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Brighton Historical Society Brighton, Victoria

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

Contact Information

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

Contact

Opening Hours

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

Entry Fee

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

Location

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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121 items

Pelerine

Key words

pelerine
brighton
cora doris halkyard
barone
seaview

Black silk satin, lace and beaded pelerine from c.1890. The pelerine features a silk high stand collar covered in black lace. It secures around the neck and down the centre front to the waist by seven hook and eye closures. A black lace frill extends down the centre front from the throat to the centre front tip of the garment. The shoulders feature a heavy, intricately beaded floral design open sleeve through which the arm would be visible. The sleeve finishes around the elbow in a point, however the beading hangs down to below the hip in a loose fringe. At the back of the garment from below the shoulder the garment shapes in to finish in a tapered v – shape over the wearers coccyx.

Historical information

This item is from the "Barone" Collection. “Barone” was a stately Brighton home demolished in 1986. One of the former owners, presumably either Mrs Cora Doris Halkyard or Mrs B Brandt, donated the various goods in the “Barone” collection. Owners of “Barone” Circa 1840’s. Certainly built prior to 1859 – owners unknown. 1859 – 1872 Edward Elgin Browne (first Melboune tea merchant) 1872 – 1874 Ralph Gore Brien (Occupier 1873 The Reverand Henry G. Brien) 1874 – 1879 Edward (or Edmund) Johnson (possibly a retired military man.) 1880 – 1885 Archibald Black, formerly an Army captain from Scotland. 1886 – 1915 Isabella M. Black widow of above. 1916 – 1951 Amy Elsie (nee Black) Chalk 1951 – 1970 Cora Doris Halkyard, niece of the above and grand-daughter of Archibald and Isabella Black. 1970 – 1986 Mrs B Brandt – unconfirmed.

Significance

This item is from the estate of Mrs Cora Doris Halkyard. “Barone” (previously “Seaview”) was one of Brighton’s finest colonial homes. It’s neighbors included “St Ninians” owned by the Ward- Cole family, “Seacombe” owned by the Moule family, and the home of James Grahame and his family.

Inscriptions & Markings

There is a hand stitched M in white thread on the inside lining of the pelerine near the neck.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress

Key words

di lopez
chamois
brighton
brighton council
brighton technical school
mayoral ball
1970s fashion

Three quarter length chamois dress circa 1974. Machine stitched with a v-neck and full length sleeves and an uneven raw hem, the dress is decorated with narrow thongs of chamois embellished with red beads and blue feathers. The open-fronted bodice is laced with red ribbon and the skirt is decorated with a large blue wool cross stitch and a combination of blue wool and purple ribbon cross stitch. Made in the style of an Indian 'Wild West Dress'.

Historical information

This dress was worn by Brighton's first female mayor, Councillor Di Lopez, to a Mayoral Ball held at Brighton Technical School in 1976. Diane Margaret Lewis completed a law degree at the University of Melbourne, later marrying one of her classmates, criminal lawyer Ramon (Ray) Lopez. A strong believer in open local government, when she decided to run for the Brighton City Council in 1975 she rallied friends and supporters in an extensive door-knocking campaign, ultimately succeeding in unseating former mayor Keith Davenport. She went on to serve two terms on council, between 1975 and 1981, and was elected mayor by her fellow councillors in 1976. The first woman in Brighton's history to hold the title of mayor, Di championed women's representation in local government, declaring that "all council issues affect women - except a men's toilet". She was a member of the Women's Electoral Lobby and encouraged both Sally Allmand and Kate Harman to run for council (both were successfully elected). As a councillor and as mayor, Di initiated many local projects, including the creation of a bike path along Nepean Highway and the first Brighton Festival, while balancing family life and a demanding 'day job' as personal assistant to Victorian Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation Brian Dixon. Di was known as a colourful, flamboyant figure who was unafraid to address issues head-on. This is exemplified by this unconventional choice of dress for the a Mayoral Ball, which typically had a formal dress code. By eschewing a traditional ball gown in favour of this wild, feathered chamois, she was not only making a fashion statement, but a political one - declaring an intention to lead a progressive council, embracing the new and refusing to be hemmed in by dated traditions.

