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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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211 items

211 items

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A white, mauve, purple, red, and green paisley / floral printed cotton day dress from circa 1820. The day dress features a wide scooped neckline, with a dropped shoulder line. At the head of the sleeve is has three lines of gathering creating a narrow arm hole around the shoulder, flaring out into a leg of mutton sleeve. The sleeve finishes neatly at the wrist with a cuff that secures with two brass hook and eye closures. The dress bodice is open at the centre front and secures with six hook and eye closures to the empire line waist. Over the breast on either side of the opening are six diagonal pleats, pressed and secured facing towards the neck. This pleated detail is on a facing that extends from shoulder to shoulder and finishes with a bound edge. The remainder of the front bodice is plain and secures to the skirt at the empire waistline. The skirt pleats onto a binding, wrapping around the torso and securing to the bodice with eight hook closures. At approximately knee, height the skirt has an additional gathered flounce with the dress finishing at approximately ankle length. From the back, the bodice is plain and the skirt is gathered and sewn to the bodice at Empire line. Alterations to the garment have been made with the addition of hooks and eyes. The garment is generally in good condition although the skirt at the front shows evidence of damage and subsequent repair.

Historical information

This dress, which was made around 1820, was passed down through five generations of a single family before its donation to Brighton Historical Society in 2007. It originally belonged to a great-grandmother of Margaret Reynolds (1881-1958) of Hertfordshire, England, who herself came into possession of the dress around the early twentieth century. Having no daughters of her own, in 1945 the 64-year-old Margaret sent the dress as a Christmas gift to her niece, Margaret Willoughby Reynolds (1907-1996). In the letter accompanying the parcel, donated to the Society with the dress, the elder Margaret writes that she loves the dress very much but has now outgrown it. She makes reference to her own mother Mary Reynolds (nee Lloyd)'s pleasure at seeing the dress worn, indicating that it may originally have belonged to one of Mary's grandparents. She had two requests of her niece: first, that the younger Margaret wear the dress on Christmas Eve as a treat for her Mary (the letter includes styling advice on how the dress should be worn and accessorised), and second, that she one day pass the dress on to her own daughter or niece. In March 1968, the younger Margaret gifted the dress to her Australian-born niece, Dorothy May England (nee Reynolds, 1924-2013), along with a letter of her own. Dorothy, a Bayside resident, donated the dress and both letters to the Society in 2007. The letters paint a picture of the significance of the dress within the Reynolds family and its journey from England to Australia.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Light brown floor-length silk evening dress featuring a band of black and bronze beading around neckling. Circular beaded buckles at either side of waist. Zip at back.

Historical information

This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Diane Reidie was a much loved volunteer and President of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 until 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years. A vibrant and energetic person with a zest for life and a gift for bringing people together, Di was a friend to many in the Bayside community and active in local community organisations. Her tireless work as President of BHS saw her named Bayside Citizen of the Year in 2008. As a seller and collector of vintage clothing, she was passionate about fashion history; one of her many enduring contributions to BHS was her extensive work in preserving, developing and promoting the Society's costume collection. In 2018-19, Di donated more than one hundred items from her personal vintage clothing collection to the Society. The collection, which includes clothing, hats, handbags and shoes from local and international designers, is representative of Di's wide-ranging interests, colourful personality, creativity, humour and love of fashion and travel. Di purchased this dress as a vintage item.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, pale blue on cream "Exclusively Yours / Hartnell REGD / MELBOURNE" Label, black on pale grey: "Exclusive Finest / IMPORTED FABRIC".

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black one-piece swimsuit with deep v-neck and low-cut back and high-cut legs. Halter neck. Ruched sides.

Historical information

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. 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 side: "ada / 16"

Skirt - Child's crinoline skirt

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pale yellow silk half-hoop skirt with cotton lining. Layered skirt with ruched top layer.

Historical information

This child's crinoline skirt was donated in 1974 by Mrs Ella Kohn of Were Street, a life member of the Society. According to then-BHS Secretary Rosalind Landells, the skirt was originally made the fit a girl aged 10-12, but had been modified to add length. Mrs Landells reported that Society members had restored the skirt to the original length and that it would be worn at a costume parade at the Southern Cross on 27 March 1974 by Carolyn Scott.

Shoes - Children's shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Leather, wood and metal ankle boots c.1860. Dark brown leather upper constructed of two pieces, the foot secures with a metal clasp at the centre front ankle. The upper is adhered to the wooden sole with metal nails. The sole of the forefoot has been reinforced with a metal horseshoe around the edge.

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.

