Duck Trousers, Straw Bonnets, and Bluey

Uncover the threads of Tasmania’s clothing history

The history of Tasmanian textiles and clothing is filled with colourful and unique garments, characters, and stories.

Stories like that of Joseph Bidencope, a skilful tailor and milliner from Poland, whose popular hats made in Battery Point were exhibited to great success at the Philadelphia International Exhibition in 1876.

Or the many stories of the female convicts housed in the factories at Cascades and Ross – some of whom were imprisoned for stealing aprons, bonnets, and jackets – who made, embroidered, and laundered clothing.

These stories – and many more – are at the heart of Duck Trousers, Straw Bonnets, and Bluey: Stories of fabrics and clothing in Tasmania, a new free exhibition now showing at the State Library of Tasmania and Tasmanian Archives Reading Room in Hobart.

Learn about how clothing was considered a treasured possession in the past; evolving styles and fashions; and the work and creativity involved in producing Tasmanian fabrics, such as wool and leather.

See a selection of images from the exhibition on the online Flickr album.

Photograph - Interiors - Ray's shoe store, Hobart (1900-20)

Free exhibition

12 April – 30 November 2023

State Library of Tasmania and Tasmanian Archives Reading Room

State Library and Archive Building
Level 2, 91 Murray St
Hobart, Tasmania 7000

Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:30 am to 2:00 pm.
Closed Sunday and public holidays.