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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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212 items

212 items

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".

Smock

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Agricultural worker's hand-loomed linen smock, dyed brown. Fully hand-stictched with smocking details on front and back and sleeves. Opening at front and back neck area fastened with now missing buttons.

Bodice

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn cream silk satin evening bodice from c.1865. This bodice features a very low, wide scooped neckline with a set in sleeve and four small pleats across the head of the shoulder. The elbow length, straight fitted sleeves are trimmed with a pleated ruffle that extends around the arm finishing at the elbow crease at the inside arm and tapering to mid forearm length at the back. The fitted bodice, lined with waxed linen, fastens down the centre front with eight covered buttons of the bodice fabric. The front two panels wrap around the sides of the bodice to meet another series of panels creating a princess line with a delineated central spine. The waist position is just below the natural waist at the sides, tapering to an elongated front covering the belly. From the sides towards the back it curves up to the natural waistline and then down again to a central point. The bodice is decorated with strips of the same fabric, which has been tucked, pleated and padded to create ruching. The ruching edge has a multi coloured thread, suggestive of rosettes, on both sides. In the front of the bodice, a strip runs down the centre front, concealing the buttonholes, and finishing at the elongated point. It then goes up the bodice over the bust line where it meets the neckline. It follows the neckline around the nape of the neck and back down the front over the bust line to the centre front. More strips run around the base of the fitted sleeve near the elbow above the ruffle. The rosette like coloured thread finishes the base of the ruffle.

Historical information

A bodice belonging to the family of George Ward Cole 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.

Outfit - Hot pants outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece hot pants outfit made from cream synthetic 'Estacel' (Courtaulds acetate fibre) and rayon with red dots and plain red synthetic fabric. .1 - Blouse: fastens centre front with five red plastic buttons. .2 - Hot pants: fastens centre back with zip.

Historical information

Shaw family collection. This outfit was Mrs Shaw's 'going away' outfit for her wedding in 1972. Ricki Reed was a Melbourne-based label founded by designer Dorothy Rabinov.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label woven, metallic gold on white acetate, centre back blouse and shorts: ricki reed / ALL RAYON Label printed, black on beige acetate, centre back blouse and shorts: Estacel and / RAYON / COURTAULDS ACETATE FIBRE

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Full-length knit dress of blue, green and silver patterned lurex with Georges box and receipts. High neck with metal zip centre back. .1 - dress .2 a-b - Georges box with lid .3 a-c - envelope & 3 layby & alteration receipts stapled together & separate delivery invoice .4 - Receipt for dress alteration & delivery charge

Historical information

The dress is an excellent example of mid-1970s evening wear and comes with its original box and dockets. It was purchased from a local op shop by a Brighton Historical Society volunteer, who subsequently donated it to BHS in 2017. The receipts tell us that the dress was originally purchased from Georges department store on Collins Street by Mrs Eunice Amelia Hill (b. 1917) of 6 Webb Street, Brighton. Eunice placed the dress on lay-by and paid for alterations in December 1974; it was delivered to her home in January 1975.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white acetate, centre back: PRINTED BY HAND / Pelilla / MADE IN ITALY Label, printed black on white acetate, centre back: 65% RAYON / 35% POLYESTER / MADE IN ITALY

Swimsuit ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Backless lamé one-piece swimsuit (.1) with pattern of silver, blue and bronze circles in various sizes. Waist ties knotted at front for cinched-in waist. Built-in underwire bra. Sleeveless A-line jacket (.2) in same fabric, falling past hips. Front zip and close-fitting hood.

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 word “Watersun” in red, above the text: “32 / Unquestionable Bra”.

Trousers - "Howard Showers" trousers

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream coloured cotton French terry cloth pants with metal zip fly front, branded button closure, feature red stitching and printed cars in black ink. There are several car designs featured with each design appearing c1960s - 1970s. One car design features the name "Howard" on its number plate.

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 wore these novelty car print "Howard Showers" pants to many car rally events in Victoria, Australia and USA between 1990 and 2010, where she would perform the role of navigator and co-driver in a team with her husband David. Di's choice of clothing at the rallies is indicative of her sense of humour and attitude towards clothing.

