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Kew Historical Society Inc Kew, Victoria

Founded in 1958, the Kew Historical Society is one of the oldest suburban historical societies in Melbourne. The Society was formed to assist in the preparations for Kew’s 100th Anniversary in 1960. Today, the Society continues to work with local government and other organisations within Kew to stimulate interest in our history and heritage. It publishes, in print and online, information and resources about Kew’s history, as well as organising events relevant to our heritage. The Society cooperates with other historical societies and groups across the City of Boroondara through the Boroondara Historical Societies Association.

Links

Contact Information

location
PO Box 175 Kew Victoria 3101

Contact

Opening Hours

Fridays & Saturdays 11.00am to 1.00pm. Closed in January.

Entry Fee

Free entry

Location

Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

The Kew Historical Society was founded in 1958, and the collection predates and postdates that year. The collection has sometimes grown gradually, or significantly, the latter through key donations (eg The Rogers Collection), or due to events such as the amalgamation of the former City of Kew into the new City of Boroondara in 1994. Many ‘civic’ items were donated before, during or after the amalgamation. These records are digitised by the Kew Historical Society on Victorian Collections for the purposes of education and preservation. If you believe that we have infringed your copyright please contact us and we will remove the material from the site.

Significance

The collection as a whole fulfills the criteria for very strong historical, aesthetic and research significance at a local level. It also has many outstanding associations with state themes, figures and events and quite a few that resonate at a national level. The costume and textiles, map and picture collections each have very strong historical, research and aesthetic significance of their own accord. The degree of their significance is greatly enhanced by all of the comparative criteria: interpretive value, provenance, condition, integrity, rarity and representativeness.

The costume collection has a very high degree of aesthetic significance for its beauty, quality and workmanship. There are some items that are associated with nationally significant designers, or with Kew donors who have made an impact on society at a local and a state level (ie Prue Acton, Jinoel of Melbourne, Oggi Fashion House). The strong degree of provenance and high quality of the design and dressmaking that went into the production of these clothes strengthens the research significance of this sub-collection for those interested in fashion, textiles and dressmaking. This costume collection includes items that date back to the 1850s (patchwork Denbigh quilt) through to the 1980s, and that reflect changing styles, technologies, textiles and production methods.

The picture collection has some items that have high local significance such as the Josiah Barnes photograph ‘Kew proclaimed a city’, which was taken on that day – 10 March 1921, and the ‘Unveiling of the Kew War Memorial’ on August 30 1925 in front of an audience of over 5,000 people and presided over by the Kew Mayor and the Governor of Victoria. Both of these important images also have significance to state and national processes of municipal development and memorializing war. The mayoral portraits (part of the picture collection) have a very high degree of historical and research significance for their associations, enhanced by strong provenance and technical qualities. Eminent photographers took many of the portraits and the subjects are people who have made a significant contribution to the welfare and development of Kew and, in the case of some of the Mayors in this collection, of the state or even the nation. This includes people such as Stanley Argyle (Premier of Victoria 1932-35) and William Kerr (influential businessman and federal government advisor in the early decades of the 20th century). The significance threshold of this sub-collection is therefore likely to be of state significance at the least.

The maps and plans number some 300 or more and include some fascinating and important maps beyond the MMBW sub-collection that, itself, holds some unique items and has been discussed at length in this report. Other much earlier and hand drawn maps such as ‘Back to Kew’ (c.1875) and ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ (undated) are historically fascinating. In the case of ‘Back to Kew’ it is the detail of the built, natural and social landscape of Kew, which was also annotated and added to several times in subsequent decades to show the development of the area. In the case of ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ it is the careful recording of the garden layout and the nature of domesticity in these early days of European settlement that is both fascinating and rare to find in any local history collection. While not all the items are original the map and plan collection has a very high degree of historical and research significance.

Provenance for much of the collection is strong, and therefore supportive of its historical, research and interpretive value. Certainly the interpretive capacity for understanding a detailed and nuanced history of Kew on many levels, as well as touching or reflecting on wider stories on a state or national stage is very high.

