Lilac Edwardian silk gown

Contributed by: Boorowa And District Historical Society

Amelia Hume b. 1856 d. 1905. Wife of Frederick William Hume, nephew of Hamilton Hume the explorer. Portrait of Amelia Hume wearing lilac gown Neck detail of basket weave trim detail. Ribbon and hand sewn embroidery. Tape lace (zig zag placement) with velvet ribbon trim on an angle to resemble a hash symbol. The ribbon trim to replicate pleats can also be seen. Neck detail including small silk tassel decoration hand sewn in black thread. Close up of tape lace with lilac over black ribbon trims on sleeve. Tape lace and black velvet ribbon trim showing zig zag pattern that goes around the circumference of the skirt. Cuff detail showing floral motif lace over black velvet ribbon cuff. Also tulle used in billowing section of lower sleeve. Tape lace detail on bodice with pin tucks that surround the lace. Shoulder of bodice showing lace panel and pin tuck details. This hook fastener is a 'Nicholls' spring style patented hook. Lining detail showing pleats and fragility of skirt. Bodice details with later added gold coloured silk rosette trim. The sleeve details include the tape lace including placement and the billowing front to the bodice. Tape lace detail to skirt including zig-zag placement and black velvet trim (hash symbol style). Shows the fragility of the skirt lining near the waistband.
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Boorowa And District Historical Society
  • Owner registration number:

    2011.1 (old SS)
  • Date range:

    1900 - 1904
  • Place of origin:

    Boorowa, New South Wales, Australia (Probably)
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

The Hume family of Tarengo although not descendants, were directly related to Hamilton Hume the explorer and were an affluent grazier family living in New South Wales at the turn of the century. The gowns were probably worn by Amelia Hume Amelia Hume (Huon) (1856-1905) who was married to Frederick William Hume (1845-1904) the nephew of Hamilton Hume. The dresses are excellent examples of Edwardian fashion and were probably the last gowns Amelia owned before her death in 1905. They demonstrate the typical ‘S’ silhouette of a billowing bust with a narrow waist and soft flowing skirts. The fabrics were expensive and the trims numerous with varying degrees of technical skill required for the manufacture or inclusion into the garment construction. The technical ability of the individual tailor is of a very high standard and the gowns demonstrate the quality of workmanship and abilities of a tailor in this period of history.

Author: Rosie Strange, 1 May 2013.


A lilac Edwardian silk and cotton matching bodice and skirt. The front is billowing at the bodice and sleeves. The top half of the sleeves are manufactured from the main fabric with pin tuck detail and lace panels. The sleeve is tight fitting to the elbow, made from the lilac fabric. The lower half of the sleeves are made from silk tulle with black velvet cuffs with cream lace sewn to the velvet. The skirt falls elegantly, has a train and lace zig zag patterned panels with black velvet ribbon hatches. The bodice has lace panels with a woven ribbon decoration to neckline. There are three tassel trims to lower neck. The garment is machine stitched on all seams and pin tuck details but the trim has been attached by hand stitching. The neck detail (basket woven) also has hand embroidered detail to the edges of the woven areas and at the neck the embroidery trim resembles tassels.

The garment is fastened entirely with hooks and eyes but there has been several modifications to support the shattering lining, one modification being a modern muslin lining which is probably quite a modern addition. The sleeve cuff is also fastened by black enamelled hooks and eyes. Most of the hooks and eyes have been sewn with the sewing loops hidden inside the seam so that the hook or eye is the only part of the fastener visible. On the bodice, the eyes have had lilac silk thread woven around the metal component so that if the fastener became visible it would be the same colour as the gown. The muslin hides the original construction in the bodice but there is evidence that the bodice did contain bones to support the frame of the garment. There is a whalebone stay visible outside one of the seams. Five bones can still be felt inside the bodice, one in the centre back in a vertical placement but the other four are equally spaced angled on the diagonal. 

This gown is very fragile and can only be placed on display in a horizontal arrangement. Currently the gown is being prepared for placement in a customised costume drawer in the museum. 

History and Provenance

Children of Amelia Hume

Ethel b. 1877 d. 1904

Stanley b. 1878 d. ?

Ruby b. 1880 d. ?

Mary (May) b. 1882 d. ?

Norman b. 1884 d. ?

Vera b. 1885 d. ?

Frederick H. b. 1887 d. 1957 (?)

Hector b. 1889 d. 1951

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Amelia Hume (Huon) (1856-1905) was married to Frederick William Hume (1845-1904) the nephew of Hamilton Hume the explorer. Amelia and Frederick Hume were married in 1876 and together they had eight children while living at Tarengo.

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

The Hume family of Tarengo were a prominent grazier family in the Boorowa district. Amelia and Frederick moved to Tarengo when the homestead was completed in 1875/6. The property was sold out of the Hume family a century later in 1975. 

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

The garment is an excellent example of early 20th century fashion and also demonstrates the techinical skill and ablility of the dressmaker. There are no records to demonstrate the garment was made locally or from Sydney. The shoes that came from the sam

Where did this information come from?

Boorowa Museum archives.

This garment has been exhibited

The garment was on display in the Boorowa Museum from the mid 1970s until 2001. In the near future the gown will be on display in custom made drawers (laying flat) that are also suitable for long term storage ensuring the garment is safe but still accessible to the dress_reg_live.

  1. Place of origin:

    Boorowa, New South Wales, Australia (Probably)

  2. Cost:


  3. Owned by:

    The gown was probably owned by Amelia Hume (nee Huon). Amelia was the wife of Frederick William Hume, a nephew of Hamilton Hume the Explorer.

  4. Worn by:

    As above.

  5. Occasion(s):


  6. Place:

    'Tarengo', Boorowa New South Wales

  7. Designed by:


  8. Made by:


  9. Made for:

    Amelia Hume

Trimmings / Decoration

Highly decorated bodice and skirt. The pin tucks have been sewn using a sewing machine but the lace, ribbon and embroidery have all been attached by hand sewing. Lace tulle was used on the lower half of the sleeve but there is a floral motif lace used over the black velvet sleeve cuffs and tape lace used throughout the skirt and bodice trim. 


Black velvet, purple satin, cream and black diamond patterned satin ribbon on woven neck area


Tassels on neck front


Under purple ribbon on sleeves


Four different styles of lace on skirt, bodice, sleeve and cuff.


Single pin tucks to front and back, triple rows on sleeves.


Cream thread used on lace lower sleeves for stems

Fibre / Weave

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


The garment is machine stitched where visible and hand stitching was used to attach trims. However there have been modern modifications with a muslin lining and a velvet ribbon as a peplum..

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


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


Metal eyes covered in purple thread. Skirt and bodice fasten with hooks and eyes only.

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

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Whale bone stiffeners. 180mm L x 7mm W. Rounded to bust end visible in a few channels. Eleven bones are placed in cotton tape channels.


bodice skirt
Neck 350 mm
Chest 750 mm
Waist 630 mm 595 mm
Cuff 155 mm
Hem circumference 3700 mm
Front neck to hem 360 mm
Front waist to hem 1050 mm
Back neck to hem 360 mm
Back waist to hem 1240 mm
Sleeve length 600 mm
Neck to sleeve head 100 mm
Cross back 330 mm
Underarm to underarm 420 mm
Convert to inches

Dress Themes

Amelia and Frederick Hume had a successful grazing property and would have been classed as being in a higher social status or class of the late 19th to early 20th century. The couple had several domestic and other employees. 

Additional material

Other related objects

Hume costume collection.

Portrait of Amelia Hume wearing this gown.


Green felt on skirt hem from the gown being displayed in an inappropriate display surroundings. The gown has been resting since 2002 and the removal of the green felt is being removed. The gown is extremly fragile and cannot be displayed on a mannequin. The silk lining on the skirt is shattering extensively. There is evidence of is probable modern modifications including a muslin lining on the bodice, a velvet peplin and a gold silk trim also to the bodice. The gold trim is not visible on the portrait of Amelia Hume wearing the gown. The lace has also probably discoloured to cream. In the portrait the lace appears to be white rather than cream.

Evidence of repairs

Repairs and modifications probably not from wearer but from being worn by members in a fashion parade in the 1970s. Cotton muslin lining to bodice to cover shattering silk lining.

Insect damage

Minor insect damage, several cocoons in situ at hem (now removed). Could also have been caused by deteriorating felt that the gown was sitting on when last on display.

Mould damage



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


  1. Discolouration
  2. Fading
  3. Brittle
  4. Frayed
  5. Holes
  6. Parts missing
  7. Stained
  8. Torn
  9. Worn
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