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2003/59/1-5 Going-away dress, belted, beaded, silk / plastic / metal, designed and made by Beril Jents, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1952. Click to enlarge.

Going away dress designed and made by Beril Jents

Made
This going away outfit is part of a collection of garments and photographs belonging to Betty McInerney (nee Stormon). They have an excellent provenance and exemplify the sheer extravagance of post war lifestyle and fashion in Australia.

Betty was a frequently photographed Sydney socialite. She became famous for her chic appearance and her role in Black and White Committee functions in the nineteen fifties and sixties which raised funds for the Royal Blind Society. Her wedding dress was the …

Summary

Object No.

2003/59/1-5

Object Statement

Going-away dress, belted, beaded, silk / plastic / metal, designed and made by Beril Jents, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1952

Physical Description

Meltonian blue silk satin going away dress with long fitted sleeves and shawl collar. The right side of the collar and centre front skirt just below the waist are encrusted with beads and braid. The calf length straight skirt has a self overskirt and narrow, stiffened self covered belt. The dress fastens at the back with a zipper and the sleves have zippers from elbow to wrist to create a perfect fit. There is a matching blue silk slip trimmed with lace at bust and hem.

History

Notes

Betty Stormon (6/9/1923 - 15/6/2011) wore the going away outfit on 31st May 1952 when she left for her honeymoon after a reception at the Australia Hotel and ceremony at St Mary's Cathedral, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Betty was the elderst of five children born to Michael Storman, a doctor, and his wife, Molly. Molly's parents were Gulf of Carpentaria pioneers, Thomas and Mary Quilty. Betty attended Kincoppal school in Elizabeth Bay, after which she worked as a telephonist/receptionist for her father, who gave her time off to attend social events.

Her husband, Bob McInerney (22/8/1918 - 23/5/2014) was born in Haberfield, New South Wales and educated at De La Salle College in Ashfield and the University of Sydney, where he studied medicine. He served as a doctor with the 9th division in New Guinea and Borneo during WWII. Upon his return from war service, he worked in a casual capacity for the Mater Hospital, filling in for Betty's father when he was unavailable. He became a leading Sydney gynaecologist and obstretician, delivering seventeen thousand babies during his years of practice and pioneering the field in in utero blood transfusions. His contributions to the field of medicine were recognised with the CMG (Commander of St Michael and St Gregory) in 1977, the AM (Australia Medal) in 1980 and a Papal Honour, KCSG (Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great) in 1976.

By all accounts, Betty and Bob were a devoted couple. They met at a wedding reception in Killara in 1951 at which Betty's mother told her that was the man she should marry. Dr and Mrs Storman invited Bob to their home for dinner a week later. This was just weeks before Betty was embarking upon an overseas trip with girlfriends. Apparently, when she reached Melbourne, she had second thoughts about the trip, realising the intensity of her feelings for Bob, She called her father to tell him she was coming home, but he persuaded her that he would look after Bob and make sure he didn't get away. Following their honeymoom - a touring holiday around Tasmania, they bought a house in Castlecrag, where they lived for the next forty seven years.

Betty was well known for her creative flair which manifested in the interior decoration of her home and in her wardrobe. Apparently, she would attend a fashon show, go home and sketch what she had seen and make her own rendition of the garment. She won first place in the ballgown competition at the Black and White Ball three times. Betty's community involvement encompassed many areas including serving as President of the Ex Students association of her former school, Kincoppal, as a member of the St Margaret's Hospital Ladies Commitee and the Black and White Ball Commmittee, and as a performer in the Black and White Musical Reviews.

Betty suffered Alzheimer's disease and spent the final ten years of her life in St Anne's Nursing Home in Hunters Hill. Bob visited her there every day and spent the final nineteen hours of Betty's life by her bedside.


Information sources: Notes by family member in the Powerhouse Museum file, notes from a telephone conversation with Bob McInerney, recorded in Powerhouse Museum file, Sydney Morning Herald obituary of Betty Rose McInerney, 'Charm and charity on social circuit', July 5, 2011 and obituary of Robert James Furlong McInerney, by James B Roche, The Medical Journal of Australia, 2014; 210 (10): 613.

Cite this Object

Harvard

Going away dress designed and made by Beril Jents 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 June 2021, <https://ma.as/340605>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/340605 |title=Going away dress designed and made by Beril Jents |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 June 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}