Inscriptions & Markings

Manufacturers label "Howard Showers, Holiday, size 12" Metal button inscription "Howard Showers, Syd (Sydney), Aust (Australia). "Made in Australia". Care label.

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.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sleeveless bias-cut dress of watermelon pink silk featuring red and gold hand-painted abstract designs. The dress features a Mandarin collar with a button fastening at the throat. A matching silk belt with tapered ties wraps around the waist.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Bayside woman Wendy Young, who bought it around 1980 from Melbourne designer Prue Acton's Toorak shop for about $300. She recalled, "It was one of her off the peg creations, but I never saw it on anyone else... she made limited runs, especially as this is hand painted silk." The belt has been signed by Acton.

Inscriptions & Markings

The belt features two signatures in gold paint: "Prue" and "P Acton"

Evening outfit - Four piece outfit of blouse, camisole, skirt and wrap

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A four piece outfit consisting of a blouse/cardigan, camisole, skirt and wrap. Double-layered silk wrap with an outer layer of silk chiffon. Both ends feature and embroidered band of brown and black cotton, copper wire, and copper glass beads. Camisole of black and copper shot polyester rayon with wide shoulder straps and small shoulder pads. Blouse of brown silk chiffon, with a v-neck and eleven silk-covered buttons and loops at centre front. Patch pockets over front hip and full length sleeves. The neckline and sleeve edges are trimmed with copper-coloured glass beads. Full-length double-layered straight skirt with black and copper shot polyester rayon lining and silk chiffon overskirt. The skirt secures centre back with a nylon zip and botton closure. The skirt features a centre front embroidered panel of brown and black cotton leaf and flower motifs, with copper wire and copper glass beads.

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. Of all the items Di donated to the Society, this four-piece Easton Pearson outfit was her favourite. When she bought it around 1997-98, it was the first time she had spent a large amount of money on clothing, and she thought it only fitting to throw a suitably elegant party at which to wear it. James Cameron's hit movie 'Titanic' had just been released, and upon discovering the recipe book 'Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner', Di was inspired to host a Titanic-themed party for her friends. Held at her home in Brighton in 1998, the event included a string quartet, an eleven-course meal prepared entirely by Di, and a life boat in the backyard swimming pool.

Inscriptions & Markings

manufacturer's label: "Oh! Easton Pearson", "Pure Silk", "Polyester Rayon", Care label, "M"

Top and pants ensemble - Halter top and palazzo pants ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cropped halter top and palazzo pants with a Pucci-style print of abstract patterns in red, pink, purple, orange and white. Top has a deep v-neck and secures with a fabric tie at the back.

Historical information

This cropped halter top and palazzo pants outfit belonged to Meredith Lenné, a lifelong Brighton resident. Produced by Melbourne designer Leon Haskin in 1972, the design was also sold in colour combinations of gold-and-brown and white-and-blue. Meredith remembers being drawn to the outfit because she liked the colours, though she only wore it a couple of times to dinner parties.

Flag - School flag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Navy blue flag, both sides featuring a large yellow-gold crest in centre, containing image of an anchor and surrounded by semicircular scroll with the motto "SPES ANCORA ANIMAE". Background features horizontal green stripe across centre, containing smaller red stripe and bordered on each side by yellow stripes.

Historical information

This flag was used by Esperance Girls School, a private school based in Brighton from 1894-1956. Esperance was established in 1894 at 6 Normanby Street by Misses Emsie, Marion, Gussie and Daisy Beaver. The four sisters came from a formerly-prosperous land-owning family that had suffered badly as a result of the depression of the early 1890s. At at time when few occupations were open to gentlewomen, running a school provided the sisters with a respectable means of supporting themselves. Notable teachers at Esperance during the 1890s included elocution mistress Miss Jeannie Taylor, who would later become better known as the author Mrs Aeneas Gunn. In 2924 the school was sold to Miss Marian Taylor and Miss Chrissie McMillan, who had previously served as joint principals of Alexandra College in Hamilton between 1909 and 1913. Both women had strong family connections to Brighton: Marian was the granddaughter of early pioneer Archibald McMillan and Chrissie was a cousin of long-serving town clerk J. H. Taylor. The new principals relocated the school to a large two-storey house on the corner of Park Street and Esperance Avenue, where it remained until its closure. They operated the school until 1950, when they sold it to a Miss Bury, who in turn sold it to the local Baptist Church in 1956. Following this final sale, the school continued for another four terms before closing.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A full length slim fitting gown of gold metal thread and black thread self wave design fabric. The dress features a shawl collar, vertical pleat bodice, three panel, peaked front skirt. The dress secures with press studs at the centre front for modesty with a full left side opening secured by press studs. The sleeve features a front and back seam creating a squared shoulder head with fullness that is pleated in centre on the arm. the sleeve length is above the elbow.

