Fashion in the Age of Elegance

In a foreign climate and environment, how did women adapt to living in rural Victoria and the emerging suburbs of Melbourne. Explore and delight in the opulent tastes and styles adopted by women through the extraordinary collection of 19th century gowns in the Kew Historical Society collection.

Mary Ann Henty came with her husband , Francis Henty to the Port Phillip District immediately after their marriage in Launceston in 1842. The gown that she wore at the ceremony is the centrepiece of a large collection of gowns owned and worn by pioneering Victorian families. A number of newly acquired costumes in the Henty Collection will join other major outfits donated by the women of the Coombs and Weir families. The exhibition includes silken gowns worn for special events such as weddings and balls as well as examples of day dresses used for entertaining at home and when visiting. The exhibition will allow you to view evolving styles of outerwear and undergarments, which only occasionally respond to a new climate and environment. The exhibition runs for three weekends and will be supplemented by a series of midweek lectures on the activities and tastes of women in Colonial Victoria. The formal rooms of the Villa Alba Museum will form a vivid background to the items exhibited.

Event dates

Event Details

44 Walmer Street, Kew, Victoria

Villa Alba Museum is located at the edge of Studley Park in Kew. There is adequate parking in surrounding streets. Public transport can be accessed by buses travelling along Studley Park Road.


10am to 12pm & 1pm to 3pm

Entry fees:
Adults $ 20.00, Members $ 18.00
Prebooking required
Attendance limit:
50 - 100
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
See Villa Alba's Eventbrite page for details of lectures