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Brighton Historical Society Brighton, Victoria

Since our founding in 1963, the Brighton Historical Society has been working to collect, preserve and share items and information connected to the history and heritage of Brighton, Victoria. We have an extensive and diverse collection, including photos, documents, maps, art, artefacts and a large costume collection of State significance.

Contact Information

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

Contact

Opening Hours

Our rooms are open to visitors and researchers on Thursdays from 12 noon to 5:00 pm, and at other times by appointment

Entry Fee

Entry is free. We undertake email and written research requests for a fee of $20 per hour which includes photocopying and postage

Location

First Floor Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

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The Brighton Historical Society has a large and diverse collection of material relating to the history of Brighton and the Bayside area, including documents, books, photos, artwork, artefacts and costume.

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191 items with images

191 items with images

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.

Jodhpurs - Jodphurs

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

This item is from the "Barone" Collection. "Barone" (also known as "Seaview") was a stately Brighton home built at 9 Moule Avenue prior to 1855 and demolished in 1986. The house's residents included Edward Elgin Browne (during 1859-72), a Melbourne tea merchant, and the family and descendants of retired Scottish Army captain Archibald Black (during the period 1880-1970). Its neighbors included “St Ninians” owned by the Ward- Cole family, “Seacombe” owned by the Moule family, and the home of James Grahame and his family. The items in the "Barone" collection were largely donated by two of the house's later owners, Mrs Doris Halkyard and Mrs Brian Brandt.

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

Swimsuit ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece swimsuit with navy blue and white horizontal stripes. Cropped top (.1) has inbuilt underwire bra and metal fastening at back. Shorts (.2) are high-waisted with longer legs. Matching top (.3) has diagonal navy and white stripes and an asymmetrical hem. Sleeveless with round neck. Velcro fastening on shoulder and side seam of shorter side. Labels inside bra and top.

Historical information

Polish-born designer David Waters first began producing swimwear in 1952. His mother Halina had recently opened a stall at Melbourne Queen Victoria Markets and was looking for swimsuits to sell; unable to find any she liked, she asked David to design something. He began making swimming costumes using his mother's sewing machine, in between his shifts working at a knitting factory. He had soon set up a small business in his parents' home, cutting patterns in one room while a machinist sewed them together in the next. His company, which he named Watersun, would become an iconic Australian swimwear label. During the early 1960s, Watersun developed its "Unquestionable Bra", an inbuilt moulded bra which was marketed as giving wearers a more natural bustline than other labels. The company was also known for its matching swimwear and beachwear, producing dresses, kaftans, tops and skirts in identical colours and prints to those used for many of its swimsuits. By 1967, the company was reportedly one of Australia's two biggest swimwear manufacturers, with over one hundred employees. Watersun was sold to Ada Productions in 1984 and was later acquired by Trackerjack Australasia. This swimsuit is believed to be one of a large quantity of samples, seconds and unsold Ada Productions stock donated to Brighton Historical Society in late 1990 by Brian Samuel, who worked at the company between 1979 and 1990.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra (.1), blue with yellow sunburst logo containing the word “Watersun” in red, above the text: “Unquestionable Bra / MADE IN AUSTRALIA / 34”. Label in side of bikini top (.1): “BRI NYLON” Label in back collar of top (.3): blue with yellow sunburst logo containing the word “Watersun” in red, above the text: “34”, with words “Unquestionable Bra” truncated. Appears to be a repurposed bra label.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream coloured raw silk dress. Lower part of skirt hand-embroidered with floral design. Black and white striped silk collar and placket at front opening with 17 black decorative buttons. Two rows of thick cording insetred into casings around waist area which control the gathering in the skirt.

Bag - Evening purse

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

French petit point tapestry bag featuring seven people in a bucolic scene, with trees and buildings in the background. Black border. Gold metal hinged opening with ornamental clasp and gold chain.

