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  1. 'Gum Blossom' child's fancy dress
    1938

    Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

    This tiny outfit was worn by three year old Pat Dale at the 150th anniversary celebrations of white settlement in Australia held on April 6th and 7th 1938 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It represents one of many Australian native plants that the girls depicted alongside birds and animals worn by the boys to represent the spirit of Australia. The gum blossom outfit was inspired by the characters 'Bib and Bub' from the books 'Gum-Nut Babies' and 'Gum-Blossom Babies' by ... more

  2. 1860s Purple Grey Silk Women's Possible Half Mourning Dress
    1863 - 1865

    National Institute of Dramatic Art

    This purple grey day dress is estimated to originate from approximately 1863-65. It is the only possible half mourning dress in the NIDA Costume Research Collection and it was purchased from the Banana Room in Adelaide 1999. This garment is significant as it is an excellent example of possible mourning dress that is in good condition, and demonstrates good craftsmanship as the garment is sewn completely by hand. This dress has led to several points of research, which gave insight into ... more

  3. 1870s House of Worth evening dress
    1870 - 1879

    Grossmann House - National Trust of NSW

    This alleged House of Worth evening dress, an aqua taffeta dress, heavily hand-embroidered in cream and multi-coloured medallions and pearl-trimmed, and owned and worn by Anna Maria Eales, is a historically significant item of clothing. Whilst it is not well provenanced (the dress’ origin is indeterminate), and whilst it is in poor condition, it’s the subject of an interesting narrative, and characteristic of the profusely and exaggeratedly decorated House of Worth dresses of its time. Historically, the dress is an ... more

  4. 1879 Mary Trappel (nee Kullner) wedding dress
    1879

    The Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles

    Mary Trappel (nee Kullner’s) wedding dress, a light blue brocade princess dress, embellished with piping at the bust and sleeves, self-fabric buttons at the sleeves, lace trim at the skirt and hand-pleating at the sleeve and dress hemlines and with a bustle at back, is in excellent original and unrestored condition. It is an aide memoire of German immigration to the Hunter region in the nineteenth century, in the form of a dress. Emigration from Germany to the Hunter district ... more

  5. 1880 Ada Petherbridge (nee Bonarius) wedding dress
    1880

    Grossmann House - National Trust of NSW

    The Ada Petherbridge (nee Bonarius) wedding dress, a commendably provenanced cream taffeta dress, trimmed with blonde lace pleated trim and wax orange blossoms, worn on the 19th of October 1880, is a historically and aesthetically significant item of clothing of local Maitland derivation. Historically it is an archetypal example of the white wedding dress, popularised by Queen Victoria. Both Queen Victoria and Ada had orange blossoms, a symbol of fertility, trimming their dresses (Queen Victoria had blossoms trimming her wreath ... more

  6. 18th century waistcoat
    1770 - 1780

    Private collectors

    Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was a brilliant British explorer, navigator, and cartographer who, among many other achievements, was the first European to document the east coast of Australia. He was sadly killed in Hawaii during a dispute with the locals. This embroidered silk waistcoat was reputedly worn by Captain James Cook and is of great interest to historians. It poses intriguing questions that we hope will, in time, be answered. If it truly belonged to this explorer then it is ... more

  7. 1910s Emily McDonald net dress
    1910 - 1915

    The Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles

    This well provenanced, historically and aesthetically significant full-length white bobbinet dress is a rare example of a wartime special occasion dress. Entirely handmade with cotton bobbinet and cotton organdy, it is a fine demonstration of John Heathcote's bobbinet machine, patented in 1809, which enabled fine net to be easily produced in wide widths for dresses, which could be hand-embroidered to achieve individual and attractive effects. Net dresses were worn with underdresses of plain silk in white or in a ... more

  8. 1930s Gertrude Mary Vile 'make-do-and-mend' dress
    1920 - 1930

    The Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles

    The Gertrude Mary Vile Depression-era dress is a cream Fuji silk dress, with an Eton collar, a patch pocket and buttons down front, from the 1920s though patched into the 30s. Gertrude, who lived at Gosforth, a rural community about fourteen kilometres from Maitland, patched and darned what was initially a best dress into a house dress, and it survives Gertrude as a statement on the hardship the people of Maitland and Australia at large experienced during the Great Depression ... more

  9. 19th century convict jacket
    1855 - 1880

    Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

    For convicts transported to the colonies of Australia, inadequate and inappropriate clothing was just one of the many hardships to be endured. Convicts were issued with prison clothing such as this jacket, often of the coarse, ready-made, loose fitting variety known as 'slops'. This clothing was impractical for the Australian climate and uncomfortable since the woollen fabric was coarse and cheap. These clothes were intended to humiliate convicts and this was part of the punishment. The parti colouring meant that ... more

  10. 2 Piece beige silk ensemble
    1878 - 1890

    Manning Valley Historical Society

    This dress is a fine example of formal clothing worn at the end of the 19th century. Although the dress may have been initially made for a wedding it has been subsequently reworn for many an occasion. It has also been altered significantly to fit a larger lady evidenced not only by the waist extension but by the movement of the shoulder seams. It has also seen a change in fashion where some of the ties that may have supported ... more

  11. A young girl's smocked dress
    1997

    The Embroiderers' Guild of WA Inc

    In the 20th century, sewing was an integral part of the Educational Curriculum in schools throughout Australia and most girls learnt to smock. When these girls became mothers, this training was used to make items for the home and garments for the family. Hand embroidery was a pleasurable pastime and form of relaxation.    Post WWII, when jobs and resources were limited and scarce, there was neither the range nor variety of goods and those that were available, comparatively expensive ... more

  12. A girl's smocked romper suit. Design "Old Friend".
    1996

    The Embroiderers' Guild of WA Inc

    This romper was based on a pattern by Margaret Herzfeld in the 1990s for the "Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and for smocking lessons. Through her teaching and publications, Margaret helped to keep the old skills alive, adapted them, and made them available to new generations when they were not longer taught in schools. She used her considerable talents to teach in Western Australia and interstate, designed original garments for “Australian Smocking and Embroidery" magazine and established a business making smocked ... more