Dorothy Wager jewellery design archive
Dorothy M Wager (b. 1912) (later Judge, although always working under the name Wager) worked making jewellery for her aunt Rhoda Wager (1875-1953) for eleven years from 1928, aged 16,'before an unexpected blow-up' meant she had to leave in a week and find her own place of work in 1939. Rhoda had trained in Glasgow, and came to Australia in 1913, eventally setting up studio/shops in various locations in Sydney between the early twenties and her retirement in 1946. In Rhoda's shop they worked together with a partition in between. 'Rhoda was formidable ... rudeness but her clients revered her.' Dorothy never told people if she had actually made the items herself. Dorothy worked in her own studio until she joined the Land Army (the Australian Women's Army Service), when she stored her bench and tools with an uncle in Mosman. In 1945 she re-established her studio and jewellery practice. Later she married and moved to Queensland. Rhoda and her husband moved to Queensland shortly after; Rhoda and Dorothy had been long reconciled by this stage. Dorothy later returned to New South Wales and continued to work making jewellery for her own clients as well as those she had 'inherited' from her aunt until 1997 when her failing eyesight meant she could no longer work. Between about 1988 and 1997 Dorothy has spent considerable energy correcting attribution and providing information about her aunt's jewellery in the Museum's collection, and has given a number of items to the Museum as well as the archival papers, workbench and tools in this acquisition.