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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

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'.

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 - 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.

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.

Dress and shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Floral cotton dress with matching belt and shoes. Sleeveless polished cotton cream dress with large red, pink and brown rose print. Heavily ruched front. The skirt has an in-built crinoline structure made with thick Vielene lining and corded hoops. Separate belt with bow at centre front. Shoes made to match by 'Suzette' in their original box. .1- dress .2 - belt .3 a-b - pair of shoes .4 a-b - shoe box and lid

Historical information

Brighton local Margaret Cooke (nee Parish) had this dress made for the Miss Summer Festival competition fundraiser. The idea for the dress came from a photograph in the Womens' Weekly. A professional dressmaker cut and made the dress. It has an 18" waist. There is a black and white photocopy on file of the dress being worn at the time.

Inscriptions & Markings

Shoes - Label, printed in gold on white leather in sock: Suzette / Styled in / NEW YORK-PARIS-ST. LOUIS

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Beige taffeta silk dress with fine black woven stripe. Olive coloured bias satin trim and vandyked horizontal panels down front of the dress. The dress has a train.

Shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pair of flat black kid leather indoor shoes decorated with pale blue silk, cut-away applique and embroidery.

Historical information

These shoes were worn by Emily Cock (nee Smith), the daughter of wealthy early settler John Matthew Smith. From 1856 until 1931 the Smiths lived at 'Castlefield', a mansion on a vast estate that at one time stretched along South Road from Bluff Road to Hampton Street. The land was gradually subdivided, and the house is now a part of Haileybury College.

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

Waistcoat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black velvet waistcoat, decorated with silver cornelli work. Pale blue cotton lining. Fastens with hooks and eyes.

Historical information

This waistcoat belonged to Olga Black, a long-time Brighton resident. Part of a Greek national costume, it was designed by Olga in the 1950s, with the silver cornelli work completed by a Collins Street workshop. 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.

Coat - Water rat fur coat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Three-quarter length brown fur coat made of Australian water-rat (rakali) pelts. Wide shawl collar and cuffs. Fastens centre front with two large hooks and eyes. Lined with chocolate brown silk satin.

Historical information

This coat belonged to Audrey Pickett (nee Heriot) who was married to Ted Pickett. Later in life, after Ted died, Audrey married Don North. The coat was exhibited in the window of F. J. Ellemor's store in the Royal Arcade.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven brown on beige silk, centre back neck: created by / F. J. Ellemor / FURRIERS / MELBOURNE

Outfit - Three-piece woman's outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Jacket

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black polyester leather look jacket with black polyester lining. The jacket features a centre front opening secured by six black press studs, two bust height flap pockets with press studs, and collar. Full length sleeves with band and black press stud closure. The jacket features diamanté decorative finish along the collar and shoulder placket.

Historical information

Olivia Newton John black faux-leather jacket – purchased by Di’s husband at a charity fundraiser for the Austin Health Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre Appeal in 2004 for approximately $1000. Donated by Olivia Newton John from her wardrobe and since worn by both Di and her daughter Kathryn. The nature of this jacket being made of faux leather and post manufacture addition of glued on diamanté's would indicate this jacket was part of a stage costume rather than personal wardrobe of Olivia Newton John.

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. Olivia Newton John is a well known English born, Australian actress, singer, business woman and philanthropist. Newton John has had a long and esteemed career however remains best known for her starring role in the 1978 classic film GREASE opposite John Travolta. She also enjoyed considerable commercial music success with the 1981 pop song "Physical" a cult classic. Newton John opened store "Koala Blue" which sold Australian goods in the USA. Newton John has endured significant cancer related health issues and has engaged in significant public awareness and philanthropic support of cancer prevention and treatment in Australia.

Inscriptions & Markings

"IMMAGINE, Made in Italy" "40" "Made in Italy, Fabrique en Italie, 100% Polyiestere, Polyestere, Polyester, Polyester" Personal signature of Olivia Newton John in fine silver pen, "Love Olivia Newton John, 04".

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."

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 - 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"

Evening outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Evening outfit comprising magenta feathered cape, full-length black velvet dress and a spray of silk flowers. Hem of dress lined with magenta and yellow silk. .1 - cape .2 - dress .3 - floral spray

Historical information

This evening outfit was made and worn by Bertha Frances Dudfield (nee Bruere, 1892-1982). Bertha was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1892, one of twelve surviving children. Her family migrated to Australia, living first in St Kilda before building the house 'Avon' at 42 Bay Street, Brighton, where Bertha lived with her husband Ambrose Reginald Dudfield until 1975.

Hat - Headdress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

A lace head dress belonging to the women of the family of George Ward Cole’s in the late 1800s. George Ward Cole was an early member of the Victorian Parliament and the family featured prominently in Melbourne Society in their time. They established a substantial home known as “St Ninians” at 10 Miller Street in 1841. The family reportedly entertained Melbourne’s first Royal visitor the Duke Of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s second son, at St Ninians in 1867. In later years St Ninians was subsequently subdivided and later demolished.

Inscriptions & Markings

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

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.

Tile - Ceramic tile from Norwood (house)

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A square Wedgwood ceramic tile which is multi-coloured. The colours are brown, green, pink and orange. The tile is embossed with vines and flowers. The centre square features the head and shoulders image of a man. Norwood, the house where the tile was used was built around 1890.

Historical information

This tile came from Norwood, the house which stood at 100 The Esplanade, Brighton. The house was built around 1890 and demolished in 1955. Before the house was demolished many of the items were sold by auction.

Inscriptions & Markings

On back of tile: "n 118 / Josiah Wedgwood & Sons / Etruria / Patent / Impressed tile"

Dress - Visiting dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

A black and mint green wool, velvet, lace and silk dress from circa 1882. The bodice features a wired, standing collar, finishing just under the chin and open at the front of the throat. On either side at the front of the throat it features long black lace ties with black jet bead fringe. The centre front of the dress from the neckline to the base of the skirt features an insert panel of mint green corded silk. The silk is gathered and the neckline and waist and overlaid a panel of gathered lacy net. Inserted into the seam at either side of this panel at the waist are two velvet ties. The dress secures closed with eight black buttons and one hook and eye down the right side of the mint panel to mid thigh. The edges of the collar and black front panels are finished with a looped ribbon trim. The remainder of the dress is made of a black wool fabric woven a checkered pattern of larger and looser threads and smaller and tighter threads creating a seersucker like pattern. The bodice features a natural shoulder line and an Amadis sleeve of full cut gathered to the bodice at the shoulder and finishing at the elbow with a large black lace flounce. The front panels of the dress are flat and shaped neatly to the body from neck to hip line and gently out to create the Victorian silhouette. On the back of each shoulder the dress features a leaf like, small jet beaded embellishment with multiple long loops of jet beads falling down the back to the waist. Underneath this embellishment is a pleated black ribbon that runs from the shoulder to the back of the pelvis. Over the pelvis are another two jet beaded embellishments of a floral design with two tassels. The skirt is full and pleated in under this embellishment and fulls to the floor with a small train. The base of the dress is finished with a ruched band of the main dress fabric.

Historical information

This gown, one of two similar items in the collection, belonged to one of the daughters of George Ward Cole, Miss Margaret Morison Ward Cole or Miss Agnes Bruce 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.

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

These novelty car print "Howard Showers" pants were worn by Di Reidie to many car rally events in Victoria, Australia and USA between 1990 and 2010. Di would perform the role of navigator in a team with her husband at these events.

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 choice of the wearing of these pants to these events is indicative of Di's 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.

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 - 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.

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

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

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"

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Red, white and black cotton halter neck dress with rows of pin tucking on the bodice and applied horizontal strips of red and black cotton and black lace to the skirt.

Historical information

Mary Owen OAM (1921-2017) purchased this dress in 1975 in Mexico while attending the first International Women's Conference and wore it to the reception there. A dedicated feminist, unionist and activist, she was a vocal campaigner for the empowerment of women, particularly in the fight for equal pay. Mary's involvement in activism began in 1966 when she joined the staff of the Association of Architects, Engineers & Draughtsmen (AAESDA), where she was responsible for advertising, layout and proofreading editorial for its journal 'Blueprint'. Her contact with the union awoke an interest in women's rights in the workplace, and in 1969 after she joined Dr Bertram Wainer's Progressive Reform Party, which advocated for legalised abortion. She joined the Women's Electoral Lobby in 1972 and remained an active member for over forty-three years, representing the WEL on many government committees. She was a founding co-coordinator of the Working Women's Centre Melbourne from 1975 until 1986, a founding member of EMILY's List Australia, an early member of the Melbourne Press Club and an early supporter of the Australian Women's Archives Project. An annual Mary Owen Dinner was held in her honour for twenty years from 1986 until 2007, which brought together hundreds of women each year. Mary was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Australia Medal in 1984. She was added to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2001.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white acetate, centre back: Disenado con carino por / GEORGIA CHARUHAS / HECHO / EN MEXICO Label, woven black on white acetate, centre back: Gerorgia's / BOUTIQUE LAS MARIPOSAS / Designer: / Georgia Charuhas / MERIDA YUCATAN, MEXICO

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

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.