The Library has recently acquired 3 photographs which document a picnic held by members of the Rational Dress Movement at Fernshaw, Victoria in 1895.

Explore the Rational Dress photographs in Trove

An old photograph of people from the late 1800s dressed in pants, having a picnic.
George Rose, Rational Dress picnic group having lunch, Fernshaw, Victoria, 1895, nla.obj-3268890236

This picnic was held as part of the Rational Dress movement, a group who believed that women’s fashion of the time was restrictive, dangerous and inhibited the ability of women to exercise and perform physical activities. The event featured men and women wearing comfortable outfits they had sewn themselves, picnicking and walking in the bush.

An old photograph of people from the late 1800s walking along a trail with horses and a wagon.
George Rose, Rational Dress picnic group on the road to Fernshaw, Victoria, 1895, nla.obj-3287122768

The timing of the picnic coincided with the Suffrage movement in Victoria, which was an early predecessor of the women’s liberation movements at the beginning of the 20th century. These photographs are an important record of both the early feminist movement at the end of the 19th century, as well as early anti-fashion movements in Australia.

An old photograph of people dressed in practical clothing going for a walk in the bush.
George Rose, Rational Dress picnic group walking on Black Spur Drive, Fernshaw, Victoria, 1895, nla.obj-3268890248

George Rose was an Australian photographer based in Melbourne, who travelled globally to take photographs for publication such as 'The Rose Stereographs'. He had offices based in Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington and London, which he ran as the Rose Stereographic Company. Rose was considered a noted photographer, both in Australia and internationally. The National Library also holds a further 15 stereographs by Rose