Russell, Emma, 'Kew Historical Society Significance Assessment | Collection', History@Work, 2018

Cameron Auty 26 April 2016 9:48 AM

Amazing hat collection, these are a great addition to the site - Site admin.

Leave a comment

2374 items with images

Badge - Kew Carnival, 19 November 1921

Key words

badges
buttons
carnivals - kew

A round metal badge advertising the Kew Carnival of 1921. The badge is covered with plastic, with a pin at the back that clips into a shaped aperture designed to hold the pin shut.

Historical information

Kew was declared a city in 1921 so it is possible that the carnival was related to that event.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Kew Carnival / November 19 / 1921"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - H.A.A. Warner, Mayor [of Kew] 1935-6

Key words

mayors of kew (vic)
cr. h.a.a. warner

Framed portrait of Cr. H.A.A. Warner, Mayor of Kew 1935-6. The mounting and framing of the photograph follows a typical layout or style in that each is framed in dark wood, glazed, and laid down on an inscribed board. The inscription identifies the name of the mayor and the year/s that he/she served.

Significance

The collection of photographs presented by the former City of Kew to the the Kew Historical Society in 1987 is historically and aesthetically significant. It comprises 85 original photographs, and two portraits of the former Clerks of the Kew City Council covering the period from 1863 to 1969. The earliest photographs date from c.1906, when the Town of Kew Council commissioned the noted local photographer Josiah E Barnes to make copy photographs of earlier images of Kew mayors and to photograph the current mayor for a display in its Council Chamber in Walpole Street, Kew. The photographs are large format and handsomely framed. The collection also includes photographs by other well-known photographic studios such as Burlington Studios, Melba – Melbourne, Stuart Tompkins, Spencer Shier and Talma & Co - the majority of the photographs are signed by the photographer, and have with the dates of office of the mayor inscribed on the mount. There are only three missing portraits in the series. 80 photographs are housed in their original frames – the early photographs were framed by Beaument's Art Gallery, Picture Framing and Mount Cutting specialists, a business previously located next to the Hawthorn Town Hall in Burwood Road.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Adelaide S.A. Jan 1924

Key words

scouts - kew, 1st kew scouts
kew fire brigade - walton street

The group was most likely en route to the Australian Corroboree, which in 1924 was held at the Adelaide Exhibition Oval. The building in the background is likely to be the railway station, as travelling by train would have been the main method of inter-capital city transport in those days. The ‘Corroboree’ involved a large gathering of Scouts from across Australia. They would have pitched tents to live in, and participated in activities such as swapping badges, visiting the city, going on day trips, putting on concerts and displays, and spending time preparing their own meals.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Document - Invitation : Opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth By His Royal Highness the Duke of York and Cornwall, Melbourne 1901

Key words

commonwealth parliament - australia, federation 1901, royal exhibition building - melbourne, james maitland campbell

A colour lithograph mounted on card which is an invitation to the Opening of the First Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, 9 May 1901. The invitation was sent to Mr J.M. & Mrs Campbell. John Longstaff and Norman Lindsay’s design for the invitation includes symbolic female figures and coats of arms of the British and Australian Commonwealth. The central figure represents Justice. At her feet a crown and sceptre are laid, ‘to denote that the monarch will always acquiesce in laws passed by Parliament, provided they are just.’ On the left appears a figure of Britannia, above the royal coat of arms and in front of the white cliffs of England; on the right is a female figure representing Australia, with one hand out-stretched and above the Australian Coat of Arms. Behind her is a pastoral scene; she stands beneath a gum tree. At the top is a border of waratahs; on the left is a border of oak. The six states are represented in shields at the bottom of the card.

