History told through artefacts

Inside the Brighton Town Hall are rooms filled with photos, documents, art, costumes and other artefacts that tell the story of Bayside and its surrounds.

Run by volunteers from the Brighton Historical Society, the collection is curated during the year with exhibitions that change.

The society has enjoyed many milestones over nearly five decades, starting with the first public event in 1963 where locals brought their treasures for assessment by a local antique dealer.

This event delivered items from the estate of former councillor Thomas Wilson, which became the centre of its collection.

The Boon Wurrung people’s millennia long history in Bayside was highlighted in 2016 as the society formally repatriated a stone axe head to the Traditional Owners of the Bayside area.

Most recently, Brighton Historical Society received a 2020 Victorian Museums and Galleries Award for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing.

It is these highlights but also the more intricate stories that captured committee member and history graduate Jessica Curtain’s interest.

“I love sharing stories from our Indigenous heritage, the arrival of migrants and the new history they create, old buildings getting new lives, businesses that keep going and those emerging,” she said.

Jessica manages the society’s costume collection, assessed as being of state significance.

“Our collection is largely from the early days donated from old estates and families,” she said.

“A favourite piece is a patchwork dressing gown that was originally a quilt. When the owners had guests, they encouraged them to add to it. It’s weird and wonderful, telling a story about the family and community.”

The dressing gown shows the work of many hands over many years, from around 1860 to 1915.

Visit the Brighton Historical Society located at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, corner of Wilson and Carpenter Streets, Brighton on Thursdays from 12-5pm.

For more wonderful Bayside historical stories go to brightonhistorical.org.au

Brighton Historical Society

Stories from the Past- Volunteer Jessica shows of her favourite piece in the costume collection

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