Experience the Collection


A Cavalcade presentation is a themed talk and includes examples from our collection with commentary and anecdotes during the talk. Items are carried amongst the audience, allowing a closer look at pieces from our collection. 

Presentations are suitable for an audience of 20 to 100 people and last approximately 45 minutes. Through Cavalcade’s presentations, social history comes alive, and in particular, the history of women’s lives and their families.  The original wearer of the gown and the social context and times in which they lived are acknowledged.  The collection details the provenance of ordinary people’s lives. 

A presentation may also be enhanced by light refreshments provided by the host organisation.


Please note gowns are not paraded or worn during a Cavalcade Presentation and are only displayed on mannequins. 



Pioneers & Petticoats: 1840 to 1940

Collapsible bustle petticoat c1880. Timeline Photography

Spanning approximately 100 years, this presentation focuses on unmentionables such as corsets, collapsible bustles and crinoline frames which were all part of a woman’s wardrobe to enhance and alter the shape of the wearer. A vast number of beautiful petticoats were also used to create a specific shape.

See how these undergarments change in shape and design to meet the needs of the changing fashions over this 100 years. appreciate the workmanship that has gone into items which were made specifically to be seen only by the most intimate acquaintances



Bustle to Bias Brides: 1880-1940

Ada Louise c1882. Timeline Photography

“Bustle to Bias Brides”, presented by The Cavalcade of History and Fashion, is a fascinating journey through 60 years of bridal fashions and more. It focuses on the period between 1880 and 1940. These 60 years saw enormous changes in fashions which is reflected in the wedding gowns of their day.

This is an opportunity to examine historical gowns and accessories as well as hearing snippets from the lives of the original wearers of these gowns. You will hear tell of some of the etiquette and social history of the different decades as you view these original gowns from the Cavalcade’s vast collection.



An Edwardian House Party: 1900-1914

Lois c1912. Timeline Photography

The House Party presentation focuses on the Edwardian Era. It is a snapshot of how women of means spent their time, what they did, what the events of the time were and how these events combined to influence fashion. This presentation showcases a variety of garments typically worn by women of society in the early part of the 20th century. It looks at the many items of clothing and accessories that a society woman would require for her weekend in the country. You will be able to view at close range interesting and alluring outfits for activities such as tennis or croquet, striking gowns for luncheon, elegant gowns for an afternoon stroll and magnificent dinner gowns.

Along with the gowns you will also be shown some of the splendid accessories that would have adorned the women who wore these wonderful outfits. As well as viewing this small part of the Cavalcade’s vast collection, you will also hear the often fascinating stories of the women who wore these clothes, who they were and how they occupied their time.



Lace in the Edwardian Era: 1905 to 1919

Eleanor c1912. Timeline Photography

There are many different types of lace depending on how, where, when and by whom it was made. A wide variety of patterns are produced by talented needle workers of their time. Lace has been made to be used in many different ways from large items such as gowns and shawls to smaller items such as cuffs, collars and trims.

In this presentation we will look at how lace was used to display refinement, distinction and wealth, at a time when wealth, birth and manners were the prime qualifications for commanding respect and obedience. As well as being able to view many exquisite items at close range you will also hear the history and stories of the art of lace making.


The Art of Fashion: 1920s Evening Gowns

Marjorie Florence Smith c1925. Timeline Photography

Our collection of beaded and embellished 1920s evening dresses stunningly illustrates the influences of the post-World War I Art Deco design, the Paris avant-garde, haute couture designers and artists, and the artisan embroiderers who made such creations possible. The Cavalcade Collection features a large collection of stunning 1920s beaded and embroidered evening dresses.

At this presentation Cavalcade will take the audience on a journey back in time to the 1920s, a decade of elegant fashion, liberated women and inspired designers, artists and artisans. Featured will be some of Cavalcade’s finest beaded and embellished 1920s evening dresses and stunning capes.

Hear about these design influences, the embroidery ateliers and the techniques of machine and hand beading. The gowns, on hangers, will be walked through the audience during the presentation by white gloved assistants so audience members can get a closer look at the details of these gowns.



1920s Capes, Cloaks and Coats

Timeline Photography


Come to an elegant 1920s affair. Step back in time to that golden dance era. Hear about the bohemianism, the evils of the dancing clubs, and the lives of ‘modern girls’. Marvel in the wonderful variety of 1920s capes, coats and cloaks. Learn what it was to be chic, and step into the world of Parisian fashion designers.


This is an opportunity to view these historical items at close range. See the wide variety of fabrics and designs used to make these elegant garments. Hear some of the etiquette and social history of the decade as you view these original items from the Cavalcade’s vast collection.



Between the Wars: 1919 to 1939

Molly c1930. Timeline Photography

During this presentation you will see gowns that typify the amazing change in fashion that occurred between World War I and World War II. Fashion changed from shapeless 1920 flapper gowns to the reintroduction of the feminine curves through the use of the bias cut of 1930s. Changes also included rising and lowering of waists and hemlines. These changes are seen in both day and evening gowns.

While closely viewing these gowns and accessories you will also hear stories of the life and times of this amazing era.



The Fine Art of the Cut: 1930s Evening Wear

Beatrice c1935. Timeline Photography

The 1930s was a decade of glamorous and elegant evening wear in which classical draping, the bias cut and soft lustrous fabrics accented the body contours and silhouette. Fashion designers dressed Hollywood legends in romantic concoctions. Cavalcade’s collection of 1930s gowns and accessories will similarly delight audiences.

Throughout Cavalcade’s presentation, social history comes alive, and in particular, the history of women’s lives and their families. The original wearer of the gown and the social context and times in which they lived are acknowledged. The collection details the provenance of ordinary people’s lives.



Fabulous Fifties

The 1950s were a time of luxury and style. Due to Australia’s wealthy economy women were able to spend money on clothes. Several new groups emerged, the modern housewife, the career woman and the new teenage culture. Each of these groups developed their own unique style of fashion. An evolution in fashion began. New synthetic materials were being made, like nylon and polyester, which revolutionised the fashion industry as the fabric was easy to care for.

Australian women started wanting the same fashion as the celebrities they saw in Vogue magazines. They were influenced by fashions seen in movies or for teenagers, what their rock & roll idols were wearing.


This presentation gives you a chance to view closely gowns and accessories worn by real women during the fifties and hear some of their fascinating stories.



Swinging 60s

Judy c1969. Timeline Photography

The Swinging 60s was an era of prosperity and rebellion for the young who developed a new and very different interest in fashion, music and nightclubs. Fashion became fun, designed by the young for the young and broke away from the exclusivity of haute couture.

Cavalcade’s Presentation on the Swinging 60s will feature a selection of gowns from this era – miniskirts, cocktail frocks, the little back dress, paper dresses, beachwear, underwear and nightwear. Hear the fascinating stories of the time and the women who wore these gowns.


A Journey through Childhood



Glimpse into the lives of children who were dressed as miniature replicas of adults and were regarded more as an accessory than a child. See how children’s clothing became more comfortable and allowed greater freedom of movement so children could be children.  View clothing, toys and other items worn and used by boys and girls for parties and play in bygone days. Listen to snippets of our social history as told through the lives of the original wearers of these clothes.



Treasures from Cavalcade

Handkerchief satchet c1900, Smoking cap c1890. Timeline Photography

The “Treasures from Cavalcade’s Collection” presentation showcases a wide variety of items and accessories that have been used in times gone by. Items in this presentation include various types of pockets and reticules and why one developed from the other, a wide variety of aprons showing the changing shapes and designs over time, the beautiful embroidery and other forms of needlework used to embellish handkerchiefs and handkerchief sachets as well as smoking hats and slippers and much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to view the amazing craftsmanship that has gone into making these accessories.

Our presenter tells the fascinating stories of these items which can be viewed by the audience at close range.



Lace is not just Lace!

The Cavalcade of History and Fashion has an extensive collection of lace gowns and accessories.

In this presentation you can:-

* Marvel at the variety of ways lace has been used to enhance both clothing and other treasured item.

* Gaze in wonder at an handmade maltese lace crinoline skirt of c1850

* Wonder at a handmade Chantilly lace fan of c1870

* Hear the stories of how some laces were made.

* Discover how various tools were used to make lace e.g. bobbins, crochet hooks, tambour hooks, tatting shuttles, commercial lace tapes or just a plain sewing needle.


Living in the 70s


Enjoy a walk down memory lane and ask yourself “What were we thinking!”. Remember your favourite crocheted top, or those denim flares with platform wedges because we’re headed back to the decade that taste forgot!


This is a fun presentation looking at what we were wearing in this very colourful decade. You will see original items from the Cavalcade’s vast collection of fashion items and hear stories from this vibrant decade.



A Cavalcade presentation is a themed talk and includes examples from our collection with commentary and anecdotes during the talk. Items are carried amongst the audience, allowing a closer look at pieces from our collection. 


Please refer to the Presentation Schedule for current Presentations.

More information about Cavalcade’s Presentations is provided on the Cavalcade Presentation Booking Form

For enquiries about Presentation bookings please contact Cavalcade on or please call Cavalcade on 02 9417 0061.


Please note: the gowns used for presentations may not be those illustrated on the website.