1927 Capital Collection on Display

Media Release

9 May 2013

9 May 2013

A temporary exhibition showcasing the opening of the provisional Parliament House in 1927 through fashion is now on display at the National Capital Exhibition.

This is the second, in a series of exhibitions called 'A Capital Collection ñ Our History in Fashion' looking at the story of Canberra through fashion.

National Capital Authority (NCA) Exhibition Curator, Ms Roslyn Hull, said the exhibition has been timed to coincide with the 86th anniversary of the opening of Old Parliament House.

'The provisional Parliament House was opened 86 years ago today on 9 May 1927,' Ms Hull said.

'Included in this exhibition are exquisite 1920s fashions on loan from Fabrile in Melbourne, the Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum and from local collectors.'

'A family album of photos, memoirs and souvenirs (including a piece of carpet cut from the front steps of Old Parliament House) are on display. These were loaned by one of the NCA's interpretive volunteers.'

Mrs Hazel Merz (nee Rowley) who attended the original opening of Parliament House with her father in 1927 was at the exhibition opening. Mrs Merz travelled to the exhibition opening in a 1927 Packard car, thanks to Mr Peter Toet of the Canberra Antique and Vintage Car Club.

Now 90, Mrs Merz still lives in Canberra. The exhibition includes a replica of her school uniform and a photo of her starting school.

NCA Chief Executive Gary Rake said 'A Capital Collection' depicts snapshots of Canberra's history through a series of milestones events.

'One of the NCA's roles is to inform and educate Australians about the significance of Canberra as National Capital. A Capital Collection tells part of that story in a new way,' Mr Rake said.

'This is a good opportunity to show visiting family and friends a bit of the history and development of our National Capital as well as experience other interesting features of the National Capital Exhibition, as we help celebrate Canberra's centenary,' he said.

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

Exhibitions later this year will feature the fashions of two other significant events in Canberra's history:

  • 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).

'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.