Historical information

The Correspondent for The Argus on 10 May 1901 described the opening on 9 May as: "The Parliament of the Commonwealth was opened yesterday by the Duke, of Cornwall and York, under a Commission signed by Queen Victoria and subsequently endorsed by King Edward VII. The ceremony was marked by the splendour and solemn impressiveness which befitted its historic importance. An immense assemblage of spectators, drawn mainly, of course, from this state, but in part also from each of the other federated states, and including representatives of other portions of the British Empire and of foreign powers, thronged the spacious, stately, and joyously decorated edifice. The picture was magnificent. It must have printed itself indelibly on the sensitive minds of the thousands of Australians who were privileged to behold it. We may assume that artists will reproduce it in worthy and imperishable forms, and that from generation to generation it will be familiar in the households of the Commonwealth. Our children's children, we may gladly say to-day, will not be ashamed of the function which inaugurated the self-governing rights of the southern British Nation. Nothing was omitted which could add to the grandeur and significance of the occasion. In a broad sense the proceedings were perfectly intelligible to the vast and sympathetic gathering, though the natural limits of a single human voice had to be accepted. The King's son, with his consort and the Governor-General and Lady Hopetoun by his side, and supported by the Governors of the states and other eminent personages, fulfilled his doubly-attested Commission with a simple dignity and a modest manliness altogether admirable. The ceremony was a brilliant spectacle, and, in its sentiment and suggestiveness, an inspiration to a loyal and patriotic people."

Significance

The document design has artistic and aesthetic merit. While it is not rare, it is representative of the kinds of formal designs used for the Australian Commonwealth celebrations at the time of Federation, and is in excellent condition. Such items as this invitation have local, state and national historic significance as mementoes of a key moment in Australia's history. Locally, the invitation is part of a group of Federation-related items issued to James Maitland Campbell (and his wife). Campbell was three times mayor of Kew in the second half of the 19th Century and the owner of Ramornie in Pakington Street, one of the significant extant mansions in Kew.

Inscriptions & Markings

Front, printed. gold ink: "Opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth By his Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and York / The Government of Victoria requests the honour of the presence of / Mr. J . M. and Mrs. Campbell (handwritten / At the Celebrations in Melbourne in connection with the Opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia."

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Plan - Survey Plan, Park Hill Road, Kew

Key words

surveys - kew, maps - kew, holland loxton, park hill road - kew

Hand drawn and coloured survey plan created by Holland Loxton, Surveyor and Town Clerk of Kew, showing land owned by Payne in Park Hill Road, Kew. The plan includes street names, land measurements and land owners.

Historical information

The streets identified on the survey plan - Cotham Road, Park Hill Road East, Park Hill Road West in Kew were each gazetted by the Victorian Government in 1865. The hand-coloured survey plan was completed by Holland Loxton, Town Clerk and Surveyor of the Borough of Kew from 1866. The unnamed survey plan includes names of land owners in addition to measurements (2 chains to 1 inch) and streets. Named owners include Webster, Payne and Francom which will enable us to narrow down the creation date of the survey.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph [copy] - Opening Ceremony, Baby Health Centre, Peel Street (North Kew)

Key words

north kew baby health centre
peel street (kew)
baby health centres - kew (vic)
kew north
north kew

Black and white photocopy of a photograph showing mothers, their children sitting on the veranda wall, officials. All mothers wear hats and most of the children. The woman at right may be Mrs Lucy Kennedy, wife of Tom Kennedy Jnr of Pakington Street.

Historical information

The North Kew Centre was the third established at North Kew. It followed a lease of a house at 50 Willsmere Road. The Peel Street building was designed by Mr Chipperfield. Messrs McIntosh and Taylor were the successful tenderers, the price being 1,240 pounds.

