Fashion Friday

Over the last week or so I have been catching up with some research and writing about one of my ‘famous’ ancestors, Betty Stockfeld.  Betty was a stage and cinema actress with a career spanning over 40 years in the British and European industries.

Like many stars of stage and screen, her image found its way onto postcards, cigarette cards, into magazines and newspapers. Her name and image was used to promote cigarettes, alcohol, make up and health products as well as fashion.  Many of her film reviews commented on her wardrobe rather than her capabilities as a performer.

This image appeared as part of a full page spread in 1932 promoting a new play ‘A Cold June‘ by Sir Arthur Pinero. Of note is the photographer: Dorothy Wilding.  Wilding was a self taught portraitist of some note, especially for her work with the Royal Family. Unlike Queen Elizabeth II, Betty’s image as taken by Wilding never appeared on a postage stamp!

Wilding was known to be a popular photographer with women especially as she began to make a name for herself in the nude photography arena.

Another series of images taken by Wilding also appeared in The Tatler – but as Betty was semi naked in one of them, they won’t be shown here.


Dorothy Wilding:

The Illustrated Dramatic and Sporting News, May 31, 1932 p 401

Sir Arthur Pinero:


Women of Empire Exhibition – Capitol Theatre, Bendigo

Last week, my friend Sonja and I went to visit “Women of Empire” Exhibition in Bendigo, Vic.  The exhibition closed here in Bendigo on Wednesday but as it is touring (and growing) over the next few years, a review is still relevant.

A major project of the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume, this exhibition looks at the role of women during the years of WW1.  It examines the careers and contributions of many women and vividly illustrates just how they would have been dressed at the time.

One of the outstanding features of these beautiful costumes is the size… or should I say, lack of size.  Those waists were waspishly thin, those shoes tiny and narrow and the women whose clothing was on show certainly weren’t tall.  It is remarkable to see how we have grown in just 100 years.

On the day we visited, curator Fiona Baverstock was on hand to talk about some of the pieces, to tell us about the touring future of the collection and to explain the wonderful carpet of poppies that stretched across the carpet.  I had noticed that on display were a number of large framed embroidered pieces and postcards that were sent or brought home by servicemen. However, there were none of the embroidered postcards that were a feature of wartime correspondence.

A quick trip back the next day and Fiona had four embroidered postcards to display for the rest of the exhibition in Bendigo. It is envisaged they will also be part of Kyneton’s and Ballarat’s exhibitions in the coming months. A future post will describe these items… and hopefully find families with whom they will be reunited.


Screen shot of Women of Empire website
Screen shot of Women of Empire website

Where you can see the exhibition in the next few months:


Monday 20 April 2015 – Sunday 31 May 2015

Bowen Library, Anzac Avenue, Maroubra & Waverley Library, Sydney


Friday 5 June 2015 – Sunday 21 June 2015

Kyneton Museum, Piper Street, Kyneton

Telephone – (03) 5422 0333


Friday 11 July 2015 – Sunday 19 July 2015

St Patrick’s Hall, Ballarat

Ticketing details to be advised

For information call 03 54 68 7418


Fashion Friday

My Great great grandmother was Lucy Jane Banks – born in Bootle, West Derby, Lancashire in February 1839.  By the time she died, she had migrated firstly to New Zealand and then to Australia and settling in Footscray, Vic.

Lucy as a young woman in Liverpool
Lucy as a young woman in Liverpool

Amongst the family treasures are photographs of her family in Liverpool, examples of her needlework and her own school book all of which she had brought with her from England.   The journey from England to New Zealand was uneventful until the ship neared the Southern Ocean where its masts were damaged in a storm.  The master of the ship continued to sail to New Zealand, where reports of near wrecking were recounted by the grateful passengers when they finally made landfall in Auckland harbour.  The ship was so overdue that little hope of their survival was held. To still have these precious items is quite remarkable considering just how difficult the journey had been.

Lucy - part of a group of pictures that seem to have been taken just prior to the family's departure for New Zealand
Lucy – part of a group of pictures that seem to have been taken just prior to the family’s departure for New Zealand


Lucy, her husband William and their two surviving daughters (including my great grandmother) relocated to Footscray in Melbourne in the early 1880’s. Two of her sons joined the family at a later date.  One remained in New Zealand for the rest of his life.


In her final years in Footscray... my grandmother recalled her looking just like this.
In her final years in Footscray, Vic … my grandmother recalled her looking just like this.

Lucy Jane Banks: born 21 Feb 1839 in Lancashire UK, married William Dixon 17 Nov 1857 at Walton on the Hill, UK and died 22 February 1910 at her home, 22 Charles Street, Footscray, Vic and was buried the next day in the Boroondara General Cemetery, Kew.


All images shown here are from the Stockfeld/Richardson Family collection. Please request permission to use these images and an archival quality file will be supplied by the author.

Fashion Friday

Recently, a collection of family photographs was made available to me for the purposes of archival scanning (and for attaching to the files I have on various family members!)

One of the most delightful parts of the collections were the studio portraits taken of my grandmother as a child.  My great grandfather (William Andrew Richardson) was living and working in Club Terrace, Victoria; a long way from the rest of the family in Footscray.

Gran (Dorothy Una Ophelia Richardson) was born in Footscray in 1900 and the collection of images had been taken at 6 month intervals…. I believe copies were then sent to her father so he could see how she was progressing.  In the collection there were also pictures from and of him, annotated with the message that they were for his daughter, Dorothy.

What a stylish young thing she was!

Dorothy Una Ophelia Richardson - 2 years old in 1902.
Dorothy Una Ophelia Richardson – 2 years old in 1902.