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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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211 items

211 items

Outfit - Evening outfit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

An evening outfit consisting of a matching dress, stole, bag and gloves. Sleeveless one-shoulder evening dress of blue velvet shot with metallic red. The dress is gathered at the proper left front waist and is lined with red synthetic fabric. Fastens with a zip and hook at the side. Stole of blue velvet shot with metallic red, lined with red synthetic fabric. Handbag made from blue velvet shot with metallic red. The bag has a gold metal frame and clasp, with a shot gold metal chain attached. The interior is red synthetic fabric, with a single side pocket. Elbow-length red nylon evening globes.

Historical information

Growing up in Sandringham, Joy Bosomworth learned to sew at the knee of her mother Elsie Myra Keefer, a seamstress. By the time she was an adult, she was making most of her own clothes. She made this shot velvet evening dress, along with a matching stole and bag, in 1961 to wear to a ball at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she worked as a radiographer.

Top and pants ensemble - Halter top and palazzo pants ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Emerald green print midlength shift dress, sleeveless, with high neckline and high waist. Back zip. Hem has been let out, having been altered multiple times during the 1960s. Label reads "Oggi of Collins Street".

Historical information

This dress belonged to Meredith Lenné, a lifelong Brighton resident. She bought it around 1965-66 at Oggi, a fashion boutique at the "Paris End" of Collins Street, while she was working at the Royal Children's Hospital as an occupational therapist. It was her 'good' dress, worn to dinner parties, balls and lunches throughout the 1960s. The hem was taken up and adjusted several times as the fashion moved towards shorter skirts.

Stole - Mink fur stole

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Fur stole consisting of two black mink pelts with heads at one end and tails at the other. Heads contain plastic eyes and noses. Black satin lining. Decorative front fastening consisting of a fabric-covered chain secured to a clip at one side and a hook fastening at the other.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "FURRIERS / Buckley & Nunn LTD/ MELBOURNE".

Cape - Fur capelet

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Plush fur collar with structured shoulders, featuring variegated colouring ranging from reddish brown to cream to white. Cream lining. Concealed hook and eye clasp at front.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in centre back interior, white text on black: "Manton's / MELBOURNE"

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.

Flag - School flag

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Long-sleeved black velvet dress with shallow v-neck and self-covered belt. Smocked at shoulders and either side of waist. Floral embroidery around neck, cuffs and above smocking at waist.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Katherine Blair, a longtime resident of Brighton. Katherine Fennell Blair was born in April 1929 in Benalla to magistrate Douglas Granville Blair (1893-1976) and his wife Isabell Nora (“Billie”) Blair, nee McNamara (1895-1989). Katherine was a child when the family moved to Brighton, where she attended St Joan of Arc Catholic Primary School and Star of the Sea College. After school, Katherine worked as a secretary and PA for various companies in the Melbourne CBD. Following a working holiday in the UK in 1959-61, she returned to Brighton, living first with her parents at 14 Kilrush Street and later in Burrows Street. An active part of the local community, Katherine was a member of the Brighton Red Cross, Brighton Probus Club and the St Joan of Arc Catholic parish and choir.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Mid-length velvet and chiffon dress with shallow v-neck. Velvet features a geometric pattern in purple, maroon, gold and green. Skirt is slashed at front and back with dark purple chiffon. Long dark purple chiffon sleeves with velvet cuffs.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Brighton resident Isabell Nora "Billie" Blair, nee McNamara (1895-1989). Born in Mirboo North, Billie lost her mother Catherine at a young age in 1898 and was raised mostly by Catherine's sister, Isabell Frances Vallender. She married magistrate Douglas Granville Blair (1893-1976) in 1926. The couple lived first in Benalla, where their daughter Katherine Blair was born, before moving to Brighton, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Navy cotton/nylon terrycloth one-piece swimsuit with inbuilt bra. V-neck, with oversized white plastic zip from neckline to navel.