Inscriptions & Markings

Later inscription: "1930 Opening Ceremony Peel St Kew North Baby Health Centre"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Bronze Sculpture : The Worker, Leopoldine Mimovich, 1990

Key words

artists - kew (vic)
leopoldine (poldi) mimovich

Black and white photograph of sculpture or sculptures by Leopoldine Mimovich photographed in her home at 31 Miller Grove, Kew

Historical information

The Austrian-born sculptor Leopoldine Mimovich was a prominent artist who lived and worked in Kew. Examples of her sculptures in Kew can be found in the Kew Library and in the Alexandra Gardens.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Communal Toilets, Kew Mental Hospital, 1956

Key words

kew lunatic asylum
kew hospital for the insane
kew mental hospital
kew mental institute
willsmere mental hospital
willsmere hospital

Black and white photograph of patient toilets in the Kew Mental Hospital.

Historical information

This photograph is one of approximately 43 original photographs and photocopies of buildings, patients and staff assembled in a red covered, spirally bound photograph album (the album itself is now discarded and the images stored separately). The images in the album cover the period from the 1870s to 1965. A few photographs have inscriptions on the reverse; others had later separate labels in the album. The album was presumably compiled as a public record. It and other items came from the collection assembled by Dr Fred Stamp, the last medical superintendent of Willsmere Hospital before its closure in 1988. Original photographs have been uploaded to and described on Victorian Collections. The album itself is listed and linked separately showing the photographs in situ.

Significance

A number of the photographs from the Willsmere Hospital album are confronting, especially given the condition of the buildings and facilities depicted, as well as the casual photographs of patients, which some viewers may find distressing. The album and its photographs are however an historically significant visual record of the Kew Mental Hospital, especially in the years 1951-1965.

Inscriptions & Markings

"1956"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Handkerchief sachet - Embroidered Padded Silk

Key words

personal effects
handkerchiefs
bags
sachets
pouches

Padded purple silk handkerchief bag/sachet with pink braiding and applied lace. The sachet contains three handkerchiefs bordered with lace.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Aerial Photograph, Willsmere Hospital (Kew), 1988

Key words

aerial photographs - kew (vic)
dr fred stamp
willsmere

Framed, colour aerial photograph of the Willsmere Hospital, presented to Dr Fred Stamp (1941-2018), the Superintendent of the Hospital from 1981 until its closure in 1988.

Historical information

Dr Frederick Stamp graduated from Bristol Medical School (UK) in 1968. He and his family emigrated to Australia in 1977 to Goulburn (NSW), moving to Melbourne in 1980. He became Superintendent at Willsmere in 1991 until its closure in 1988.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Ephemera - Philatelic Requisite / Wm. Ackland, 267 Collins St., Melbourne

Key words

philately
william ackland - 267 collins street - melbourne (vic)

Paper and cellophane holder for stamps retailed by William Ackland of 267 Collins Street. The front of the packet contains advertising information about the seller. The reverse includes printed calculators.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Subdivision Plan - Six Big Home Sites, Camberwell North

Key words

subdivision plans - camberwell

A subdivision in what is currently Balwyn, but which was advertised as being in Camberwell North. The subdivision included six allotments facing Buchanan Avenue and Houghton Street. The subdivision was to the east of the Pointed Firs Estate (1936). In addition to the intrinsic value of this subdivision plan, it also reveals information about the development of transport infrastructure in this area. The subdivision plan notes that the Tramways Board has approved the extension of the tram route past the current terminus at Balwyn Road.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Sandhill Forge, Cotham Road, circa 1900

Key words

sandhill forge
genazzano convent (kew)
cotham road (kew)
william holt

The photo shows W. Holt, Wheelwright, Veterinary and General - Blacksmith, Cotham Road, Kew. While a later inscription suggests that the photo dates from 1908, by that stage, according to the Sands & McDougall Directories, the forge on the corner of Cotham and Mont Victor Roads had been taken over by H. Wright. F.G.A. Barnard in his Jubilee History of Kew (1910) records that the well known Sandhill Nursery, had been established by William Holt early in the 1850s. Presumably this was an earlier business as by 1888 it is recorded that the business had become a forge. The forge stood on what is now part of the grounds of Genazzano Convent.

