Ute Bierbaumer's lederhosen

Contributed by: Albury Library Museum

Lederhosen Ute Bierbaumer Detail of front zip.
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Albury Library Museum
  • Owner registration number:

  • Date range:

    1940 - 1945
  • Place of origin:

  • Gender:

[Collapse all]

Object information

Significance statement

These lederhosen were owned and worn by Ute Bierbaumer during her stay at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre. She and her family arrived at Bonegilla in the 1950s and stayed for several years.

The lederhosen are part of the Bonegilla Collection, a significant collection of over 1,400 pieces held at the Albury Library Museum. Costume plays a major role in the Bonegilla Collection and over several years many examples of costume have been donated by those people who lived at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre and their descendants.

Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre was the largest and longest operating migrant centre in the post World War II era. The centre operated between 1947 and 1971 and most migrants and refugees were drawn from non-English speaking European countries. This post-war shift prioritising Anglo-Celtic sources transformed political and social expectations of the cultural diversity of Australia.

For migrants who spent time at the migrant reception and training centre and their descendants, the Bonegilla Collection provides personal observations on arrival and settlement experiences. For the broader Australian community, the Bonegilla Collection helps represent the role of Australia as the host nation. The collection has powerful connections for many people.

Author: Assoc. Prof. Bruce Pennay, School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University and Christine Edgar, .


Child's lederhosen made from leather and suede. They are machine made with cuffed legs, two heart shaped front pockets and zippers to the left and right of the centre seam. The right zipper tab is missing and the zip has been hand sewn shut. The lederhosen are trimmed with tan/orange leather. Brown leather straps are attached to the shorts with two grey buttons at the front and two at the back. The straps are fastened with buckles at the front. The shorts have cuffed legs and the cuffs are held together at the hem edge by crossed leather strips. The lederhosen are unlined, but the inside waistband is of grey twill fabric. An adjustable placket in the back is tied with a plaited wool cord. An embossed design has been stamped onto the leather yoke and features a running stag, mountains, two oak leaves and acorns.

History and Provenance

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

The donor wore these lederhosen in Austria before migrating to Australia with her family in 1950s. She also wore them at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre and throughout the 1950s.

"I loved my lederhosen - wore them everywhere - they were comfortable - you could get them dirty. I wore them on the ship to Australia and for quite a few years in Bonegilla", she said.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

Lederhosen began to be commonly worn during the 18th century and were primarily worn by boys and men. They became popular with right wing political groups that sprang up in Germany after World War I. Lederhosen were strongly associated with the Hitler Youth movement.

Ute Bierbaumer, her parents and sister, Heidi, came to Australia on board the Italian ship, Toscana in the 1950s. They arrived in Melbourne and travelled by train to Bonegilla and stayed at the camp for 13 years. In the 1960s there were over 4,000 migrants at Bonegilla, a global village. Life at Bonegilla could be challenging and the conditions often primitive. Ute describes this time as one of hope tinged with apprehension.

Where did this information come from?

The donor, Ute Bierbaumer.

This garment has been exhibited

The lederhosen are currently on exhibit at the Albury Library Museum in the 'Crossing Place: the story of Albury' semi-permanent exhibition space.

  1. Place of origin:


  2. Owned by:

    Ute Bierbaumer

  3. Worn by:

    Ute Bierbaumer

  4. Occasion(s):

    Worn as everyday clothing.

  5. Place:

    Austria and Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre (Victoria)

Trimmings / Decoration

An embossed design of a running stag, mountains and two oak leaves with acorns is stamped onto the leather yoke.

Each leg of the shorts has a cuffed hem and the side hem edges are held together with crossed strips of leather.


A plaited woolen cord is holding together a pleated gusset at the back waist area.


Tan/orange leather piping around the cuffed legs, heart pockets and zipper closures.

Fibre / Weave

The lederhosen are made of leather.

Various kinds of leather were used for lederhosen. Traditionally they were primarily made of chamois leather until World War II when lederhosen increased in popularity and cattle leather was used.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


Casein plastic was produced in Germany in 1899 and was traded under the name Galalithe. Galalithe was first unveiled at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900. The translation of Galalithe from Greek to English is 'milk stone' which gives an insight into the composition and aesthetic beauty of the items produced. Casein was produced in rods or sheets and was made into an array of useful items such as knitting needles, pen cases, knife handles, buckles and buttons and then hardened in a solution of formaldehyde. It was produced in a variety of colours and has been known to imitate tortoiseshell and horn.


No label.

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


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


The front flap is fastened by two zippers. The zip on the right is broken and the opening is hand sewn shut. The buttons were described by the donor as plastic but further investigation shows they are galalithe. The straps are fastened with buckles at the front.

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

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

The inside waist band is a grey twill fabric.


lederhosen yoke
Chest 140 mm
Waist 665 mm
Hip 780 mm
Hem circumference 515 mm
Front waist to hem 282 mm
Back waist to hem 340 mm
Inside leg 55 mm
Outside leg 265 mm
Convert to inches

Straps are 685mm in length.

Dress Themes

Lederhosen (German for leather breeches) were commonly worn in Austria, Bavaria and German speaking parts of South Tyrol in northern Italy. They were considered to be work wear or leisure wear.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

Sharing the Bonegilla Story - A catalogue by Dr. Bruce Pennay provides the definitive Bonegilla story and complements the Bonegilla Story exhibition at the Albury Library Museum, telling the story of over 310,000 migrants and refugees who passed through the site.

The publication explains why Bonegilla has been placed on the National Heritage List as one of Australia's most significant heritage sites.

Other related objects

For over 25 years, Albury City has been collecting objects owned by former residents of the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre; things that people brought from their homeland that gave them comfort, photographs, domestic appliances, children's toys, books and clothing.

These objects, photographs, documents, and other memorabilia, now housed in the Albury Library Museum's Bonegilla Collection, provide evidence of and insights into post-World War II migration and refugee experiences. The collection illuminates immigration policies and procedures that changed the composition and size of the Australian population, and thus transformed the nation economically, socially and culturally.

There are currently over 1,400 museum objects and photographs in the Bonegilla Collection.

Link to collection online


Evidence of repairs

The right front zip doesn't work and has been sewn shut. The leather piping around the heart shaped pockets is worn and faded. The leather on the back seat area of the lederhosen is well worn and shiny. There are some minor yellow stains (possibly paint) to the right front of the lederhosen.


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


  1. Fading
  2. Paint
  3. Worn
[Collapse all]