Hardy Gillard – Hosier, Glover and Outfitter – published a notice in the British Colonist newspaper in November 1862 advertising his goods for sale from his shop on Government Street in Victoria. A hosier was a retailer of socks, stockings and undergarments.
All the drawers and undershirts listed for sale were made from merino wool in various qualities “Good”, “Superior”, and “Extra Quality”.
During the Victorian era, the purpose of undergarments was to protect outer clothing from touching one’s skin and becoming dirty. Here is an example of mens’ “drawers” otherwise known as underpants from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Gillard also advertised wool shirts “very suitable for working men” as well as white shirts with linen fronts for $1.25.
Other clothing items for sale give a clue as to what was worn during the gold rush:
all wool fancy scarfs – 4 bits*
cashmere mufflers – 7 bits
black silk neckties – 2 bits (these are really worth 4 bits)
Plain black Eureka scarfs
ringwood knit gloves**
cloth gloves with dogskin fingers (“suitable for riding or driving” a horse or carriage)
wool knitted cardigan jackets
*Each ‘bit’ or shilling was valued at 1/8th of a dollar.
**The town of Ringwood in England was a glove-manufacturing hot spot known for its ‘Ringwood Stitch’