Significance

A rare photograph of a pioneering industrial business in Kew on the site now occupied by Genazzano Convent.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription front: "Uncle Will Holt, Cotham Road, Kew, opp Normanby Av [sic] 1908 [sic]"; Reverse: "KHS February 1990. Gift of Mr Panther - Manager Westpac Bank, Kew. Given to Kew Historical Soc.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Handbag - Silver Chain Mesh, 19th century

Key words

fashion and textiles collection
purses
bags - handbags
fashion accessories
clothing accessories

Hand-linked silver rings, with silver frame and clasp.

Historical information

Silver metalwork chain purses were made in tiny coils and formed into patterns in the early nineteenth century. This example is made of fine silver mesh.

Significance

This item formed part of a large collection of items collected by Dorothy Rogers, a notable local historian and founding member of the Kew Historical Society.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Book - Historic Buildings: Windsor and Richmond / [Helen Baker for] the State Planning Authority of New South Wales

Key words

historic buildings - windsor (nsw)
historic buildings - richmond (nsw)

67 p. : illus., facsims., maps, plans

Significance

Dorothy Rogers was a long-time resident of Kew and a well-regarded historian and author. Her research, articles and publications are found in local collections including the Kew library, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia. She is perhaps best remembered for her local history publications and articles culminating in her book ‘The History of Kew’. The Dorothy Rogers Collection, held the Kew Historical Society includes her professional library, her working and finished manuscripts, as well as an extensive collection of photographs and ephemera that she either inherited or collected.

Inscriptions & Markings

Owner signature: Dorothy Rogers

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Cr. V. M. Luke, Mayor [of Kew] 1950-1

Key words

mayors of kew (vic)
cr. v. m. luke
australian photographers - stuart tompkins camberwell

Framed portrait of Cr. V. M. Luke, Mayor of Kew 1950-1. The mounting and framing of the photograph follows a typical layout or style in that each is framed in dark wood, glazed, and laid down on an inscribed board. The inscription identifies the name of the mayor and the year/s that he/she served.

Significance

This historically significant collection of civic portraits was presented by the former City of Kew to the the Kew Historical Society in 1987. It comprises 85 original photographs, and two portraits of the former Clerks covering the period from 1863 to 1969. The earliest photographs date from ca.1906, when the Town of Kew Council commissioned the noted local photographer Josiah E Barnes to make copy photographs of earlier images of Kew mayors and to photograph the current mayor for a display in its Council Chamber in Walpole Street, Kew. The photographs are large format and handsomely framed. The collection also includes photographs by other well-known photographic studios such as Burlington Studios, Melba – Melbourne, Stuart Tompkins, Spencer Shier and Talma & Co - the majority of the photographs are signed by the photographer, and have the dates of office of the mayor inscribed on the mount. There are only three missing portraits in the series. 80 photographs are housed in their original frames – the early photographs were framed by Beaument's Art Gallery, Picture Framing and Mount Cutting specialists, a business previously located next to the Hawthorn Town Hall in Burwood Road.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Button - Balwyn Empire Day Celebrations, Appeal for the Blind, 1921

Key words

patriotic buttons
empire day
balwyn war memorial - beckett park

An Empire Day fundraising button from 1921. The white enamelled button depicts in the centre an image of the Balwyn War Memorial in Beckett Park surmounted by a red ensign.

Historical information

Empire Day had been initiated following the death of Queen Victoria and was held throughout the Empire from 1901-58. The main day of celebration was on 24 May, the date of Queen Victoria’s birthday. The Balwyn fundraising button was created for an appeal three days before the official date. The Memorial had been opened in 1919].

