Amelia Ellis was a gifted needlewoman with her own business in Tinonee at the time of World War 1.In 1915, a Patriotic Carnival was held in Tinonee.1 Amelia designed and stitched a special dress with a flag design. The words “England” and “France” were neatly appliquéd in a V at the front. Amelia donned her dress, decorated her bicycle, and attended the event with friends.
In June 1918, a Procession and Sports Day was held in Tinonee, raising money for wounded soldiers. Amelia again decorated her bicycle, and wore her flag dress to take part in the parade; the wording on the front now changed to “England’s Allies”.2 It is believed that Amelia also wore the dress in a Victory Parade in 1919.
After the war, Amelia married, settling on a farm in Taree Estate, and raising a family there. Her daughters, Hildred and Muriel had fun dressing up and parading around in the flag dress.3 Muriel tells the following story from the late 1960s: “My brother Bill inherited the farm and decided to have a good clean up. On the fire, he put a chair and as he broke it up the dress showed its presence and he rescued it from the fire”. Apparently, Amelia had used the dress for stuffing when re-upholstering the chair!
Muriel took possession of the dress, and it was paraded again when her youngest daughter, Marion wore it for the Bi-Centenary Celebrations at Tinonee in 1988.4
Later, Hildred and Muriel donated the dress to the Tinonee Historical Society Museum, where it is on permanent display. This special dress is listed on the Australian Dress Register.
Author: Sue Langdown
Further information: To see this special dress visit the Tinonee Museum, 32 Manchester Street, Tinonee. https://www.facebook.com/TinoneeHistoricalMuseum/
1 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer – 7 August 1915
2 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer – 7 June 1918
3 Story written by Muriel Adair, held by Tinonee Historical Society Inc