Dugald Thomson's blue and cream checked waistcoat

Contributed by: Stanton Library

silk and satin waistcoat Dugald Thomson 'Wyreepi" Holbrook Avenue, Kirribilli Dugald Thomson and family outside Wyreepi, Holbrook Avenue, Kirribilli
  • Australian dress register ID:

    306
  • Owner:

    Stanton Library
  • Owner registration number:

    Object No 234
  • Date range:

    1830 - 1850
  • Place of origin:

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gender:

    Male
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Object information

Significance statement

This waistcoat is a provenanced item of men's clothing held by the North Sydney Heritage Centre in its costume and object collection. It is a good example of men's costume. Waistcoats were an integral part of a gentleman's outfit in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

The waistcoat belonged to Dugald Thomson, a wealthy merchant and politician. He was a member of the Free Trade party and held the seat of Warringah in the Legislative Assembly seat of Warringah in 1894, 1895 and 1898.

He became a strong supporter of Federation and played an important role in the first Federal Parliament. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of North Sydney in 1901, holding it unopposed until he retired in 1910. He was minister for home affairs in the Federal parliament from 1904-1905.

Dugald Thomson may have worn this waistcoat while relaxing at his home 'Wyreepi' in Kirribilli. It is typical of that worn on social occasions such as picnics and playing tennis.

References:

* North Sydney, 1788-1988 by Michael Jones, Allen & Unwin 1988 pp 168-169

* Australian Dictionary of Biography - online edition http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120235b.htm

Author: Susan Shaw, 29 July 2011.

Description

Cream and blue checked grosgrain silk and satin. Satin ares outlined in blue

Two straight pockets

6 buttons covered in silk

Handworked button holes

Silk cording around collar, pockets and to side seams

Calico lining

Shawl collar

Link to further information about this object

History and Provenance

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

This waistcoat belonged to the Rt Hon. Dugald Thomson (1849-1922) an important figure in the history of North Sydney as its first Federal Member of Parliament.

Dugald was influential in developing transport otions to the North side of Sydney Harbour. In the late 1870s, with J P Garvan, he established the co-operative North Shore Steam Ferry Co Ltd. Ferries were an essential mode of transport to the North side of the Harbour in the many decades before the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He was involved with the Railway Extension League and the extension of the railway to Milsons Point.

A North Sydney resident from 1880 he was worked tirelessly for the cause of Veterans. He was one of the Founders of the Graythwaite Convalescent Home for Soldiers. Born and bred a Scottish presbyterian. he became involved in Scottish community organisations. He was a senior office holder in the Highland Society.

He lived at 'Wyreepi' in Kirribilli Point from 1904-1922. 'Wyreepi", 11 Holbrook Avenue is a picturesque Gothic waterfront home. Dugald never married. He was buried in the Presbyterian section of Gore Hill Cemetery.

References

* North Sydney, 1788-1988 by Michael Jones, Allen & Unwin 1988 pp 168-169

* Australian Dictionary of Biography - online edition http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120235b.htm

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

The waistcoat belonged to Dugald Thomson, a wealthy merchant and politician. He was a member of the Free Trade party and held the seat of Warringah in the Legislative Assembly seat of Warringah in 1894, 1895 and 1898.

He became a strong supporter of Federation and played an important role in the first Federal Parliament. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of North Sydney in 1901, holding it unopposed until he retired in 1910. He was minister for home affairs in the Federal parliament from 1904-1905.

Dugald Thomson's parents (John Thomson, insurance broker) and Jane Thomson (nee Duncan) were Scottish presbyterians who moved to Camberwell, London, England (date unknown) where Dugald was born on 28 December 1849. In 1850 the family emigrated to South Australia and later moved to Victoria.

References:

* North Sydney, 1788-1988 by Michael Jones, Allen & Unwin 1988 pp 168-169

* Australian Dictionary of Biography - online edition http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120235b.htm

Where did this information come from?

A descendant of Dugald Thomson - written on donor statement.

This garment has been exhibited

Exhibition at Don Bank Museum, North Sydney 2000.

Launch of Costume and Object database 14 April 2011 at Stanton Library.

  1. Place of origin:

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Dugald Thomson

  3. Worn by:

    Dugald Thomson

  4. Designed by:

    Unknown

  5. Made by:

    Unknown

Trimmings / Decoration

Two tabs and tape ties on back of Waistcoat

Handworked eyelets

Fibre / Weave

Blue checked gosgrain silk and satin

Calico lining

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

Machine stitched with some handstitching

Alterations

No alterations detected

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Lining of calico

Measurements

waistcoat
Girth
Chest 500 mm
Horizontal
Cross back 520 mm
Convert to inches

Collar to centre back hem 460 mm

Dress Themes

The design of the waistcoat is characteristic of those worn outdoors while particpating in leisure time activities such as playing tennis or attending picnics

Additional material

Other related objects

The following objects belonging to the Thomson family are also in the Heritage Centre costume and object collection at Stanton Library. The database can be accessed from the North Sydney Council website www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au Follow the prompts from the Library pull down menu

*A full length black satin evening skirt with train worn by Catherine Thomson at the opening of the first Federal Parliament on 8 May 1901 in Melbourne, Victoria

* Tapestry waistcoat also belonging to Dugald Thomson.

*A pair of baby booties worn by Jane Thomson

The following objects held by Stanton Library archive collection include:

A framed coat of arms for the Thomson and Blackburn families. At the bottom of coat of arms it reads: Dougal Thomson and Margaret Blackburn were married 25 January in the year of our Lord 1813.

A family photograph album, contains photographs of Dugald Thomson and family members and of 'Wyreepi" and Kirribilli waterfront.

On front cover are the words "Wyreepi" and its associations, Sydney 11 November 1918

The date of the signing of the Armistice in the Great War of 1914-18

Inside page an inscription which reads: To Nancy from her uncle Dugald Thomson.

"Wyreepi", Kirribilli Pt, Sydney "Some gleams of gold, some days of old"

by Dugald Thomson

Wyreepi the house in Kirribilli owned by Dugald Thomson

Link to collection online

Condition

Evidence of repairs

One part of the tie fastening is undone. Seam coming apart

Braiding is coming away

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

Damage

  1. Frayed
  2. Stained
  3. Worn

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