Significance

The buttons and medallions form part of a collection of ephemera originally purchased by Francis Horace Rigg (19/10/1882-05/03/1946) of 50 Belford Road, Kew (Vic.). Frances Rigg was a local business identity in Kew, ultimately managing the local branch of the English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank at 175 High Street, Kew from c. 1920 until the 1940s. After Francis Rigg’s death, the collection of buttons and medallions was inherited by his son, Ken Rigg (14/11/1922-19/01/2014). The collection was subsequently donated to the Kew Historical Society in 2015 by his grandson Adrian Rigg during the Gallipoli and Beyond Commemoration. The collection covers a period of almost 40 years. The majority of the badges are patriotic buttons, issued and sold during and immediately after World War 1 to raise funds for national and overseas causes. The collection also includes a number of locally significant sporting event buttons and sporting club medallions, issued in the 1920s and 1930s.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Geoff Brooke, Antoine-John Duncan (photographer), circa 1949-51

Key words

geoffrey (geoff) brooke
performing arts - 20th century

Black and white photograph, perhaps used as a stock publicity photograph by Antoine-John Duncan of the Melbourne restauranter and music and television personality, Geoff Brooke. Brooke was a close friend of Robin Kelly and the item forms part of the Vaderluys-Kelly Collection, donated by her in 2018.

Significance

The Vandersluys-Kelly Collection of photographs, costumes and musical performance memorabilia was donated to the Kew Historical Society by Robin Denise Kelly in 2018. The collection is an important record of stage and recorded performances in Australia in the second half of the 20th century. This new nationally-focused and artistically significant collection augments and contextualises the local performing arts materials in our collection.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Programme - Trial and Error / by Kenneth Horne

Key words

arthur dear collection
the kew repertory players, theatre - victoria, theatre - kew, kew recreation hall
trial and error, kenneth horne

Programme issued by The Kew Repertory Players for a performance of Trial and Error by Kenneth Horne. Performances took place in the Kew Recreation Hall in November 1958. The 4-page programme includes a cast list, a synopsis and advertisements for local businesses.

Significance

The Arthur Dear Collection is a comprehensive collection of theatrical ephemera relating to performances by theatrical and musical organisations from within and outside the former City of Kew who typically performed at venues in Kew during the 1950s and 1960s.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph

Key words

photographs, george weir, edith mary weir, 84 princess street (kew), illapa, parcnacilla

Sepia-toned photograph of 84 Princess Street, Kew during the occupation of the house by the Weir family during the years 1918-1950. The house and garden had formerly been named Illapa and then Parcnacilla. In 1950 the family sold the house to a religious order who renamed the house 'The Towers'. It now forms part of 'Rylands'.

Historical information

An item forming part of a collection of costumes, photographs and documents relating to the Weir family who lived in the mansion originally named Illapa, 84 Princess Street, Kew, from c.1917 to 1950. This historically significant collection includes items relating to both George Weir (1866-1937) and his wife Edith Mary Weir (1867-1948). George Weir attained national prominence in the mining industry, becoming General Manager of the North Broken Hill Silver Mining Company in 1903 (later renamed North Broken Hill Mining Company 1905-12, and North Broken Hill Ltd 1912-1988), and subsequently President of the Mine Owners Association. He was to remain General Manager of North Broken Hill Ltd until his retirement in 1926.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Jewellery - Necklace, Green Plastic Beads, 1950s

Key words

necklaces
costume jewellery

Necklace of graduated green plastic moulded beads,

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Uniform - Scout Leader Uniform, Kew District, circa 1993

This uniform was worn by Desley Reid as Assistant District Commissioner of Kew District between 1993 and 1995. The khaki shirt has District and Scout Membership badges and length-of-service badges, the Australian Scout Badge and a Red Cross First Aid badge. The leather belt has a collection of Jamboree souvenir metal badges attached. A ‘lemon squeezer’ felt hat completes the outfit. The hat badge and plume was coloured to indicate to which Section the wearer belonged, purple indicating the Commissioner Section. To keep the brim flat, the hat was sometimes kept in a timber frame when not being worn.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Wide brimmed straw woman’s hat banded at the crown and on the rim with black ribbon. Highlighting the lower part of the crown are regularly spaced black plastic buttons. Attached to the bow is a posy of crimson poppies.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Button - Please Help the Hospitals

Key words

patriotic buttons
first world war (1914-18)

Photographs accompanied an article in ‘Table Talk’ in October 1916 on the sale of buttons labelled ‘Please Help the Hospitals’ . The Commonwealth Button Fund supported the appeal. In the photographs, all of the collectors are holding tins with the Red Cross logo on them. The actual fundraising button depicts a dog with a basket in its mouth. The dog has a red cross on his coat.