Significance

This dress has local historical significance for its association with Brighton's first female mayor, Councillor Di Lopez, who wore it to a Mayoral Ball in 1976. The dress exemplifies her flamboyant reputation, modern outlook and willingness to break norms. At the time, the dress was a radical choice for a Mayoral Ball, where women typically wore formal evening gowns. With her choice of dress, Cr Lopez was making a public statement, breaking away from dated traditions and announcing her intention to bring the Mayor's office into the 1970s. In this way, the dress also points to the wider social and political changes taking place both in Brighton and across Australia during the mid-1970s.

Inscriptions & Markings

None

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
lace
ball and welch

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 when she married William Alexander McQuilten. Married 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

Calash

Key words

calash
headwear

Black taffeta calash with ribs made of baleen.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Night gown

Key words

st ninians
george ward cole
mid 1800’s
brighton
night gown
thomas anne ward cole

A hand sewn ivory cotton muslin nightgown, c.1842–1850. The bodice is made of delicately embroidered muslin in a floral design. The open flat collar features a scalloped lace frill underneath. The bodice fastens with thirteen mother of pearl buttons down the centre front. After the fourth button, the remaining buttons are concealed beneath a full gathered modesty skirt, which falls from just below the bust line. The modesty panel is secured horizontally across the bodice by six mother of pearl buttons. The sleeves finish over the back and palm of the hand in two flattened peaks. The front of the gown consisting of the modesty front is full length. The modesty gown at both sides joins two panels that are an integrated part of the bodice. At the centre back there is a very full gathered panel with lace trim that falls to create a train. It is semi attached to the bodice with a top section secured with mother of pearl buttons and small ties. The purpose of this design feature is unknown.

Historical information

This nightgown is believed to have belonged to Mrs Thomas Anne Ward Cole, an early Brighton resident and wife of George Ward Cole. The item appears to have been made or altered to accommodate a pregnant belly, however purpose made maternity clothing was not common at this time. Mrs Ward-Cole’s six pregnancies took place in 1843, 1844, 1845, 1847, 1849 and 1851. The style of this garment in particular the shape of the sleeves would indicate that it is most likely to have been constructed in circa 1860, so whilst it appears to be a maternity item, and historically has been referred to as thus, this purpose cannot be confirmed. 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 and shoes

Key words

1950s fashion
printed fabric
miss summer festival

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

Historical information

The dress was made for the Miss Summer Festival competition fundraiser. The idea for the dress came from a photograph in the Womens' Weekly. A professional dressmaker cut and made the dress. It has an 18" waist.There is a black and white photocopy on file of the dress being worn at the time.

Inscriptions & Markings

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

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 from late 1800’s. 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

Key words

1920s fashion
lace
christina barclay strahan

Black chiffon and lace dress with long sleeves, scooped neckline. Lozenge shaped lace pattern; machine top-stiched chiffon panels.

Historical information

This dress belonged to Christina Barclay 'Ina' Strahan (nee Guinn, 1889-1974), the mother of donor Sheila Alston (1911-2008). Ina married medical practitioner Dr Septimus Strahan in 1909 and the family lived in a stately home in Moonee Ponds from 1912 until Septimus' untimely death at 56 in 1933. Ina later moved to Sandringham, where her daughter Sheila also settled after her marriage to Peter Alston.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven, blue on cream cotton, centre back: MADE IN FRANCE

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Skirt

Key words

skirt
1950s

Pink floral patterned quilted polished cotton circular skirt with two patch pockets.

Historical information

The Malbourough Classic label was a house label of David Jones Department Store.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven grey and yellow on white acetate, centre back: A Malborough Classic

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cushion

Key words

"barone" 9 moule avenue brighton
cushion

A hand painted and hand embroidered cream silk cushion. Date and use unknown. This cushion features a delicate hand painted floral design, enhanced with highlight embroidery. It also features a silk rope binding around its edges and a cream silk bow. It appears to have enclosed something as it has a button and loop to secure it in half.

Historical information

This item is from the "Barone" Collection. “Barone” was a stately Brighton home demolished in 1986. One of the former owners presumably either Mrs Cora Doris Halkyard or Mrs B Brandt donated the various goods in the “Barone” collection. Owners of “Barone” Circa 1840’s. Certainly built prior to 1859 – owners unknown. 1859 – 1872 Edward Elgin Browne (first Melboune tea merchant) 1872 – 1874 Ralph Gore Brien (Occupier 1873 The Reverand Henry G. Brien) 1874 – 1879 Edward (or Edmund) Johnson (possibly a retired military man.) 1880 – 1885 Archibald Black, formerly an Army captain from Scotland. 1886 – 1915 Isabella M. Black widow of above. 1916 – 1951 Amy Elsie (nee Black) Chalk 1951 – 1970 Cora Doris Halkyard, niece of the above and grand-daughter of Archibald and Isabella Black. 1970 – 1986 Mrs B Brandt – unconfirmed.

