Brassiere adapted for costume use with coloured pearl beading, gold and pearl chains, worn by Bernice Kopple as part of one of her cabaret acts during the 1960s. There are also three matching pearl and fine chain necklaces and bracelets. Bernice migrated from Scotland to Australia in 1950. A number of photographs in the collection feature Bernice wearing this brassiere in performances and publicity shots.

Bernice Kopple was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1930 and migrated to Melbourne on board the ship New Australia in 1950. She was nineteen years old and travelled alone, her mother and three siblings following later. Bernice was crowned Miss New Australia during the voyage, and went on to be Miss Torquay at the Sun Beach girl contest in 1951. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Bernice worked as a model, entertainer, showgirl, snake dancer and animal handler on entertainment circuits around Australia and New Zealand. She pursued her passion for animals as a keeper at the Melbourne Zoo, lecturing on wildlife in schools and on television and developing her snake act in theatres, clubs, tent shows and drive-in cinemas.

In the 1970s, Bernice moved from Melbourne to Adelaide and worked as a mature model for daywear, bikinis and lingerie. She toured Australia with her dog and caravan, cultivating her reputation as a modern, independent woman, mustering, cooking and jillarooing in the Northern Territory and becoming manager at the Cairns Oceanarium. During the 1980s and 1990s, Bernice continued with modelling work and animal care in Adelaide until 2002, and she died in 2011. Bernice was well known for her energy, beauty, and wit and also remained proud of her Scottish heritage.

Physical Description

White brassiere decorated with mainly cream pearl beads as well as pink and blue beads. Gold chain neck and shoulder straps and cascade of cream pearl and fine chains hanging from the centre with pearl and glass brooch. Two drop pearl earrings hang from each cup. Three pearl and fine chain necklaces and bracelets.

More Information