Georgina Maude Logan (nee Copeland), known as Maude, was born in 1872 in Rostrevor, a small town in Northern Ireland. Her father was a captain in the merchant navy. She emigrated to Australia by herself in 1894, when she was 22. By then her parents and most of her siblings had died, and her two remaining brothers had migrated to Australia and the West Indies respectively. She took with her hand-sewn clothing from her childhood and it is now in Museum Victoria's collection.
Little is known about Maude's early years in Australia. It is not known how she supported herself (donor will undertake further research). She seems to have made her own clothes, judging from the dressmaking templates and the pieces of fabric and deconstructed garments donated to the Museum (specifically, lace collar and cuffs, and sewing templates).
By the early 1900s, Maude was living in Albury and teaching Sunday School. She also taught English to Chinese immigrants. (She picked up some Chinese from them, and years later, as an old woman, when her daughter took her to the opening of a Chinese exhibition, she surprised people by speaking Chinese.) A skirt with a school label and the inscription "G.M. Logan" is dated from around this time. The school label may relate to Maude's time as a teacher. A skirt, blouse, dickie and skirt/blouse set also date from around this period of Maude's life and possibly also the nightdress. In Albury, Maude befriended a woman named May Logan, who had moved to Albury because of respiratory problem, possibly asthma. May was the mother of five children, and was married to Duncan McLaurin Logan. The family had migrated from Scotland, and had been shipwrecked during the voyage. After their arrival, Duncan owned or managed farms in northern Victoria/southern New South Wales. Droughts and dingos forced them off the land, and the family moved to Melbourne, where Duncan worked for the legal firm Blake and Riggall, in an administrative rather than legal position. He also continued his work as a lay Presbyterian preacher. At some stage during this time May moved to Albury for her health.
Tragically, May died in Albury, and Maude developed a relationship with Duncan. Maude and Duncan married in 1907, when he was 61 and she was 34. Maude and Duncan had one child, Eileen Maude Hamilton Logan, born in 1909 in Melbourne. Duncan died the following year, leaving Maude in "genteel poverty". Maude soon received an offer for assistance from Duncan's wealthy cousin, Gwen Collins. Gwen was originally from New Zealand, and Duncan had paid for her music lessons as a child and provided other support. Gwen later moved to Queensland and married wealthy pastoralist William Collins. They lived at the well-known property Nindoombah (sp?). Gwen never forgot her cousin's kindness, and provided whatever support she could to Maude. She invited Maude and Eileen to live with her family in Queensland, which Maude declined.
Maude and Eileen moved to Kew, where Eileen attended Ruyton Girls' School, and became dux of the school. Gwen and Maude maintained their friendship over the years. Gwen visited Melbourne frequently, and had her clothes made there. She moved in elevated social circles, including the family of the future Prime Minister, Malcom Fraser. She continued to support her poorer relatives. During the 1920s she passed down clothes to Eileen from her daughter Jeanette, a little older than Eileen. These include some of the clothes donated to Museum Victoria.
Eileen won a scholarship to the University of Melbourne, where she studied philosophy, taking out an Honours degree and a Master of Arts. She did a year of teacher training at the Australian Teachers' Training Institute, and for some years she taught at St Margaret's School and PLC. A blouse donated to the Museum dates from this time. In 1937 she married Harold Stewardson, and thereafter left her profession to became a wife and mother. Harold worked in the company founded by his father, the Brass Company of Australia (later Extruded Metals), which made brass and extruded it into rods and sections. At the time of his marriage the company was still emerging from the difficulties of the Depression years.
On his father's death, Harold became Managing Director, and during the war and post-war years began to prosper. The dresses from the 1950s-60s reflect this period in their lives. They lived in Deepdene, and Eileen became a society hostess. Eileen had a friendship with the family of Barry Humphries, as did her son Robin, who knew Barry Humphries' sister.
Eileen looked after her mother in her old age. Her son Robin recalls Maude as an elderly, grey-haired woman, quiet, gentle, and somewhat prim and proper. Maude died in 1966, aged 94. Harold died four years later of cancer, in 1970.
Personal communications with donor, 2005