Historical information

Most of the civic and sporting ephemera assembled by Francis Rigg were patriotic buttons. The use of these buttons as a means of raising revenue through patriotic sentiment occurred soon after Australia pledged allegiance to Empire. Buttons reflected ‘public sentiment, courage, patriotism, generosity and several [un- named] virtues’ such as the martyred mother of a ‘fallen’ hero. Attention was paid to attractiveness of design, encoded symbolism and high quality of production. Expressing ‘loyalty’, they were tokens to be kept for perpetuity. Female labour was used to operate the die that compressed the tin backing, photographic print and celluloid cover together. The pin was applied by hand. Women, of all ages, entered into the spirit of voluntary sales. Often they were sold at the entry and exit points of major pedestrian thoroughfares. The women of Kew set up a kiosk in front of the Post Office and the Railway Station to solicit their round, oval and square shaped wares. Pride in salesmanship was affected by publishing the name of the woman and her fiscal achievement in the major newspapers of the day.

Significance

The buttons form part of a collection of ephemera assembled by Francis Horace Rigg (19/10/1882-05/03/1946) of 50 Belford Road, Kew (Vic.). Frances Rigg was a local business identity in Kew, ultimately managing the local branch of the English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank at 175 High Street, Kew from c. 1920 until the 1940s. After Francis Rigg’s death, the collection of buttons and medallions was inherited by his son, Ken Rigg (14/11/1922-19/01/2014). The collection was subsequently donated to the Kew Historical Society in 2015 by his grandson Adrian Rigg at the time of the Gallipoli & Beyond Commemoration. The collection covers a period of almost 40 years. The majority of the buttons are patriotic buttons, issued and sold during and immediately after the First World World War (1914-1918) to raise funds for national and overseas causes. The collection also includes a number of locally significant sporting event buttons and sporting club medallions, issued in the 1920s and 1930s.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Near Kew Junction, circa 1905

Key words

laurie koelmayer
kew (victoria)

Near Kew Junction, circa 1905. Photograph of artwork [1984.003].

Inscriptions & Markings

The photograph is attached to a page of typed text which can be viewed in the image.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Sheet Music - The Three Bells (Les Trois Cloches) / by Villard & Reisfeld

Key words

geoffrey (geoff) brooke
performing arts - 20th century

Sheet music for the song The Three Bells, featuring a cover photograph of the Australian 'radio star' Geoff Brooke. Brooke, a resident of Wellington Street (Kew), was a close friend of the singer Robin Vanser (aka Robin Kelly The item forms part of the Vandersluys-Kelly Collection of performance memorabilia donated by her to the Kew Historical Society in 2018.

Significance

The Vandersluys-Kelly Collection of photographs, costumes and musical performance memorabilia was donated to the Kew Historical Society by Robin Denise Kelly in 2018. The collection is an important record of stage and recorded performances in Australia in the second half of the 20th century. This new nationally-focused and artistically significant collection augments and contextualises the local performing arts materials in our collection.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Centenary Dinner Dance, Kew Civic Hall, 1960

Key words

centenary of kew (vic) - 1860-1960
cr whs dickinson - mayor of kew 1946-1947
civic events - kew (vic)

Original black and white photograph of the entry of a debutante and her partner at the Centenary [of Kew] Dinner Dance in 1960. The photograph shows the entry of a debutante and her partner through a specially constructed floral arch at the back of the main stage, which was at that time located at the northern end of the Kew Civic [Town] Hall. The Mayor and Mayoress, Cr WHS and Doris Dickinson are standing at right.