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 in 2012 at an auction of vintage clothing from the private collection of prominent Sydney fashion designer Lisa Ho, part of a wider sale of assets after Ho's business fell into deep debt. Ho began collecting vintage clothing and fabrics at the age of fifteen and her collection featured significant clothing items collected from around the world. For many years she drew on it as a source of design inspiration, particularly for print, in her highly successful fashion business. Di later wished she had purchased more at the auction!

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.

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 a draped French flag, alongside a spray of 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.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two piece ivory satin evening dress. Bodice is decorated with central panel of finely pleated chiffon and embellished with ready-made strips of beading and artificial pearls. Short puffed sleeves. Russet coloured velvet band applied to waist of bodice and finished with a metal rosette. Plain gored satin skirt with cream velvet binding around hem.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, printed grey on cream cotton, centre back bodice waist: Bussell, Robson & Bussell / MELBOURNE.

Shawl

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream-coloured cotton bobbinet ground, hand-embroidered with flattened metal strips.

Historical information

Often referred to as Assiut shawls, where they were made.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn cream, pale blue, orange and gold embroidered satin formal dress, the bodice dates from circa 1840. This dress shares a skirt with T0004.2, which dates from a different period (circa 1890). The bodice features a wide shallow neckline finished with a beige coloured cord in two decorative lines. The sleeve is set on the true shoulder and is a short fitted sleeve with decorative gathering and two lines of corded detail. The bodice is shaped to the body with 2 sets of six fine knife pleats diagonally positioned narrower over the waist and spreading out over the bust. These pleats are secured with six double lines of stitching. The bodice finishes high on the waistline at either side and points down to a point over the centre front. The base of the bodice is finished with a piped edge and beige decorative cording. The bodice encloses the body at the centre back where it has holes that presumably would have held lacing. The back features four diagonal knife pleats finishing at the centre back and splaying out over the shoulders. The waistline at the back features only a very gentle point.

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, both this dress and the dress T0004.1 were made for Elizabeth and 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.

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece wedding dress comprising separate bodice and skirt made of figured coffee-coloured silk woven with large sprays of foliage and berries. The front of the bodice is decorated with a cream-coloured hand-made lace. The bodice is cut asymmetrically, with the front panel wrapping over to the left proper side seam. The fitted sleeves are cut with fullness in the head and narrowing at the elbow and wrist in a leg-of-mutton style. The bodice is backed with a dark brown glazed cotton and has 13 bones. The skirt is backed with a coffee-coloured cotton.

Historical information

This dress was worn by Matilda Kinross McDonald, nee Herd (1871-1943) for her wedding to George William Mitchell McDonald in Geelong in 1892.

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".

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

White cotton muslin day dress with three-quarter length sleeves and square neckline, both edged with lace. The dress features white floral embroidery on the sleeves, skirt and front of bodice. Hook and eye fastenings at back.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Mary Grace Medbury (nee Matthews, 1885-1967). Mary was born in Kansas, USA, and as a teenager travelled to Devon, England, before she came to Australia with her family and married Walter Ambrose Medbury (1887-1947). They lived together in Cheel Street, East Oakleigh. Walter, a building contractor, worked on numerous construction projects in the Melbourne area, including the Oakleigh Methodist Church, the HMAS Cerberus naval base and - closer to home - the former Brighton Courthouse, which was built in 1936 and still stands at 15 Boxshall Street. Mary gave the dress to her granddaughter, Fiona Nissen, when Fiona was a teenager. A Brighton local, Fiona donated it to the Society in 2013.

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 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 1980s cocktail dress second hand around 2000 to wear as part of a Dame Edna Everage costume to a hen's party.

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 - 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.

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.

