Australian Dress Register

I thought it was time to delve a little deeper into the Australian Dress Register (ADR). To summarize what I have said in previous blog posts, I started working with the register on behalf of the Queensland Police Museum. In total, I helped publish six police uniforms to the site. Links to these can be found here:


When I moved to Sydney, I started volunteering with the register itself. It has been an incredible experience. The following will provide you with some more information on the site, including my role.

What is the Australian Dress Register?

According to the website the ADR is “a collaborative, online project about dress with Australian provenance.” It is essentially a site that endeavours to provide comprehensive information on select garments from a range of Australian institutions and private collectors. If a garment has a story, we want it on the site. To date, we have over 160 participating institutions and over 200 published garments.

What information can I find on the site?

In order to capture as much information as possible, the register requires not only basic information about a garment, but also, its historical and social context. As well as describing the garment and commenting on its condition, contributors are also encouraged to share information on the garment’s provenance and history. This includes information on who owned the garment. The most important part of the entry is the statement of significance. This allows contributors to voice why they believe their garment should be published on the site and what information it can reveal about a personality, time period, or community.

What garments have been published?

The earliest garment published on the site is a tartan cutaway jacket from 1750. The dress register contains a diversity of garments including dresses, skirts, tops, trousers, waistcoats, jackets, and suits.


My role

My work with the ADR has been diverse. Since moving to Sydney I have been primarily involved with editing the site, uploading new content, and communicating with museums around Australia to encourage them to contribute. An average day working on the register will start with a team meeting during which we review new contributions and discuss what needs to be added or changed. After this meeting, myself and fellow volunteer Julie will begin researching the garments and editing the entries.

I have also had the opportunity to add my own entries to the register on behalf of the Powerhouse Museum. My favourite has been the Iced VoVo Dress:


As you can see it is a very quirky and unusual garment.

Courtesy of the Powerhouse Museum

What I enjoy most about the site is its ability to communicate Australian history from a textile and fashion perspective. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the site and uncover some of the fascinating stories behind the garments.

I want to conclude by saying that the ADR team is a fantastic group of individuals all with a passion for textiles and dress history. I am very grateful to have this opportunity to work on the site and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for 2017.

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