Most cultures differentiate between male and female dress - in fabric, colour, style and accessories. In western culture, gender differentiation in dress has gradually changed. Many entries on the Australian Dress Register reflect the evolution of distinctions between men, women and children’s dress in the 19th century and into the 20th century.
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There’s more history in a button than you’d think. As a volunteer helping with the Australian Dress Register, I compiled information on the history of fastenings as a resources sheet for the Register’s website.
As pointed out in our earlier post, internships form a significant part of the Museum's Regional Services program and in this post, we have invited Michelle Maddison, a Curator from the Museum of the Riverina in Wagga Wagga, to talk about her experience.
Check silk day dress, (A8072) Collection, Powerhouse Museum. The other day I was working in the basement in the fashion and textiles section when I saw this dress from the 1840s. Silk with a check design of blue, brown and grey, it instantly reminded me of a similar skirt that’s listed on the Australian Dress Register.
For most of my adult life I had heard of all the things in my aunt’s possession. Aunty Nan (Nancy Sewell nee Whaites) was a wealth of knowledge and loved to talk about her ancestors. William Edward Bayldon who had been born in England was operating a chemist shop and owned farm land in Adelaide in 1840 when he married Eliza Leaman widow of James Birmingham Kelly.