Historical information

This bag belonged to by Mrs Alice "May" Moss CBE (1869-1948), Australian suffragist, social welfare campaigner and longtime resident of 59 North Road, Brighton. Born Alice Frances Mabel Wilson in Ballarat, in 1887 May married Isidore Moss, the son of Norwood's builder Mark Moss. While her children were young, she began to campaign for the rights of women and served as vice-president of the Australian Women's National League in 1906-14, during which time she actively campaigned in Victoria for women's suffrage. She was an Australian delegate at the League of Nations Assembly at Geneva in 1927, where she was the first woman to sit on a finance committee. She attended the International Council of Women in Geneva in the same year and in 1928 was elected as vice president of the ICW, a position she held until her death. She was the first president of the National Council of Women of Australia, serving from 1931 to 1936. May was active in many other community organisations and causes, including the Royal Women's Hospital, the Collingwood Crèche and the Free Kindergarten movement. She served on the board of management of the City Newsboys' Society in 1906-48 and was the first woman lay-member of the National Health and Medical Research Council in 1936-45. She was also member of the International and Lyceum clubs, with an interest in the theatre, painting and woodcarving.

Earrings

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Six-sided bell-shaped silver screw-back earrings for non-pierced ears. Each of the six sides features a vine pattern with black inlays. Each earring has a hollow interior containing a small metal bead dangling on a chain, causing the earrings to jingle when the wearer moves.

Historical information

These earrings were given to Marlene Austin, nee Trenberth by members of the Thai Olympic delegation when she drove them around Melbourne during the 1956 Olympic Games. Marlene, who was living with her parents in Brighton at the time, took leave from her job as a stenographer to work as an official driver at the Olympics. She drove officials and dignitaries from a variety of nations (including Thailand, Italy, Cuba and Sweden) to and from events, collecting a number of souvenirs. Marlene's family have lived in Brighton since 1941, when her parents moved into a house at 15 Moffat Street. The house remained in the family for more than 75 years, before it was sold in 2018.

Swimsuit ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two-piece swimsuit with navy blue and white horizontal stripes. Cropped top (.1) has inbuilt underwire bra and metal fastening at back. Shorts (.2) are high-waisted with longer legs. Matching top (.3) has diagonal navy and white stripes and an asymmetrical hem. Sleeveless with round neck. Velcro fastening on shoulder and side seam of shorter side. No label.

Historical information

Polish-born designer David Waters first began producing swimwear in 1952. His mother Halina had recently opened a stall at Melbourne Queen Victoria Markets and was looking for swimsuits to sell; unable to find any she liked, she asked David to design something. He began making swimming costumes using his mother's sewing machine, in between his shifts working at a knitting factory. He had soon set up a small business in his parents' home, cutting patterns in one room while a machinist sewed them together in the next. His company, which he named Watersun, would become an iconic Australian swimwear label. During the early 1960s, Watersun developed its "Unquestionable Bra", an inbuilt moulded bra which was marketed as giving wearers a more natural bustline than other labels. The company was also known for its matching swimwear and beachwear, producing dresses, kaftans, tops and skirts in identical colours and prints to those used for many of its swimsuits. By 1967, the company was reportedly one of Australia's two biggest swimwear manufacturers, with over one hundred employees. Watersun was sold to Ada Productions in 1984 and was later acquired by Trackerjack Australasia. This swimsuit is believed to be one of a large quantity of samples, seconds and unsold Ada Productions stock donated to Brighton Historical Society in late 1990 by Brian Samuel, who worked at the company between 1979 and 1990.

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

Apron

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream linen embroidered half apron. White lace along hem, along with white embroidered initials, "T.P." Coloured floral and abstract embroidery along sides in red, black, blue and green.

Historical information

Three generations of women are represented in this apron. The linen used was woven by Olga's great-grandmother Efstathia in the late nineteenth century with flax grown on the island of Ithaca. Olga's mother Toula Raftopoulos added the whitework around 1908 at age 16 - the first piece of lacework she made on her own - and embroidered her initials on the front. Olga embellished the apron with coloured embroidery around 1950 at age 20. 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.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue one-piece swimsuit with waist tie and short finely pleated overskirt. Sleeveless with thin elasticised straps. Inbuilt padded underwire bra with label and pale pink ribbon rosette on centre gore. Fastens with back zip.

