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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

1. KHS Office & Archive - 1 Civic Drive, Kew VIC 3101. Weekdays 10.00am to 4.00pm 2. Exhibitions & Public inquiries - 188 High Street, Kew VIC 3101. Fridays & Saturdays 11am to 1 pm.

Entry Fee

Free entry

Location

1 Civic Drive & 188 High Street Kew Victoria

The Kew Historical Society was founded in 1958. 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', [email protected], 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

2789 items

Sports Uniform - British Empire & Commonwealth Games Blazer, 1962

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Green wool blazer owned by William Forrest Passmore of Ascot Vale (1901-1980). The pocket is embroidered with the Australian Coat of Arms, underneath which is embroidered the image of a lawn bowl and the date 1962. The owners name is sewn at the back of neck.

Historical information

The British Empire & Commonwealth Games took place at the Dalkeith Bowling Club in Perth, Western Australia from 19 November until 1 December 1962. The bowls competition started several days before the official opening of the Commonwealth Games. The published list of representatives does not include William Forrest Passmore so it is assumed that he was an emergency or one of the support staff.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "W Passmore"

Costume - Black Woollen Cape / by Prue Acton

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Heavy woollen cape designed by Prue Acton. The cape is tied at the front and features a wide band of woollen fabric simulating a collar.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: "Prue Acton"

Costume - Wedding Dress and Coat / by Grace James, 1975

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Full length, heavy cream crepe with tie belt and lace overcoat, 1975

Historical information

Grace James, the creator of the items in the Grace James collection, designed and created costumes over a 19 year period (1969-1988) for her daughter Ceri. The collection of clothing ranges from evening wear to knitted garments. All the items display exemplary dressmaking skills. The designs are of the period and reflect evolving fashions of the time. Some items are copies of published designs whereas others are original creations. The collection was donated in 2006.

Significance

While most of the items in the Fashion and Textiles Collection of the Kew Historical Society are commercially designed items of clothing, there are also items made by home dressmakers. Many of these exhibit outstanding design knowledge and technical skills. A large and important group of these items of women's clothing is contained in the Grace James collection of outfits created for the dressmaker's daughter. The items have additional significance due to information about the purpose of the creation and the date when it was constructed.

Costume - Bridesmaid's Dress / by Grace James 1973

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Bridesmaid frock. Full length pink crepe with (at bride's request) two floating back panels. 1973

Historical information

Grace James, the creator of the items in the Grace James collection, designed and created costumes over a 19 year period (1969-1988) for her daughter Ceri. The collection of clothing ranges from evening wear to knitted garments. All the items display exemplary dressmaking skills. The designs are of the period and reflect evolving fashions of the time. Some items are copies of published designs whereas others are original creations. The collection was donated in 2006.

Significance

While most of the items in the Fashion and Textiles Collection of the Kew Historical Society are commercially designed items of clothing, there are also items made by home dressmakers. Many of these exhibit outstanding design knowledge and technical skills. A large and important group of these items of women's clothing is contained in the Grace James collection of outfits created for the dressmaker's daughter. The items have additional significance due to information about the purpose of the creation and the date when it was constructed.

Manuscript [copy] - Birthday Verses, 31 July 1886

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

2 page copy of birthday verses written by Thomas Brodribb of Hallatrow, 6 Holroyd Street, Studley Park in 1886. The verses celebrate his wife Emily.

Manuscript - Toast 25-5-1986 [Hallatrow]

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

A manuscript, written by Jim Brodribb, the grandson of Thomas Brodribb, the original owner of Hallatrow, recalling his family's years at Hallatrow (now 6 Holroyd Street in Studley Park.)

Photograph - Snow at Hallatrow, Aug 1899

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

What appears to be a reprint of an earlier photograph of Hallatrow, now mounted, originally listed as A'Beckett Street West or Conran Street, but now 6 Holroyd Street in Studley Park. The photograph was originally taken when the house was occupied by the family of Thomas Brodribb.

Significance

An important early photograph of a significant Kew mansion - Hallatrow - dating from 1899.

Inscriptions & Markings

Pencil: “Snow at Hallatrow, Aug 1899”

Photograph - Hallatrow, Kew, 1886

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

What appears to be a reprint of an earlier photograph of Hallatrow, now mounted, originally listed as A'Beckett Street West or Conran Street, but now 6 Holroyd Street in Studley Park. The photograph was originally taken when the house was occupied by the family of Thomas Brodribb.

Significance

An important early photograph of a significant Kew mansion - Hallatrow - dating from 1886, soon after it was constructed.

Inscriptions & Markings

Pencil: “Hallatrow, Kew, 1886”

Photograph - Kew Bowling Club Team, 1980s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Colour photograph of a Kew Bowling Club Team, tentatively dated to the 1980s [but it could be 1990s]. The photo includes Gerard Petrie, standing back row, third from right.

Artwork - Panoramic View of Kew and Abbotsford from the garden of Rockingham, 1952 / by V Maloney

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

View of Abbotsford from the garden of Rockingham (1952) was created by V Maloney, whose vantage point was the garden of Rockingham, one of two mansions overlooking the Yarra owned by the Syme family. The artwork depicts a number of sites - especially factories - that have since been demolished.

Historical information

The extensive formal landscaped gardens of Rockingham had been created in the 1860s, and by the 1950s remained bordered to the south by the Barkers Road cutting, and to the north by Blytheswood, the neighbouring Syme family property, By 1940, the Syme family were no longer the occupiers of Rockingham. John Herbert Syme had died in October 1939, and by August the following year, his wife had made the house and garden available, rent free to the Red Cross as a convalescent home for Australian soldiers injured in the Second World War. At the time, the house was described as containing twenty rooms, including a ballroom and a billiards room, with a garden of eight acres overlooking the Yarra. The task of renovating the house to conform to its new function as a convalescent home took a year, finally opening in August 1941. Community support for Rockingham was widespread and included the decision by the National Gallery of Victoria to loan pictures from its collection to decorate the walls. Calls were made for women around Victoria to donate fruit and vegetables from their gardens, which the railways agreed to freight for free. Other local support included the work by a team of boys to establish a three-acre vegetable garden within the formal terraced gardens. From the beginning, occupational therapy formed a key component of the rehabilitation of psychologically injured soldiers. This is confirmed by contemporary newspaper accounts of weaving, ironwork, leatherwork, basketry and gardening by patients. Numerous photographs, held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the State Library of Victoria (SLV), record the importance of these rehabilitation activities. The painting of the view across the river to Abbotsford may have been painted in one of these occupational therapy sessions. For many decades it hung in the occupational therapy room. It must have been on view following the sale of Rockingham by the Syme family to the Red Cross in 1955, and subsequently, until the house was demolished and its grounds finally subdivided in 1977.

Significance

The artwork is an historically significant representation of the skyline of Abbotsford and Melbourne in 1952. It is also significant as it is probably a work of art by a former soldier undertaking art therapy in a program in a Red Cross convalescent facility. The painting was donated by a former occupational therapist who worked at Rockingham.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signed by the artist, lower right "V Maloney"

Artwork - River Yarra Near Dights Falls, circa 1892 / by Herbert James Woodhouse

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Oil painting on board by Herbert James Woodhouse of the Yarra at Studley Park, circa 1892, possibly the painting described below in Table Talk. It would appear that the city of Melbourne is on the horizon. The exact location may however be difficult to ascertain given the changes to the landscape caused by the creation of the Eastern Freeway, which included changes to the course of the Yarra.

Historical information

Herbert James Woodhouse (1854-1937) was born in Essex and arrived in Australia with his family in 1857. A painter-lithographer like his father and three of his brothers, he was a prizewinner in the South Australian Society of Arts exhibition of 1885. He also received commendations in exhibitions at the Victorian Academy of Arts and the New South Wales Arts Society. At an exhibition of his paintings at Scott’s Hotel in Collins Street in 1892, the reviewer for Table Talk noted that the ‘artist paints almost solely in the open air, and his studies are generally carried out during the trips of the Victorian Sketching Club’. One of the paintings singled out for praise was: ‘A very effective river scene at Willsmere, aptly named A Midstream Mirror, ... a picture powerful in its effective reflection of sunlight in the river.’ Herbert Woodhouse died in Geelong in June 1937, aged 82, and was buried in the Eastern Cemetery. A number of his sketchbooks are held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria.

Significance

The artwork is historically and aesthetically significant in its 19th century depiction of the Yarra at Studley Park.

Inscriptions & Markings

Verso, written by artist: "River Yarra Near Dights Falls"

Artwork - Creek and Old Watering Stage, on the Yarra, East Collingwood, 1854 / by GB Richardson

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

The point of view selected by the artist for the watercolour is from the banks of Blind Creek in East Collingwood, looking across the Yarra to the Kew side of the river.

