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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

2721 items

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Archive File - Cafes & Restaurants (Kew)

Information file containing containing numerous reviews, articles and advertisements for cafes and restaurants in Kew and Kew East; mostly sourced from local newspapers

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Archive File - DALLEY, Marie (1880-1965) & daughter

Archive file containing correspondence and newspaper articles/clippings. Correspondence is about naming a street after Marie Dalley. Marie Dalley lived at 31 Miller Grove. A newspaper article from 1981 also identifies 13 Bowen Street (built 1914) as the home of Ma Dalley’s daughter - Mrs Clare Cascarret (19590-76).

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Supper Cloth

Key words

household textiles
table linen
lace

Embroidered and lace edged white linen supper cloth.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Women's Clothing - Skirt : A-Line, Cream Cotton, undated

Key words

women's clothing, australian fashion, costumes, skirts

Long A-line cream coloured skirt.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographs [Series] - 60th Anniversary Meeting, Kew Historical Society, September 2018

AGM of the Kew Historical Society coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Society. The guest speaker was the Mayor of Kew, Cr. Jim Parke, while the patron of the Society, Sir Gus Nossal made presentations and cut the birthday cake. Presentations in recognition of service were made to Assoc. Prof. Don Garden, Brad Miles, and David Benwell.

Historical information

The Kew Historical Society was founded at a meeting called by the Kew Association in September 1958 at the home of Cr. WHS Dickinson, who was to become the first president of the Society.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Textile - Tea Cosy

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
teapot covers
table linen

White rectangular embroidered fabric constructed of two joined pieces of fabric and used as a decorative teapot cover.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Electricity Supply Poles, South Road, Moorabbin, 1965

Electricity Supply Poles, South Road, Moorabbin, 1965. Stuart Tompkins Studio provided this photograph for the Kew City Council. The photograph of South Road, Moorabbin, west of Jasper Road, looking east depicts steel poles with two lamps in a median strip and supply wires from pole to pole. The poles were described as 100′ apart. The notation on the rear of the photograph was that there were lamps along the median strip except at intersections. A wooden pole is recognised as supporting heavy supply lines across the road. The steel poles in the photograph were said to be between 3′ to 3.5′ whereas the wooden poles were three to 12.25″ in diameter. [There are three copies of this photograph in the Collection.]

Historical information

Research provided by Stuart Tompkins Studio, Box Hill, into alternatives for median strip street lighting to be used in Burke Road, Kew. The photographers identified variants in different suburbs appropriate to Kew's needs.

Significance

The series from which the photograph is drawn provides a snapshot by a commercial photographic studio of each named vicinity in 1965 as well as providing examples of public works infrastructure being commissioned by local government in the 1960s. The photos originally formed part of the Engineering Department's files in the City of Kew before being donated to the kew Historical Society.

Inscriptions & Markings

Typed inscription on reverse: "Electricity Supply Poles. Photographed for Kew City Council 8/2/65. No.2 South Road - Moorabbin, west of Jasper Road, looking east. Steel poles with two lamps in median strip and supply wires from pole to pole along median strip (poles only 100' apart). Lamps along median only except at intersections. Wooden pole supports heavy supply lines across the road. Wooden poles 3' up and 8 1/2" dia. Wooden poles 3' up and 12 1/2 dia." Studio stamp: "Stuart Tompkins Studio. 547 Station Street, Box Hill. WX1439."

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Quilt - Silk Patchwork, Hexagon style, 1850-75

Key words

patchwork quilt
hexagon pattern
denbigh family
wimba, cotham road, kew
john denbigh
helen johnston
quilt
patchwork
textiles

The quilt is constructed in the popular hexagon pattern of silk off-cuts of an earlier period. Hexagon patchwork quilts were typically constructed of individual hexagons, which were formed using paper or card templates. Where these are visible, it would indicate that writing paper was used to form the templates. The quilt is unlined and has a green silk border, added at a later date. Early 19th Century patchwork quilts tended to use cotton to create the hexagons, whereas silk became the preferred medium mid-century. The quilt has been dated to the middle decades of the 19th century due to the colour range, and the exclusion of black silk hexagons. Most of the silk used in the quilt has a sheen, however there is some use of velvet in one or two larger hexagons. The exposed reverse of the quilt includes a large amount of very fine hand stitching.An unlined quilt was typically used as a summer spread.

Historical information

A silk patchwork quilt in a hexagons pattern originally owned by the Denbigh family of ‘Wimba’. The Denbigh family is recorded as living at ‘Park Villa’ ‘near Kew’ in 1856. John Denbigh was at this stage the superintendent of the local Baptist school. By 1869 they are listed as residing in Cotham Road. John Sharp Denbigh’s death in 1875 resulted in the sale of Wimba.

Significance

This is an important early quilt with outstanding technical workmanship, and is well-provenanced.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Archive File - Boroondara Road Board

Archive file containing typed copies of early documents relating to the Boroondara Roads Board, established 1854. They include multiple copies of a transcript by Mr L.M. Chinner of the ‘Petition of Inhabitants Kew for the Establishment of a Municipality’ (1860), and the ‘Boroondara District Roads Board Assessment Roll’ (1858). The file also includes later articles by Bill Mackie (1997) and Gwen McWilliam (2013).

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Subdivision Plan - Mountain View Estate, Camberwell

Key words

subdivision plans - camberwell
mountain view estate

The so-called Camberwell Mountain View Estate was a subdivision on ‘the corner [of] Burke Road, Eyre and Wills Streets, Deepdene’. The Estate was not the first attempt to subdivide this land holding. In 1884, 1888 and 1894 the Belmore Park subdivision proposed 18 allotments for this parcel of land. The final stages of the Belmore Park subdivision occurred during the Depression of the 1890s. Apart from perhaps one block facing Burke Road, which is unnumbered in the Mountain View Estate subdivision, the rest must have remained unsold. The later subdivision would redraw the original 18 allotments, creating 22 new lots. In the Locality Plan on the left side of the subdivision plan, Deepdene Station, which formed part of the Outer Circle Railway is represented, as is the location of Deepdene Primary School. A selling point was the proposed extension of the Burke Road tram beyond its terminus at Cotham Road. The extension did not eventuate.

Significance

The Kew Historical Society collection includes almost 100 subdivision plans pertaining to suburbs of the City of Melbourne. Most of these are of Kew, Kew East or Studley Park, although a smaller number are plans of Camberwell, Deepdene, Balwyn and Hawthorn. It is believed that the majority of the plans were gifted to the Society by persons connected with the real estate firm - J. R. Mathers and McMillan, 136 Cotham Road, Kew. The Plans in the collection are rarely in pristine form, being working plans on which the agent would write notes and record lots sold and the prices of these. The subdivision plans are historically significant examples of the growth of urban Melbourne from the beginning of the 20th Century up until the 1980s. A number of the plans are double-sided and often include a photograph on the reverse. A number of the latter are by noted photographers such as J.E. Barnes.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Herbert J. Henty, Mayor [of Kew] 1868-9

Key words

mayor of kew
cr. herbert j henty

Framed portrait of Cr. Herbert J. Henty, Mayor of Kew 1868-9. 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

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

Photograph - Cr. Marie Dalley O.B.E., J.P., Mayor [of Kew] 1954-5

Key words

mayors of kew (vic)
cr. marie (ma) dalley obe
local government - female mayors

Framed portrait of Cr. Marie Dalley O.B.E., J.P., Mayor of Kew in 1954-5. 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

Women's Clothing - Evening Dress : Tiered, Fringed Pink Chiffon / by Hartnell of Melbourne, 1960s

Key words

hartnell of melbourne
women's clothing
australian fashion - 1960s
evening dresses

Hot pink chiffon tiered evening dress.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Hartnell of Melbourne

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Document - Draft of a Bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia : copy of federal constitution under the Crown, as finally adopted by the Australasian Federal Convention at Melbourne, in the colony of Victoria on the 16th March, 1898.

Key words

australia - constitution
australia - political history - development

29 p. : coat of arms ; 21 cm.

Significance

This volume formed part of the private library of Malcolm Carkeek, former Archivist of the Royal Society of Victoria, and was donated by him to the Kew Historical Society.

Inscriptions & Markings

Adressed to "Mr Edwin McKereth (sic), Farmer, Avoca".

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Performing Arts 1940-1970, Kew Court House, October 2017

Photos of the third Kew Historical Society exhibition at the Kew Court House for 2017, focusing on aspects of performing arts in Kew from the 1940s to the 1970s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Women's Clothing - Evening Dress : Bottle Green Self-Striped Velvet / by Papoo, 1960s

Key words

papoo
women's clothing
international fashion - 1960s
evening wear
evening dresses
coat dresses
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society

Bottle green coloured evening dress. The long sleeved dress has a v-neckline. The cotton and nylon fabric is self patterned with large diagonal stripes

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: Papoo

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Jewellery - Hat Pin, Metal & Pearl, 1920s

Key words

hat pins
costume jewellery
fashion accessories

Gilded metal and oval pink pearl hat pin.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Archive File - Country Women's Association (Kew)

Archive file containing a newspaper article/clipping about a branch of the CWA established in Kew in 2015.

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Certificate - 1st Kew (Flinders) Life Membership in the Rover Scout Hostel on the Bogong High Plains, 1938

Key words

bogong rover chalet
scouts - kew (vic)
1st kew scouts

Rover Scout Hostel Membership Certificate. Printed card with a photograph of the original Bogong Rover Chalet, bottom right.

Historical information

The Rover Scouts section catered for young men aged 18 years and over. Rover Scout Crews typically took the name of a famous person in Australian history; hence the 1st Kew Rover Crew styled itself as the Flinders Rover Crew. Life memberships were sold to Rover Crews in 1938 as a fundraiser to cover the cost of the building of what was to become known as the Bogong Rover Chalet, which was built in 1940 and still operates.

Inscriptions & Markings

“This is to Certify that the 1st Kew (Flinders) Rover Scout Crew holds one Life Membership in the Rover Scout Hostel on the Bogong High Plains”.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Knitted Shawl

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
shawls

Cream coloured knitted shawl.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Women's Clothing - Evening Dress : Silk Organza, 1930s

Key words

women's clothing
australian fashion - 1930s
dresses
fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society

Full length coffee coloured organza sleeveless evening gown with a pink chrysanthemum pattern.

Inscriptions & Markings

Nil

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Archive File - Alexandra Gardens, Kew (Vic)

Information file containing information about the Alexandra Gardens in Cotham Road (Kew) including: collected notes including brief histories by Gwen McWilliam, John Patrick, Dorothy Benyei, and Mavis Rolley. There is also an article on the Garden’s designers, the Pockett Brothers, originally published in 2015 in Australian Garden History. The archive file also includes Council publications, posters (relating to the Mimovich sculptures), correspondence (including photocopies of a letter relating to historic plantings from Jack Higgins) and newspaper articles/clippings. In addition to general historical notes, the file includes specific notes on the Rotunda and on historic trees in the Gardens. The original by-laws of the Gardens, printed on cotton are held separately in the textiles collection.

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Button - Deepdene & Balwyn Alfred Hospital Appeal

Key words

deepdene
button
alfred hospital

A button designed to raise funds in Deepdene and Balwyn for the Alfred Hospital Appeal of 1921. The central image on the button is of cricket bats, ball and a wicket, all designed in red. The Argus was to report that ‘Yesterday on behalf of the Deepdene and Balwyn committee who organised the event, Constable F. Kloster and Mrs. F Quin handed in a cheque for £150/3/9, representing the proceeds of a fete at Deepdene on behalf of the appeal fund’.

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 badges 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 badges 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 - View of the township of Golden Square / by Nicholas Caire, circa 1876

Key words

nicholas caire (1837-1918)
golden square (vic)
bendigo (vic)
gold mining

‘View of the township of Golden Square’ : Views of Victoria (General Series) No.57 : Albumen silver photograph | Photo on card with Title and Description on reverse | Mounted 24 x 30 cm; Photo 12 x 17 cm.

Historical information

Nicholas Caire was born on Guernsey in the Channel Islands in 1837. He arrived in Adelaide with his parents in about 1860. In 1867, following photographic journeys in Gippsland, he opened a studio in Adelaide. From 1870 to 1876 he lived and worked in Talbot in Central Victoria. In 1876 he purchased T. F. Chuck's studios in the Royal Arcade Melbourne. In 1885, following the introduction of dry plate photography, he began a series of landscape series, which were commercially successful. As a photographer, he travelled extensively through Victoria, photographing places few of his contemporaries had previously seen. He died in 1918. Reference: Jack Cato, 'Caire, Nicholas John (1837–1918)', Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Significance

An original, rare photograph from the series 'Views of Victoria: General Series' by the photographer, Nicholas Caire (1837-1918). The 60 photographs that comprise the series were issued c. 1876 and reinforced a neo-Romantic view of the Australian landscape to which a growing nationalist movement would respond. Nicholas Caire was active as a photographer in Australia from 1858 until his death in 1918. His vision of the Australian bush and pioneer life had a counterpart in the works of Henry Lawson and other nationalist poets, authors and painters.

Inscriptions & Markings

On Reverse: ‘This Township is situated in the Bendigo district, on the road to Castlemaine, and although it is of little importance as a business town, is nevertheless of large importance in consequence of the great number of Quartz Reefs it contains. Almost every house is undermined, and large fortunes have been made by the proprietors. The Church in the distance is that of the Wesleyan body. It was in this township that gold was first discovered in the district of Bendigo.’

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Women's Clothing - Bodice : Black Wool, 1890s

Key words

edith mary weir (nee betteridge), 84 princess street - kew, australian fashion, women's clothing, costumes, bodices, dresses

A plain tightly fitted black woollen bodice [without a matching skirt] with flat black fabric buttons at the front and on the sleeves. The sleeves are cut in the American style. The jacket has a high neck. It is lined with a brown silk fabric and tightly structured with extensive bands of baleen.

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.

Significance

This garment is significant as it is part of 25-piece collection of women’s clothing owned by Edith Mary Weir (nee Betteridge), who was born in Clare, South Australia in 1867 and who died in Kew at the age of 81 in 1948. The items of clothing in the collection date from the 1880s to the 1940s and constitute outstanding examples of dressmaker’s skills from each of these decades. The collection includes day dresses, evening dresses, evening coats, capes, and undergarments. As the wife of a mining engineer, and later mine manager, Edith Weir’s clothing has historic significance as examples of clothing worn by upper middle class Australian women in domestic circumstances and at social and civic events. The costumes in the collection represent the periods when Edith Weir lived in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and in Kew, Melbourne. A number of the costumes from the 1920s to the 1940s are of a particularly fine quality, being both rare, representative and intact examples of Australian fashion of the period. The garments in the Weir Collection were donated to the Kew Historical Society by the granddaughter of Edith Weir.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Building, Kew Mental Hospital, 1951

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 a building in the grounds of 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

"1951"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Archive File - GRIMES, Charles

Key words

kew historical society - archives
european exploration - kew - victoria
charles grimes

Charles Grimes was acting Surveyor-General of the Colony of New South Wales. He was the first European cartographer to map the lower reaches of the Yarra River. The archival file contains both research on the ‘exploration’ by Grimes as well as information on a re-enactment, sponsored by the Kew Historical Society in 1978, to mark the 175th year of his party’s arrival in the area of what is now Dight’s Falls. In the file is a 13-page handwritten document to be used as a script for a speech during the reenactment, which also includes details of the costumes to be worn. There are additional unpublished manuscripts in the file about Grimes and his ‘journey’ by Mr Chinner and Mavis Rolley. The file also includes newspaper articles/clippings as well as sundry published articles.

Historical information

Since its foundation in 1958, members of the Kew Historical Society have been compiling and storing information about subjects relating to the history of Kew and its environs, of which this file is an example. Typically files will contain primary and secondary sources.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Irena Higgins

Key words

irena higgins
kew mental hospital - willsmere
children's cottages (kew)

Black and white photograph of Irena Higgins, donated by her daughter as part of the Irena Higgins Collection.

Historical information

Born in Polish Ukraine in 1914, Irena Higgins completed her degree in social work at the University of Lwow. Migrating to Australia in 1939, she lived in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney before moving with her family to Melbourne in 1945. She initially worked at the Victorian Society for Crippled Children, then in 1951, applied for a mental health position at the Kew Cottages. Her appointment also involved working as a social worker at Willsmere. In these pioneering roles, she was the first social worker employed by the Victorian Mental Health Authority to work with children with an intellectual disability. She remained at Kew for seventeen years, becoming Senior Social Worker with a staff of three other social workers, a secretary and a number of aides. Two of Irena’s significant innovations at Kew were the establishment of a Parents’ Association, and the development of a network of volunteers trained to work with families in the community. Irena Higgins remained committed to social reform following her retirement, working actively to establish the first emergency housing in Kew. In 2016, Irena’s daughter Barbara Renowden donated a number of her papers to the Kew Historical Society. These documents constitute the Irena Higgins Collection.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - W.R. Rucker, Mayor [of Kew] 1913-14

Key words

mayors of kew (vic)
cr. w.r. rucker
australian photographers - josiah earl barnes

Framed portrait of Cr. W.R. Rucker, Mayor of Kew 1913-14. 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

Black and white photograph of performers in San Toy OR The Emperor's Own. San Toy was a "Chinese" musical comedy in two acts, first performed at Daly's Theatre, London, on 21 October 1899. The book was written by Edward Morton, and the musical score was written by Sidney Jones with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross. Additional songs were written by Lionel Monckton. The scenery was by Alexander and Day and the production directed by Lance Nicholls in the Kew Recreation Hall. In the photo, nine of the ten members of The Emperor's Own are singing. They include: Ethel Duncan, Marion Tilley, Julie Johnstone, Naomi Owen, Ruth Barnes, Joan Millerchip, Thelma Hiscock, Esme Melville, Elma Nicholson, and Jean Hayles.

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew