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Brighton Historical Society Brighton, Victoria

Brighton Historical Society was founded in March, 1963 for the purposes of forming a historical society in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton. Today the Society has about 200 members.

Contact Information

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

Contact

Opening Hours

The rooms are open to visitors & 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 Brighton Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

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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.

History
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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127 items with images

127 items with images

Sash

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Woven dark red sash with tassel.

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

"Barone" a modern inscription, appears to be in ball point pen.

Dress - Fancy dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A dress consisting of bodice and skirt. The bodice is made from beige silk with sprays of red and blue flowers and originally laced down the centre front with pink ribbon. The lower part of the bodice is modelled on a late 18th century polonaise design. The bodice is boned and features waist tapes. The elbow length sleeves are finished with beige hand made Maltese lace featuring Maltese crosses. The mid calf length skirt is made from pale pink silk which has been quilted and lined to create a stiffened form. Also with the dress is a piece of scrap floral fabric that is the same as the bodice fabric.

Historical information

This dress is a 'Dolly Varden' or 'shepherdess" style costume worn by Ida Burn (1890-1976) on a sea voyage to China accompanying her parents in 1911. The BHS has a photo of Ida wearing this dress when she was a guest at a dance for young people given by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne (possibly T. J. Davey). This party may have been held on the ship or it may have been a seperate event. This style dress was a popular choice for fancy dress in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The style is named after the character Dolly Varden in Charles Dickens, 'Barnaby Rudge' 1841. Around 1872, Dolly Varden-inspired costumes and paraphernalia were very a popular craze. Family information states that the silk for this dress was purchased by Ida and Marjorie's grandfather's sister (great aunt) in England circa 1840. The dress was donated by Marjorie Wallace (née Burn) (1901-1999), Ida's sister. Marjorie did not accompany the family to China, but stayed home with a governess. Marjorie lived in Brighton between 1923 and circa 1950 and attended Firbank Church of England Girls Grammar School. These records are from a conversation between a BHS representative and Marjorie Wallace in August 2002.

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

Dressing gown

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress - Day dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A grey-green circa 1878 dress comprising a matching jacket and skirt. The jacket features a standing collar that gathers to a low point at the throat. This point is concealed behind a bow with raw edges which may not be original. The centre front of the jacket has been secured with nineteen concealed metal hook and button holes. The centre front features fifteen sets of single fabric covered glass buttons secured in a diagonal pattern and appearing as double headed buttons. From the shoulder through the body the jacket is shaped with decorative panels with grey silk detail. Beside these panels shaping into the waist and under the arm are a further two pleats. On the left side waist is a small pocket with decorative flap, grey silk trim and button. The base line of the jacket features a decorative horizontal panel that wraps around the jacket. The sleeve head is small and sits on the natural shoulder line with a slim fitting, curved, full length sleeve. At the base of the sleeve, there is a decorative panel reminiscent of a formal cuff, with a decorative turn back and two buttons. Secured underneath this turn back is a bow like decoration. From the back the jacket features a V shaped decoration, an extension of the front two decorative panels. From the shoulders the jacket is shaped by four panels curving tight into the waist and flaring out again to fullness of the bustle. These seams are also finished with decorative binding. This peplum-like shape features two decorative flaps and six covered buttons. The skirt is shaped to the waist with pleats and secures on the front left hand side, the original waistband and fastenings have been replaced. The skirt front features a large decorative panel of the same fabric that curves from the front at approximately shin length, upwards towards the back securing underneath the bustle decoration. A second panel, plus a pleated panel finish the hem of the skirt continuing around to the back. At the back the skirt features two deep pleats with a large decorative bow that would sit out over the bustle. The skirt is long featuring a small train at the back. The dress is lined in a brown waxed cotton.

Historical information

This dress is of uncertain provenance. BHS records indicate that it was owned by Marion Jane Ellen Devlin, nee Stokes (1845-1936), who married Oliver Devlin on 2 April 1877 in Victoria. The dress is believed to have been worn on the Bendigo goldfields circa 1878. It may have been worn as a wedding dress. However, additional documentation discovered in August 2019 suggest that the dress belonged to Margaret Cocking, nee Carr (1850-1936), who married Gustavus Cocking in Bendigo in 1877.

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.

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sleeveless black cotton voile dress printed with large cream and apricot coloured roses. Dropped waist; bias-cut triangular draping applied to front neck; two horizontal bands of black voile inserted into skirt.

Historical information

Worn by Dame Marie Breen DBE OBE, Federal Senator for Victoria and Brighton resident. Marie Freda Breen (nee Chamberlin) was born on 3 November 1902, died 17 June 1993. Marie became the first female senator for Victoria in 1962. In 1959 she was appointed an Officer of the British Empire for her work in the role of State President of the National Council of Women (Victoria) and in 1979 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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'.

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A four piece outfit of blouse / cardigan, camisole, skirt and wrap. Double layered silk wrap, 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, V neck centre front button through cardigan with eleven silk covered buttons and loops. Feature patch pockets over front hip and full length sleeves. The neckline and sleeve edge feature copper coloured glass bead trim. 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

The purchase of this c.1997 ensemble was significant for Di Reidie, she considers it her first major purchase of this nature and she felt it appropriate to honour it with a suitable event to which to wear it. She decided to hold a "Titanic" themed party for friends at her home in 1998. The event included an eleven course meal prepared by Di, and "Titanic" themed decoration including a row boat in the back yard.

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. Easton Pearson was a prominent and celebrated Australian fashion label based in Brisbane, Queensland. The design duo of Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson, used significant hand crafts and cultural influences in their work between 1989 and 2016. The label won many awards as well as enjoying significant commercial success. In 1997 a feature film "Titanic" by James Cameron and starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo De Caprio was released and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. The film won 11 Academy awards of its 14 nominations. The film relates a fictional story based upon the true events of the tragic sinking of the "unsinkable" ship "Titanic" on her maiden voyage from England to America in 1912, after striking an iceberg and fatally rupturing the hull.

Inscriptions & Markings

manufacturers label "Oh, Easton Pearson", "Pure Silk", "Polyester Rayon", Care label, "M"

Cloak

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Orange bouclé wool coat woven with velvet stripes; brown fur collar and deep hem.

Gloves

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A pair of ivory kid ladies' gloves secured at the wrist with a metal catch. Circa 1853.

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.

Inscriptions & Markings

Modern inscription on the inside of the glove: "'Barone', worn at Hastings E (presumably England), 1853."

Rug - Possum skin rug

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

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.

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

-

Pant suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pant suit comprising tunic and flared pants made from cream, yellow and gold lurex woven in a floral pattern. Tunic has a pair of non-functional pocket flaps at breast and two finctional pockets at front hip area. Tunic fastens with a centre back zip. Tunic lined with shell pink poyester satin; pants unlined.

Historical information

This pant suit 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. Stell-Ricks was the label of Melbourne fashion designer Stella Dare.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label woven white on black acetate centre back tunic: Stell-Ricks / OF MELBOURNE / SUITS TOPCOATS

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.

Hat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Woven turquoise silk taffeta turban style ladies hat with half bow, circa 1960s. White mesh interior with teal grosgrain binding, thin black elastic band.

Historical information

This hat belonged to Mrs Mayra Rasmussen, who lived at 389 St Kilda Street, Brighton for over 50 years with her husband Rae Rasmussen, a bank manager with the State Bank of Victoria. The Mooney sisters, Nell and Ida, were situated beside the Regent Theatre in Collins Street, Melbourne and were well respected milliners and dressmakers. The hat's style is typical of the 1960s.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white: MISSES MOONEY / OF MELBOURNE

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.

Scarf - Victory scarf

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Cloak

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress - 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

Coral pink silk parasol with black lace overlay. A lace design is painted in black on the end of the polished wooden handle.

Historical information

The donor, Mrs Verona Cresswell, was given the parasol in 1941 by a friend, Mrs Teppa, who had purchased it many years earlier in Paris. It was part as an outfit worn to the Melbourne Cup in the 1940s.

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.

Bag - Bag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

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

Dress - Cocktail dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Significance

Di Reidie was a volunteer and president of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 - 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family have lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years and been active community members. During her time at BHS, Di has contributed significantly to the establishment, preservation and promotion of the Costume collection as well as the Brighton Historical society as a whole. Di was also a vintage clothing dealer and amassed her own significant costume and ephemera collection. Teena Varigos was a long running Melbourne based Australian fashion label specialising in after five, cocktail, party and race wear. "Dame Edna" is the most popular and well known alter ego of prominent Australian comic Barry Humphries. The character of "Dame Edna" parodies Humphries perception of an Australian snobbish suburban "house wife". The character is known for its extreme "Australiana" and absurd costuming, acerbic wit and biting accuracy.

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Dress

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.

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.

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