Brighton Historical Society Costume Collection

Since 2012 I have had the pleasure of contributing to the management, documentation and promotion of this small but significant local history collection.

Since that time I have enjoyed a relationship with some of the loveliest people but also a collection of clothing that is rather special. This collection is significant as it represents a community from as early as 1820 until the present day as well as holding individual items of state significance. Brighton residents continue to offer us their treasures, and this continuum is rather unique. The collection holds a diverse range of roughly 1000 garments and personal effects with provenance as well as a significant collection of local, supportive items. Below you can see a selection of my favourites.

The Society is a not for profit organization staffed by dedicated volunteers, researching and conserving, local social history. This social history is relevant beyond the bounds of Brighton as it provides a snapshot of a particular part of Melbourne, Australia.

There are many tasks the collection requires, including organising exhibitions, improving storage, processing new donations and researching aspects of the collection. For many years I oversaw the costume collection as a volunteer around my personal and professional commitments. I have recently handed over the mantle to another and know I am leaving it in exceptionally capable hands.  From now my efforts will focus upon special projects which promote and make available the collection to a broader audience both online and in person.

In late 2017 BHS was awarded a Local History Grant from the Public Records Office to document a key sample of the collection demonstrating its strengths and breadth to the Victorian Collections register, an initiative developed by Museums Australia (Victoria) in order to increase awareness and availability of the collection to researchers, fellow collecting and heritage bodies and the general public.

Click on the image to be taken to the Brighton Historical Society page on Victorian Collections.

Below is a small selection of some of my personal favourites although there are a great many to choose from.

1790's Calash collage1860's Patchwork Dressing Gown collage1860's slippers collage1920's evening cloak collage1920's flapper dress collage1930's day dress collage1930's wedding gown collage1930's wedding gown 2 collage1960's water rat coat collage


Click here to read about The BHS at The Glen Eira Festival of Story Telling – Celebrating Style – 1950’s in Melbourne.

For further information about our work please go the the BHS page on Victorian Collections here, or contact the Brighton Historical Society here.

The Society has a great new website you can find here , as well as a new Facebook page.

In 2018 BHS was thrilled to support The National Trust’s “Super 70’s” Fashion Exhibition. Held at Ripponlea Estate from July 27th – 4th November. Five pieces from our collection contributed to the playful, charming and down right fun walk down 70’s lane curated by the talented team at the National Trust and a few of their very special friends and collaborators. Please click here to go to blog post for images. SaveSaveSaveSave