Hundred-Year-old Dress makes its way back to Broken Hill

Tracy Fraser with the antique wedding dress.

Over one hundred years ago a wedding dress of handmade fine Irish Linen and lace embroidery was worn by a young woman as she embarked on her journey into matrimony.

And now that dress has made the trip from Port Stephens, on the east coast, back to the desert in Broken Hill.

Mrs Diana Souter (nee Bennett) was making a pilgrimage to the West and Adelaide with her husband to mark her 80th birthday and contacted Tracy Fraser, the Broken Hill City Library Coordinator, as she had decided to donate the dress and a copy of her memoirs to the Broken Hill community.

The dress was worn by her grandmother Rosa Oliver around 1908 as she took her nuptials.

Ms Fraser met the Indian Pacific at the Broken Hill train station to receive the generous gift from Mrs Souter last Thursday morning.

Ms Fraser said that originally, Mrs Souter was going to visit the library and present the gift, but due to scheduling changes due to the floods, the train only made a 10-minute stop in Broken Hill.

“She was very disappointed at not being able to exit the train and visit the archives to make the donation.

“I was able to go onto the train to receive the generous gift, we feel very lucky to have this donated as it fills the social gaps.

“The dress will make its way to the Sulphide Street Railway Museum as they have a textiles repository there.

“Mrs Souter is a former teacher and taught at Menindee, she has compiled a book documenting her life story and the history of the Bennett and Oliver families in Broken Hill.

“This publication is a very important addition to the library collection.

“We are very thankful for donations as they built the social history, we make our collection available freely to the Broken Hill community and researchers.

“Contributions from the community are very important as we are unable to purchase items for the collection, so these donations like this are much appreciated.”

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