Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Miss Alice Mitchell and her sewing machine

Alice Maggie Mitchell was born 1891 at Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria, the daughter of James Mitchell and Lucy nee Elston. Her father worked as a labourer.

Alice Mitchell lost three brothers during World War I - one at Gallipoli in 1915, then two in one day in France in 1916, and her fiancee. Despite that she stuck to a target of making a number of items for troops each week. Each week, for the duration of the war, she knitted two pairs of socks, and made a flannel singlet, a shirt and a pair of pyjamas.

Although undocumented, she presumably repeated a similar task in World War II.

Alice joined the Australian Red Cross in 1914, when it was first formed, and was formally recognised in 1974 as one of its longest-serving members. She spent all her life in Stratford, working as a dressmaker, and never married.

Alice's machine, a 1909 Singer she inherited from her mother, on which she sewed for the troops in two world wars, was bequeathed to the Stratford and District Historical Society after her death in 1980.

We have the photograph below in our files, of Miss Mitchell being presented with one of several Red Cross Awards. The woman on the left, making the presentation, is unknown.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two New Exhibitions

We have two new exhibitions ready for visitors. 

The first is "Christening Gowns and More (Inspired by the Birth of Prince George)". We have three christening gowns in our own collection, plus a petticoat for one, and assorted bonnets and bootees. Augmented with some stunning modern silk knitting according to patterns of  about 1912, our very own baptismal font, and items on loan, we have an exhibition "Fit for a Prince".

The second exhibition is a wide ranging look at our collection to see how people were "Keeping Warm in Winter." Items range from the coat made from a blanket in the 1940s, when fabric rationing was in force, through our range of early heaters to a number of hand-knitted blankets and other personal apparel.

Both exhibitions will remain in place until December. Our one of early lamps and lighting be remaining for a short time longer as well.