Inscriptions & Markings

On one shoe, a modern inscription (ball point pen) : From "Barone" 9 Moule Ave Brighton. Sept 1970 On other shoe, typewritten on paper: From "Barone", 9 Moule Ave., Brighton Pres. Aug 1970

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.

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

Hat - Brighton Technical School hat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Navy blue fur felt hat with rounded crown and slighty upturned brim. Navy blue grosgrain hat band with narrow red, gold and brown stripes.

Historical information

This hat is part of the former Brighton Technical School girls' uniform. Brighton Technical School was officially opened in Berwick Street, Brighton on 28 July 1922, following a ten-year campaign to establish a local public secondary school. A separate girls' campus was opened two years later at Cora Lynn, a Victorian-era Italianate villa in 45 Cochrane Street. Generations of Brighton students went through the school until it was closed by the Victorian Department of Education in 1991.

Inscriptions & Markings

Interior label: "CREATED BY / VARDEN / MELB. / 'AKUBRA' FINEST FUR FELT". On the reverse side, the name "Eleanor Clark" is written in blue pen.

Outfit - Evening outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

An evening outfit consisting of a matching dress, stole, bag and gloves. Sleeveless one-shoulder evening dress of blue velvet shot with metallic red. The dress is gathered at the proper left front waist and is lined with red synthetic fabric. Fastens with a zip and hook at the side. Stole of blue velvet shot with metallic red, lined with red synthetic fabric. Handbag made from blue velvet shot with metallic red. The bag has a gold metal frame and clasp, with a shot gold metal chain attached. The interior is red synthetic fabric, with a single side pocket. Elbow-length red nylon evening globes.

Historical information

Growing up in Sandringham, Joy Bosomworth learned to sew at the knee of her mother Elsie Myra Keefer, a seamstress. By the time she was an adult, she was making most of her own clothes. She made this shot velvet evening dress, along with a matching stole and bag, in 1961 to wear to a ball at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she worked as a radiographer.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Mid-length velvet and chiffon dress with shallow v-neck. Velvet features a geometric pattern in purple, maroon, gold and green. Skirt is slashed at front and back with dark purple chiffon. Long dark purple chiffon sleeves with velvet cuffs.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Brighton resident Isabell Nora "Billie" Blair, nee McNamara (1895-1989). Born in Mirboo North, Billie lost her mother Catherine at a young age in 1898 and was raised mostly by Catherine's sister, Isabell Frances Vallender. She married magistrate Douglas Granville Blair (1893-1976) in 1926. The couple lived first in Benalla, where their daughter Katherine Blair was born, before moving to Brighton, where they lived the rest of their lives.

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."

Cape

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black silk satin cape with corded design. Black fur trim on collar, centrefront openings and hem. Lined with quilted black silk. Watch pocket on left proper interior. Wool interlining.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black chiffon and lace dress with long sleeves, scooped neckline. Lozenge shaped lace pattern; machine top-stiched chiffon panels.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Christina Barclay 'Ina' Strahan (nee Guinn, 1889-1974), the mother of donor Sheila Alston (1911-2008). Ina married medical practitioner Dr Septimus Strahan in 1909 and the family lived in a stately home in Moonee Ponds from 1912 until Septimus' untimely death at 56 in 1933. Ina later moved to Sandringham, where her daughter Sheila also settled after her marriage to Peter Alston.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven, blue on cream cotton, centre back: MADE IN FRANCE

Jodhpurs - Jodphurs

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A pair of black wool twill women's jodhpurs from late 1800s to early 1900s. The jodhpurs feature a flat flap-front that buttons on either hip with four buttons on either side. The cut of the leg is full tapering through shaped panels to a slim fit over the calf. At the centre front of the leg at the shin, the pant leg is laced closed and finished with brown binding. From the back, the pant hangs loose and full over the bottom, tapering to a slim fit over the calf. Note: These jodhpurs are not a matching piece of the riding habit T0002.1. However, it appears that the same person wore them together as an outfit.

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.

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two piece day dress of mulberry figured silk. The dress comprises a separate bodice and skirt. The bodice fastens centre front with fabric covered shank buttons and has twelve bones encased along the interior seams and darts. Two piece fitted sleeve and high stand collar. Bodice is backed with a caramel coloured printed cotton. The skirt has a slight train and is backed with a caramel coloured twill-woven cotton.

Historical information

Worn by Mrs Lilias Parker (nee Johnston), born 1820, died 1904.

Outfit - Evening outfit - dress and jacket

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A two piece ensemble consisting of long evening dress and matching jacket, cropped jacket of black acetate. The jacket features a tie front and long buttoned sleeve. The full length dress is slim fitting with centre back zip, shoestring straps and shaped bust with ruched centre front.

