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Brighton Historical Society Brighton, Victoria

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

Contact Information

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

Contact

Opening Hours

Our rooms are open to visitors and researchers on Thursdays, from 12 noon to 5:00 pm

Entry Fee

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

Location

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

View on Google Maps

The Bayside community is fortunate to have an extensive collection of costume, representing social life and fashions in our local area from early settlement through to the modern day. Our costume collection is of State significance and is the most comprehensive collection of costume in any historical society or small museum in Victoria. 

The collection includes children’s wear, evening gowns, dresses, hats, gloves, shawls, nightgowns, underwear, menswear, fans, shoes, swimwear and handbags. 

The Brighton Historical Society will loan costume to recognised organisations that use current conservation techniques. We have previously loaned items to the Bayside Council for an exhibition at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre and to the National Trust for exhibitions at Rippon Lea and Como House. 

We welcome donations to our costume collection. Items are assessed and accepted on the basis of their relevance to the ongoing history of the area, their connection to Brighton or their rarity.

Costume has been donated since the Society began in 1963. Some was even purchased in the days when Victorian items were still to be found on sale in local op shops. The origins and size of the collection are attributable to the foresight of the founder of the BHS, Mrs Rosalind Landells OAM. 

In the early days little was known of conservation techniques but as time progressed and we became aware of the treasures held, methods were implemented by volunteers to care for the costumes in the best way possible using available funds. 

Four conservation friendly wardrobes were purchased from the Performing Arts Museum to house the collection and later a Bayside Council Grant enabled us to have six more wardrobes built. Volunteers triple washed unbleached calico in pure Lux soap flakes before sewing covers for costumes and for coat hangers. Some acid free boxes were purchased from Zetta Florence to store our most important items. 

Thanks to a 2017 Local History Grant from the Public Record Office Victoria, we have been able to further improve our collection storage and records, and share more of our fascinating costume with the public. Items are continually being added to Victorian Collections, and a community workshop is being planned.

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138 items

138 items

Parasol

Key words

parasol
melbourne cup
1940s
verona cresswell

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.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cloak

Key words

1920s
cloak
cape

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Outfit - Three-piece woman's outfit

Key words

woman's suit
chevy chase
overend family
1960s fashion
robert maltus
bernice overend
melbourne designers

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Hat - Mourning bonnet

Key words

mourning bonnet
barone
seaview
brighton
isabella black

Navy silk velvet mourning bonnet with black silk train, circa 1915. The bonnet’s shape is created by a horseshoe shaped rib that sits across the crown of the head and shapes in to cover and conceal the back of the head. Across the crown, the bonnet features a navy silk velvet bow. The veil is constructed from a very fine black corded silk and hangs to approximately just below the wearer’s bottom.

Historical information

This item is from the "Barone" Collection. "Barone" (also known as "Seaview") was a stately Brighton home built at 9 Moule Avenue prior to 1855 and demolished in 1986. The house's residents included Edward Elgin Browne (during 1859-72), a Melbourne tea merchant, and the family and descendants of retired Scottish Army captain Archibald Black (during the period 1880-1970). Its neighbors included “St Ninians” owned by the Ward Cole family, “Seacombe” owned by the Moule family, and the home of James Grahame and his family. The items in the "Barone" collection were largely donated by one of the house's later owners, Mrs B. Brandt. Brighton Historical Society records indicate this bonnet was worn at the death of Archibald's widow, Isabella Black, in 1912. Other records held place Isabella Black's death in 1915.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

james nicol law
brighton
pauline margaret law
elsie russell
james lindsay gordon law
margaret bartholomew
pelaco

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 1015) 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.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Shawl

Key words

shawl
metal embroidery
egyptomania
1920s fashion
assuit shawl

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

Historical information

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Muff

Key words

st ninians
george ward cole
muff
late 1800s
brighton
margaret morrison ward cole

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.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Day dress