Historical information

Original photograph of the Kew Centenary Ball in the new Kew Civic Hall in 1960. The photograph formed part of the collection of WHS Dickinson and was presented to the Kew Historical Society by his daughter in 2018.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Thomas Greenhill, Mayor [of Kew] 1898-9

Key words

mayors of kew (vic)
photographers - kew (vic) - josiah earl barnes

Framed portrait of Cr. Thomas Greenhill, Mayor of Kew 1898-9. The mounting and framing of the photograph follows a typical layout or style in that each is framed in dark wood, glazed, and laid down on an inscribed board. The inscription identifies the name of the mayor and the year/s that he/she served.

Significance

The collection of photographs presented by the former City of Kew to the the Kew Historical Society in 1987 is historically significant. It comprises 85 original photographs, and two portraits of the former Clerks of the Kew City Council covering the period from 1863 to 1969. The earliest photographs date from c.1906, when the Town of Kew Council commissioned the noted local photographer Josiah E Barnes to make copy photographs of earlier images of Kew mayors and to photograph the current mayor for a display in its Council Chamber in Walpole Street, Kew. The photographs are large format and handsomely framed. The collection also includes photographs by other well-known photographic studios such as Burlington Studios, Melba – Melbourne, Stuart Tompkins, Spencer Shier and Talma & Co - the majority of the photographs are signed by the photographer, and have the dates of office of the mayor inscribed on the mount. There are only three missing portraits in the series. 80 photographs are housed in their original frames – the early photographs were framed by Beaument's Art Gallery, Picture Framing and Mount Cutting specialists, a business previously located next to the Hawthorn Town Hall in Burwood Road.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph

Key words

kew light opera company, kew recreation hall, musicals, programmes, theatre, theatrical performances, performing arts

Sepia toned photograph of an informal dress rehearsal for The Maid of the Mountains, which was due to be performed in the Kew Recreation Hall in May and June 1956. The Maid of the Mountains, called in its original score a musical play, is an operetta or musical comedy in three acts. The music was by Harold Fraser-Simson, with additional music by James W. Tate, lyrics by Harry Graham and additional lyrics by Frank Clifford Harris and Valentine. For the Kew production, the scenery was executed by James L. Alexander and the wardrobe supplied by J.C. Williamson. The pianiste, Joy Barker, can be seen at the front of the photograph.

Historical information

The Kew Light Opera Company was formed in 1952, and mounted a number of musical and variety productions each year until it was subsumed in the "Q" Theatre Guild in 1957. A partial record of performances by the company includes: 1952 Florodora, 1953 The Cingalee - San Toy or The Emperor's Own, 1954 While the Sun Shines - A Country Girl - Our Miss Gibbs, 1955 The Toreador - The Arcadians, 1956 The Maid of the Mountains - Whiteoaks - Goodnight Vienna!, 1957 A Country Girl. Most of the Company's performances took place in the Kew Recreation Hall in Wellington Street, Kew.

Significance

The scrapbook of annotated photographs, programmes, and newspaper reviews of which this item is a part was assembled by Marion Tilley, wardrobe mistress for, and performer in, productions by the Kew Light Opera Company and the "Q" Theatre Guild. It is significant as a remarkably complete document of theatre performances in Kew, Victoria during the 1950s and 1960s. The scrapbook, and the items individually catalogued within it, have artistic and aesthetic significance within the history of performing arts in Victoria in the middle of the 20th Century. They have social significance in that they reveal socio-cultural values and preoccupations during the period. The records also act as a history of arts activities in the Kew Recreation Hall and later in the Kew City Hall as entertainment and community arts and music precincts.

Inscriptions & Markings

Underneath the photograph, Marion Tilley wrote: "Informal dress rehearsal of Maid of the Mountains"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Board Game - Drafts

Key words

games and puzzles
drafts

Wooden drafts board with the counters contained in an internal drawer.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew