ON EXHIBITION @ The Centre Beaudesert

Fashion Designer - Entrepreneur - Liberator


Tue 5 January -  Fri 12 February 2021 


The Centre Beaudesert,

82 Brisbane Street, Beaudesert 4285

Gallery hours: Tues-Fri 10am-4pm. closed public holidays






5540 5050


Madame Weigel exhibition acknowledges a very successful business started in Melbourne in 1878 by Johanna and Oscar Weigel.  This exhibition is recognised nationally as one of the most significant and comprehensive collections of Madame Weigel's fashion and patterns. The Meet Madame Weigel Morning Tea book launch (fully booked) will include an in-depth presentation on Saturday 30 January at 10.30am with special guest Dr Veronica Lampkin, author of Madame Weigel: The Woman who Clothed the Australasian Colonies, and two new books in 2020. RSVP essential for COVID-safe requirements.

From an horrific start in life, Johanna created a business network that spanned 91 years. Johanna and Oscar were the first paper pattern makers for clothing in Australia and the producers of Madame Weigel’s monthly journal which gave advise and encouragement to all Australian and New Zealand women. Correspondences show that menfolk also read the journals. Through two depressions, two World Wars, fires, floods and outbreaks of horrific diseases, the journal gave its readers mental support and courage to deal with adversity and to relish the moments of pleasure that came afterwards.

This exhibition will display museum garments made from 1882 to garments recently created by the members of the Common Thread Chapter of the Australian Sewing Guild from a collection of patterns held at Templin Museum.

Always practical, Madame Weigel observed the Australian women riding side saddle. This she deemed as dangerous and so designed the divided skirt thereby liberating the Australian women. To-day we still wear Culottes.

She advocated shorter skirts to avoid the grass prickles, the use of lighter fabrics such as all qualities of cotton and children's garments made from calico or cut down adult garments.

The monthly journal gave tips on household management and etiquette, health and grooming. Madame was an advocate of fresh air, exercise and simple foods. For the home, there were publications of items such as cushions, tea cosies, milk jug covers, rugs, children's knitwear, slippers and clothes hangers.

Madame Weigel spent 91 years of caring support for her faithful followers.


ASSOCIATED WORKSHOPS: fun kids workshops connected with this exhibition

COVID UPDATE: We are operating in compliance with COVID safe plans: social distancing, hand sanitisers available throughout the venue, and other measures, to keep you safe when you visit our venues. So that we can continue to offer these opportunities, please assist us by adhering to the restrictions currently in place. Thank you for your understanding so that we can keep everyone safe. More information about how our centres are operating in compliance with COVID-safe plans and what to expect when you visit with us.