiting Brighton Historical Society in 2019, Ada recalled this particular swimsuit style to be a popular one, particularly with older women, as the cinched waist and pleated modesty skirt suited many body types. This was important to her, as she wanted women of all ages and sizes to look and feel good in her swimwear, and she devoted much time and attention to the fit and finish of the garments. When the company began introducing padded bras, such as the one in this swimsuit, Ada insisted on using lacy floral lining and a small ribbon rosette in the centre gore, to give women a sense of quality, femininity and care in construction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "Ada / OF CALIFORNIA / 38"

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece evening dress comprising separate bodice and skirt made of gold-coloured silk damask woven with large curvilinear design in cream. Cream tulle trim around neck embellished with beads and artificial pearls. Similar trim down centre front and around lower edge of bodice. Short puffed sleeves Neckline trimed with wide gold satin riboon and bows. Bodice is boned and fastens centre back with hooks and eyes. Gored skirt pleated into waist. .1 - bodice . 2 - skirt

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven blue on cream, centre back bodice: George & George Ltd / Federal Emporium / Melbourne

Dress - Afternoon dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A circa 1878 two piece dress consisting of bodice and skirt. The eau de nil (green) corded silk dress features a high round neckline that secures with hook and eye fastenings and decorative buttons through the length of the princess line bodice to the band around the hem. A watch pocket sits just below the waistline on the left hip. The three-quarter sleeves are narrow with kilted pleat trim on the lower edge and decorative buttons. At the back of the dress is asymmetric in its cut. The dress splits along the right hand side and finishes shorter with pleating and has a decorative pocket. A bow sits at the top of the split. The underskirt fastens on the left hip and features kilted pleats along the base of the skirt and train. The train features additional fullness created by a section of gathering in the centre.

Historical information

This dress is believed to have been worn on the Goldfields of Victoria. The discovery of gold in Victoria ranged between 1851-1879.

Significance

This dress is believed to have been worn on the Goldfields of Victoria. There are few remaining examples of clothing worn on the Victorian goldfields.

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.

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.

Romper suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two piece boy's romper suit. Short-sleeved beige shirt with smocking on front is buttoned to mid-brown short pants with large mother-of-pearl buttons. Cream coloured contrast top stitching.

Dress - Cocktail dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A blue mid calf length polyester dress with prominent gathered and padded shoulders, horizontally ruched bodice, high scoop neckline, full length sleeves and dropped waist. The skirt is of plain blue polyester mock wrap style with ruched blue spiral detail on left leg seam of bodice to skirt. The dress secures at the centre back with a nylon zip and self covered button. The sleeve is lined with mauve / pink polyester

Historical information

This c1980s cocktail dress was purchased by Di Reidie secondhand in c.2000 to wear to "Dame Edna" themed hen's night costume party.

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. Teena Varigos was a long running Melbourne based Australian fashion label specialising in after five, cocktail, party and race wear. "Dame Edna" is the most popular and well known alter ego of prominent Australian comic Barry Humphries. The character of "Dame Edna" parodies Humphries perception of an Australian snobbish suburban "house wife". The character is known for its extreme "Australiana" and absurd costuming, acerbic wit and biting accuracy.

Inscriptions & Markings

Manufacturers label "Teena Varigos" "Size 14, To Fit Bust 90cm, Waist 70cm, Hip 95cm" "Do not iron pleating" "100% Polyester, Warm Iron, Dry Clean Only"

Dress - Afternoon dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A salmon (pale orange pink) corded silk afternoon dress with orange beaded embellishments, consisting of a bodice and skirt from c.1890. The bodice features a high standing collar with triple pleated bone silk chiffon trim along the top line, under the chin. This same chiffon is also secured in two pieces gathered and secured under the collar and and at the waist adding volume over the bust line and partially obscuring the jacket closing. The chiffon is secured at the side into the main fabric of the bodice by the beaded embellishment. The pink seed beads are sewn in lines of five beads one after the other creating a diagonal design that tapers from the shoulder to the waist. The bodice is boned around the front and back and secured down the centre font by nineteen hook and eyes and additional cotton tapes. Further beading details the bottom centre front and base line of the bodice. The shoulders have been repaired with replacement fabric to match, from our records it appears that the repair work was performed in circa 1974 but no record exists of the original shoulder design and if the repair was an exact copy of the original. The repaired shoulders feature a small frill around the shoulder yoke and top of the arm. The sleeve is fitted and three quarter finishing just below the elbow. The base of the sleeve is also trimmed with the pink bead design and bone three pleat chiffon trim. The back of the bodice features shaped panels contouring the jacket neatly in at the waist and then splitting and splaying out over the fullness of the skirt. The skirt appears to have been floor or ankle length held at the waist by a wide waistband. The skirt openings have been altered from the original currently featuring two openings secured by press studs. The skirt is gathered to the waistband at front and back creating fullness. The lower part of the skirt features the same pink bead embellishment and additional beaded flowers and diagonal point edge detail.

Historical information

This afternoon dress belonged to Clara Johnstone Miller (nee Bell, 1866-1910). Clara was the only daughter of Mr James Bell, a councillor of the Shire of Leigh (today a part of Golden Plains Shire) and owner of Woolbrook Homestead in Teesdale, near Geelong. In 1888, Clara married prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastoralist Septimus Miller (1854-1925). Septimus was the sixth of seven children born to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller (nee Mattinson). 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people in his time. In 1889, Clara and Septimus moved into the house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Road, Caulfield. They had one child, Gwendoline Stewart Miller, who died in 1902 at the age of thirteen of diabetes - a largely untreatable condition at the time (insulin would not be discovered until 1921). Clara died in 1910, aged only 44. Septimus subsequently married Helen (nee Henderson), with whom he had a son, Ronald (1915-1990). The Millers were buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in a large Gothic-style vault. Upon Clara's death, Septimus sent much of her clothing and Gwendoline's to her mother Mary Bell. Some of these items were passed down to two of Clara's nieces, Miss Mary Bell and Mrs Lois Lillies, who donated them to BHS around 1973.

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream satin princess line wedding dress with dark cream lace trim. Fastens centre front with 17 satin covered buttons. Nine extant bones are placed on the interior seams and darts. Three-quarter length fitted sleeves. Bodice backed with cream cotton. The back trained panels of the skirt have been cut to extend into a pleated swathe of satin that wraps around the hips to the centre front. A square padded bustle pad is attached to the interior back of the skirt. The hem of the skirt is decorated with kilted and swathed satin and lace.

Historical information

The donor's husband's grandmother was Bertha Michaelis who lived at 'Linden', St Kilda. She married David Jacob Baruch (known as Dalbert) in Hamburg on 9 November 1881. Bertha was born in Melbourne. The couple lived in Germany. Bertha returned to Melbourne with their two children, Ernest and May, after Dalbert died in 1893. May married Rabbi Jacob Danglow in 1909 and they had one son, Frank, who was the donor's husband.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, interior waist tape, woven silk stamped in dark green: H. L. HEYNEMANN / Hannover / Seilwinderstr. 6a., Bose; In monogrammed ("HLH") circles either side: (Left) BAARZAHLUNGS SYSTEM; (Right) ERSTE PREISE. Stitched in thick cotton thread on interior waist tape: *9097