Pics: Loel Thomson’s Latest Costume Exhibition

Last night was a wild and woolly evening, and by the time I’d spent two hours driving v-e-r-y slowly through storm and traffic jams, I was quite frazzled and fully expected to be late. As it was, I was the first one to arrive at Loel Thomson’s amazing costume museum. Many of us didn’t make it though, so if you missed out, or would like to come and see the collection on another day (or perhaps live on the other side of the world) here are some pics from her latest exhibition.

Loel’s museum is amazing: I can’t emphasize this enough, and her collection is available for group tours or as a resource for students – just call her on (03) 9852 1794 to arrange a visit, as she’s not there all the time.

Loel usually starts off with a talk about what she does (social history through fashion), and we learnt that the oldest piece in her collection is from about 3AD, a Roman fibula – but as her focus is Australian fashion, the earliest piece from the colony is about 1790, not long after settlement. Her most recent may well be a pair of Crocs! I was surprised to see them on display with those other piece of footwear you’re unlikely to ever see me in, thongs and Ugg boots. The Doc Martens were more my style and I’m now on the hunt for a pair of the 20 eye boots, if you have a pair going wanting, Loel would love to add them to the collection.

Onto the photos – as always, click on an image to see in full – this is only a small part of what she currently has on displays. Exhibits including “A Summer Afternoon”, with fashions from the 19th and 20th century, lingerie, duster coats for driving, many 19th century tableaus, history of sewing, accessories, jewellery, buckles and endangered species. You’ll see some selections below. I particularly loved the knitted wool section with a knitted swimsuit, dresses and jumpers. Enjoy.


  1. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, a tree came down and landed on my car so I was not able to come!

  2. We came to see your wonderful collection when you were in Bulleen – I know about you re-location but not sure where you are situated now. Would love to know please? Also, do you do tours for Probus etc? Many thanks

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