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Week 25: All Dressed Up

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 25 - The demon drink ]

This week Hutchinson tells us from onboard the Buffalo of his adventures jumping overboard fully clothed to retrieve a beam. No sooner had he splashed into the sea he was alerted by those onboard that he had been joined by some sea animals with rather large fins. Luckily it turned out to be a pod of dolphins attracted to the barnacles and limpets attached to the beam. We can only imagine how sodden and wet Hutchinson’s clothes were when he eventually climbed back onboard. What kind of clothes would he have been wearing? How would he have washed and dried his clothes and did he have a change of dry clothes to change into? We’ll take a closer look at what people were wearing in 1836 and how fashion, gender, social class and textiles influenced the way people dressed.

Person: Luke and Harriet Broadbent

Luke and Harriet Broadbent, ca. 1850. Image courtesy SLSA

Inquiry Questions:

What kinds of clothes did passengers and crew wear onboard?

How did people keep their clothes clean?

What differences were there in the clothing of men and women? What about people of different social classes?

How many spare clothes were people allowed to pack for the journey?


 

Research Topics:

What materials were available for making clothes in 1836?

How did these clothes differ from today's clothing?

What role did fashion play in 1836 clothing?

How did people look after their clothing in 1836?


Historical Skills:

Chronology, Historical terms and concepts

Use internet search engines to find out about textiles and materials that have been used to make clothing throughout history.  Consider how advancements in materials and textiles have influenced type of clothing that people have worn at different times in history and places around the world.

Consider the role of fashion in influencing what people wear. How do certain styles and garments come in and out of fashion over time?

Research terms used to describe and name items of clothing over time. For example: garment, frock, petticoat, girdle, corset.

Historical questions and researchPose inquiry questions to find out what people were wearing in England and other places around the world in 1836. How was clothing influenced by gender, occupation or social status?
Analysing and using sources

Compare images of clothing from two time periods using online sources. Give reasons for the differences and similarities you observe.

Here's one to get you started.

Perspectives and interpretationCompare these images of clothing worn by men, women and children from different social classes in the 1800's. Imagine you are living in England as a poor child in 1836. Draw  what you would be wearing and share it with a partner. Now try the activity from different perspective:- maybe you are a wealthy gentleman or a female house servant. Our emotions can often be influenced by what we are wearing. How would you feel about wearing the clothes you have thought about in this activity.
Explanation and CommunicationUse puppets and design costumes for them to present a fashion parade showcasing fashions and clothing from 1836. What colours and designs will feature in this season's historic collection?



Activity Suggestions:

1. Passengers were advised to bring the following clothing  supplies with them to start their new life in South Australia.

For males

Six shirts

Six pairs of stockings

2 ditto shoes

2 complete suits exterior clothing

For females

Six shifts

2 flannel petticoats

6 pairs of stockings

2 ditto shoes

2 gowns

Is there anything that surprises you in the list?

What do you think ditto shoes means?

Passengers in steerage accommodation were generally only allowed to keep one change of clothes with them in the cabin. Most of the baggage belonging to passengers was stored in a hold below the deck. The hold would be opened on certain days so that passengers could get to their baggage. However, this was not always possible due to weather and other factors restricting access to the hold.

Think about how this would feel. Plan a day in your classroom where students are only allowed to bring certain items into the classroom at the beginning of the day (maybe lunch box and pencil case only). Students are unable to access their school bags for the rest of the day. Use a Y Chart to show what this experience looks like, feels like and sounds like.

2.  Look at the labels on a range of clothing that people wear today. Make a list of all the different fabrics and textiles that these clothes are made from. Would clothes in 1836 have been made from any of these fabrics?

3. Over time people have used the colour of their clothing to represent certain moods, beliefs, occupations, social positions and traditions. The meaning conveyed by wearing a certain colour has  varied over different time periods, cultures, religions and places around the world. For example wearing black clothing has been used to:-

-represent a period of mourning

- dress brides on their wedding day

-indicate a person is from a wealthy background

- indicate religious beliefs including priests, nuns, Hassidic Jews and some Muslim women

- show that someone belongs to a subculture such as Goth or punk

-dress academics, judges, stage hands, concert musicians and rock stars

Make a colour chart to show how clothes of particular colours can be used as symbols of people's beliefs and traditions.

Do you prefer to wear a particular colour? How does it make you feel to wear this colour?

4. Make a catalogue of clothing for people in 1836 to select from. Make sure there is something for everyone by considering the fashion trends and what people of both genders and all social classes were expected to wear.

5. Look at some of the items women were wearing in 1836? What was the purpose of these garments? Sort the items into those that served a functional purpose and those that were designed to make a woman's body look a particular way.

6. If one of our passengers wanted to wash their clothes there were three choices:-

- wash clothes in sea water

- use drinking water supplies to wash clothes

-use rain water collected onboard in awnings and containers

Which of these do you think would be the most likely way passengers washed their clothes? Write a list of pro and cons for each option.


What if?

Imagine you were packing for a long voyage on a ship in 2011. If you were allowed to pack only 5 items of clothing what would they be?


What do you think?

Consider the following statement and form your own opinion:-

The clothes worn in 2011 are better than the clothes people wore in 1836.


Stay Tuned.

Next week we hear about the 50 children who are among the passengers onboard the Buffalo.  What is it like to be  a child onboard one of our ships? How do other passengers feel about sharing the vessel with so many children? We will look at the weekly post from a range of perspectives using critical literacy skills and consider how our own attitudes, experiences and circumstances shape the way we react to and understand  information and situations

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