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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

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

Romper suit

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

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Bolero

Key words

bolero
jacket
greece
emigration

Red velvet bolero decrated with gold stitching and braid. Lined with red satin. Stand collar which fastens with two metal hooks and eyes.

Historical information

Olga's family were Greek immigrants to Australia. Olga was born in Melbourne in 1930. This bolero is part of Greek national costume from the Peloponnese. Olga wore this to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games to represent her Greek heritage. She remembers the stands being full of migrants wearing their traditional national costumes.

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

Pant suit

Key words

pant suit
1970s fashion
chevy chase
overend family
bernice overend

Pant suit comprising tunic and flared pants made from cream, yellow and gold lurex woven in a floral pattern. Tunic has a pair of non-functional pocket flaps at breast and two finctional pockets at front hip area. Tunic fastens with a centre back zip. Tunic lined with shell pink poyester satin; pants unlined.

Historical information

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

Inscriptions & Markings

Label woven white on black acetate centre back tunic: Stell-Ricks / OF MELBOURNE / SUITS TOPCOATS

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress

Key words

1920s fashion
dame marie breen

Sleeveless black cotton voile dress printed with large cream and apricot coloured roses. Dropped waist; bias-cut triangular draping applied to front neck; two horizontal bands of black voile inserted into skirt.

Historical information

Worn by Dame Marie Breen DBE OBE, Federal Senator for Victoria and Brighton resident. Marie Freda Breen (nee Chamberlin) was born on 3 November 1902, died 17 June 1993. Marie became the first female senator for Victoria in 1962. In 1959 she was appointed an Officer of the British Empire for her work in the role of State President of the National Council of Women (Victoria) and in 1979 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Evening outfit

Key words

evening outfit
1970s fashion

Silver, blue and green knitted lurex evening outfit comprising maxi dress and short blue lurex jacket with short sleeves. Sleeveless high-necked dress with bold seaweed design. Fastens centre back with long metal zip. Jacket and dress fully lined with dark blue lining. Label, woven black on white acetate centre back jacket: Tricó / ROMA

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Doll - Bead doll

Key words

doll
child's toy
childhood
sailor

Painted wooden bead doll of a sailor made by Olga's cousin who gave it to her in 1937. Cream coloured body and limbs and pink head. The body is made from one long oval bead and the limbs from small round beads.

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

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

Shoes - Platform shoes

Key words

platform shoes
1970s

Pair of silver holographic platform open-toed shoes.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on white: TIP toe

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Hat

Key words

hat
millinery
1960s

Wreath of mustard and grey silk velvet leaves with bow at centre front, covered with grey tulle.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven black on grey acetate, inside side back: PHONE 50 5347 / Mary H. Thomas, 103 WATTLETREE RD. EAST MALVERN

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Pearl collars and box

Key words

collar
necklace
migrant
holocaust

Two artificial pearl collars in original cardboard box. One collar is constructed with two tiers of interlaced pearls and the other with three. The lid of the box is covered in a textured printed cram paper with a flower and sprig pattern in red, brown and green. T0099.1-4.1- small necklace T0099.1-4.2 - large necklace T0099.1-4.3 - box lid T0099.1-4.4 - box base

Historical information

The collars were made by Maria Frisch who, according to information provided by her daughter, survived seven concentration camps and emigrated to Australia via Italy in 1948. Maria and her daughter Anne were Polish. Anne was hidden by a Polish family throughout the war and Maria found Anne after the war. When they emigrated to Melbourne, they lived in Martin Street Brighton. Maria's husband, and Anne's father, died in Dachau. Maria married Jack Frisch after the war.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Skirt

Key words

skirt
1950s fashion

Blue cotton circular skirt with white cord design of men and women dancing around the hem. Fastens with a metal sip in left proper side seam.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, printed red on cream cotton, centre back: Milton Harding / MELBOURNE / GUARANTEED TAILORED / & HAND FINISHED (image of skirt)

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Gloves and original paper bag

Key words

gloves
florence
emigration
holocaust

Pair of black suede gloves with original paper bag from Florence. The gloves are embroidered with small pink rosebuds and green leaves. They are unused and are still tacked together. T0098.1-3.1 - left glove T0098.1-3.2 - right glove T0098.1-3.3 - paper bag

Historical information

The collars were made by Maria Frisch who, according to information provided by her daughter, survived seven concentration camps and emigrated to Australia via Italy in 1948. Maria and her daughter Anne were Polish. Anne was hidden by a Polish family throughout the war and Maria found Anne after the war. When they emigrated to Melbourne, they lived in Martin Street Brighton. Maria's husband, and Anne's father, died in Dachau. Maria married Jack Frisch after the war.

Inscriptions & Markings

Paper bag, printed in blue and red: "Vasto assortimento GUANTI in pelle / A LARGE STOCK OF KID GLOVES / BEFORE YOU BUY, VISIT US / ELEGANCE AT LOW PRICES / MARIA PIA NICCOLINI / P.za S. Lorenzo Stand N. 21 / FIRENZE

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

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
silk
1870s
1870s fashion

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

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

Cloak

Key words

1920s
cloak
cape

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

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

Dress - Wedding dress

Key words

wedding dress
1940s fashion

Wedding dress made from silver metallic thread crepe. Fastens down front with small self-covered buttons and loops. Long fitted sleeves fastened with10 covered buttons and loops. Full bias cut skirt with train.

Historical information

Louris Larson Disney married James Percy White at Melbourne Grammar Chapel on 17 June 1948. In later years the dress was given to an opportunity shop and purchased by Mrs Landells of the Brighton Historical Society. Also in the Society's collection is a 1950s pink straples silk chiffon dress worn by Louris. The couple lived in Brighton. Wedding photo of Louris taken at 53 South Road, Brighton is in the collection of the Brighton Historical Society.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Sash

Key words

miss young liberal
sash

Cream coloured Miss Young Liberal sash printed in metallic gold and with gold-coloured fringing at either end.

Historical information

Donated by Brighton resident and journalist Janifer Price.

Inscriptions & Markings

Printed, metallic gold on white acetate: Miss / YOUNG LIBERAL / 1966

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Fancy dress

Key words

dolly varden
ida burn
marjorie wallace
barnaby rudge
charles dickens

A dress consisting of bodice and skirt. The bodice is made from beige silk with sprays of red and blue flowers and originally laced down the centre front with pink ribbon. The lower part of the bodice is modelled on a late 18th century polonaise design. The bodice is boned and features waist tapes. The elbow length sleeves are finished with beige hand made Maltese lace featuring Maltese crosses. The mid calf length skirt is made from pale pink silk which has been quilted and lined to create a stiffened form. There is a piece of scrap floral fabric that is the same as the bodice fabric.

Historical information

This dress is a 'Dolly Varden' or 'shepherdess" style costume worn by Ida Burn (1890 - 1976) on a sea voyage to China accompanying her parents in 1911. The BHS has a photo of Ida wearing this dress when she was a guest at a dance for young people given by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne (possibly T.J. Davey). This party may have been held on the ship or it may have been a seperate event. This style dress was a popular choice for fancy dress in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Family information states that the silk for this dress was purchased by Ida and Marjorie's grandfather's sister (great aunt) in England in c1840. The dress was donated by Marjorie Wallace (née Burn) (1901 - 1999), Ida's sister. Marjorie did not accompany the family to China but stayed home with a Governess. Marjorie lived in Brighton between 1923 and c1950 and attended Firbank Church of england Girls grammar School. These records are from a conversation between a B.H.S representative and Marjorie Wallace in Aug 2002.

Significance

This style of costume is named after the character Dolly Varden in Charles Dickens, 'Barnaby Rudge' 1841. In c1872 Dolly Varden inspired costumes and paraphernalia were very popular craze.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress

Sheer black silk chiffon dress with black beaded front detail and pin tucked front skirt. Long pointed beaded collar. Long sleeves with nine rows of horizontal pin tucking on lower edge.

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

Calash

Key words

calash
headwear

Black taffeta calash with ribs made of baleen.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Dress - Evening dress

Key words

1890s fashion
evening dress

Two piece ivory satin evening dress. Bodice is decorated with central panel of finely pleated chiffon and embellished with ready-made strips of beading and artificial pearls. Short puffed sleeves. Russet coloured velvet band applied to waist of bodice and finished with a metal rosette. Plain gored satin skirt with cream velvet binding around hem.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, printed grey on cream cotton, centre back bodice waist: Bussell, Robson & Bussell / MELBOURNE.

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Jacket

Key words

jacket
1940s fashion

Dior-inspired suit jacket. Unlined. Six cloth buttons with bound button holes. Inside hip pads.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven brown on cream acetate, centre back neck: Ponce De Leon. Handwritten on label in black pen:43 LANDELS

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton

Shoes

Cream doeskin leather shoes with glass and metal bead floral decoration on vamp and decorative bow.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label stamped in gold on sock (inside lining): FROM / R. White / Melbourne

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

no image

Suit

Key words

woman's suit
1980s fashion

Pink taffeta suit comprising jacket, skirt and belt. Fitted jacket with peplum. Machine-quilted shawl collar and separate belt. Calf-length pencil skirt with V-shaped pleated insert centre back. .1 - jacket .2 - skirt .3 - belt

Inscriptions & Markings

Label, woven silver on cream acetate, centre back jacket and skirt: Prue Acton

Brighton Historical Society, Brighton