The dress worn by Judith Durham of the Seekers. On loan from the National Film and Sound Archive.
Source: Museum Victoria
A gown worn by Judith Durham in The Seekers joins the line-up of music memorabilia on show in the Melbourne Gallery.
The Seekers were Australia’s biggest music group in the 60s and the first home-grown group to hit the big time in the UK and America. They formed in Melbourne in 1962 with Judith, a traditional jazz, blues and gospel singer, as lead vocalist.
The band’s enormous success, with its unique folk-pop fusion and sweet melodies, was thanks in large part to Judith.
“It was Judith’s voice that really made the band,” explained Michael Reason, Assistant Curator, History & Technology. “It is her voice that people remember when they think of The Seekers.”
Judith’s dress, on loan from the National Film & Sound Archive in Canberra, consists of a cream lace and pin-tucked pleated blouse and matching skirt, with a pink pleated waist sash. It was typical of the Edwardian Victorian revival happening in fashion at the time.
“Judith wore longer skirts from the early 60s, and introduced mini-skirts to her wardrobe in 1966,” said Michael.
The outfit was only ever worn once, for the filming of the Morningtown Ride sequence at Como in Melbourne for the Channel 9 special The World Of The Seekers.
A still photograph from that sequence was used for the cover of a compilation album, The Best of the Seekers, which was released after the group split in 1968. It reached Number One in the UK and remained in the charts for 125 weeks.
Judith resumed her solo career for the next 25 years, and The Seekers unexpectedly reunited in the 1990s for a ‘Silver Jubilee’ tour and recordings lasting throughout that decade.
Judith’s outfit will be on display for two years and is replacing the Marcie Jones dress on loan from The Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection. Outfits in the exhibition need to be changed frequently since clothing is susceptible to fading.