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Lest we forget: how the Great War changed what we wore in the face of death

13 August 2018

What does one wear when mourning thousands of dead in war? Designer and costume expert, Fiona Reilly, will unravel bygone Australian fashions and mourning practices.

Australia entered the First World War as a country informed by the Victorian and Edwardian eras and its clothing practices reflected those times. This was especially seen in the clothes worn for mourning which followed the traditions in the United Kingdom set during the widowhood of Queen Victoria.

However, with so many dead during the Great War it was no longer possible for Australians to follow the strictures of mourning so customs and clothing changed.

Fiona will examine clothing choices in earlier eras and examine how we honoured our dead in a quite different and violent world.

She will also touch on the changing face of mourning rituals and intercultural practices that have been introduced into Australia by successive waves of migrants and the impact on clothing.

Barry O’Keefe Library, Wednesday 5 September 2018 7pm.

Free event. Bookings essential at