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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', [email protected], 2018

Cameron Auty 26 April 2016 9:48 AM

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

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2723 items

Curtains - from Tourmont [Balwyn], Paradise Bird Design on Linen by G&P Baker of London, c. 1918 - c. 1936

Key words

curtains

A pair of curtains originally situated in one of the front reception rooms of 'Tourmont' in Balwyn Road, Balwyn (now Fintona Girls’ School). The fabric in the curtains was manufactured by the English firm of GP&J Baker. The textile design is variably named as ‘Paradise Bird’ or more recently, ‘Hydrangea Bird’. William Turner, a Scottish born free-lance designer, who was contracted to GP&J Baker, painted the image on which the design was based in 1918. Turner had trained as a furniture designer before leaving for London in the 1890s, where he rose to prominence as an Arts & Crafts designer. The bird that gives this design its name is adapted from Robert Havell’s ‘A Collection of Birds of Paradise’, published in 1835, and was a favourite of Victorian chintz designers. Turner’s bird perches in a blossoming branch directly above a woodpecker, which is an attribute of Mars, god of war. Thus the design reads as a symbolic statement where War is reversed and Paradise returns (a hopeful message at the end of WWI). “Paradise Bird” has been in continuous production since its creation. The hand-block print, of which these curtains are an early example, was supplemented by a version engraved on copper rollers in 1962, and was updated onto screens in 1982.

Significance

The curtains have significance to the collection because of their intrinsic value and for the link to one of the major houses in the City of Boroondara. The curtains by G.P & J Baker of London use one of the most traditional designs in this manufacturer’s output. The first use of the design was in 1918, following the Great War, and the design is said to reflect the hope for peace which was a feature of the postwar years. The curtains are an early example of the design, and were block printed. Tourmont is a A-listed mansion in Balwyn, originally designed by John Beswicke for the shipping magnate David York Syme in 1891. While the curtains cannot be dated to the original occupancy of the house, they may date from before Syme’s death in 1934.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Wallpaper - from 'Reno', St John's Parade

Key words

wallpaper
samuel cocking
reno, st john's parade, kew

Wallpaper fragment from ‘Reno’. These two samples of light brown Victorian-period wallpaper were overprinted with flowers and leaves that are outlined in maroon. Flowers and foliage are painted in blue of varying intensity, giving the impression of being hand painted. The style of this wallpaper would have been suited to a bedroom or drawing room.

Historical information

Comparatively few weatherboard houses in Kew survived from the early years of settlement into the second half of the 20th century. One such property was ‘Reno’, which once stood on the east side of St John’s Parade. Its earliest recorded owner was the architect Samuel Cocking who lived there from c.1865 until his death in 1888. The original landholding was bordered by Cotham Road, Glenferrie Road, Wellington Street, and Charles Street. The southern portion of this land included a fine orchard, with many imported trees. The old summer house, at first in the orchard, was later removed to the house garden. The MMBW Detail Plan No.1576 (1904) shows the remaining portion of the original land holding, including a semi-circular pathway at the front, and garden features such as an aviary, a fountain and grotto, and a fernery. None of these are apparent in photographs dating from the 1960s, where the garden, which once included rare plants provided by Baron Von Mueller, surrounds the cottage in a tangled frenzy. Despite a ‘local significance’ classification by the National Trust, the house was demolished in 1971.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Green & Brown Silk Hat / by Anne Harrison of Kew, circa 1955-65

Key words

anne harrison
milliners
hats
milliners - kew (vic)
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
women's clothing

Pale green silk woman’s hat in a soft unstructured style retailed by Anne Harrison of Kew. The hat is banded with braid in contrasting colours. It has a soft bow at the rear.

Historical information

Marion “Annie” (Cooper) Harrison, a milliner by trade, designed and made women’s hats, initially in the 1940s in High Street, and later in the 1950s and 60s at 5 Princess Street. The hats were constructed upstairs in her shop in Princes Street while the ground floor was reserved for sales and display. She employed other milliners to assist but always ran the showroom herself. Hectic periods were in the weeks before the big racing carnivals when the many wealthy race-goers of Kew kept her busy. She typically walked to her business as she and her husband, Fred Harrison, lived locally. Annie died in April 2016, at the great age of 107 years. Her hats are held in local and national collections.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Anne Harrison of Kew. WM 9906

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Pale Green Silk & Gauze / by Harbig, 1960s

Key words

harbig

Pale green woman’s hat created by Harbig of Melbourne with a large border of flowers and leaves in shades of green. The crown of the hat is swathed with pale green silk gauze.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Harbig. Melbourne, New York, Paris

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Black Straw & Gauze, Janell

Key words

janelle
milliners, hats, australian fashion, clothing

Soft broad brimmed black coloured woman’s hat by Janell constructed of black straw and covered with fine black silk gauze.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Janell

