A Capital Collection: Our History is Back in Fashion

Fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin with the National Library and Commonwealth Bridge in the background.
Fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin with the National Library and Commonwealth Bridge in the background.
Media type
Date of Publication
1 August 2014
Revised Date
22 December 2014

The Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Cr Sandra Wilson will officially open an exhibition at Williamstown Library today, showcasing the fashions worn to four of the nationís most significant events.

Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Sandra Wilson said the Council is delighted in bringing high quality exhibitions to our own backyard and this one is exceptional.

ìIt is a privilege and an honour to launch this iconic collection here in Hobsons Bay in our state of the art Williamstown library.î

The touring exhibition developed by the National Capital Authority (NCA), called ëA Capital Collectioní uses fashion to tell the social history at the following events:

  • The laying of the foundation stones of the commencement column, and naming of Canberra on 12 March 1913
  • The opening of the provisional Parliament House on 9 May 1927
  • The inauguration of Lake Burley Griffin on 17 October 1964
  • The opening of Parliament House in 9 May 1988

The exhibition provides actual and replica costumes, including accessories that an official guest, a community onlooker and a representative of the ceremonial support group could have worn to major events over the past century. It includes garments, hats, memorabilia, photographs and re-counted stories from guests, onlookers and media to provide a flavour of the time.

Exquisite 1920s fashions on loan from Fabrile in Melbourne, the Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum, and local Canberra collectors are on display.

National Capital Authority (NCA) chair, Hobsons Bay resident, Shelley Penn said the exhibition was developed as an interesting way to tell Australians about their National Capital.

'One of our roles is to inform and raise awareness about Australians about the significance of Canberra as National Capital. A Capital Collection tells part of that story in a new and engaging way,í she said.

ëDevelopment of the exhibition has been a labour of love. The dress worn by the Governor-Generalís wife, Lady Denman was recreated by volunteers who worked from original photographs and a Raymond Longford film of the event.í

The exhibition:

'A Capital Collection' is on display in The Gallery, Williamstown Library,

104 Ferguson Street from Friday 1 August until Thursday 4 September.

The exhibition is open during library operating hours. Entry is free.

The launch:

The Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Cr Sandra Wilson will officially open the exhibition at Williamstown Library on Friday 1 August, 6pm.

Join us for the launch and a tour over wine and canapÈs by Roslyn Hull, NCA education officer.

Educational tours:

Take a tour of the exhibition with NCA education officer Roslyn Hull and discover an integral everyday aspect of Australiaís history

  • For Secondary Schools on Friday 1 August, 10am
  • For the community on Saturday 2 August, 10am

Two hat making workshops:

To be held under the tutelage of Christine Waring, Master Milliner. Christine will facilitate a workshop where participants will each create their own hat, based on the 1920s cloche. Christine is a regular at Melbourneís high-profile spring millinery parades and her race hats are almost as exciting as the Carnival itself.

All materials and light refreshments supplied.

Thursday 7 August ñ 5pm to 9.30pm

Friday 8 August ñ 10am to 2.30pm

Cost: $110

The Chamber, Williamstown Town Hall, 104 Ferguson Street

Heritage Group:

The Hobsons Bay Libraries Heritage Group will host a tour of the exhibition followed by fashion reminiscences over afternoon tea on Thursday 28 August, 2pm to 3.30pm at Williamstown Library.