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Registration Number: H47820

Name or Title: Wedding Dress

Classification: CH classification COSTUME Wedding woman

Brief Description: One piece silk wedding dress, centre front opening, trimmed with lace, knife and box pleating.

Collection: Applied Arts

Production Place: Rockhampton/Central/Queensland/Australia

Production Date: 1884

History and Use: This dress was worn by Mrs Martha Ohl (nee Dunn) of Westwood, on June 11, 1884 when she married Christian Ludwig Ohl, the oldest son of John Ohl, of Gogango at the Courthouse in Rockhampton. Between 1885 and 1900 they had eight children, five boys and three girls.

The significance of this dress relates to its maker and to Queensland regional dress trends in the nineteenth century. The quality of the workmanship indicates that the regional dressmaker was quite skilled, considering that the dress was partly made on a manual sewing machine and partly by hand.

More importantly this dress, with design features which were far more popular during the latter part of the 1870s and the beginning of the 1880s, indicates how long it took for fashion trends to reach the regional areas of Queensland. By 1884 the two piece dress, that is, fitted bodice and skirt was far more fashionable than the one piece princess-style dress. Fashion trends in regional areas would have been behind those in the larger established cities. Trends in these cities would have been behind those of Britain and Europe for as long as the time it took for ships to reach Australia.

For a dress of this age to have survived in a sub-tropical climate is a great rarity. The workmanship utilised to create this garment is an example of an art which has virtually disappeared due to mass production and globalisation of the garment industries.

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