Gold mesh evening purse, produced by Flavelle Brothers, Sydney, early 1900s. The purse belonged to Dame Nellie Melba.

Physical Description

Gold mesh purse composed of finely woven mesh to a trefoil design frame, completed by an elongated oval link chain handle.


Dame Nellie Melba is one of Australia's most famous cultural icons and exports. Her operatic achievements were acknowledged both nationally and internationally and her World War I fundraising efforts earned her Dame Commander of the British Empire. Born Helen Porter Mitchell in Melbourne in 1861, Melba would maintain a constant affection and connection to her homeland and in particular Melbourne and the Yarra Valley where she would establish her Australian home, Coombe Cottage, from 1909. Melba was also a tireless fundraiser, both during World War I, but also for numerous local causes, from hospitals to conservatoriums.

This collection represents Melba as citizen, resident, fundraiser and community participant. They bring together direct connections to Melba with rich stories significant to Melba's broader narrative and to the Museum's collecting areas - such as her World War I fundraising activities, her deeply personal connection to her father David Mitchell, builder of the 1880 Exhibition Building, her attachment to homeland, and her involvement in many local cultural and social activities.

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