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
6 March 2013
Revised Date
6 March 2013

†A series of exhibitions taking a new look at the story of Canberra through fashion opens today at the National Capital Exhibition.

'A Capital Collection ñ Our History in Fashion' showcases the fashions of the day at four of the most significant events in Canberra's history:

  • The laying of the foundation stones of the commencement column, and the naming of Canberra in 1913 (On display 8 March to 7 May)
  • The opening of the provisional Parliament House in 1927 (On display 17 May to 5 July)
  • The inauguration of Lake Burley Griffin in 1964 (On display 16 July to 10 September)
  • The opening of Parliament House in 1988 (On display 19 September to 16 December)

National Capital Authority (NCA) Exhibition Curator, Roslyn Hull, said the first installment of the exhibition focuses on the day we count as the birthday of Canberra ñ and the day the city was officially named.

'The opening of this exhibition has been timed to coincide with the centenary of the Foundation Ceremony,' Ms Hull said.

'Until 7 May, visitors can see actual and replica costumes, including accessories, relating to what people would have worn to the ceremony one hundred years ago.

'A replica of Lady Denman's outfit, a local woman, a child and light horseman are all represented in the exhibition.

'Also on display is an original set of event paraphernalia.† We believe this may be the first time a complete set is on display to the public.

'The set includes including an invitation, seating card, invitation to afternoon tea and a presentation card, which would have been given to the Governor-General's Aide de Camp to announce the names of the people meeting the vice-regal couple,' she said.

All items on display have been loaned for the exhibition, or recreated by local craftspeople.

NCA Chief Executive Gary Rake said the National Capital Exhibition tells the story of Canberra's development.

'One of our roles is to inform and educate Australians about the significance of Canberra as National Capital. A Capital Collection tells part of that story in way that has not been done before,' Mr Rake said.

'We hope Canberrans will think about bringing their visiting family and friends to see the exhibition over the next few months, as we help celebrate Canberra's centenary.

'So if you haven't been to the National Capital Exhibition in a while, this is definitely worth a visit,' he said.

A school holiday program and education resource has been developed to coincide with the exhibition.

'A Capital Collection ñ Our History in Fashion' is on display at the National Capital Exhibition, Barrine Drive, Commonwealth Park until 16 December 2013. The exhibition is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm weekends (closed public holidays except Canberra Day and Australia Day). Entry is free.