A Bit of Love in Every Stitch

This elaborately embroidered coat was once worn by Gustav (Gus) Friedrich Wagner (1881–1950) and is thought to have been made by his mother, Johanna Hermine (Mina) (1857–1921) in the nineteenth century German style. The coat is made from black cotton velvet with white embroidery and lace trim and bone false buttons. The side view of […]

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Fancy Pants

When packing to travel to the other side of the world, what does an Edwardian woman put in her trunk? Knickers, of course. This machine-made pair, with their fancy cutwork embroidery and handmade torchon lace seem to have a very full front. Were they made to be worn by a pregnant woman? Was that why […]

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Sewn at Sea

What was thirteen-year-old Irish girl Ann Boyd thinking about as she stood on the deck of the emigrant ship Australia on 8 June 1853, as it sailed into Sydney Harbour and approached Dawes Point to lower its anchor? Accompanied by her parents Mary and Adam, and her eight siblings, Mary might have been impressed by […]

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Patience and Skill

In the 1870s, when Berry schoolgirl Helena Kinneally stitched the buttonholes, fancy borders and darning to create this needlework sampler, she probably didn’t know how useful those skills would later be, when she became the mother of ten children. Helena Kinneally (c. 1868-1904) was born in Victoria about 1868. She was the daughter of William […]

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