A Wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve!

How many couples do you know celebrate their wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve? One married couple whose wedding story features in the museum’s exhibition I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland did so throughout their married life.

Mary Ann and John Dunlop were married 157 years ago today in 1863. What a big day it must have been for the couple to travel from Oxley down the Brisbane River by rowboat to attend their wedding ceremony as bride and groom at St John’s Pro-Cathedral in Brisbane on Christmas Eve. After the wedding, the couple had to wait for the tide to turn before they could return upstream to begin their life as newlyweds.

The Dunlops were early pioneers of the Oxley district and the family name can be found marked around the suburbs of Oxley and Corinda. Arriving in Queensland from Scotland in 1863 at the young age of 19 years, John Dunlop took up land in Oxley and put his knowledge and skills he had learned in practical farming in Scotland, to good use. He established a farm and would row his fresh produce down the river to sell, and later experimented with growing cotton successfully. He is credited with building the first public building in Corinda, the Corinda Town Hall.

While also managing a farm, Mary Ann and John raised a large family of 12 children: Swinton, Agnes, John Dudley, Arthur, George Lyon, Edward David, Martha, Maud, Amy Dore, James Fred, Randal Hopley and Robert Allan.  In 1883, the couple celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary and Mary Ann made a moire silk satin dress (pictured) in maroon to wear on this very special occasion. She was a skilled dressmaker and created the dress partly by hand and partly using a sewing machine. The fashionable features of the dress indicate Mary Ann was certainly a follower of fashion. Her dress features  

Mary Ann and John’s wedding anniversary is one of many wedding stories featured in Queensland Musuem’s exhibition I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland currently on display until February 2021. Book your ticket now to see Mary Ann’s exquisite 1883 bustle anniversary dress: www.qm.qld.gov.au/ido.

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