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Each item in our costume collection has a story to tell. Through their design and creation, their wear and tear, and their travels through the world, they contain within their fabric tantalising connections to our past and present.

Some hold intimate tales of personal journeys, struggles, losses and triumphs.  Others can tell us about life in Brighton across the years, or reveal to us hidden links between our suburb and wider historical events both in Australia and across the globe.

The research for these stories was made possible by a Local History Grant from Public Record Office Victoria.


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Crafting a community
Dressing gown
circa 1860-1915

Fashion on the Victorian goldfields
Day dress
circa 1880

Lost labels
Evening dress
circa 1895

A craze for native fur
Possum skin rug
circa 1920

Sign of its times
circa 1922-35

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A migrant story
Shawl, gloves and pearl collars
circa 1928-49

Domestic skills

Love prevails
Wedding dress

A tale of work
Dust coat
circa 1948

Fashion homegrown
Ball gown

We acknowledge that we meet and work on the traditional land of the Ngaruk Willam of the Boon Wurrung language people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

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