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Abstract White Petals / by Beryl Richards of Melbourne

Key words

beryl richards
milliners, hats, australian fashion, clothing

Woman’s hat retailed by Beryl Richards of Melbourne which is constructed on a stiffened net and covered with pieces of white fabric cut to simulate the shape of petals.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Beryl Richards Hats - Melbourne

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Red Fabric & Net

Key words

milliners, hats, australian fashion, clothing

Woven red woman’s half hat with the addition of red net and flowers at the side in the same colour

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Navy Straw & Silk, R & M Dower (Kew)

Key words

r & m dower
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Wide brimmed navy blue fine straw woman’s hat retailed by R & M Dower of High Street, Kew, with red, white and apricot coloured fabric flowers surrounding the crown of the hat.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: R & M Dower 146 High St., Kew. Phone WM 8527

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - by Clare Ralph of Goullet of Melbourne

Key words

goullet of melbourne
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Wide brimmed woman’s hat designed by Clare Ralph of Goullet of Melbourne, constructed of white stiffened fabric with a white fabric cord surrounding the crown of the hat.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Designed by Goullet of Melbourne

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Green Velvet Fascinator / by Janelle

Key words

janelle
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Pale green woman’s fascinator retailed by Janelle which is constructed of two joined circles and covered with net of the same colour

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Janelle

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Russet Woollen Felt & Black Silk Ribbon / by Anne Harrison of Kew, 1955-65

Key words

anne harrison
milliners - kew (vic)
women's clothing
costume accessories
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society

Apricot coloured felt woman’s hat retailed by Anne Harrison of Kew. The design includes a contrasting band of black ribbon at the base of the crown. The ribbon is shaped into a flat bow at the rear of the hat.

Historical information

Marion “Annie” (Cooper) Harrison, a milliner by trade, designed and made women’s hats, initially in the 1940s in High Street, and later in the 1950s and 60s at 5 Princess Street. The hats were constructed upstairs in her shop in Princes Street while the ground floor was reserved for sales and display. She employed other milliners to assist but always ran the showroom herself. Hectic periods were in the weeks before the big racing carnivals when the many wealthy race-goers of Kew kept her busy. She typically walked to her business as she and her husband, Fred Harrison, lived locally. Annie died in April 2016, at the great age of 107 years. Her hats are held in local and national collections.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Anne Harrison of Kew. WM 9906

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Multicoloured Silk / by R & M Dower [Kew], 1949-74

Key words

r & m dower
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Small brimless woman’s hat retailed by R & M Dower of High Street, Kew. The structure of the hat is made of stiffened net, covered with multicoloured flowers, leaves and a purple ribbon.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: R & M Dower, 146 High St., Kew. Phone WM 8527.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Pink Wool & Ribbon, La Rene

Key words

la rene

Deep pink coloured felt woman’s fedora by La Rene with a broad navy ribbon at the base of the crown. The rim is fastened to the crown at one side of the hat.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Fashioned by La Rene. 37-6622; 36-1690

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Green Woollen Felt & Black Ribbon / by Anne Harrison of Kew, 1955-65

Key words

anne harrison
women's clothing
costume accesories - hats
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
cloche hats
milliners - kew (vic)

Pale green and black felt woman’s hat retailed by Anne Harrison of Kew. The pale green crown is bordered by a black turned up rim. An additional adornmant to the hat is an abstract bow at the front made of black felt.

Historical information

Marion “Annie” (Cooper) Harrison, a milliner by trade, designed and made women’s hats, initially in the 1940s in High Street, and later in the 1950s and 60s at 5 Princess Street. The hats were constructed upstairs in her shop in Princes Street while the ground floor was reserved for sales and display. She employed other milliners to assist but always ran the showroom herself. Hectic periods were in the weeks before the big racing carnivals when the many wealthy race-goers of Kew kept her busy. She typically walked to her business as she and her husband, Fred Harrison, lived locally. Annie died in April 2016, at the great age of 107 years. Her hats are held in local and national collections.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Anne Harrison of Kew. WM 9906.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - White Feathers on Silk

Key words

milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

A conical white silk and feather woman’s hat.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Green Cotton & Yellow Silk Ribbon, circa 1860

Key words

hats
smokers hats
men's clothing

Gentleman’s smoking (lounging) cap believed to have been made in c.1860. The conical hat is made of a dark green cotton fabric embroidered with narrow ribbon of a paler green silk. The unlined rimless hat is made of four pieces of fabric. There is no evidence of the hat at one stage featuring a tassle. The original donation record noted that the cap had been made for, and was worn by, a Mr Middleton, of Vaughan in Central Victoria.

