Pair of Shirts worn at Labassa in the 1970s

60 Objects Labassa Collection

Labassa is an exuberantly ornamented boom-style mansion in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield. Built for the wealthy and privileged in the nineteenth century, its twentieth century history tells a different story.

After Labassa was sold in the late 1900s, the mansion was converted into a tenement house and for the next six decades was home to many people.  It was during the 1960s and 70s that Labassa experienced a creative renaissance,  Members of the counter-culture and bohemian artists lived, worked, and partied in the house’s many rooms.

Using wax resist dyeing techniques, these cotton shirts feature psychedelic motifs of mushrooms or mushroom-like jellyfish.  They were worn by Labassa tenant Peter Sinnott in the 1970s, and he donated them during a reunion of former residents. The Trust has a pictorial record of life at Labassa in the 1960s and 70s – mainly in black and white film stock – to see the vibrancy and colour in these garments enriches our appreciation of this dynamic time in its history.

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