Our Stories

1918 Wedding Dress

by Joan Moore, member of City of Moorabbin Historical Society.

Mary Louisa Closter (Kloster) wore this beautiful silk wedding dress on the day she married Alonzo Sheldrake Box, 12th June 1918, at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Oakleigh

Alonzo Box, a son John and Martha Box, was the nephew of pioneers William and Elizabeth Box, owners of the original ‘Box Cottage’ from 1869-1914.

The bolt of hand embroidered Chinese silk was sent from China by Alonzo’s older sister, Mrs Rebecca Viloudakia, who was married to a Greek silk merchant. The machine sewn dress was made by a dressmaker in Dandenong, Victoria.

Description of the dress

The jacket is blouson, with a front opening and is gathered at the waist by a band enclosing a drawstring. The collar is a sailor style that forms a slight/high V-shape front neckline.

The full length inset sleeves are gathered to a cuff that fastens with silk covered buttons.

The skirt sits above the ankle. The long waist sash/belt is plain silk with embroidered ends and 3 silk balls with crocheted caps suspended on 3 crocheted silk chains. It has a rose knot with 2 metal press stud fasteners. 

Box family and a past member of Moorabbin Historical Society

The wedding dress was donated to the Box Cottage museum by Mrs N. Lawson, a relative of the Box family and a City of Moorabbin Historical Society. The dress is one of the many exhibits at the museum.

Another interesting story is that of Rebecca Viloudakia (nee Box), who was in the first party of Methodist Missionaries who left Australia in 1890 for the Chinese Inland Missions. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900-01, Rebecca’s mission was attacked by Boxers but she escaped and was evacuated to Shanghai where she later married Nicholas Viloudakia, who had been part of the Mission’s rescue party.