Historical information

The context in which the hat was made and worn assists in establishing its potential historic significance. 'Bailliere's Victorian Gazetteer and Road Guide containing the most recent and accurate information as to every place in the Colony' (1870), describes the village of Vaughan as being located on the road from Daylesford to Castlemaine. In 1870 the Vaughan was deemed to be entirely a gold mining area, gold having been discovered in the district in 1853. Intriguingly the entry in the Gazetteer claims that the electoral division of Vaughan began at the junction of the Middleton Creek and the Loddon River, so perhaps the cap might have belonged to a member of a significant local family. In 1870, Vaughan had a population of about 1000 persons and included almost 300 dwellings. Articles from newspapers, published on Trove refer frequently to a Mr Middleton as a litigant in court cases before the Vaughan Court in the 1860s. By the 1870s, the Mt Alexander Mail, in an article on ‘Mining: The Pioneer Wheel’ describes the success of Mr Middleton and his Middleton’s Reef Gold Quartz Mining Company, which had built the largest water wheel in the Colony. The wheel was 20’ in diameter and 2’ wide. Quartz mining as practiced by companies such as Middleton’s had become necessary after the exhaustion of alluvial quartz mining deposits in the 1860s. So we can probably establish a link between the cap and a significant mining identity in the period in which the article was made.

Significance

The historical significance of the cap is only one part of the story. Caps such as the Middleton example can also be items of aesthetic significance as they were typically, examples of women’s work, using published patterns in magazines such as the Ladies Home Magazine. While women might follow or adapt a published pattern, their choice of materials reflected what was available locally. The fine hand stitching on this example is evidence of high quality domestic needlework. The maker crafted the cap from five triangular pieces of cotton cloth, each piece lined with a faded yellow net. The net provides some stiffening for the cap and has a functional purpose in that it anchors the hand-stitched, looped design of yellow silk ribbon that decorates the surface of the cap.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat / by Caterina Lucci

Broad-rimmed soft, black polyester velvet woman’s hat designed by Caterina Lucci and imported to Australia by Crochetta.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Caterina Lucci [A Crochetta import]. Made in China

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Key words

milliners
hats
women's clothing
australian fashion
jill o'brien

Soft pink coloured woman’s hat; the high crown swathed in fine pink silk, while the brim is covered with white net. Two large floppy silk roses are used to decorate the hat.

Historical information

The hat was owned, worn and donated by by Jill O'Brien, member of the Kew Historical Society and a former mayor of Kew. The rose is a later addition.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Key words

milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Pale pink coloured straw woman’s hat featuring a low crown and a wide brim. The latter is covered with silk chiffon of the same colour. A metallic adornment comprised of concentric rings is attached to the base of the crown.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

A grey woven straw woman’s hat featuring a wide brim. A narrow grey ribbon is used at the base of the crown. A posy of ivory coloured flowers is attached to the rim.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Key words

hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

A dusky pink straw woman’s hat with a wide brim. The hat features a fitted pink ribbon at the base of the crown and a white rose (sic) attached to the flat bow of the ribbon.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Very finely woven pink straw hat with a very large rim. The low-domed crown is surrounded by a band of black velvet to which are attached deep purple grapes. Black net is attached to the ribbon.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

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

Hat - Purple Straw & Ribbon / by Trude Jonas

Key words

trude jonas
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Elegant broad rimmed purple straw woman’s hat retailed by Trude Jonas with a purple ribbon of the same colour at the base of the crown.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Trude Jonas. Model Hats, 159 Glenferrie Rd., Malvern.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Open weave straw woman’s hat featuring a low domed crown and a wide brim. The dark brown hat has a pale green ribbon surrounding the base of the crown.

Inscriptions & Markings

Unclear handwritten marking: Sylvie Walsh (sic). Wynne Saish (sic)

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Key words

fashion design
millinery

Finely woven straw hat with a cream ribbon around the base of the crown.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat / by Goullet [of Melbourne]

Key words

goullet
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Finely woven straw woman’s hat by Goullet [Melbourne] featuring a cream ribbon around the base of the crown.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Goullet

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat - Grey Straw & Net / by Classic W.H. Pty Ltd

Key words

classic w.h. pty ltd
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Grey straw woman’s hat retailed by Classic W.H. Pty. Ltd., featuring a low crown and a broad rim. The crown and the rim are in shades of grey: the crown fully dyed grey and the broad rim in bands of white and grey. Grey net is attached to the rim and crown.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Classic. W.H. Pty Ltd.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat / by Latiners

Key words

latiners
milliners, hats, australian fashion, women's clothing

Deep purple coloured straw girls’ hat retailed by Latiners featuring a maroon ribbon at the base of the crown and a multicoloured fabric posy of flowers on the rim. The straw hat is irregularly layered to give the impression of folds.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Latiners

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Hat

Key words

hats, children's clothing

A small unadorned brown felt child’s hat with a high crown and a wide rim.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew