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Melbourne Cup jockey silks conservation

National Museum textile conservators conducted treatments on two historic jockeys silks — a twentieth century set in the Croatian/Australian colours of Tony Santic, owner of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva; and a nineteenth century set in the colours of William Forrester, owner of Gaulus and The Grafter who won the Melbourne Cup in 1897 and 1898 respectively — in preparation for their display in the new Landmarks gallery.

The Santic silks, worn and autographed by Glen Boss, a Sydney jockey also known as 'Bossy', arrived at the Museum framed flat. The silks were released from their non-archival mounting and framing system to enable their display on a custom-made mannequin. Staining on the Forrester silks was investigated with ultraviolet light technology, assisting conservators to develop treatment options while considering the age and stability of the material. The stain was then treated with solvent and other areas of damage repaired.

Photos: George Serras.