About this objectLong tan/brown fur coat made from Rakali (Water Rat – Hydromys chrysogater) pelts, with large turned back collar. Owned and worn by Thelma Neiche of the Royal Hotel, Eugowra. This coat, while showing signs of its age, with broken stitching and pelt separation, is a real treasure for its time. Made by Guss Limited Furriers, Sydney, in 1936, the coat has a unique chevron pattern to the pelts and an embossed bottom frieze brown lining. Combined with the original letter, invoice and receipt from Guss Limited the coat has a real presence in time. The value of manufacture, £11, in 1936 during the Great Depression and the associated short coat and collar & cuffs for a total of £22/11/6 would have been a substantial purchase. The pelts having been purchased for £2 each, from a local Wellington Aboriginal, in themselves could have equated to £200. From making a living from hunting through to the social circles of the more affluent, the depression and use of native furs through to the controversial status of all furs in textiles this coat has it all. Recommended conservation status is high and should be investigated as soon as possible.
Hayley Lavers January 2020
MakerGuss Limited, Strand Arcade, Sydney, Australia
Date MadeJuly 1936
Place MadeSydney Australia
Place NotesRetailer Strand Arcade Sydney, Tannery Dunning and Morley Avenues Rosebery
Medium and MaterialsRakali (Water rat skins and fur), cotton, rayon