Key words

annie elizabeth mclean
samuel renwick
the garrell
caulfield

This c1872 grey and white silk pin stripe dress features a high round neckline with eleven decorative blue silk buttons and secured by a concealed line of fifteen hook and eyelet closure. The bodice has decorative blue and green braid over the shoulder and bust and across the base of the bodice. The dress features three darts shaping the dress to the body. The sleeve is cut high but relatively full and tapers to the elbow then flares again in Pagoda like style but ends at the wrist or hand. The skirt opens over the left hip and features a pocket over the right hip. The skirt at the front finishes at the ankle or just above the ground. At the back the bodice features panels shaping the dress into the body and pleated and flared from the waist. At the small of the back is a decorative bow with pinked edges and decorative braid. The skirt at the back is uncommon in shape most likely as the result of modification. It appears to have had panels removed reducing its original fullness. It has a tape inside the back of the skirt that would draw the skirt in creating a bustle like shape . It would appear that the dress had been modified in order to create a more fashionable silhouette most probably in circa 1872. There are three separate pieces of fabric. One is made up into a semi-circular over-skirt trimmed with blue braid and fringing. Two pieces are unpicked skirt gores, one still has its cotton lining attached.

Historical information

This dress was donated as having belonged to Annie Elizabeth McLean, who worked as a maid to the daughters of Samuel Renwick of Caulfield. Annie was born in Argyllshire, Scotland in 1853. This dress appears to have been originally made circa 1855 and then modified circa 1872. As Annie would only have been two years old in 1855, this indicates that the dress would most probably have been originally made for someone else and later acquired by Annie. Annie Elizabeth McClean arrived in the Colony of Victoria from Argyllshire, Scotland with her aunts and cousins in 1867, aged thirteen and a half. She had been educated in Scotland and eventually became a personal maid and then companion to the Renwick girl, daughters of Samuel Renwick of Caulfield, Victoria. The Renwicks' home, 'The Garrell' on Glen Eira Road, was one of Caulfield's earliest residences, having been built around 1854. Samuel was a business partner of William Kerr Thomson, a well-known Brighton resident and the original occupant of the North Road mansion 'Kamesburgh'. During her time with the Renwick family, Annie travelled with them to England, then to Scotland, then back to Victoria. She left the family upon the marriage of the youngest Renwick daughter, then went to the household of Sir William and Lady McCullough until she left to be married to Alfred John Ashfold in 1878.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Afternoon dress

Key words

victorian goldfields
asymetrical victorian dress
princess line
1870s fashion

A circa 1878 two piece dress consisting of bodice and skirt. The eau de nil (green) corded silk dress features a high round neckline that secures with hook and eye fastenings and decorative buttons through the length of the princess line bodice to the band around the hem. A watch pocket sits just below the waistline on the left hip. The three-quarter sleeves are narrow with kilted pleat trim on the lower edge and decorative buttons. At the back of the dress is asymmetric in its cut. The dress splits along the right hand side and finishes shorter with pleating and has a decorative pocket. A bow sits at the top of the split. The underskirt fastens on the left hip and features kilted pleats along the base of the skirt and train. The train features additional fullness created by a section of gathering in the centre.

Historical information

This dress is believed to have been worn on the Goldfields of Victoria. The discovery of gold in Victoria ranged between 1851-1879.

Significance

This dress is believed to have been worn on the Goldfields of Victoria. There are few remaining examples of clothing worn on the Victorian goldfields.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Parasol

Key words

parasol
the armstrong
1920s

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

george and george
evening dress
1890s
georges of collins street

Two-piece evening dress comprising separate bodice and skirt made of gold-coloured silk damask woven with large curvilinear design in cream. Cream tulle trim around neck embellished with beads and artificial pearls. Similar trim down centre front and around lower edge of bodice. Short puffed sleeves Neckline trimed with wide gold satin riboon and bows. Bodice is boned and fastens centre back with hooks and eyes. Gored skirt pleated into waist. .1 - bodice . 2 - skirt

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven blue on cream, centre back bodice: George & George Ltd / Federal Emporium / Melbourne

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Tile - Ceramic tile from Norwood (house)

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
lace
ball and welch
edna emily seehusen
william alexander mcquilten
brighton congregational church
brighton

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
geelong
matilda kinross herd
george william mitchell mcdonald
1890s fashion

Two-piece wedding dress comprising separate bodice and skirt made of figured coffee-coloured silk woven with large sprays of foliage and berries. The front of the bodice is decorated with a cream-coloured hand-made lace. The bodice is cut asymmetrically, with the front panel wrapping over to the left proper side seam. The fitted sleeves are cut with fullness in the head and narrowing at the elbow and wrist in a leg-of-mutton style. The bodice is backed with a dark brown glazed cotton and has 13 bones. The skirt is backed with a coffee-coloured cotton.