Historical information

Blind Creek was located between the Abbotsford Convent and what is now the Collins Bridge in Studley Park. In an 1858 map of East Collingwood by Clement Hodgkinson, in the State Library of Victoria, one can see how the creek was originally a significant landmark in Collingwood; remaining vacant land until a barrel drain enclosed it. The area was later filled in, surveyed and developed. The position where Blind Creek entered the Yarra was in the immediate vicinity of Hodgson’s Punt, which had linked Kew to the other side of the Yarra from 1839. The Punt was purchased by the Colonial Government in 1852 and was in use until the opening of the Studley Park Road (Johnston Street) Bridge in 1858 made its continued use redundant

Significance

The watercolour is historically significant as perhaps the earliest artwork showing the Yarra River at Kew. It is aesthetically significant as the earliest known ‘Australian’ work by George Bouchier Richardson (1822-77). GB Richardson was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and migrated to Melbourne in 1854 on the 'Great Britain'. He disembarked at Port Melbourne on 19 August 1854. He was an engraver and lithographer, as were his father, Moses Aaron Richardson, his brother John Thomas Richardson, and his uncle Thomas Miles Richardson. He acted for some time as librarian of the Melbourne Mechanics' Institute, but eventually became a journalist and editor of the Wallaroo Times. From 1874 he taught drawing and watercolour painting at Adelaide, where he died on 28 Nov. 1877.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed verso 'Creek and Old Watering stage, on the Yarra East Collingwood 1854 / Trees, stage, &c have long since disappeared / [Artist Signature] / FT 110 / Creek itself now being filled in 1903.

School Uniform - Badge and hatband of Woodbury Ladies’ College [Kew], circa 1918

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brass school badge which includes the initials WL within a large C, surrounded with the school crest - VERITAS VINCIT [Truth Prevails]; and navy blue hatband with narrow white and yellow stripes of Woodbury Ladies College (1903-1920).

Historical information

Woodbury College was an indirect predecessor of Preshil School in Kew. Woodbury College was founded in Glenferrie Road by a Miss Harcourt, former principal of Sydenham College, Moonee Ponds. Miss Harcourt maintained the school until the goodwill was purchased in 1908 by Miss LJ Macey, who had previously operated Lillsden Ladies' College in Edgevale Road, between c.1891 and c.1903. The first school was in a rented building on the south side of Cotham Road between Atkins and Davis Streets. In 1910, a new school building was built on the corner of Uvadale Grove and Cotham Road [the building is still extant as of 2020]. Woodbury College was operated by Miss LJ and Miss HJ Macey until 1920. In 1921, the school amalgamated with the newly formed St Andrew's College, Mont Victor Road, Kew (Vic) under the leadership of Rev JT Lawton [who had previously been principal of St Andrew's School of the 'Pathfinder' in South Yarra]. Miss Macey was for a period the Headmistress of the amalgamated school. Another teacher at the school was Miss Margaret JR Lyttle, who in 1931, left St Andrew's to form the Preshil School.

Significance

Rare ephemera relating to an early private school in Kew (Vic). The hatband was worn by Lilian McCrae in circa 1918 and donated by her sister Heather Houston. The badge was donated by Helen Lade.

Information File - Woodbury Ladies' College [Kew], c.1898-1920

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Vertical file containing information about Woodbury College, Cotham Road, Kew (Vic). The file includes historically significant primary sources relating to the former Woodbury College [c.1898-1920] and Lillsden Ladies' College, Edgevale Road, Kew (Vic) [c.1891-1903]. In addition to manuscripts, the file also includes photographs and ephemera such as a metal school badge, a hatband and printed programs and school magazines. The file [as of 2020] includes materials donated between 1986 and 2005 by descendants of the second principal (Miss Macey), and by former students and or their descendants. The contents of the vertical file include: 1. School origins : undated handwritten manuscript [2pp]; 2. Annual Reports : Handwritten manuscripts for the years 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920 by Miss LJ Macey; 3. Prize List : undated manuscript [3pp]; 4. School Magazine ; undated handwritten manuscripts about the origin of the school's magazine; 5. Woodbury Chat [school magazine] : printed booklets from the years 1918, 1919, 1920 x 2; 6. Correspondence [sundry] : handwritten letters from a parent [1916] and a former pupil (sic) [1938] to Miss Macey; 7. Exercise Books : one containing a handwritten history of the school(s) and the names and addresses of former students and teachers; and the other containing information relating to the National Home Reading Union, Kew Circle [1912-c.1916]. 8. Metal school badge and photographic negative of students. The names of various donors are listed in the file: they include Ann Ransom, Muriel Coghlan, Helen Lade, and Lilian McRae (nee Houston).

Historical information

Woodbury College is an indirect predecessor of Preshil School in Kew. Woodbury College was founded in c.1898 in Glenferrie Road by a Miss Harcourt, former principal of Sydenham College, Moonee Ponds. Miss Harcourt maintained the school until the goodwill was purchased in 1908 by Miss LJ Macey, who had previously operated Lillsden Ladies' College in Edgevale Road, between c.1891 and c.1903. The first school was in a rented building on the south side of Cotham Road between Atkins and Davis Streets. In 1910, a new school building was built on the corner of Uvadale Grove and Cotham Road [the building is still extant as of 2020]. Woodbury College was operated by Miss Lizzie J and Miss Harriet J Macey until 1920. In 1921, the school amalgamated with the newly formed St Andrew's College, Mont Victor Road, Kew (Vic) under the leadership of Rev JT Lawton [who had previously been principal of St Andrew's School of the 'Pathfinder' in South Yarra]. Miss Macey was for a period the Headmistress of the amalgamated school. Another teacher at the school was Miss Margaret JR Lyttle, who in 1931, left St Andrew's to form the Preshil School.

