Wedding dress

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Object detail

White silk dress featuring decorative silver metal lace embroidered bodice in dense floral pattern. The bodice has short sleeves and the floral lace forms a sweetheart neckline with an illusion round neckline. The bodice with side metal zip has a basque waist overlay with floor length narrow skirt with slight flare at hem featuring white lace overskirt and several large appliqued lace floral designs in silver metallic thread. The wedding ensemble also includes elbow length fingerless lace mittens and a pair of insert shoulder pads.
CH classification COSTUME Wedding woman
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Dress: Centre back 1470mm collar to hem of skirt. Shoulders 340mm. Waist 640mm
Mittens: L350 x W90. No thickness worth mentioning.
Shoulderpads: L180 x W85 x H30mm.
Media/Materials description
Silk and lace.
A \ Franke, Stuart \ CREATION
History and use
The Crane collection is associated with a Queensland couple from Mount Morgan who were married in the post-war period when traditional courtship between young people prior to marriage was still expected and practiced. The objects are associated with the couple’s wedding but are also connected with other aspects of Mount Morgan including the mine where many residents where employed and Queensland regional clothing and fashion. The collection includes a wedding dress, a men’s three-piece suit made in Mount Morgan, two pairs of professional tailors shears and a small number of photographs relating to the Crane family.

Miss Joan Peters and Mr Robert George Crane were married on 3rd May 1952 at St Mary’s Church of England on Gordon Street, Mount Morgan. The couple first met at the Church of England Club where social activities including games and indoor sports were held. In order to get her attention, Robert tapped Joan on her backside with a badminton bat, then ran away up onto the hall stage. Joan retaliated by throwing her bat back at him across the room and it hit him on the leg. As both young people were living at home with their respective parents, they began to date regularly and got to know each other. Their first date was at the pictures and they attended picnics and the annual Rockhampton Show. They would also visit each other at their parent’s homes where they sat and talked. Joan enjoyed needlework and often Robert would visit her and learned fancywork which led to him stitching a tablecloth and duchess set and becoming quite skilled at cross-stitch.

During the couple’s period of courtship, Robert was employed as an apprentice electrician at the Mount Morgan Mine and Joan was employed as a seamstress for a local tailor.

Robert’s 3-piece suit comprising of a waistcoat, jacket and pants was made at the same tailoring shop where Joan worked. The suit was purchased by Robert in c.1947 and it was worn to many special events. It was the only suit Robert owned and he had saved for many months to pay for it. Robert wore the suit on his wedding day. The suit is made from black wool worsted serge imported from Aberdeen, Scotland and reflects the high quality tailoring techniques used to make men’s clothing during this time.

Joan’s wedding dress was purchased ‘off-therack’ from a wedding store in Rockhampton by Joan’s mother. A manufacturer’s label inside the dress ‘A Franke, Stuart Creation’ indicates it was designed and made in Melbourne by longstanding and well known quality bridal fabric store ‘The House of Franke, Stuart’ established in 1926. In the past, the fabric store designed and sold clothing around Australia. Joan wore the dress on her wedding day and soon after, her mother removed the train so that Joan’s sister could wear the dress to a ball. Joan’s wedding dress reflects the shift in women’s fashion that took place during this period when ready to wear clothing was becoming increasingly available and popular, even in places such as regional Queensland. The wedding dress is indicative of the sensible attitudes still front of mind for women during the post war era when it was important to consider how a dress could be re-worn.

There were other members in the Crane family who worked at the Mount Morgan mines including Robert’s brother Gordon Crane who was a metallurgist, Robert’s uncle Frank Wilson who was a woodcutter and Joan’s father who was a foreman in the mechanics workshop at the mine.

The two pairs of professional tailors shears belonged to Joan and were used by her when she was employed by the local tailoring shop in Mount Morgan. Head tailor, Mr W. Burnett purchased one pair of shears from Sydney for Joan to use in her work. It was tradition to buy a new seamstress a pair of quality tailors shears and each new seamstress who worked there was presented with a pair. Mr Burnett believed it was the only way to do a good job, particularly working with wool serge. He also used to tell his employees how in Scotland he was trained to stitch navy/black wool serge by hand with red thread in a way where the red was not visible.

The small number of photographs are associated with the wedding garments. Some are wedding portraits while other photos are of Joan and Robert before their marriage when they were dating.
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