Historical information

This swimsuit belonged to Brighton local Joyce Fuller, nee Harries (1920-2018), who wore it at Dendy Beach in the 1950s. Ada of California was a Melbourne swimwear company founded in the early 1950s by Brighton locals Ada and Toni Murkies. Born in Poland in 1922, Ada was 17 when the Second World War reached her doorstep. She and her family were torn from their home by Soviet soldiers and sent to a brutal labour camp in Siberia as part of a series of mass deportations. In order to escape the horrific conditions of the camp, Ada and her sister Barbara joined the Soviet-backed Polish Army. During her time in the military she became close with a handsome young Jewish officer, Lieutenant Antoni Murkies, who later became her husband. After the war Toni was awarded 15 medals including the highest Polish military honour, the Virtuti Militari. Ada was awarded 10 medals, including the Order of the Cross of Grunwald. Emigrating to Australia as postwar refugees in 1948, Ada and Toni arrived in Melbourne with little to their name. Working initially in garment factories and building their connections, by the mid-1950s the couple were able to start a company of their own, with Ada designing the garments and Toni managing the business. Within ten years, Ada of California swimwear was being sold in department stores throughout Australia, and the Murkies family were able to build a permanent home of their own in Brighton. By the early 1980s they had acquired several other major labels, including Watersun. Visiting Brighton Historical Society in 2019, Ada recalled this particular swimsuit style to be a popular one, particularly with older women, as the cinched waist and pleated modesty skirt suited many body types. This was important to her, as she wanted women of all ages and sizes to look and feel good in her swimwear, and she devoted much time and attention to the fit and finish of the garments. When the company began introducing padded bras, such as the one in this swimsuit, Ada insisted on using lacy floral lining and a small ribbon rosette in the centre gore, to give women a sense of quality, femininity and care in construction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "Ada / OF CALIFORNIA / 38"

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.

Muff

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Romper suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Two piece boy's romper suit. Short-sleeved beige shirt with smocking on front is buttoned to mid-brown short pants with large mother-of-pearl buttons. Cream coloured contrast top stitching.

Dressing gown

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

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 (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.

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'.

Bodice

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black satin bodice, boned, with black faceted glass buttons down the front. High collar. Both collar and cuffs are edged with a black net ruffle. Two rows of seven black crochet-covered buttons at each cuff, fastening with loops. Stray brown threads poking through fabric around the collar, shoulders and back indicate that these areas may originally have featured lace embellishments.

Historical information

This bodice belonged to Mary Crombie, an early Victorian dentist, who lived in Brighton while she was studying at the Australian College of Dentistry in the mid-1900s, and later returned to the area in her retirement from 1949-1971. Mary Margaret Crombie (1884-1971) was born at Coan Downs Station near Walgett, northern New South Wales, where her father Henry was station manager. After Henry’s untimely death in 1895, Mary and her mother loved for a few years with family members in St Kilda, before moving into a cottage of their own, ‘Rosewood’, at 42 Asling Street, Brighton around 1899. From here, Mary attended Oberwyl Ladies College in St Kilda and later the Australian College of Dentistry, one of only a few women to study dental surgery at the time. She was apprenticed to Ada Tovell (1865-1932), one of Victoria’s first female dentists, who had her own practice in Collins Street. Mary graduated in 1907 and the following year moved with he mother to Yarram in South Gippsland, where she took over the running of a practice owned by Sale dentist Charles Trood, eventually purchasing it from him in 1915. Speaking to a Brighton newspaper in 1961, Mary said she believed that she was the first woman to start a dental practice in Gippsland. For some locals, this took a little getting used to: “Many were amazed, and had some misgivings, when they found that the local dentist was a woman,” she said. “I always remember a huge farmer (he was about 6 ft. 4 in.), who had fortified himself at the local hotel to face the ordeal of visiting the dentist. He almost turned and ran when he saw me. … He was still more amazed when I pulled out his tooth without undue trouble.” The farmer was the best advertisement she could have asked for, telling everybody about the diminutive lady dentist who had calmly extracted his tooth. Mary practiced in Yarram until her retirement in 1949. After selling her practice she returned to Brighton, where she spent the last two decades of her life residing at 25 Oak Grove. Following her death in 1971, her relatives in Brighton donated a number of items from her home to BHS.

Dress and vest - Dress and tunic vest

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Dress - Wedding dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream mini-dress of net and wool lace with textured floral pattern. High round neck and long sleeves, with small frill at collar, cuffs and hem. Satin lined, with a zip at the back.