Significance

“Barone” (previously “Seaview”) was one of Brighton’s finest colonial homes. It’s 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.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Afternoon dress

Key words

clara miller
woolbrook
septimus miller
henry 'money' miller
gwendoline miller
cantala
1890s fashion
caulfield
brighton general cemetery

A salmon (pale orange pink) corded silk afternoon dress with orange beaded embellishments, consisting of a bodice and skirt from c.1890. The bodice features a high standing collar with triple pleated bone silk chiffon trim along the top line, under the chin. This same chiffon is also secured in two pieces gathered and secured under the collar and and at the waist adding volume over the bust line and partially obscuring the jacket closing. The chiffon is secured at the side into the main fabric of the bodice by the beaded embellishment. The pink seed beads are sewn in lines of five beads one after the other creating a diagonal design that tapers from the shoulder to the waist. The bodice is boned around the front and back and secured down the centre font by nineteen hook and eyes and additional cotton tapes. Further beading details the bottom centre front and base line of the bodice. The shoulders have been repaired with replacement fabric to match, from our records it appears that the repair work was performed in circa 1974 but no record exists of the original shoulder design and if the repair was an exact copy of the original. The repaired shoulders feature a small frill around the shoulder yoke and top of the arm. The sleeve is fitted and three quarter finishing just below the elbow. The base of the sleeve is also trimmed with the pink bead design and bone three pleat chiffon trim. The back of the bodice features shaped panels contouring the jacket neatly in at the waist and then splitting and splaying out over the fullness of the skirt. The skirt appears to have been floor or ankle length held at the waist by a wide waistband. The skirt openings have been altered from the original currently featuring two openings secured by press studs. The skirt is gathered to the waistband at front and back creating fullness. The lower part of the skirt features the same pink bead embellishment and additional beaded flowers and diagonal point edge detail.

Historical information

This afternoon dress 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

Dress - Day dress

Key words

reverend john hamilton mclachlan
st cuthberts presbyterian church brighton
elizabeth mclachlan
amherst cemetery

This c1849 silk blue grey window pane check dress features a high round neck and pleats on either shoulder extending over the natural shoulder line. The dress shows evidence of nine ornamental buttons down the centre front with only four blue silk buttons currently still attached. The dress fastens with thirteen concealed hook and eye closures to the waist. The Pagoda sleeves inset into the bodice in a small high armhole flaring out and finishing just below the elbow. A pale blue silk ribbon with a diagonal drawn stitch design decorates the front of the sleeve in a simple geometric design. The Pagoda sleeve is lined in a matching pale blue silk. The full skirt is pleated into the waistband and finishes just above the floor at the front. At the back the bodice features a squared off design to the princess panels shaping the dress into the body. The skirt is heavily pleated at the centre back into the waistline and finishes slightly longer at the back than the front. The skirt features two very small pockets on either side of the dress, just inside the hips.

Historical information

This dress was made for and belonged to Mrs Elizabeth McLachlan (nee Duncan, 1820-1904), wife of Reverend John Hamilton McLachlan (1813-1908), who was the first Minister of St Cuthbert's Presbyterian Church in Brighton. Elizabeth and John were married at the Free Church of Ayr at Lindsaystonn in the Parish of Kirkmickach, Ayrshire, Scotland on 15 October 1849. At this time his occupation was listed as "Minister of Presbyterian Church" and hers as "Governess". They left for Australia on the 1 November 1849 and arrived in Australia 6 months later. Apparently John's hair turned snow white during the journey due to his seasickness! The McLachlans first went to Geelong upon their arrival in 1850, then to the Western District, then Brighton, then Talbot at the height of the gold mining era. The couple had seven children: John Campbell Duncan McLachlan (b. Geelong, October 1850), Mary McLachlan (b. Geelong, November 1851), Agnes McLachlan (b. Hopkins River near Wickliff, May 1853), twins Elizabeth and Walter McLachlan (b. June 1854), Elizabeth McLachlan (b. Hesham, June 1855), Margaret McLachlan (b. Brighton, 1857). Elizabeth died in 1904. She and John are both buried in Amherst Cemetery. The dress was donated by one of her granddaughters.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Bodice

