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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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134 items with images

134 items with images

Sash

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream coloured Miss Young Liberal sash printed in metallic gold and with gold-coloured fringing at either end.

Historical information

Donated by Brighton resident and journalist Janifer Price.

Inscriptions & Markings

Printed, metallic gold on white acetate: Miss / YOUNG LIBERAL / 1966

Parasol

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Beige silk parasol printed with bold zig-zag design in brown, orange, yellow and turquoise. Metal spokes tipped with white bakelite. Wooden handle decorated with pokerwork design painted red. Wooden ball covered in silk thread and twisted cotton cord hanging from handle.

Inscriptions & Markings

Cast in metal spokes: THE ARMSTRONG REGD BRITISH MAKE Woven label, blue on white cotton attached to spoken: Perfection

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Ivory satin dress with train overlaid with machine made lace. High, gathered neckline, leg-of-mutton sleeves, In-built padded hip rolls. Front of dress is decorated with wax flowers.

Historical information

Worn by Edna Emily Seehusen (1916-2005) when she married William Alexander McQuilten (1911-2010) in September 1947 at Brighton Congregational Chruch, Black Street, Brighton.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven pink on cream silk, centre back neck: A / Dorothy Draper / Original / EXCLUSIVE TO / BALL & WELCH LTD. / MELBOURNE

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

Worn by Matilda Kinross Herd when she married George William Mitchell McDonald in Geelong in 1892.

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Significance

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Riding habit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

An English-made “Busvine” black wool herringbone twill riding habit comprising jacket and safety skirt, (jodhpurs missing) from late 1800’s to early 1900’s. The jacket features a black short pile silk velvet inset notched lapel collar secured with a single button at the apex of the waist and a single button near the collar for use in inclement weather. The sleeves join the bodice high on the shoulder with a full cut head to the sleeve and a tapered curved shape to the hand. The sleeve secures at the wrist with four black buttons. From the waist the jacket flares over the hip through princess line shaping and finishes with a curved front on either side. The seams of the shaping panels intersect single functional flapped besom pockets on either front panel. The back of the jacket features a centre back seam and two princess-line shaping seams that finish in a double vent on either side of the centre back. The jacket length would have finished approximately just below the bottom of the wearer. The apron fronted safety skirt secures from the waist at the front of the left thigh with five buttons. Over the wearers, right leg the skirt shapes to accommodate the rider’s right knee whilst sitting sidesaddle with her legs on the horses left flank. The base of the skirt has an elastic strap, which hooks around the rider’s leg to reduce the danger of the rider’s skirt become tangled, should the rider become un-seated. When the riders is not mounted the skirt can be secured with a button around the body to provide additional modesty as well as assist walking without the skirt dragging on the ground.

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 one of the house's later owners, Mrs B. Brandt.

Inscriptions & Markings

Jacket: Manufacturer's label “Busvine, By serial appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, 4 Brook Street W.” Owner label “Doreen Wright” this label appears far more modern than the manufacturers label. Skirt: Manufacture's label: “J. Busvine and Co, 4 Brook Street, London W." In handwriting “Miss Wingfield” Manufacturers label: Busvines Patent Safety Skirt, protected by two separate patents. 4 Brooks St London West.

Dress - Child's dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

White cotton cutwork child's dress, hand stitched. Back opening with drawstring neck and waist.

Vest

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Fairisle patterned hand-knitted vest in beige, brown, yellow, green and red.

Historical information

Knitted by the donor's grandmother, Elsie Hone. Knitted using bicycle spokes as knitting needles. Elsie Hone (nee Stone) was born in 1890 and died in 1987. She had six children and she apparently knitted this vest for her second son (fifth child), Albert George Hone (b.1914) for his 18th birthday. Albert and his wife Grace had four daughters between 1942 and 1951. The donor's mother, Ina Harriet Nilsson, was born in 1925 (fourth daughter, sixth child of Elsie) and as she had a son, the donor's uncle George (Albert?) passed it on to her. Both the donor's elder brothers wore and out-grew the vest and eventually it was passed on to the donor, Ray Nilsson. The vest was worn for many years while the donor worked at VACC Insurance Co Ltd in St Kilda Road, Melbourne and in the North Sydney, Canberra and Dandenong offices and it was a talking point as he recalled the story. (Information provided by the donor)

Evening outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Silver, blue and green knitted lurex evening outfit comprising maxi dress and short blue lurex jacket with short sleeves. Sleeveless high-necked dress with bold seaweed design. Fastens centre back with long metal zip. Jacket and dress fully lined with dark blue lining.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white acetate centre back jacket: Tricó / ROMA

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.

