Porter Family wedding gown

Contributed by: Quirindi and District Historical Society

Purple taffeta wedding gown - front view Purple taffeta wedding gown - side view Inside hem detail Article - "107 Years Old Wedding Gown" Parasol purchased for Isabella's wedding and spectacles worn by Isabella
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Object information

Significance statement

The dress is made of Silk Taffeta in a plum blue colour that changes when the light hits the material or as you move around the room.

The dress was the "best" dress of the owner and not necessarily a wedding dress.

The dress was worn for a second time by the daughter of the original owner and would have sentimental value for her because her Mother had previously passed away.

A parasol was made for the wedding of the daughter, Isabella. We also have in our possession at the museum, spectacles worn by Isabella and the case.

The dress was worn a third time by the granddaughter at her wedding and would be more sentimental for her wearing her grandmother`s and mother`s wedding dress.

Author: Quirindi and District Historical Society inc, 19th March 2010.


Purple silk taffeta gown, long sleeves, double row of fringed ribbon at cuff, round neck, short front opening, long back opening to waist, V-shaped waistline at front. Floor length. Lined with linen-type fabric. Back slightly longer than front.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

The published family history (qv) states that Mary Ann died in 1867, so when Isabella wore the dress 1885 it was in memory of a mother who had died when she was 4 years old (born 1863).

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

The Porter family became important in the Quirindi district. Many descendants still in the area.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

Example of clothing in rural Australia mid-19th Century. Re-use indicates family sentiment and possibly thrift. Illustrates hand sewing of the period.

Where did this information come from?

Family history of Porter family.

  1. Place of origin:

    Wollombi, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Cost:

    Could be researched.

  3. Owned by:

    Moore family.

    Porter family.

    Schofield family.

  4. Worn by:

    Mary Anne Moore in 1855, her daughter Isabella Porter in 1883 and her Granddaughter Mary Ann Schofield in 1905.

  5. Occasion(s):

    Their weddings in 1855, 1883 & 1905.

  6. Place:

    Quirindi, NSW

  7. Designed by:


  8. Made by:

    Mary Ann Moore with assistance?

  9. Made for:

    Mary Ann Moore

Trimmings / Decoration


Ribbon with fringe attached on cuffs and neck opening




On neck edge and waistline




Fine tucking at front, fanning outwards towards shoulders



Fibre / Weave

Purple/dark plum.

Shot silk with linen lining

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye




  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Tucks at front to give strength

Cord at neck and waist


Neck 450 mm
Hip 1100 mm
Cuff 360 mm
Hem circumference 2900 mm
Front neck to hem 1450 mm
Front waist to hem 8300 mm
Back waist to hem 9600 mm
Sleeve length 510 mm
Neck to sleeve head 190 mm
Convert to inches

Shoulder to waist: 480 mm.

V at front shortens front length.

Dress Themes

The dress was first worn as a wedding dress when Mary Anne Moore married John Henry Porter at Wollombi Church of England on 30th April 1855. In 1883 it was again worn by Isabella, Mary Ann's eldest daughter when she married George Schofield at Quirindi.

This dress was also worn by Isabella Porter`s daughter, Mary Ann Elizabeth Schofield, on the occasion of her wedding to James Clarke, 1905, Quirindi NSW.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

Newspaper article attached "107 Years Old Wedding Gown" Quirindi Advocate Feb. 8, 1972

Part of journal article attached "Historical Notes" Vol ll No. 6 1975

Other related objects

Parasol purchased for second wedding (Isabella's, 1883). Brown silk self-patterned floral decoration with fringe sewn on by hand. probably to match fringe on dress, folding handle.

Spectacles and spectacle case worn by Isabella Porter, labelled 'Harvey Bros. Opthalmic Opticians, Quirindi'


Slight evidence of repair

Evidence of repairs

Perspiration marks under arms

A few small tear marks esp. 5cm tear at back seam

Fringes at front worn

Frayed at neck, waistline at back and shoulders

Insect damage

Small holes could be insect damage

Mould damage

Iron mould in lining of skirt


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Discolouration
  2. Frayed
  3. Holes
  4. Stained
  5. Torn
  6. Worn
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