Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Julie Kerner

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001

Eve Klein. So how long did you work as a milliner in the city?

Julie Kerner. The city job – I was so unhappy in the city working there under pretty awful conditions in one of the arcades in the city, so I left that job and started making hats at home. I then took a hatbox and I walked around Mosman to the dress shops and asked them if they would be interested in selling my hats. And they were.

Eve Klein. They took them on consignment did they?

Julie Kerner. And they took them on consignement. Yes, and one particular lady was very pleased. She did very well, and she asked me would I come and work there.

Eve Klein. How many dress shops would there have been in Mosman in 1939?

Julie Kerner. About four or five.

Eve Klein. In Mosman and Cremorne. Did you go as far as Neutral Bay?

Julie Kerner. Look, it’s so long ago, I can’t remember, but I remember a few of the shops. All of them practically were interested.

Eve Klein. What did those shops stock?

Julie Kerner. Mostly dresses, only dresses.

Eve Klein. Aimed towards a particular clientele? Any age group?

Julie Kerner. Yes, middle-aged of course.

Eve Klein. Would you say that every woman wore a hat in those days?

Julie Kerner. Oh definitely. Hat and gloves. They had beautiful shopping baskets at that time, and the ladies carried the baskets and bought little bits of goods, and they shopped, I guess every day because they couldn’t carry a lot. They wore hats and gloves and sun umbrellas.

Eve Klein. Would they have had a variety of hats?

Julie Kerner. Oh yes, lots of hats, because you wore different hats for different occasions; particularly to the races and so on, or going shopping in Mosman for shade. But that part didn’t last very long because I then started working at the shop in Mosman, and she let me have half the shop part, and I had my own business then.

Eve Klein. Where was that?

Julie Kerner. That was opposite the Buena Vista Hotel.

Eve Klein. It was a dress shop, and she allocated you half of it.

Julie Kerner. She started with having my hats and then she asked me work there.

Julie Kerner. Did you actually have a set up of sewing machines and so on in the shop?

Julie Kerner. Yes.

Eve Klein. How many hats could you make in a week, or in a day?

Julie Kerner. Oh in a day – none. I did it all myself, I had no person to help me, but I also helped the lady so it was very good.

Eve Klein. Where did you get your millinery supplies from?

Julie Kerner. In the city. I had to go regularly once a week to the city. At June Millinery – that was a very well known place because people also made their own hats or dresses and so on, and they could buy all the pretty flowers and things to embellish the hat – accessories and so on. They bought it at June Millinery.

Eve Klein. And so you would buy yourself a supply of accessories and the mould, did you have a mould?

Julie Kerner. Oh yes, I had everything like that, but what was the most interesting part of it .