Significance

The file includes historically and socially significant manuscripts pertaining to the former Woodbury College in Cotham Road, Kew (Vic). These records provide a significant and unique perspective of the aims and practices of privately-provided education in the first two decades of the 20th century. The most important sections of the file are the handwritten annual reports by Miss LJ Macey, Principal of Woodbury College between 1908 and 1920. The latter were donated by Ms Doretta Bucknell in 1989.

Costume - Wedding Dress, 1970s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Cream coloured taffeta wedding dress with long leg of mutton sleeves and bustle

Costume - Black Lace Bolero

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Black lace and bead on tulle bolero. ca. 1900.

Costume - Grey Silk Outfit, c.1895

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Two piece grey silk outfit comprising a tailored bodice and a very full skirt. The bodice has puffed leg-of-mutton sleeves and is heavily encrusted with large grey artificial pearls and steel beads of the period. The skirt is cut to allow for a long train at the back. Grey pearls and steel beads are similarly used on the right side of the front of the skirt. Metallic braid may have been added at a later date. The outfit has been much altered over time. There is evidence of shattered silk in parts of the garment. Printed on a strap at the waist is the label of Peter Robinson, Oxford Street/Regent Street.

Costume - White Muslin Lingerie Dress, 1912-18

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Three-quarter-length, white cotton voile lingerie dress. The dress feature extensive embroidery on the bodice and skirt, probably constructed from pre-embroidered fabric, rather than hand embroidered. In addition to the embroiderd panels, there is extensive use of white lace insertions. The dress has short sleeves to teh elbow and lace cuffs. The dress is date after the Edwardian Period due to the absence of tucks and frills. Its high-waisted design is simple and yet elaborately ornamented with embroidery.

Costume - Quilted Satin Bridal Coat, 1939

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Floor-length satin bridal coat with a buttoned full length opening at the front extending the length of the garment. The front of the coat is hand-quilted in an abstract design of arabesques. The buttons are covered with the same satin fabric as the coat.

Historical information

The bridal coat was part of a wedding ensemble worn by Peg Young in 1939. The final two images in the carousel include a wedding photograph of Peg and her husband. A letter accompanying the donation on file describes the outfit as: "Rosemary [Peg] looked very nice indeed in a simple white satin dress that made her look very tall and slim. It had trimming round the neck, down the front and on the shoulders that looked like quilting, with a little gold in it, and she wore gold slippers and a lovely lace veil, lent by Auntie Nellie. She carried a large sheaf of bright red roses." Mrs Peg Young, a Kew resident was at one stage President of the Children's Book Council of Australia. She was also a member of the Kew Historical Society. The coat was donated by her daughter, Mrs Helen Tutt.

Costume - Raw Silk Wedding Dress, circa 1912

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Raw silk wedding dress. The full length dress has lace on the bodice and long sleeves. Other decorative elements include finely pleated silk panels on the bodice, an insert on the skirt and on the cuffs of the sleeves The dress uses utilitarian yet decorative buttons that are covered in the same silk fabric as the dress. The final photograph shows two early repairs to the dress.

Costume - Bridesmaid's Dress

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Full-length cream silk taffeta bridesmaid’s dress. Same colour lace on the upper bodice and sleeves.

Costume - Lace Wedding Dress with Matching Cap, 1940s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Full-length 1940s bridal gown covered entirely with cream coloured lace. The gown has a cream silk lining. The dress is in poor condition due to the lace which is extensively torn/rotted on the bodice. There are a few tears in the lace of the skirt.

Costume - Black Lace Evening Dress, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Full length black lace evening dress with a fitted black silk lining. The ‘v’ necked gown has a very full skirt. The lace has an abstract floral pattern. The garment was previously dated to the 1930s.

Costume - Fur Cape

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Fitted fur cape. Possibly mink.

Historical information

Fur cape belonging to the donors's mother

Costume - Mink Stole

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brown mink stole with fawn silk lining

Costume - Ermine Stole

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Large fitted brown ermine stole

Headwear - Faux Astrakhan Collar

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brown imitation astrakhan fur collar

Headwear - Brown Fur Hat

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brown fur hat

Costume - Fur Collar

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Very small brown fur collar; the pelt joined together by stitching to form a circle.

Costume - Two Fur Collars

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Two fur collars made of marten fur. One collar is of stone marten fur; the other of marten.

Historical information

The collars have been dated to the 1930s, evidenced by a photograph of Gwen Steele (nee Kelly) wearing them on a trip in New Zealand.