Key words

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

A hand sewn cream silk satin evening bodice from c.1865. This bodice features a very low, wide scooped neckline with a set in sleeve and four small pleats across the head of the shoulder. The elbow length, straight fitted sleeves are trimmed with a pleated ruffle that extends around the arm finishing at the elbow crease at the inside arm and tapering to mid forearm length at the back. The fitted bodice, lined with waxed linen, fastens down the centre front with eight covered buttons of the bodice fabric. The front two panels wrap around the sides of the bodice to meet another series of panels creating a princess line with a delineated central spine. The waist position is just below the natural waist at the sides, tapering to an elongated front covering the belly. From the sides towards the back it curves up to the natural waistline and then down again to a central point. The bodice is decorated with strips of the same fabric, which has been tucked, pleated and padded to create ruching. The ruching edge has a multi coloured thread, suggestive of rosettes, on both sides. In the front of the bodice, a strip runs down the centre front, concealing the buttonholes, and finishing at the elongated point. It then goes up the bodice over the bust line where it meets the neckline. It follows the neckline around the nape of the neck and back down the front over the bust line to the centre front. More strips run around the base of the fitted sleeve near the elbow above the ruffle. The rosette like coloured thread finishes the base of the ruffle.

Historical information

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Smock

Key words

smock
rural dress
linen
hand stiching

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

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
germany
hannover
michaelis
linden, st kilda

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 Delbert 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

Dress

Key words

silk
embroidery
1917 - 1919 fashion

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.

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

Waistcoat

Key words

greece
emigration

Black velvet waistcoat part of Greek national costume, decorated with silver cornelli work. Pale blue cotton lining. Fastens with hooks and eyes.

Historical information

Olga's family were Greek immigrants to Australia. Olga was born in Melbourne in 1930. This waistcoat is part of Greek national costume.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Cloak

Key words

1920s
cloak

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

Dress

Key words

1920s dress
metallic fabric
embroidery
beading

Long-sleeved ivory-coloured silk chiffon and gold metallic fabric dress decorated with silk and metallic thread emroidery and (gelatine?) beading.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Parasol

Key words

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

A grey silk parasol with mauve stripe decoration, wooden handle and brass fittings from the late 19th century. The handle appears to be missing a decorative finish from the end.

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

Mrs. S. Miller, Cantala, Caulfield.

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

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

Dress - Day dress

Key words

mrs. jessie somerville singer
elizabeth martin
mr. edward singer
'somerville' 100 new street brighton

A silver and brown striped silk taffeta dress comprising separate bodice and skirt. The dress features a high round neckline fastening down the centre front with concealed hook and eye closures with ten (two missing) decorative brown silk velvet buttons. The front and back feature a briown silk velvet ribbon that forms a v shape from the shoulder to the centre front just below the bust and centre back below the shoulder blades. From the ribbon falls a brown and silver silk fringe approx seven cms deep. The bodice is shaped and boned into the waist and finishes in a deep v over the stomach. At the back the bodice is shaped to the body finishing in a smaller curved v over the small of the back. The sleeve attaches to the bodice at the true shoulder and falls in a pagoda sleeve to the mid forearm. The sleeve is also trimmed with brown silk velvet ribbon near the base of the sleeve. The full skirt is pleated at the waist, falling to the floor, longer at the back to accommodate the crinoline.

Historical information

A dress believed to have belonged to an ancestor of Mrs. Jessie Somerville Singer (nee Watson) 1849 – 1935. Given the dress dates from circa 1850 possibly someone from one generation previous possibly her mother Elizabeth Martin. Jessie Somerville Singer was the second wife of Mr. Edward Singer (1829 – 1904) of ‘Somerville’ New St. Brighton Beach. Mr Singer’s first wife Maria died in 1861 and their son William approximately 12 months later. In the 1861 census of North Bradley England, Mr. Singer was recorded as a carpenter journeyman. After this tragedy Edward, aged 30, left England to start a new life in Australia. He emigrated as an unassisted passenger on the steamship ‘Great Britain’ departing Liverpool and arriving in Melbourne in April 1863. Edward worked as a joiner and overseer for a timber merchant in Franklin Street Melbourne. In December 1869 he bought a property at 1115 Hoddle Street, East Melbourne, between Hotham and George Streets. At some stage he also acquired 1117 Hoddle Street. He also owned another property in Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy. On July 10th 1873 Edward married Jessie Somerville Watson, the daughter of William Watson and Elizabeth Martin They lived at Hoddle street for some years, until they lived at Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy then in the 1880’s Edward is recorded as a joiner in the then semi rural suburb of Brighton. The house ‘Somerville’ was built by the Singers in c1880 at 100 (now 78) New Street Brighton. The family moved there when Edward retired early, from North Fitzroy and lived there until 1941. ‘Somerville’ was sold, the house demolished and the land divided in the 1930’s. Edward and Jessie appear to have lived comfortably. Edward died on 30th July 1909. Jessie died on 11th November 1935. Mrs. A. Rodin Cook (donator) is the granddaughter of Walter Francis Newing was Jessie’s grandson. Walter Newing had a small printing business in Bay Street and from 1910 lived at Kinane Street. He was secretary of the Life Saving Club that stood at the end of Kinane st in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Significance

Many members of the Singer family have lived in and around Brighton for many years, with the first recorded domicile in the 1880’s.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Hot pants outfit

Key words

hot pants
1970s fashion
going away outfit

Two-piece hot pants outfit made from cream synthetic 'Estacel' (Courtaulds acetate fibre) and rayon with red dots and plain red synthetic fabric. .1 - Blouse: fastens centre front with five red plastic buttons. .2 - Hot pants: fastens centre back with zip.

Historical information

Shaw family collection. This outfit was Mrs Shaw's 'Going away' outfit for her wedding in 1972.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label woven, metallic gold on white acetate, centre back blouse and shorts: ricki reed / ALL RAYON Label printed, black on beige acetate, centre back blouse and shorts: Estacel and / RAYON / COURTAULDS ACETATE FIBRE

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Parasol

Key words

parasol
art deco
printed fabric

Blue silk parasol with cream silk printed with floral design in beige, brown, turquoise and terracotta. Metal spokes tipped with horn coloured bakelite. Wooden handle with traces of iredescent paint. Dark brown twisted cotton cord hanging from handle.

Inscriptions & Markings

Cast in metal spokes: THE ARMSTRONG REGD BRITISH MAKE

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Jacket - Bridge jacket

Key words

elsie russell
james lindsay gordon law
brighton
pelaco
bridge jacket
1930s fashion

Cream silk jacket block-printed with Art Deco style pattern in red, blue, black and mustard colours. Lined with soft apricot-coloured satin. Wide stand collar. Front fastens low on hip with four silk covered buttons.

Historical information

This jacket was bought in England for Elsie Law (nee Russell) by her husband James Lindsay Gordon "Lin" Law in 1930. Elsie used it as a bridge jacket. Lin was born in Ballarat 1881, the eighth child of Scottish migrants James Nicol Law and Margaret Law (nee Bartholomew). BHS holds an evening dress belonging to Margaret Law in its collection (see T0006.1). After leaving school at the age of 11, Lin began working as a salesman. In 1906, he and 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. Lin married Elsie Russell on 12 January 1915 at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sydney and they lived most of their life in Brighton. In 1920 they moved into 'Blairgowrie', 306 St Kilda Street, 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.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven brown on cream silk, centre back: Eileen / Mulholland / Ltd. / 43, Wigmore St., / LONDON. W1.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Skirt

Key words

skirt
linen
hand woven
embroidery
ithaca

Ankle-length full cream linen skirt with multi-coloured cross stitch embroidery featuring mountains, birds and trees. Fullness is pleated into wide waist band. Left side opening. The fabric widths have been whipped together by hand probably at the time the cloth was woven in the late-nineteenth century. The skirt is machine stitched.

Historical information

Cream linen woven by donor Olga Black's great-grandmother Efstathia from flax grown on the island of Ithaca. The fabric was later made into skirt and hand embroidered by Olga in the 1950s. Olga was born in Melbourne in 1930.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Shoes

Key words

shoes
embroidery
applique
castlefield
emily smith
brighton

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

Historical information

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Day dress

Key words

marion jeanne stokes
marion wooling
clive devlin

A grey green c1878 dress comprising of 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

Our records indicate that this dress was owned by Marion Jeanne Stokes (1877 - 1936) nee Wooling from Gisborne. Marion was married to Clive Devlin.

Significance

This dress is believed to have been worn on the Bendigo goldfields in c1878. This dress may have been worn as a wedding dress.

Inscriptions & Markings

n/a

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Scarf - Victory scarf

Key words

scarf
victory 1945
world war ii

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

Historical information

The scarf belonged to Olga Black who was born in Melbourne in 1930.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton