Designed as a national project, the register’s first phase focuses on capturing clothes relating to pre-1945 New South Wales, from a high-collar lace dress worn in 1914 by Hilda Smith, grandmother of horse trainer and former actress Gai Waterhouse to a 6-year-old boy’s smock from 1891, kept by the Edwards family of the Dungog region after his death of diphtheria. Contributors are encouraged to provide a broader context for their garments, whether it’s photographs, anecdotes, or stories about what the community was like at the time the clothes were worn.
“Clothes are an intimate, personal part of our lives,” says museum director Dawn Casey.
“Clothes are an intimate, personal part of our lives, which are becoming increasingly fragile and difficult to display,” says Dawn Casey, director of the Powerhouse Museum, in a statement. “The development of the register as a truly collaborative project brings together forthefirst time public, community and private clothing collectors to present a valuable resource of Australian history.”