Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Coat-hanger with a knitted blue and white nylon cover


Coat-hanger with a knitted blue and white nylon cover

Object information

Physical description

A wood and metal coat-hanger with a blue knitted cover with a white crocheted edge, adorned with a sheer nylon ribbon of white.

Statement of significance

The Mrs Beverly Silby Collection consists of 15 items of clothing ranging across a number of garment types and fashion genres, including day wear, travel clothes, after-five wear and accessories. The history of each item is documented in a manuscript, 'A chronicle of Beverly Silby's (Steeper) life through fashion', a copy of which is included in the collection.

The collection represents the changing wardrobe of a woman who has lived and worked as a teacher in both urban and rural Victoria and rural NSW, covering the period from 1940 to 2000, as well as Mrs Silby's own efforts to collect and preserve her story. The collection also includes items connected with Mrs Silby's mother, grandmother and grandfather. The garments reflect many aspects of twentienth century history including women's education; the tradition of making of clothes in the home; changing notions of femininity and fashion; and the importance of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches to social networks in rural and urban Australia. Mrs Silby says of herself 'I am just an ordinary person with no claim to fame and certainly not to fortune of a [monetary] kind, but hope that [someday] this collection will give some idea of the clothes that people such as myself have worn through their life'.

Object information

Back to top