Historical information

This swimsuit belonged to Audrey May Ferguson (nee Fulton), a longtime Brighton resident. Jantzen was founded 1916 in Portland, Oregon. The brand's "Diving Girl" logo - featuring a woman in a red bathing one-piece and cap in mid-dive - became famous throughout the world in the early twentieth century.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "Miss Jantzen / 16 / MADE IN AUSTRALIA"

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black one-piece rayon and cotton swimsuit. Straps button at back. Asymmetrical zig-zag front with double-line of white stitching, embellished by a large cream button.

Historical information

This swimsuit belonged to Audrey May Ferguson (nee Fulton), a longtime Brighton resident. 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.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, white with green palm tree logo and red text: "Ada / OF CALIFORNIA" Label, white with red text: "61% RAYON, 10% RUBBER, 29% COTTON 36"

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue backless one-piece swimsuit with ruching up sides and front. Halter neck. Straps loop down over hooks at the back.

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 side: "ada / 12"

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black one-piece swimsuit with deep v-neck and low-cut back and high-cut legs. Halter neck. Ruched sides.

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 side: "ada / 16"

Top and pants ensemble - Crop top and pants ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Ensemble consisting of sleeveless crop top (.1) and full length pants (.2). Bold floral print features blue and white flowers on a navy blue background. Top has a white Peter Pan collar. Swing tag attached.

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 piece 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

Swing tag: "SIZE 34 / STYLE 186/11 / PRICE $13.00".

Swimsuit ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra, blue with yellow sunburst logo containing the word “Watersun” in red, above the text: “32 / Unquestionable Bra”.

Swimsuit ensemble - Pool party ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Gold lurex one-piece swimsuit (.1) with v-neck and built-in bra. Matching floor-length gold cape (.2) with high collar and yellow lining. Fastens at collar with hook.

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, blue text on white: “Watersun / SIZE 10 / BUST 32 / Made in Australia”

Swimsuit ensemble - Pool party ensemble

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pool party ensemble consisting of a swimsuit (.1) and robe dress (.2), both black with silver trim. Dress has a crossover front, fastening at side waist, with v-neck at front and plunging back. Swimsuit has a v-neck, with silver trim extending forming an X-shape across the body.

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 (identical in both items), blue text on white: “Watersun / SIZE 10 / BUST 32 / Made in Australia”

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Silver lamé swimsuit featuring delicate brocade embellishment, an inbuilt underwire bra, a zippered back and elasticised edging on the legs and back.

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra, blue with gold crown logo and text: “MARINA COUTURE / 32”.

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.

Swimsuit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Blue and white gingham one-piece swimsuit. Short overskirt. Two rows of white cutwork lace form a frill along neckline and down either side of back straps, which fasten with buttons. Inbuilt bra with label: "Miss Watersun", size T14.

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

Label in bra, blue with yellow sunburst logo containing the words “Miss Watersun” in red, above the text: “T14”

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.

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.

Skirt - Child's crinoline skirt

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pale yellow silk half-hoop skirt with cotton lining. Layered skirt with ruched top layer.

Historical information

This child's crinoline skirt was donated in 1974 by Mrs Ella Kohn of Were Street, a life member of the Society. According to then-BHS Secretary Rosalind Landells, the skirt was originally made the fit a girl aged 10-12, but had been modified to add length. Mrs Landells reported that Society members had restored the skirt to the original length and that it would be worn at a costume parade at the Southern Cross on 27 March 1974 by Carolyn Scott.

Cover - Cushion cover

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pale pink satin cushion cover with pale blue fringe. Embroidered with the words "Souvenir From Egypt / Cairo / 1915", above the image of a crown flanked by crossed Australian and French flags. Below this is embroidered two pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, bordered by flowers, with a red bow at the bottom.

Historical information

Items such as this cushion covers were purchased by Australian men and women serving during the First World War as souvenirs of their travels and gifts for their loved ones at home. BHS records indicate that this cushion cover belonged to Mary Crombie, an early Victorian dentist who lived in Brighton while she was studying at the Australian College of Dentistry in the mid-1900s, and later returned to the area in her retirement from 1949-1971. It is likely it was given to her as a gift by a friend of family member who served in Egypt.

Inscriptions & Markings

Written in blue pen on reverse side: "Memento of World War I / from Mary Crombie".

Cover - Cushion cover

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black velvet cushion cover featuring the embroidered image of a white and yellow dove bearing a draped French flag, alongside a spray of red and pink flowers. Embroidered in pale yellow are the words "Souvenir de Salonigue / 1916".

Historical information

Items such as this cushion covers were purchased by Australian men and women serving during the First World War as souvenirs of their travels and gifts for their loved ones at home. The allies established a base at Thessaloniki in 1915. BHS records indicate that this cushion cover was among a collection of items received from the Harkaway studio of Brighton-born artist Jessie Traill following her death in 1967. During the First World War, Jessie served for three and a half years in hospitals in England and France with the Voluntary Aid Detachment. As she did not serve in Thessaloniki, where this item was made, it is unlikely she purchased it herself, but may have received it as a gift.

Cover - Cushion cover

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Black velvet cushion cover featuring the embroidered image of a white and yellow dove bearing red, white and blue ribbons along with red and pink flowers. Embroidered in pale yellow are the words "Souvenir de Salonigue / 1916".

Historical information

Items such as this cushion covers were purchased by Australian men and women serving during the First World War as souvenirs of their travels and gifts for their loved ones at home. The allies established a base at Thessaloniki in 1915. BHS records indicate that this cushion cover was among a collection of items received from the Harkaway studio of Brighton-born artist Jessie Traill following her death in 1967. During the First World War, Jessie served for three and a half years in hospitals in England and France with the Voluntary Aid Detachment. As she did not serve in Thessaloniki, where this item was made, it is unlikely she purchased it herself, but may have received it as a gift.

Dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream terylene chiffon dress with all-over daisy appliqués. High band collar with v-shaped scoop at back. Sheer long sleeves with gathered cuffs.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Brighton local Paula Folks, who wore it to her niece's wedding at St John's, Toorak in 1970. It also bears a second connection to Brighton through the label, Elegance, a Flinders Lane fashion house co-owned by Rudy Brill and Brighton resident Robert Salter. Paula was a longtime manager and owner of Pearl's Boutique, a well-known local fashion boutique established by Elsebe Wilhelmine Wills and Pearl Murray in 1965. The two friends had grown up together in Horsham, and decided to go into business together after reading in Fashionweek that women in their thirties, forties, fifties and older had trouble finding young-looking styles. Setting out to fill this gap in the market, they established a store at 240 St Kilda Street, near the Brighton Yacht Club, with Elsebe handled the buying while Pearl fronted the shop. They moved to 40 Church Street, Brighton in 1967. Paula joined the business as a manager in 1968, became a partner in 1971 and took over from the original owners in 1988. When she closed the boutique in 2005, she donated a number of garments to Brighton Historical Society. Reflecting fondly on her 38 years at Pearls, she told The Age, "I have enjoyed all my days here because people are special to me. I love fashion. It's been a pleasure to dress people, to make them look good and feel pleased with themselves."

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "miss Elegance / TERYLENE".

Cape - Evening cape

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Full-length bright pink rayon jersey cape with pink ostrich feathers around the collar.

Historical information

This cape was worn in a pre-racing season fashion parade held in October 1974 by Pearl's Boutique, a well-known fashion boutique that operated in Brighton from 1965 until 2005. Paula Folks, the store's manager at the time, recalled that this parade had been loosely red, white and blue themed in honour of Princess Anne's wedding to Mark Phillips, which took place on 14 November of that year. The parade was likely held at Tudor Court in Caulfield, a popular reception venue. Pearl's Boutique was established by Elsebe Wilhelmine Wills and Pearl Murray in 1965. The two friends had grown up together in Horsham, and decided to go into business together after reading in Fashionweek that women in their thirties, forties, fifties and older had trouble finding young-looking styles. Setting out to fill this gap in the market, they established a store at 240 St Kilda Street, near the Brighton Yacht Club, with Elsebe handled the buying while Pearl fronted the shop. They moved to 40 Church Street, Brighton in 1967. Paula Folks joined the business as a manager in 1968, became a partner in 1971 and took over from the original owners in 1988. When she closed the boutique in 2005, she donated a number of garments to Brighton Historical Society. Reflecting fondly on her 38 years at Pearls, she told The Age, "I have enjoyed all my days here because people are special to me. I love fashion. It's been a pleasure to dress people, to make them look good and feel pleased with themselves."

Dress - Evening dress

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Full-length blue jersey evening dress with round neckline and long sleeves. Cuffs edged with blue-grey ostrich feathers. Zip at back.

Historical information

This dress was worn in a pre-racing season fashion parade held in October 1974 by Pearl's Boutique, a well-known fashion boutique that operated in Brighton from 1965 until 2005. Paula Folks, the store's manager at the time, recalled that this parade had been loosely red, white and blue themed in honour of Princess Anne's wedding to Mark Phillips, which took place on 14 November of that year. The parade was likely held at Tudor Court in Caulfield, a popular reception venue. Pearl's Boutique was established by Elsebe Wilhelmine Wills and Pearl Murray in 1965. The two friends had grown up together in Horsham, and decided to go into business together after reading in Fashionweek that women in their thirties, forties, fifties and older had trouble finding young-looking styles. Setting out to fill this gap in the market, they established a store at 240 St Kilda Street, near the Brighton Yacht Club, with Elsebe handled the buying while Pearl fronted the shop. They moved to 40 Church Street, Brighton in 1967. Paula Folks joined the business as a manager in 1968, became a partner in 1971 and took over from the original owners in 1988. When she closed the boutique in 2005, she donated a number of garments to Brighton Historical Society. Reflecting fondly on her 38 years at Pearls, she told The Age, "I have enjoyed all my days here because people are special to me. I love fashion. It's been a pleasure to dress people, to make them look good and feel pleased with themselves."

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "Van Roth / REGD". Labels on side of inner zip: "100% POLYESTER" / SIZE 14 / TO FIT / BUST 90cm / WAIST 70cm / HIP 95cm".

Suit

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cream wool ladies suit consisting of a jacket and skirt. Jacket is partially lined with silk, quilted around shoulders. Fastens with four self-covered buttons, one attached to a belt. Two box pleats at front and back, each featuring four decorative self-covered buttons at the waist. Upturned cuffs, each with two buttons. The skirt features a fabric belt and triangular pockets in each side with decorative self-covered buttons. Hook fastenings at side.

Historical information

This ladies suit belonged to an elderly neighbour of the donor, Margot Miller, who lived in Black Street, Brighton in the 1970s. The neighbour had offered Margot a selection of her old clothing, dating from the early 20th century, as she wanted somebody to hold onto and care for the items after she died. Before Margot could take the items the neighbour was moved into a nursing home and, while cleaning out the house, the woman's son took the clothing to the tip with a load of rubbish. Margot happened to see him leave and was able to follow him and retrieve the clothes. They remained in the Miller family for many years; some were worn by Margot's daughters and some were ultimately passed on to others. Based on our research, we believe that the suit's original owner may have been Julia Richards (nee O'Keefe, c. 1882-1976), who lived at 59 Black Street during this time. Born in Ireland, Julia emigrated to Queensland in 1900. She married William Alfred Richards in 1911 and lived with him in Ayr, near Townsville, where they ran a hotel. It is unclear what became of William, but by the mid-1920s Julia and her two children were living in Brighton, where she remained until her death in 1976, aged 94.