Historical information

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
1870s

Cream silk princess line wedding dress with scalloped neck edge, ruched front bodice panel and ruched and gathered panels on skirt. Three-quarter length sleeves with slashed sleeve details. Centre back opening fastened with silk thread covered buttons.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Day dress

Key words

charlotte reynolds
day dress
1820s
migration

A white, mauve, purple, red, and green paisley / floral printed cotton day dress from circa 1820. The day dress features a wide scooped neckline, with a dropped shoulder line. At the head of the sleeve is has three lines of gathering creating a narrow arm hole around the shoulder, flaring out into a leg of mutton sleeve. The sleeve finishes neatly at the wrist with a cuff that secures with two brass hook and eye closures. The dress bodice is open at the centre front and secures with six hook and eye closures to the empire line waist. Over the breast on either side of the opening are six diagonal pleats, pressed and secured facing towards the neck. This pleated detail is on a facing that extends from shoulder to shoulder and finishes with a bound edge. The remainder of the front bodice is plain and secures to the skirt at the empire waistline. The skirt pleats onto a binding, wrapping around the torso and securing to the bodice with eight hook closures. At approximately knee, height the skirt has an additional gathered flounce with the dress finishing at approximately ankle length. From the back, the bodice is plain and the skirt is gathered and sewn to the bodice at Empire line. Alterations to the garment have been made with the addition of hooks and eyes. The garment is generally in good condition although the skirt at the front shows evidence of damage and subsequent repair.

Historical information

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

1920s fashion
evening dress
beading

Long sleeveless beaded evening dress with V-front and back neckline. Black tulle base embellished with black, grey and purple beads and sequins with a design of a purple sunburst radiating from the right proper hip and mirrored on the back. Bodice sides split to waist and skirt sides split to hip.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

evening dress
maxi dress
1970s
brighton
eunice amelia hill
georges of collins street
pelilla

Full-length knit dress of blue, green and silver patterned lurex with Georges box and receipts. High neck with metal zip centre back. .1 - dress .2 a-b - Georges box with lid .3 a-c - envelope & 3 layby & alteration receipts stapled together & separate delivery invoice .4 - Receipt for dress alteration & delivery charge

Historical information

The dress is an excellent example of mid-1970s evening wear and comes with its original box and dockets. It was purchased from a local op shop by a Brighton Historical Society volunteer, who subsequently donated it to BHS in 2017. The receipts tell us that the dress was originally purchased from Georges department store on Collins Street by Mrs Eunice Amelia Hill (b. 1917) of 6 Webb Street, Brighton. Eunice placed the dress on lay-by and paid for alterations in December 1974; it was delivered to her home in January 1975.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white acetate, centre back: PRINTED BY HAND / Pelilla / MADE IN ITALY Label, printed black on white acetate, centre back: 65% RAYON / 35% POLYESTER / MADE IN ITALY

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

no image

Dress

Key words

1930s

Dusty pink crepe full length bias-cut dress. Long fitted sleeves. Peplum attached to waist. Opens centre front and fastened with 20 clear plastic toggle buttons and rouleaux loops. Double cape feature attached to neck and seamed into sleeves. Self belt attached to side back. Full-length bias cut skirt.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
germany
hannover
linden, st kilda
bertha michaelis
david jacob baruch

Cream satin princess line wedding dress with dark cream lace trim. Fastens centre front with 17 satin covered buttons. Nine extant bones are placed on the interior seams and darts. Three-quarter length fitted sleeves. Bodice backed with cream cotton. The back trained panels of the skirt have been cut to extend into a pleated swathe of satin that wraps around the hips to the centre front. A square padded bustle pad is attached to the interior back of the skirt. The hem of the skirt is decorated with kilted and swathed satin and lace.

