Black Victorian silk jacquard waistcoat with black lace

Contributed by: Private collectors

Front of black lace vest Back Right side view Left side view Flat inside view Flat external view Bead detail on front Bead detail on back Collar detail Umbrella tassel Tear in right side Repair to left side Wear in silk binding - front opening There may have originally be two umbrellas per bow
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Private collectors
  • Date range:

    1880 - 1885
  • Place of origin:

    Wonnaminta Station, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

This beautiful and unusual Jacquard is believed to have belonged to Mary Bozzum Kennedy (Hume), a member of the Hume and related pioneering Australian families, or to her daughter, and is a treasured family heirloom. The garment has been used by subsequent generations as a dress up and as evening wear.

Author: , .


Sleeveless front hooked waistcoat dress with a stand up lace collar

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Mary Bozzum Hume (b. 1838 d. 1915) was one of 14 children (12 of whom reached adulthood). Her parents were Emma Mitchell b. 1814 d. 1887) and Francis Rawdon Hume (b. 1803 d. 1888) whose brother, Hamilton, was an explorer.

Mary married Robert Kennedy, her second cousin, in 1858 and they had one son, Robert Kennedy Jr.

A family story, which she verified to her grandchildren in her old age, is that Andrew Paterson (father of Banjo Paterson) and Robert ran a foot race to see who would get the chance to propose to her first. Robert won the race, but Mary said the outcome would have been unimportant as she had chosen Robert as her husband when she was nine years old.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

Mary Bozzum Kennedy (Hume) is a member of the Hume and related pioneering Australian families.

  1. Place of origin:

    Wonnaminta Station, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Mrs Susan Thwaites (nee Serle)

  3. Worn by:

    Mary Bozzum Kennedy (nee Hume) my great grandmother b. 1838 d. 1915

Trimmings / Decoration

Miniature satin wrapped, beaded and braided parasols hanging from bows at the back


Pairs of Black satin ribbons with small bows and long tails at front and back hipposition


Black braiding with jet black bead detail


Black lace single floral repeat

Fibre / Weave

Black silk jacquard

Black Lace

Black Satin

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


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


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


a ribbon internally to tie around the waist

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


Neck 375 mm
Waist 620 mm
Front neck to hem 845 mm
Front waist to hem 505 mm
Back neck to hem 806 mm
Back waist to hem 445 mm
Convert to inches

Waist measurement is an estimate based on wear the waist tie has been knotted.

Dress Themes

evening wear

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

Hamilton Hume, S. Beyond the Borders: an anecdotal history of the Hume and related pioneering families from 1790. Jennifer Hume Macdougall and Prudence Grieve, Fyshwick, 1991.


Ribbon waist ties are fragile where they have been attached at the back waist.

The binding around the edge openings of the garment are quite worn in some places with weft threads missing, particularly around the collar (proper right).

Small area of beading missing on proper right from yoke.

Black dye of lace trimming has faded to brown.

There are decorative umbrellas on back skirt. Two remain, on proper right, two missing on proper left, It appears there may have been two tassels in each decoration.

Evidence of repairs

Fabric is reasonably strong, although it does show quite a bit of damage. There are three holes on the back skirt (1.5cm-3cm squared). These holes have been backed with synthetic tulle using coarse stitching.

Above the hole on the proper left side of the back of the skirt is a 7cm horizontal slit that has been hand sewn together. There is a small hole above this caused by stress to the fabric. On the proper right side (back of skirt) the fabric has been damaged. This has been concealed by bringing the skirt edge and braiding closer. The pleat that hangs down from this area has been sewn closed in two places.

Fastenings: some of the thread loops are missing and have damaged the fabric around them. Black gauze has been sewn below the collar fastening, where fabric has been damaged.


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


  1. Discolouration
  2. Fading
  3. Holes
  4. Parts missing
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