Shawl

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Large blue silk shawl with reversible woven metallic thread floral pattern and deep fringing.

Historical information

Worn by Rose Caplan who was the donor, Ida Gouttman's mother. Anne Gouttman was married to Ida's son Rodney. Anne and her mother, Maria Frisch, emigrated to Australia in 1948 after surviving the Holocaust. Anne had been hidden throughout the war by a Polish family. At the end of the war Anne was reunited with her mother, who had survived a number of concentration camps. There are a number of items belonging to Maria Frisch also in the collection.

Doll - Bead doll

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Handmade painted wooden bead doll representing a sailor. Cream coloured body and limbs and pink head. The body is made from one long oval bead and the limbs from small round beads.

Historical information

Made by the cousin of Brighton local Olga Black. The cousin gave her the doll in 1937, when Olga was around seven years old. 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.

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn white purple, pink, green, blue and yellow floral silk chiffon dress from circa 1870. The dress consists of two pieces worn together as a dress. This dress has received a great deal of mending and alteration and so it is difficult to be sure of what constitutes its original state. The following description is of its current state. The bodice has a high neck with a simple shallow band collar, an olive braid and a press stud closure. The bodice fastens down the centre front with ten hook and eyes closures and two sets of ribbon ties . The bodice has three darts providing shaping into the waistline. The bodice finishes at the waist and gently tapers towards the front creating a 'V' line. Down the centre front from the neck to the waist concealing the bodice opening is a pressed pleated ruffle of the dress fabric and a line of olive braid. The dress features pagoda sleeves finished at the hem with pressed pleated ruffle of the dress fabric, a line of olive braid and a silk fringe of 4 cm pale pink and white. The skirt part of the bodice section attaches to the front of the dress with two hooks and eyes on the left hand side of the waist. The fabric drops down to approximately the knees at the front, curving up and splitting on either side over the hip. The edge of this piece is also trimmed with a pressed pleated ruffle of the dress fabric and a line of olive braid. Just below the hip on either side is a large bow of pink, cream, purple and green taffeta. The bodice at the back is shaped with four panels into the waistline. Where it joins the bodice skirt the skirt is pleated, creating fullness. The skirt of the dress ensemble secures at the waist on the left hand side. At the front it has two pleats (that may have been repositioned during repair), and is fully gathered at the back. At the front the dress falls to the floor whilst at the back it is longer to accommodate the bustle and possibly a small 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, both this dress and the dress T0004.3 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 the dress T0004.3 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. However, it is unlikely that either of the girls wore this dress at the ball due to the size and styling of the dress. It is likely that the dress belonged to one of the girls, but was worn at a later date. 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.

Muff

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A hand sewn dark blue silk velvet muff, circa late 1800s. This cylindrical muff features a central lightly padded area for the hands with the sides extending un-padded a further five centimeters. A six centimeter black grosgrain and satin ribbon decorates the front. Attached from the wearers right at the edge of the padded area and falling diagonally to the left edge of the padded area, where it finishes in a decorative bow.

Historical information

A hand muff 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.

Evening outfit - Evening dress and bag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black full-length crepe evening dress with bronze-coloured sequins on bodice; asymmetric neckline and draping. Matching black reticule with sequins.

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.

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.

Bag and coin purse

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Woven cane oval bag with small spherical metal feet and leather handles. Hinges open at top. Inside there is a separate small brown leather coin purse with metal clasp.

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.

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.

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A one-piece princess line dress, circa 1878-188,2 of deep royal blue silk featuring Chinese-inspired self pattern. The neckline features a standing collar and is secured through the centre front from neck to floor with self covered buttons. At the front knee the fabric has been gathered and drawn to the back into a tiered fish-tail swag and trimmed with a matching blue knotted fringe. The swagging is created by interior tapes. The dress is backed with cream cotton.

Historical information

The donation records indicate that this dress was worn by Georgiana Elizabeth Moore (1899-1974), who lived for most of her life in Brighton at 38 and later 40 Cochrane Street. Since the dress is of an earlier date, It is likely that it belonged to Georgiana's mother, Elizabeth Moore (1860-1950). Georgiana was born to Richard and Elizabeth Moore in Brighton in 1899. She was named after Richard's first wife, Georgiana Leake Moore (nee Paul), who had died in 1893 aged only 38. Georgiana is recorded as having been "tall with red hair". The family moved to Diamond Creek for several years, but returned to Brighton after Richard's death in 1922. Georgiana and her mother settled in Cochrane Street, where they lived for the rest of their lives. We know very little about Georgiana herself. Newspaper records indicate that she was a talented musician, graduating from the University of Melbourne with a diploma in music in 1927. BHS holds a small collection of items belonging to the Moore family. This dress was donated by Georgiana's niece, Jeannette Fraser, along with two nightgowns: a c. 1880 night dress believed to have been worn by Elizabeth and a c. 1910 night dress believed to have been worn by Georgiana's sister Amelia Henrietta Fraser (née Moore) while boarding at Merton Hall (this nightdress does also show a laundry mark of G.E. Moore and so may have been worn by both women). Georgiana herself donated a number of items to the Society in 1972, including a 1920s black and white geometric loom-beaded handbag.

Significance

A good example of a princess line dress of this period in good condition and with provenance.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

c1930s black cotton filet net dress with white cotton embroidered flowers. The dress fastens centre front with three hook and eyes, eleven black silk covered buttons and finished with black acetate ribbon band pussy bow at the neck , is slim fitting and finishes at approximately knee length. The head of the sleeve is gathered with a small shoulder band and finishes above the elbow with a black silk band.

Historical information

This c1930s dress was purchased in 1983 by Di Reidie to wear to her sister's Registry Office wedding in William Street, Melbourne. The dress has been subsequently worn to a great number of occasions and was an important piece in Di's wardrobe.

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. This c1930s dress was the first vintage clothing item purchased and worn by Di Reidie and was the starting point of a lifelong relationship with the preservation and promotion of historic clothing.

Inscriptions & Markings

-

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.

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 has had three owners, documented by letters as it was passed between Reynolds family members as a family heirloom, before being donated to the Brighton Historical Society in 2007. The donors also provided three letters, written between family members as the dress was passed from generation to generation. These letters paint a picture of the significance of this dress within this family and its journey from England to Australia. The letters also offer gentle advice as to how to dress one's hair and accessorise appropriately with this dress. One of the letters states that the dress was made in England circa 1820. However, the dress style appears more indicative of the late 1820s.

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.

Shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dark brown leather shoes with Louis heel. Vamp and strap are decorated with cut metal beads. Strap secured with one boot button and button hole.

Historical information

J.T. Morris was a shoe store located at 306 Sturt Street, Ballarat.

Inscriptions & Markings

Made in Austria for / J. T. MORRIS / 306 Sturt Street / BALLARAT

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Four-piece wedding outfit comprising bodice, belt, skirt and separate train all made of cream figured wool. The bodice has a centre front ruched panel, stand collar and a fitted two-piece sleeve with full gathered head. It is trimmed with cream-coloured beading with pearl drops. The bodice has seven interior bones and is fastened with metal hooks and hand sewn eyelets which are concealed under the front panel. A separate pleated belt fastens centre back. Plain gored skirt with separate train that ties around the waist.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

White cotton high-waisted maxi dress printed with black spots and trimmed with red rickrack. Elbow length sleeves. Fastens with centre back zip.

Historical information

This dress 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: JILLIAN / OF / MELBOURNE

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Ice-blue satin dress cut on the bias. The front of the dress features a finely beaded centre front panel which reaches from the neckline to the hem.

Historical information

Worn by Betty Cock when she married Euston Murray Nutchey at St Andrew's Church, Brighton, on 28 April 1938. The bride's great-grandmother, Emily Cock (nee Smith), was married in the same church 69 years earlier. The was dress featured in the Australian Women's Weekly on 16 June 1965. Emily's dress is also in the collection.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven mauve on beige silk, centre back: Beatrice Cook