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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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Badge - VCC Studley Park Kew

Key words

badges - rowing - kew (vic)
sports - kew (vic)

A small shield with overlapped VCC on a blue ground, mounted on a wider ribbon shaped banner containing Studley Park also on a blue ground either side of a pair of oars with Kew on a blue ground between the blades of the oars.

Inscriptions & Markings

KCC STUDLEY PARK KEW on reverse STOKES & SONS MELB

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Stick or Tie Pin - City of Kew, 1980s

Key words

city of kew - memorabilia

Rounded, rectangular enamelled badge with City of Kew and coat of arms on a black background and a stick pin attached to the reverse

Inscriptions & Markings

City of Kew crest of city

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

no image

Identification Badge - KCC Parking Attendant

Key words

city of kew - identification badges

A nickel plated shield shape badge with blue enamel lettering with pin on reverse

Inscriptions & Markings

Front: K. C. C. / PARKING / ATTENDANT Reverse: K.G.LUKE

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Badge - Melbourne Legacy Widow

Key words

melbourne legacy
pins and badges

Gilt metal bar having a round cut-out gilt legacy laurel with a flaming torch in the centre, a curved ribbon attached to the lower edge of the wreath enamelled in red containing Melbourne Legacy Widow in capitals with a brooch pin back.

Inscriptions & Markings

Melbourne Legacy Widow

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

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Badge - Melbourne Cup, 1992

Key words

melbourne cup - memorabilia

A presentation cup shaped lapel badge with 1992 on the cup and Melbourne Cup Carnival on the base plinth and a pin and keeper on the reverse.

Inscriptions & Markings

Front: 1992, Melbourne Cup Carnival Reverse: Pinstop (03) 417 1522

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

no image

Stick or Tie Pin - City of Kew, 1980s

Key words

city of kew - memorabilia

A rounded corner rectangular badge with a gilt and enamel front, comprising gilt City of Kew above its coat of arms with red enamel within the shield on a black enamel background with a pin and keeper at the back.

Inscriptions & Markings

City of Kew and coat of arms

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Pink Knitted Dress / by Grace James, 1988

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Knitted dress Long-sleeved pink, knitted wool dress with a high round neck created by the dressmaker Grace James for her daughter Ceri Spain in 1988. Acquired in 2006 Grace James Collection Fashion & Textiles, 2006.0048

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Patchwork Skirt, Synthetic Taffetas / by Grace James 1988

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Long silk taffeta skirt made of patchwork silk pieces/panels with a matching silk scarf. The patchwork panels are in shades of pinks, purples and blues. The skirt is secured with clear plastic press-studs. A narrow internal border of lace is attached to the basque.

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Patchwork Dressing Gown, Varied Materials / by Grace James 1987

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Multicoloured patchwork waisted dress featuring a full skirt.

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Apricot Chiffon Frock with Waterfall Front and Satin Shift / by Grace James 1981

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Three-piece pink chiffon outfit, the outer sections of a different floral weave. The two outer sections are attached with buttons at the waist. The plain pink shift with a zip at the neck was created to wear underneath

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Handwoven Jacket with Knitted Bands / by Grace James 1978

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Multi coloured knitted long coat dress

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Red Crepe Full Length Dress with Two Patterned Chiffon Overlap / by Grace James 1973

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Long plain red sleeveless dress made of a crepe like fabric. The dress has narrow strapped shoulders. Red, pink and black floral chiffon overlap. Th chiffon overlap is a John Kaldor fabric.

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Black Jersey Caftan with Turquoise Braiding and Matching Hood / by Grace James 1972

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Black caftan decorated with aqua braid and matching cap

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Brown Frock with Braids and Matching Jacket / by Grace James 1972

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Three piece brown outfit comprising a long dress, a separate bodice and a belt of scarf. The outfit is made of a synthetic fabric. The long plain brown dress has been designed with a matching bodice that features a tan trim; the wide belt/scarf is striped. Brown silk purse with brass fittings

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Year 12 Valedictory Dress / by Grace James 1971

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Floral jersey with matching cape and small coin purse

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume - Purple Evening Dress / by Grace James 1969

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
grace james
women's clothing
australian fashion 1969-1988
dressmakers - surrey hills (vic)

Long mauve dress of a heavy crepe like fabric incorporating floral embroidery.

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.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Etching - View Across Princes Bridge / by John Shirlow, 1931

Key words

australian art
etchings
john shirlow
princes bridge - melbourne (vic)

Framed black and white etching by John Shirlow of the view across Princes Bridge [Melbourne] looking north. The work is signed in pencil below the signed and dated etching.

Historical information

John Alexander Thomas Shirlow Australia, 1869-1936

Significance

Original signed artwork by John Shirlow

Inscriptions & Markings

Artist's signature lower right

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Textile - Lace Edging

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace

Maltese lace edging. It shows the Wheat ears, characteristic of Maltese lace

Historical information

This form of bobbin lace is made in Malta. It is a guipure style of lace. Maltese lace is worked as a continuous width tape lace on a tall, thin, upright lace pillow called a "Trajbu" and the Bobbins are called "Combini" . Bigger pieces are made of two or more parts sewn together. Lace made in Malta was originally needle lace, from the 16th to the 19th century, when the economic depression in the islands nearly led to the extinction of lacemaking there. But in the mid 1800s, Lady Hamilton Chichester sent lacemakers from Genoa to Malta. They used the old needle lace patterns and turned them into bobbin lace, which was quicker. It was not long after its introduction that the Maltese lace developed its own style from Genoese lace. Maltese lace was shown at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and it became popular in Britain. The style was copied by lacemakers in the English Midlands, and it was one of the sources for Bedfordshire lace. Characteristics of Maltese lace Maltese lace usually has the following characteristics which are useful for identification: It is usually made from cream silk. There is often the 8 pointed Maltese cross as part of the pattern, worked in whole or cloth stitch. The pattern may also have closely worked leaves known as “wheat ears” or “oats”. These are plump and rounded in shape, rather than the long narrow leaves of other types of bobbin lace.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Pelerine Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
women's clothing
lace
collars
pelerine

Cream net machine embroidered collar with ruffle of chemical lace. Machine constructed post World War 1. Worn in the evening

Historical information

A pelerine is a small cape that covers the shoulders. It was most popular during the mid- to late nineteenth century.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Jabot

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
women's clothing
lace
jabots

Machine embroidered broderie anglaise dress front with lace edging hanging from a shoulder to shoulder broderie anglaise panel

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
women's clothing
lace
collars

Cream organdy collar. Machine embroidered with flowers and leaves at the edge of the collar. Trifoils embroidered at the neck edge of the collar. The collar is divided into three panels by two embroidered lines which open into a diamond shape at the outer edge

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Sleeve Cuff

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
women's clothing
sleeve cuffs

One of a pair of muslin cuffs as worn by maids. Hand sewn.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
collars

Cream collar. Panels of locked stitch lace onto netting are alternated with cut work. The neck edge is bound with fabric to attach the collar to a garment

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Religious Clothing - Monogrammed Confirmation Veil

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
confirmation veils
girl's clothing

A square silk veil, folded back on the monogrammed corner. And pinned to the head

Historical information

These were worn in High Anglican Churches by girls being confirmed until the 1960s. Some churches lent them to the girls, others owned their own veil. View the photograph of Judith Scurfiled wearing such a veil at her confirmation at St Hilary's John Street, Kew. This veil was donated by Mrs Joy Ivory

Inscriptions & Markings

Embroidered with a W on one corner

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Dicky

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
bodices

A fine cotton dicky with collar and front opening edged with tape lace and then edging lace

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Silk and Lace Scarf

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing

Rectangular silk panel edged with lace at either end.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Pelerine Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
collars

Cream lace coller

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Pelerine Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
collars

Lace collar attached to the neckline of a garment. It is narrow over the back , widens at the shoulders and tapers down in a triangular shape to a point on either side at the front.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Bow

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing

Cream net bow edged with lace, gathered at the centre

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Costume Accessory - Lace Collar

Key words

fashion and textiles collection - kew historical society
lace
women's clothing
collars

White lace gathered onto tape which can then be sewn onto a garment

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew