Arriving in Port Phillip in 1844, Irish-born Anne Trotter was one of many emigrants deemed suitable for assisted passage to Australia.
Among the possessions she packed in her trunk to start a new life was her needlework specimen book containing simple sewing exercises and finely stitched miniature shirts and dresses.
Laura Jocic, Research Associate at Museums Victoria and independent curator, examines the meaning and value of this precious book for its maker, the formal schooling young working-class women received in 19th century Britain and Ireland, and the skills that they brought to Australia.
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Laura Jocic is a Research Associate at Museum Victoria and is undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne researching dress and its role in Australian colonial society.
A former curator of Australian Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria, she curated the exhibitions Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion (2010) and Linda Jackson Bush Couture (2012).
In 2016 Laura curated the exhibition Louis Kahan: Art, Theatre, Fashion the Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn.
Banner image: HT 36147, Needlework Specimen Book - Anne Trotter, 1840. Museums Victoria Collection.