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99/6/86 Textile length, 'Waratah Women', silk, Jenny Kee/ Rainbow Fabrics, Australia/ Italy, 1983 - 1986. Click to enlarge.

‘Waratah Women’ textile length by Jenny Kee

Made by Rainbow Fabrics in Italy, Europe, 1983-1986.
Jenny Kee collection of clothing, textiles, artwork and archive, Australia/England/Japan/Africa/USA 1967-1995

Jenny Kee (born Sydney 1947) is one of Australia's most important designers, best known for designing and retailing a unique range of colourful clothing and knitwear. One major theme links all aspects of this collection, Jenny Kee's love of Australia's unique natural environment. Her garments are a canvas for her artwork featuring images of native flora and fauna, the opal gem stone and urban icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

The Jenny Kee collection and archive was acquired by the museum in 1998 and 1999. They document the evolution of her clothing and textile designs, the creative process behind her designs, the development and management of her retail outlets Flamingo Park and Jenny Kee, the significant role she played in environmental activism in Australia and her public profile as a celebrity artist with-in the advertising industry.

The collection and archive document her life and work over twenty years and includes clothing and textiles by Jenny Kee as well as Kee's business partner Linda Jackson (b. 1950), original artwork for many of Kee's designs, business records, newspaper and magazine clippings, videos of parades, parade invitations, props and programmes, shop mannequins, shop signs, scrapbooks and posters.

The collection and archive not only records Jenny Kee's life and work, but also can be read as a document that charts important cultural changes in Australia. Kee was born in Bondi, to a Cantonese businessman father and Italian/British mother. An early newspaper clipping shows her modelling as the face of Canadian Airlines. In the 1960s, she, like many other young Australians, spent several years enjoying the creative atmosphere of 'Swinging London'. She returned to Australia in the early 1970s and attracted by the encouraging cultural climate of the new Whitlam led Labor government, decided to stay. Kee then opened her Flamingo Park' 'frock salon' in the Strand Arcade in Sydney selling her own designs as well as the work of other innovative designers like Linda Jackson, Peter Tully (1947-1992) and David McDiarmid (1952-1995). Many of the pieces sold through the shop are included in the collection as well as signage, programmes and videos of the lively parades she and Linda Jackson produced.

The collection preserves a unique record of this important designer's personal and professional career from the 1960s through to 1995.


Object No.


Object Statement

Textile length, 'Waratah Women', silk, Jenny Kee/ Rainbow Fabrics, Australia/ Italy, 1983 - 1986

Physical Description

Silk textile length featuring Waratah Women print in red, orange, green, black, purple, yellow, pink. This is one painting repeated. Features waratah, waratah pods and blackboy stems and abstract women figures inspired by New Guinea carvings. Some of the women wear Opal print, others have the Sexy Print on their shirt and sarong. Worked on Oz Jacquard ground. Also features the text 'Waratahs and Black Boys' and 'Flamingo Park'. All edges are machine hemmed.



1330 mm



This textile was designed by Jenny Kee in Australia.

This textile was made by Rainbow Fabrics, Italy.

This textile was made 1983-1986.


Credit Line

Purchased 1999

Acquisition Date

3 February 1999

Cite this Object


'Waratah Women' textile length by Jenny Kee 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 5 July 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Waratah Women' textile length by Jenny Kee |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=5 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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