Historical information

This wedding dress belonged to Barbara Stewart, nee Bellamy, who married Alexander Stewart at St Andrews Church in Brighton on 15 June 1968. The dress was made by 'Madam', a dress shop in Church Street. At the time of donation, Barbara had been a Brighton resident for 80 years.

Coat - Dustcoat

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Unlined dustcoat of beige cotton. Fastens centre front with three brown plastic buttons. Two large patch pockets. Separate cloth belt with metal buckle. Signs of wear and mending. .1 - coat .2 -belt

Historical information

Dust coat worn by Mr Frederick Alister Jennings when he managed a family grocery store circa 1948 at 510 Point Nepean Road, East Brighton. Frederick was born at Nagambie, Victoria in 1909 and died in Brighton in 1979. He was the son of Hugh Edwin Jennings and Alice Constance Warren. He married Margaret Jean Hughes in 1934 and served in the Second World War. He lived at 1 Valda Grove Brighton. Frederick was a commercial traveller as well as his time spent managing the store in Point Nepean Road. It is believed this coat dates from his time at the store c1948 - 1955. The store was owned for many years by his father-in-law W. G. Hughes and was one of a group of shops near the corner of Centre Road. In 1944-45 the group of shops included Fletcher’s fuel merchants, a haberdasher, butcher, fruiterer, grocer, Brighton East post office, a ladies’ hairdresser and Hughes’ grocer. In 1950 Hughes’ grocery store was between a service station and the Commercial Bank on what had been renamed Nepean Highway. The business was sold to G. S. Maynard, grocer, sometime before 1960.

Inscriptions & Markings

Garment label reads: APEX (RLG.) Dust Coat DEPT. MYER STORE for MEN. MELBOURNE & ADELAIDE

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pink short-sleeved one-piece swimsuit with silver lamé embellishment. Sweetheart neckline and low-cut back with metal zip. A black and gold swing tag is attached to one sleeve.

Historical information

Ada of California was a Melbourne swimwear company founded in the early 1950s by Brighton locals Ada and Toni Murkies. Born in Poland in 1922, Ada was 17 when the Second World War reached her doorstep. She and her family were torn from their home by Soviet soldiers and sent to a brutal labour camp in Siberia as part of a series of mass deportations. In order to escape the horrific conditions of the camp, Ada and her sister Barbara joined the Soviet-backed Polish Army. During her time in the military she became close with a handsome young Jewish officer, Lieutenant Antoni Murkies, who later became her husband. After the war Toni was awarded 15 medals including the highest Polish military honour, the Virtuti Militari. Ada was awarded 10 medals, including the Order of the Cross of Grunwald. Emigrating to Australia as postwar refugees in 1948, Ada and Toni arrived in Melbourne with little to their name. Working initially in garment factories and building their connections, by the mid-1950s the couple were able to start a company of their own, with Ada designing the garments and Toni managing the business. Within ten years, Ada of California swimwear was being sold in department stores throughout Australia, and the Murkies family were able to build a permanent home of their own in Brighton. By the early 1980s they had acquired several other major labels, including Watersun. This swimsuit is believed to be one of a large quantity of samples, seconds and unsold Ada Productions stock donated to Brighton Historical Society in late 1990 by Brian Samuel, who worked at the company between 1979 and 1990.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra: “Ada OF CALIFORNIA / MIRACULOUS s-t-r-e-t-c-h BRI-NYLON / 34” Swing tag, front: black with gold text and palm tree logo. “Ada / OF CALIFORNIA / ‘Limited Edition’”. Back: gold with black text. “‘Limited Edition’”. Interior: “Congratulations on your choice of ADA OF CALIFORNIA ‘Limited Edition” Swimsuit contoured for your discriminating taste. / Style 546 / Size 34 / Price £11.9.6”. Care instructions also included.

Shoes - Platform shoes

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pair of silver holographic platform open-toed shoes.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white: TIP toe

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 item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Diane Reidie was a much loved volunteer and President of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 until 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years. A vibrant and energetic person with a zest for life and a gift for people together, Di was a friend to many in the Bayside community and active in local community organisations. Her tireless work as President of BHS saw her named Bayside Citizen of the Year in 2008. As a seller and collector of vintage clothing, she was passionate about fashion history; one of her many enduring contributions to BHS was her extensive work in preserving, developing and promoting the Society's costume collection. In 2018-19, Di donated more than one hundred items from her personal vintage clothing collection to the Society. The collection, which includes clothing, hats, handbags and shoes from local and international designers, is representative of Di's wide-ranging interests, colourful personality, creativity, humour and love of fashion and travel. Di purchased this 1930s dress in 1983 to wear to her sister's Registry Office wedding in William Street, Melbourne. It was the first vintage clothing item she ever purchased and was the starting point of a lifelong love of collecting, preserving and promoting historical clothing. She subsequently wore the dress to a great number of events and considered it an important piece in her wardrobe.