Cloak

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Unlined taupe silk cloak with two wide horizontal bands of black satin and lozenge-shaped black cord detailing. Black satin tie collar with black tassels at ends.

Night gown

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn ivory cotton muslin nightgown, c. 1842–1850. The bodice is made of delicately embroidered muslin in a floral design. The open flat collar features a scalloped lace frill underneath. The bodice fastens with thirteen mother of pearl buttons down the centre front. After the fourth button, the remaining buttons are concealed beneath a full gathered modesty skirt, which falls from just below the bust line. The modesty panel is secured horizontally across the bodice by six mother of pearl buttons. The sleeves finish over the back and palm of the hand in two flattened peaks. The front of the gown consisting of the modesty front is full length. The modesty gown at both sides joins two panels that are an integrated part of the bodice. At the centre back there is a very full gathered panel with lace trim that falls to create a train. It is semi-attached to the bodice with a top section secured with mother of pearl buttons and small ties. The purpose of this design feature is unknown.

Historical information

This nightgown is believed to have belonged to Mrs Thomas Anne Ward Cole, an early Brighton resident and wife of George Ward Cole. The item appears to have been made or altered to accommodate a pregnant belly, however purpose made maternity clothing was not common at this time. Mrs Ward-Cole’s six pregnancies took place in 1843, 1844, 1845, 1847, 1849 and 1851. The style of this garment in particular the shape of the sleeves would indicate that it is most likely to have been constructed in circa 1860, so whilst it appears to be a maternity item, and historically has been referred to as thus, this purpose cannot be confirmed. 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

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.

Nightgown

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream short-sleeved nightgown with lace collar and cuffs. Attached fabric sash at waist. Fine hand stitched pintucks on either side of waist and small embroidered floral garlands on bodice.

Historical information

This home-made nightgown was part of Mary Ethel McIntyre (nee Lindsay)'s wedding trousseau. Mary married Robert McIntyre on 29 August 1929 at St Andrews Church, Korumburra. The couple moved to Lang-Lang, then Mentone. The nightgown was donated by Mary's daughter-in-law, Elaine McIntyre (nee Wyatt), who was born and raised in Brighton. She was born in Padua House and attended Brighton Primary School and Hampton High School.

Cape - Opera cape

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Salmon pink velvet opera cape with a padded collar and long fringe. Fastens at collar with a pair of circular metal clasps engraved with floral designs and accentuated with purple enamel. Silk lining.

Historical information

This velvet opera cape was worn by Agnes Emmeline "Dot" McCowan (nee Iredell, 1887-1969) to a reception for English aviatrix Amy Johnson in her North Road home in the early 1930s. Amy Johnson achieved worldwide fame in 1930 when she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. Dot was the fourth child, and only surviving daughter, of Dr Charles Lesingham Maynard Iredell and Frances Keziah Iredell (née Hill), both formerly of Regents Park, London. Her parents had arrived in Australia in 1885 after Charles, a medical specialist, lost his money and house in the financial crash of 1880. In Melbourne, Charles established a reputation as an ear, nose and throat specialist and counted Dame Nellie Melba among his patients. Dot was schooled at Fairlight College in St Kilda. After falling from a tree at the age of twelve, she developed curvature of the spine. While recuperating, she took a correspondence course in theory and harmony of music with the Royal College of Music, London. She continued to pursue music after her recovery, ultimately winning an international scholarship to study piano and singing in Leipzig, Germany, but did not take up the offer due to her father's objections. She instead remained in Melbourne, where she put her skills to use as a music teacher. After her first fiancé disappeared at sea, Dot found happiness again with George Drummond. George owned a substantial property in Manjimup, Western Australia, and the couple planned to settle there after the wedding. It was not to be. Like many Australian men, George was killed in action on the Western Front during the First World War. It had become customary in George's wealthy family to give each son's bride a gift of one thousand pounds. Though Dot and George were never able to marry, the family nevertheless honoured the custom, and between their generous financial gift and her own teaching income, Dot was able to buy a well-appointed home at 9 North Road, Brighton for herself and her parents. The house remained in the family for many decades. In 1923, at the age of thirty-six, Dot met and fell in love with Alexander James McCowan. They were married on 28 February 1924; the reception was held in the North Road house.