Friday 16 Aug 2024, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

As emigrants arrived in the Australian colonies, many prepared themselves for a life on the land. Whether settling as farmers, or heading to the goldfields in the hope of finding their fortune, all had to contend with managing their dress, often in harsh and remote environments. While women lived active and productive lives in these environments, it is the image of the male digger and bushman dressed in his loose shirt, trousers and boots and wearing a neckerchief and wide-brimmed hat that dominates understandings of how the quintessential Australian colonial settler dressed. Less is known about how women dressed and adapted to these environments. In focusing on a number surviving items of women’s dress, this lecture will discuss what women on the goldfields and in rural areas wore and how they purchased, made, mended and managed their often limited supply of clothing.

Dr Laura Jocic is a curator and historian with a specialisation in dress and textiles. In 2023 she completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne with a thesis titled “Dress in Australia: the materiality of a colonial society in the making.” Laura has worked in galleries and museums in Australia and New Zealand. In 2001 she co-founded the Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand. From 2007 to 2012 Laura was a curator of Australian Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria, where she curated the exhibitions Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion and Linda Jackson Bush Couture. In 2016 Laura curated the exhibition Louis Kahan: Art, Theatre, Fashion for the Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn and in 2020 she undertook a project for RMIT Design Archives interpreting the fashion designers Bruce Slorach and Sara Thorn’s collection of their work from the 1980s and 1990s.

Your ticket includes tea or Market Lane coffee served before the lecture, and time to browse our exclusive range of books, gifts, and homewares at TJC Emporium.  NOTE: Tickets for this event do not include access to our exhibition-house, Fairhall. Guided tours of the current exhibition can be booked separately.

This lecture is supported by The Colin Holden Charitable Trust.


Image: Australia, Day dress (back detail), 1860s. Gold Museum, Ballarat. 91.0004 Photo: Laura Jocic.

Book Tickets

Adult $20.00

$ 20.00 ea

Student/Concession $18.00

$ 18.00 ea