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National Museum of Australia

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Dark cream silk damask dress


On display

Dark cream silk damask dress

Object information


It is possible that this dress was worn by Mary Deane on her wedding day when she married pastoralist and founder of Springfield sheep station, William Pitt Faithfull at Saint James' Church Sydney on January 20, 1844. Between 1844 and 1859, William Pitt Faithfull and Mary had nine children.

Physical description

A dark cream silk damask dress lined in cream glazed cotton with a full skirt gathered into a peaked waist. The boned and lined bodice has two rows of gold satin piping at the waistline. The wide shallow neckline is decorated with pleated gold wool and chiffon with narrow satin bands with a piped edging to centre front and shoulders. The short sleeves have gold satin piped edging followed by pleated gold wool and chiffon and a pleated gold satin trim. There is a gold satin rosette on each sleeve. The bodice has a pleated waist with two cotton covered pads sewn inside the front and is boned. It is trimmed with pleated bands of cream wool with a satin piped band down the centre front. The dress has a back opening with eight metal hooks on the bodice and two further metal hooks on tape attached to the waist band. A large gold silk chiffon and satin rosette is attached to the centre back. The dress is all handstitched. Alterations were made to the back of the dress to enlarge the bodice.

Statement of significance

The Springfield Collection comprises about 1550 artefacts from Springfield station, south of Goulburn. It includes colonial era costume, a bushranger medal, surveying instruments, a late-19th century landau, firearms and edged weapons, wool samples and Joseph Foveaux's pocket watch and bible. The objects are complemented by over 400 photographs. This diverse collection reflects the growth and economic success of the property, responses to changes in the wool market and the daily lives of the people who have lived on Springfield.

Springfield has grown from a 518-hectare land grant given to William Pitt Faithfull in 1828 to the current 3183 hectares with ownership remaining in the one family. William Pitt Faithfull established the Springfield Merino Stud in 1838 with ten rams selected from the Macarthur Camden Park stud. The stud evolved slowly over the years until the early 1950s when, under the management of Jim Maple-Brown, a scientific approach to wool-growing was adopted and the stud's name was changed to Fonthill to reflect this.

Physical description

On display at the National Museum of Australia.

Object information

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