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.

Shawl

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress - 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.

Flag - School flag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Large navy blue flag with horizontal maroon stripe at top and bottom, and school crest in centre. Stylised maroon "A" topped with yellow crown. Yellow scroll below with motto in navy blue letters: "AMOR.VINCIT.OMNIA".

Historical information

This flag was used by Rosbercon Girls Grammar School, which operated in Brighton from 1906 until 1941. The school was established in 1906 by the Tisdall family. The Tisdalls were a family of educators: Irish-born Henry Thomas Normanton Tisdall and his wife Lucy taught for many years at the Walhalla State School in Gippsland, along with Lucy's sisters Alice and Clara Weekes. Three of the Tisdall daughters, Ethel, Constance and Theodosia (Theo) followed their mother and aunts into the teaching profession. Constance in particular considered education her true calling and harboured a dream of one day being principal of her own school. After Henry's death in 1905, faced with financial uncertainty and several unmarried daughters to support, Lucy Tisdall decided to take a risk. She sold the family's Toorak home and, together with her sister Alice, leased 'Ashburnham', a large Victorian villa at 106 North Road, Brighton. The plan was to open a private school, with Ethel and Constance as co-principals and Lucy, Alice and Theo teaching and managing the household affairs. This came as a "joyful surprise" to Constance, who was only informed of the plan after it had been finalised. The school was named Rosbercon after Henry's home village in County Wexford, Ireland. The crest, designed by son Bert Tisdall around 1910, featured a crowned letter 'A' above the motto "amor vincit omnia" ("love conquers all"), both inspired by a verse in Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Prioress's Tale": "about her arm she bore/A paire of bedes gauded all in grene,/And theron heng a broche of gold full shene,/On which there was first writ a crowned 'A',/And after, Amor Vincit Omnia." It was a motto Constance held close to her heart, embodying her values as a teacher. Reflecting in 1961, she wrote, "In a school without punishments, a school with love and understanding between teacher and pupil - with a love of teaching on one side, and a desire to learn on the other, love would indeed conquer all." The school's opening day in 1906 proved less than auspicious, with no pupils arriving at all. The women persisted and by the end of the first week, five students had been enrolled. From here, the school grew steadily in size. A new schoolroom designed by architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear was built in the house's orchard to accommodate the increasing numbers, but by 1911 the Tisdalls began looking for larger premises. They leased the nearby property 'Hazeldean' at 124 North Road and, during the 1912 school holidays, the Desbrowe-Annear schoolroom was raised onto a lorry drawn by sixteen horses and moved down the road to what would become Rosbercon's new home. In 1923, Constance instituted a modified version of the Dalton Plan, an education model based on individualised learning. Girls in senior years were encouraged to work more independently, making regular use of the reference library and working to a monthly assignment schedule. The school performed well academically and in competitive sport, but over time was eclipsed by the nearby Firbank Church of England Girls' Grammar School (established 1909), whose institutional backing provided it with access to wider resources and facilities than those of the small family-run Rosbercon. At the end of 1933, Ethel and Theo retired and Constance became principal of St Anne's Church of England Girls' Grammar School (now Gippsland Grammar) in Sale. Rosbercon was sold to Miss Iris Hay, who served as principal from 1934 until the school's closure in 1941. Following her own retirement in 1947, Constance Tisdall settled in Erica Avenue, East Malvern, in a house named 'Rosbercon' after her former school. She continued teaching English literature, mostly to migrants, and enjoyed regular visits from former students. Well into the late 1960s, old Rosbercon girls continued a tradition of coming together for an annual reunion on the first Saturday in November, on which day Constance would fly the school flag at her home.

Outfit - Evening outfit - dress and jacket

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

"Mandamatilda", "Dry Clean Only, SSW