Striped cotton everyday dress

Contributed by: Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum

Grey white striped day dress Skirt trim detail Bodice trim detail Detail Skirt detail Skirt detail Detail Detail interior Detail interior Staining on skirt Bayldon family crest Emily and husband Captain William John Whaites William and Eliza Bayldon Bayldon panorama
[Collapse all]

Object information

Significance statement

This dress is significant as it is a cotton day dress and such dresses were usually worn everyday until they were only suitable for use as rags. For such a dress to have survived in such good condition is very unusual and adds greatly to the significance of this garment and the collection it belongs to.

This dress is also significant as it is part of 100 piece collection of clothes that belonged to the Bayldon family who were important members of Coffs Harbour society from 1870 to the present day.

The Bayldons were a very important family in the history of the Sawtell and Toormina region of New South Wales, just South of Coffs Harbour and this is remembered even today. When the local council established a new housing estate near Sawtell it was called Bayldon in William Bayldon's memory but in later years it was incorporated into Toormina. As well as this a local primary school in Toormina is called the William Bayldon Public School.

The size of the collection also makes it significant, with well over 100 pieces covering underwear, skirt, blouses, jackets, hats, scarves, and accessories. It is rare to have so many garments belonging to one family and to be in such good condition.

Another significant point is that the collection has been handed down through the generations. Cheryl Dal Pozzo, who donated the items to the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum, inherited the clothes from her aunt Nancy and she inherited the clothes from her grandmother, who had collected them from her sisters.

Author: Cheryl Dal Pozzo, 16th February 2010.


Cream and faded bluish grey striped cotton day dress with long sleeves.

The dress is cut on the straight with extra frill at the front with a front opening to hip level.

The sleeves are narrow at the upper arms and fuller at the lower arms.

The lower skirt has inserts for fullness in the skirt then shaped up to a narrow waist.

The dress does not appear to have been worn with a bustle.

It has metal hooks with handmade eyelet holes.

The inner lining has soft boning for shaping and closes separately to the dress with hooks and eyelets.

There are 4 small bones in the stand up collar for support.

The collar overlaps at the side of the front neck with metal hooks and hand sewn loops.

There is a concealed pocket in the right side of the garment at hip level.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Transcripts of the death certificates of Elizabeth Bayldon (1899), William Bayldon (1900), Mary Grace Bayldon (1925) and E.K.V. Bayldon (1941)

Eliza Matilda Bayldon nee Leamon (1819? - 1899)

William Edward Bayldon (1818-1900)

Annie Amy Fisher nee Bayldon (1841-1921)

Charles William Edward Bayldon (1843?-??)

Mary Grace Bayldon (1846?-1925)

John Louis Phillip Bayldon (1847?-??)

James Joseph Bayldon (1850-??)

Beatrice Marx nee Bayldon (1851-??)

Lavinia Hennings nee Bayldon (1851-??)

Elizabeth Catherine Valentine (1853?-1941)

Emily Whaites nee Bayldon (1855-1943)

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

Eliza and William Bayldon's children were: Annie Amy, Charles William, Mary Grace, John Louis Phillip, James Joseph, Beatrice & Lavinia (twins), Eliza Catherine Valentine and Emily.

By 1858 William decided to move his family to a 100 acre farm at Ulmarra near Grafton where he raised cattle and high quality stock horses. In 1864 he moved his family with their possessions, including one of the region's first pianos, to land just below Boat Harbour (now Bellingen). William was a JP in the early 1870s.

At some point after 1870, following a series of attacks on his property by local Indigenous people, William, Eliza and some of the children (now adults) moved back to Sydney.

An area near Sawtell was named "Bayldon" in his memory and the local primary school is called the William Bayldon Public School.

Their youngest daughter Emily did her nurses training at the Lucy Osborne Nightingale Hospital in Sydney, but on the 24th February 1885 she married a William John Whaites, a widower and a shipping pilot, who had one young son. William was given a post on the Nambucca River and Emily's nurses training would have been of help to her husband and the people of the Nambucca, as in his role of pilot William was called on by people in need of medical and dental assistance. Emily and William had four sons and one daughter all born on the Nambucca.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

This is an example of less formal dressing which would have been worn around the house.

It is not known who originally wore the dresses in this collection, but they all belonged to either Eliza Bayldon (died in 1899) or her daughters Annie Amy (1841-1921), Mary Grace (died in 1925), Beatrice, Lavinia, Eliza Catherine Valentine (died in 1941), or Emily (1855-1943).

Eliza first came to South Australia in 1838 with her first husband. She married William Bayldon in 1840 in Adelaide, where their first daughter Annie was born in 1841. William then sold his business and moved his family back to England.

William and Eliza decided to move back in the hope of a better life for their family. While they were in Sydney their ninth child Emily was born in 1855.

Eliza's six daughters grew to adulthood. Annie, her eldest, married Hurtle Fisher who is known as the "Father of Victorian Thoroughbreds". Beatrice married Eugene Theophil Marx and Lavinia married Henry Hennings. Mary Grace and Eliza Catherine Valentine, who both lived long lives, never married. Eliza's youngest daughter Emily trained as a nurse and used her skills to assist her husband William Whaites who was a pilot on the Nambucca River.

When Whaites retired he and Emily moved to Burwood and following his death Emily cared for her older sister Eliza. It is probable that it was during this period that Emily acquired clothes that once belonged to her mother and sisters as well as other items of family memorabilia.

Where did this information come from?

Family history as told to Cheryl Dal Pozzo (great granddaughter of Emily Bayldon)

This garment has been exhibited

This garment was exhibited along with the others in the collection by the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum. Many descendants of the original owners attended the exhibition.

  1. Place of origin:

    Sawtell, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Female member of the Bayldon family

    Emily Whaites nee Bayldon (from unknown date until 1943)

    Nancy Sewell, Whaites' granddaughter (from 1943)

    Cheryl Dal Pozzo, Sewell's niece

    Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum

  3. Worn by:

    Member of Bayldon family

  4. Occasion(s):

    House wear

  5. Place:

    Mid north coast,  New South Wales

  6. Made by:

    Home made

  7. Made for:

    Member of the Bayldon family

Trimmings / Decoration

There are three rows of darts for shaping on the inner lower edge of the sleeves.

There are 2 rows of fine blue cotton fabric gathered as a frill around the bodice, and blue cotton (?) trimming in 3 bands above the front frill and at the sleeve ends. The small stand up collar is made of the same trimming.

On the skirt there are two area of trimming: three rows of blue cotton at about knee level and a single wider band at the hem.


Pin tucking on the upper sleeves

Fibre / Weave

Blue/grey and cream striped cotton dress.

Brighter blue cotton for frills and other ornamentation.

Lining of cream cotton(?)

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


The garment is machine made, possibly by members of the family.

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


Inserts in the skirt for fullness are also cut on the straight.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight


Metal hooks and handmade eyelets or loops.

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

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Soft boning on bodice and collar.


Neck 280 mm
Chest 920 mm
Waist 665 mm
Hem circumference 3340 mm
Back neck to hem 1435 mm
Sleeve length 630 mm
Neck to sleeve head 125 mm
Convert to inches

Neck band at overlap: 340 mm

Upper arm width: 280 mm

Lower arm width: 510 mm

Sleeve length underarm to wrist: 470 mm

The absence of waist seam, large waist measurement and long front opening indicates that this could possibly be a maternity/post maternity dress.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

Transcripts of the death certificates of Elizabeth Bayldon (1899), William Bayldon (1900), Mary Grace Bayldon (1925) and E.K.V. Bayldon (1941)

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate Nov. 10, 2005

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate Nov. 19, 2005: 'Bayldon Historical Roots Grow Deep'

Other related objects

A complete collection of objects including underwear, nightwear, blouses, jackets, hats, skirts, camisoles, scarves, wraps and dresses. Some of the underwear is embroidered with the initials E.C.V. (Eliza Catherine Valentine Bayldon)

There are also handbags, a calling card holder and the top hat worn by William Bayldon when he was a JP. This was kept wrapped in a silk scarf in an oval metal hat box.

There is also one child's dress.

There are photographic portraits of Eliza and William Bayldon hanging in the foyer of William Bayldon Public School.


Slight tear along a coloured stripe at back of garment

Insect damage

Some small insect holes


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


  1. Discolouration
  2. Stained
  3. Torn
[Collapse all]