Royal blue Gown and matching Jacket

Contributed by: Museum of the Riverina

Mrs Davidson's dress Bodice detail Matching jacket made of same fabric Neck detail Sleeve detail
  • Australian dress register ID:

    36
  • Owner:

    Museum of the Riverina
  • Date range:

    1877 - 1880
  • Place of origin:

    Unknown
  • Gender:

    Female
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Object information

Significance statement

Historic Significance

Alexander Davidson (Senior), a Scot, and his family arrived at Bullenbong in 1843, at a time when the village of Wagga Wagga had not yet been established. The Davidsons were contemporaries of William Walker & Co. (established Kyeamba c. 1836), the Nixon family (Gregadoo, 1844), John Peter (Gumly Gumly, c. 1840s) and the Best family (Robert Holt Best, Wagga Wagga Run).

Unfortunately, it is at present unknown which Mrs Davidson wore this gown. It may have been Marion Edith (nee MacKenzie), who was the daughter of Matilda Henrietta (nee Baylis) and Samuel A. MacKenzie. She was their second daughter, and married Alexander Davidson Jnr. at the Baylis property "Goonigul" in 1872. She and her husband lived at Bullenbong Station. She was affectionately referred to as "Molly" by her mother.

Author: Michelle A. Maddison, .

Description

Royal blue gown and matching jacket worn by Mrs Davidson of Bullenbong Station (in all likelihood, Mrs Alexander Davidson (Junior) - Marion Edith McKenzie.

This elaborate textured velvet dress in the Princess style was worn by Mrs Davidson of Bullenbong Station. A day dress, as indicated by the garment's high neck, it features a number of distinctive and uniquely original characteristics. The neckline has a decorative edge of two different laces - one blue, one white. The main feature of the bodice is the vertical satin pleated panel which runs down the dress centre. It is highlighted at regular intervals by horizontal velvet bands which are fixed by decorative satin bows and diamante buckles. A small pad worn as part of the undergarments would have created the barely-there bustle at the skirt back, the fabric pooling onto the floor in a small train. The main decoration on the skirt sits low to the ground, and is an unusual triangular panel of satin which is pleated at centre front. There are also pleats created by shirring across the bust line, the stomach area, and again at the top of the decorative front skirt panel. The sleeves have ruche (pleated) insets which give them a curved line, and have been crudely edged with lace cuffs at a later date.

Although the Princess style of dress closely followed the curves of the body (having no waist seam), this particular example would have fitted loosely at the front, which may indicate it was either a maternity style, or the wearer was quite stout.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Mrs Marion Edith (nee McKenzie) was the wife of Alexander Davidson (Junior).

This garment has been exhibited

Mrs Davidson's dress has been exhibited once, as part of the exhibition Dressed for the Occasion (2009-10). It is of sturdy enough fabric and condition to have been displayed on a wire mannequin within a glass case.

  1. Place of origin:

    Unknown

  2. Owned by:

    Mrs Davidson

  3. Worn by:

    Mrs Davidson

  4. Occasion(s):

    Unknown

  5. Place:

    Bullenbong Station, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

  6. Designed by:

    Unknown

  7. Made by:

    Unknown

  8. Made for:

    Mrs Davidson of Bullenbong Station

Fibre / Weave

Royal blue patterned velvet with lace, diamante buckles and satin ribbon detailing.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

  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

Additional material

Other related objects

Two oil portraits of Mr and Mrs Alexander Davidson (Junior).

Condition

State

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

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