Historical information

The donor's husband's grandmother was Bertha Michaelis who lived at 'Linden', St Kilda. She married David Jacob Baruch (known as Dalbert) in Hamburg on 9 November 1881. Bertha was born in Melbourne. The couple lived in Germany. Bertha returned to Melbourne with their two children, Ernest and May, after Dalbert died in 1893. May married Rabbi Jacob Danglow in 1909 and they had one son, Frank, who was the donor's husband.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, interior waist tape, woven silk stamped in dark green: H. L. HEYNEMANN / Hannover / Seilwinderstr. 6a., Bose; In monogrammed ("HLH") circles either side: (Left) BAARZAHLUNGS SYSTEM; (Right) ERSTE PREISE. Stitched in thick cotton thread on interior waist tape: *9097

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cloak

Key words

1920s
cloak
art deco

Unlined taupe silk cloak with two wide horizontal bands of black satin and lozenge-shaped black cord detailing. Black satin tie collar with black tassels at ends.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Shoes

Key words

shoes
j. t. morris
ballarat

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

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Gloves

Key words

woolbrook
septimus miller
henry 'money' miller
gwendoline miller
cantala
clara miller
gloves
caulfield
brighton general cemetery
1900s fashion
buckley and nunn

A pair of very fine ivory doeskin evening gloves. The gloves feature full pique insert seams around the fingers and thumb with a slit on the inside arm from mid thumb to mid fore arm and three white shell buttons. The gloves extend high to high on the upper arms and feature a ribbon covered elastic to aid hold on the upper arm.

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

A black ink stamp on the inside of the right glove over the wrist: 5 3/4, Made in France, Buckley and Nunn Limited, Melbourne. A black ink stamp on the inside of the left glove over the wrist: Grand Prix Exposition, 1900, Medallere D'or, Merlier, Depose (? Very faint), Made in France. A blue ink stamp on the inside of the left glove over the top side of the wrist: 797, 221'65, C51C

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Cocktail dress

Key words

teena varigos
costume party
cocktail dress
dame edna
barry humphries

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

Historical information

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

Significance

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

Inscriptions & Markings

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

julia benjamin
abraham smith
joseph benjamin
hannah soloman
melbourne hebrew congregation
wedding dress

One piece floor length dress of (originally) lavender, watered (moiré) silk taffeta with short sleeves and train that is controlled by interior tapes to create bustle effect. The bodice fastens down the centre front to the waist where the opening below the waist is concealed by side pleats. The bodice appears to have originally featured a piece of lace at the neckline and a textile ruched belt. The dress is backed with a cream cotton.

Historical information

This dress was worn by Julia Benjamin (1850-1927) for her marriage to Abraham Smith (of Polish descent) at the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in Bourke Street, Melbourne on 5 September 1868. Julia was the daughter of Joseph Benjamin and Hannah Soloman. Records suggest it may have been converted into her 'calling' gown for the three month 'bridal' period following her marriage. The gown would have been worn with accompanying accessories of a cape and gloves.

Significance

An early example of a wedding dress of the Melbourne Jewish community.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

cecilia elizabeth adams
elizabeth emma adams
james smith adams
elizabeth emma mctaggart
sophia charlotte louisa adams
queen victoria
drawing room ball
1840s fashion
tower house, woodchester

A hand sewn cream, pale blue, orange and gold embroidered satin formal dress, the bodice dates from circa 1840. This dress shares a skirt with T0004.2, which dates from a different period (circa 1890). The bodice features a wide shallow neckline finished with a beige coloured cord in two decorative lines. The sleeve is set on the true shoulder and is a short fitted sleeve with decorative gathering and two lines of corded detail. The bodice is shaped to the body with 2 sets of six fine knife pleats diagonally positioned narrower over the waist and spreading out over the bust. These pleats are secured with six double lines of stitching. The bodice finishes high on the waistline at either side and points down to a point over the centre front. The base of the bodice is finished with a piped edge and beige decorative cording. The bodice encloses the body at the centre back where it has holes that presumably would have held lacing. The back features four diagonal knife pleats finishing at the centre back and splaying out over the shoulders. The waistline at the back features only a very gentle point.

Historical information

The donor and family of this gown were long-term Brighton residents, and the gowns were held by them as family heirlooms prior to donation to Brighton Historical Society. Originally owned by Elizabeth Emma Adams and Cecilia Elizabeth Adams, it is believed that the dress was brought to Australia by either a half brother, James Smith Adams, or a younger sister, Sophia Charlotte Louisa Adams (later known as Mother Rose Columba Adams). Elizabeth and Cecilia were the daughters of James Smith Adams (a squire, 1780-1860) and Elizabeth Emma McTaggart (1793-1843) of Tower House, Woodchester in Gloucester, a property which Elizabeth later inherited. Originally a monastery, Tower House had been converted into a stately home after the Reformation. According to information originally provided by the donor, both this dress and the dress T0004.1 were made for Elizabeth and Cecilia, to be worn at the young Queen Victoria’s first 'drawing room ball' following the end of court mourning in 1838 for her uncle William IV who died in 1837. In 1838 Cecilia would have been twelve years old and Elizabeth would have been ten years old. It is possible that this dress was worn by one of the girls to this event as it is of appropriate dimensions for a child of that age, although its design is very formal and adult. Elizabeth was born on 30 June 1828 at Tower House and died on 1 May 1909. She created a scandal when she eloped with her first husband, Thomas Charles Gardiner at the age of 18. The validity of the marriage was later formally investigate and, while it was confirmed as valid, a second church wedding was subsequently held. Thomas died in 1878. Elizabeth subsequently remarried Reverend R. E. Blackwell, but was widowed again by 1889. Cecilia was born on 17 December 1826 and died in 1902 a spinster recluse in England. At the inquest into Cecelia's death in 1904 it was revealed that she had clearly come from a family of means as her home was filled to the brim with highly valuable goods, many in boxes. She was buried in the family vault at Woodchester. Elizabeth and Cecilia's sister Sophia converted to Roman Catholicism in 1851 and became a nun, taking the religious name 'Rose Columba'. In 1883 Mother Rose Columba led a group of eight to Australia, answering a call for Dominican sisters to nurse the sick in Adelaide. Upon arrival, she founded St. Dominic's Priory and the Church of Perpetual Adoration in North Adelaide, using her inheritance to build the chapel. Elizabeth's second son, George Henry Somerset, who inherited the Adams family estate dropped the 'i' in Gardiner and added the maiden name of his grandmother. Therefore, the family name has now become Gardner McTaggart. These Adams family entries have been updated with information provided by Dr Herbert Gardner McTaggart, great-grandson of George Henry Somerset in April 2016. Mr McTaggart contacted the society after finding our entries online.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Coat

Key words

coat
brocade
1970s fashion
melbourne designers
melbourne fashion
jot
terry oertel
odile moktar
toorak

Maxi coat in cream, yellow and metallic gold ogival patterned brocade. Fastens with five large metallic gold corded domed buttons. Lined with ivory silk taffeta.

Historical information

Jot was an exclusive Toorak fashion label and boutique established in 1969 by Lithuanian-born Terry Oertel and French-born Odile Moktar. Terry's sister Arija Austin was also a designer; in partnership with Erna Vilks she established the high-end Tu Boutique in South Yarra in 1963. The two sisters came to Australia as teenagers after World War II.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white acetate, centre back neck: jot / TOORAK

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Smock

Key words

smock
rural dress
linen
hand stitching
agriculture

Agricultural worker's hand-loomed linen smock, dyed brown. Fully hand-stictched with smocking details on front and back and sleeves. Opening at front and back neck area fastened with now missing buttons.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dressing gown

Key words

clara miller
woolbrook
septimus miller
henry 'money' miller
cantala
gwendoline miller
caulfield
brighton general cemetery

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.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Parasol

Key words

clara miller
woolbrook
septimus miller
henry 'money' miller
gwendoline miller
cantala
parasols
caulfield
brighton general cemetery

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'.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton