Volunteering at The Bowerbird and The Bride Exhibition

Bridal Fashion and Dressmaking in Australia from the 1880's to the 1970's.

Over the past week I have had the pleasure of working as a volunteer guide at The Bowerbird and The Bride Exhibition by Marion Boyce at Old Government House in Brisbane Australia. 

If you're familiar with Australian television and The Miss Fisher Murder Mystery series, you'll have seen the beautiful costumes designed by acclaimed Australian costume designer and collector Marion Boyce. 

Marion has been collecting vintage clothing and costumes since she was a child. Her extensive collection includes wedding dresses worn by Australian brides from the late 1800's to the 1970's. This exhibition gives audiences a wonderful insight into her most prized possessions and a look at the art and social history of weddings and bridal dressmaking in Australia over the past 150 years.

The 'hero' dress on display in the entrance to the exhibition is a beautiful 1930's silk dress cut on the bias and a tulle veil that is tambour embroidered with gold metallic thread! It's my favourite dress in the exhibition.

1930's wedding dress at The Bowerbird and The Bride Exhibition at Old Government House Brisbane Australia

Two other dresses in the exhibition date back to the 1930's and 1940's and have heart shaped trains but you have to exit the exhibition and take the stairs to the floor above to view them.

The Bowerbird and The Bride Exhibition at Old Government House Brisbane, 2018

I am really enjoying the experience and seeing Marion's collection first hand in such a beautiful setting in the grounds of the Queensland University of Technology. The experience is giving me a chance to reflect on the postgraduate diploma in museums and collections I completed at the ANU in Canberra. It is also giving me a wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with members of the public who share an interest and passion for historical clothing, social history and the art of dressmaking over the ages. The personal stories and memories shared by visitors of their own wedding experiences and the dresses that were worn gives this experience a personal touch and something that I will always remember. 

If you live in or near Brisbane and love vintage fashion, do try to see this exhibition. Details are available on the Old Government House web site.

The exhibition ends 19 August 2018, the day of my last shift as a volunteer. 


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