Historical information

This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Diane Reidie was a much loved volunteer and President of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 until 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years. A vibrant and energetic person with a zest for life and a gift for bringing people together, Di was a friend to many in the Bayside community and active in local community organisations. Her tireless work as President of BHS saw her named Bayside Citizen of the Year in 2008. As a seller and collector of vintage clothing, she was passionate about fashion history; one of her many enduring contributions to BHS was her extensive work in preserving, developing and promoting the Society's costume collection. In 2018-19, Di donated more than one hundred items from her personal vintage clothing collection to the Society. The collection, which includes clothing, hats, handbags and shoes from local and international designers, is representative of Di's wide-ranging interests, colourful personality, creativity, humour and love of fashion and travel. Di purchased this two piece ensemble from the influential fashion boutique "The House of Merivale and Mr John" to wear to a performance of "The Sleeping Beauty" by London Festival Ballet, featuring Rudolph Nureyev at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda in May 1975.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Mandamatilda", "Dry Clean Only, SSW

Dress and shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Floor length dress of printed cotton with yellow and orange pattern, with scoop neck, short flared sleeves and zip at the back. Platform shoes with block heel. White leather, hand painted yellow and orange.

Historical information

Heather Leonard wore this outfit to a Brighton Primary School fundraiser in the late 1960s. She hand painted the white platform heels to match her yellow and orange dress, and her husband Paul wore similarly bright colours with a mustard yellow and purple shirt. Heather was born in the Bayside area, initially working as a nurse and later as a yoga teacher. She and Paul lived together in Male Street for forty years until his death in 2002. Paul worked in advertising and later became a painter, mainly of Australian icons.

Cape - Fur capelet

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Plush fur collar with structured shoulders, featuring variegated colouring ranging from reddish brown to cream to white. Cream lining. Concealed hook and eye clasp at front.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in centre back interior, white text on black: "Manton's / MELBOURNE"

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

An orange pink (salmon) with cream spot, very fine silk organza dress from circa 1840. The dress features a wide scooped neckline, almost to the shoulder. The sleeves are set low with a gathered head to the sleeve and finished with a flounce, dropping to just above the elbow. The bodice is shaped and fitted to the body and features a centre front detail of the bodice fabric that is gathered, ruched and tapers in a v to the waist. The waistline of the dress sits on the true waist at the sides and tapers to a v at the centre front and centre back. The full skirt is gathered to the piped waistline and falls to the floor. The skirt features three horizontal pleats in the skirt fabric in between four bands of cream floral self embroidered detail. The dress is open at the back where it is boned and features lacing holes. The lacing is missing from the item. The bodice of the dress is lined with a very fine cotton lawn and boned.

Historical information

Margaret Law (nee Bartholomew) was born on 3 December 1837 in Stirling, Scotland. She emigrated to Australia with her family aboard the Ticonderoga, arriving in Melbourne on 22 December 1852. Around one hundred passengers died of typhus during the journey, and around seventy more after arrival. Two of Margaret's siblings were among the casualties. The Bartholomew family settled in Ballarat. Around 1861, Margaret married James Nicol Law in Ballarat. They had several children, the youngest of which was James Lindsay Gordon "Lin" Law, (1881-1963). James Nicol Law was killed in a train accident in Fingal Tasmania in July 1886. Lin Law married Elsie Russell on 12 January 1915 (BHS also holds a bridge jacket given to Elsie by Lin; see T0047). They settled in Brighton, moving into 'Blairgowrie', 306 St Kilda Street, in 1920. The eldest their four children, Pauline Margaret Law (born 15 December 1915) ultimately purchased the house with her husband Hugh McLean in 1956 and lived there until 1965 when the house was demolished. In 1906, Lin and his business partner James Kerr Pearson (also a Brighton local, who lived at 12 Moule Avenue) established the shirt manufacturing company Pelaco. In 1922 the company established its factory at 23 Goodwood Street on the top of Richmond Hill; the 4.3 metre high neon 'Pelaco' sign, erected in 1939, is today heritage listed. The company was known for its innovative approach to efficiency and labour relations, discontinuing Saturday morning work in 1908 and appointing an industrial relations officer in 1928.

Dress and vest - Dress and tunic vest

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Long-sleeved crimplene dress (.1) with white bodice and short purple skirt. High collar, cuffs and waist have a purple and yellow checkerboard-patterned trim. Four self-covered buttons down the centre front of skirt. Zip at back. Long purple tunic vest (.2) worn over the top.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Nola Jennings, a long-time Brighton resident. Bindi of Melbourne was the youth label of Australian commercial fashion house Len Vogue.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in both dress and vest, white with black text: "Fashioned for / Bindi / of MELBOURNE" Two smaller labels at bottom: "SIZE 10 / TO FIT / BUST 32" / HIP 34"" and "CRIMP TERY. / C 145 4".

Bonnet - Calash

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black taffeta calash with ribs made of baleen.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black one-piece rayon and cotton swimsuit. Straps button at back. Asymmetrical zig-zag front with double-line of white stitching, embellished by a large cream button.

Historical information

This swimsuit belonged to Audrey May Ferguson (nee Fulton), a longtime Brighton resident. 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.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, white with green palm tree logo and red text: "Ada / OF CALIFORNIA" Label, white with red text: "61% RAYON, 10% RUBBER, 29% COTTON 36"

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.

Dress - Stage costume

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Full-length short-sleeved dress of white cotton, lace and nylon, featuring elaborately ruffled sleeves and vertical stripes of lace on the skirt and bodice. The dress is open at the back, fastening with hooks and cotton ties to facilitate quick costume changes.

Historical information

Purchased from an opportunity shop, this dress is a stage costume bearing the label of Bonn & Mackenzie, a prominent UK costume designer from the 1950s to the 1970s. The dress appears to have been worn by June Bronhill (1929-2005), a prominent Australian opera singer and actress, whose name is handwritten on the label. Born June Mary Gough, she began using the stage name of Bronhill in 1952 in honour of her NSW home town of Broken Hill as a form of thanks to the local community who had helped raise money to send her overseas for professional training as a singer. Bronhill trained in London and gained early exposure with the English National Opera. She went on to star in many theatrical productions in Australia and the UK. She moved back to Australia permanently in 1976, and in 1980 was cast in her first television role as Mrs Crawford in the Australian version of 'Are You Being Served?'.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, white cotton with red text: "BONN & MACKENZIE LTD. / TEMPLE BAR 1393". Handwritten underneath in black pen: "JUNE BRONHILL".

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream silk wedding dress with a long train. High neck and long sleeves. Yoke with horizontal pintucks and self-covered buttons. Side zip.

Historical information

This wedding dress was worn by two Brighton brides, sisters Floss and Vera McMinn, during the Second World War. The McMinn family moved to Brighton from Castlemaine around 1924, when the sisters were still children. Their father, Horace Henry McMinn, was a fruiterer and greengrocer who ran the Fruit Palace at 123 Church Street. Florence May "Floss" McMinn (1912-2007) married William Thomas Vivian on 3 February 1940 at the Brighton Church of Christ. Her sister Vera was her bridesmaid. Vera Olive McMinn (1918-2006) wore the same dress two years later when she married Geoffrey Walter Holmes on 15 August 1942 at Scotch College Chapel.

Outfit - Three-piece woman's outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Three-piece woman's outfit comprising double-breasted cape, cropped sleeveless top and skirt; cream wool woven with silver lurex. Top is decorated with a centre front fabric bow and is decoarated with fake pearls. All items lined with cream polyester. .1 - cape .2 - top .3 - skirt

Historical information

This outfit belonged to Bernice Overend, a longtime Brighton resident. Bernice Adelaide Emily Lawn was born in Ballarat in 1911. In 1938 she married Acheson Best Overend (1909-1977), an early modernist architect in Melbourne whose notable designs include the heritage-listed Cairo Flats apartment building in Fitzroy. Bernice and Best made a home together in Brighton, raising their family at 80 Were Street. Their son Darren followed in Best's footsteps, becoming an architect, and in 1979 he and his wife Jenny bought a property just down the road from his childhood home - the heritage-listed 1881 Victorian mansion 'Chevy Chase' at 203 Were Street. Bernice lived in the house with with Darren, Jenny and their three children.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label printed black on white acetate, centre back cape, top and skirt: DESIGNED AND HANDWOVEN / BY / Robert Maltus

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sheer black silk chiffon dress with black beaded front detail and pin tucked front skirt. Long pointed beaded collar. Long sleeves with nine rows of horizontal pin tucking on lower edge.

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").

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

Historical information

In 1880 Melbourne hosted its first major international exhibition the "Melbourne International Exhibition". In 1888 Melbourne hosted its second major international exhibition the "Melbourne International Centennial Exhibition".

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven blue on cream, centre back bodice: QUOD FACIMUS VALDE FACIMUS, George & George Ltd / Federal Emporium / Melbourne, International Exhibition Melbourne, Costumes and Mantles

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Long sleeveless beaded evening dress with V-front and back neckline. Black tulle base embellished with black, grey and purple beads and sequins with a design of a purple sunburst radiating from the right proper hip and mirrored on the back. Bodice sides split to waist and skirt sides split to hip.