Kylie Minogue’s wedding dress as Charlene in Neighbours to be displayed in Tasmania

When millions tuned into Neighbours in 1987 to watch Charlene and Scott’s wedding, it was dubbed the greatest soapie nuptial of all time. 

Key points:

  • Charlene’s wedding dress usually lives in a box at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • It was donated to the museum by Grundy Television but the whereabouts of her veil, shoes and gloves are unknown
  • The dress will be on display at the museum until July 31 before going back into safe storage

Kylie Minogue, who played Charlene, was less than a month away from releasing her debut number one single, Locomotion, but her on-air marriage with Scott, played by Jason Donovan, was an international event in itself.

To mark the moment’s 35-year anniversary — and the end of Neighbours after 37 years — the Cinderella-inspired dress worn by Minogue is about to go on display for the first time in 20 years at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), Hobart. 

“It’s really important to me that TMAG offers a broad program, and sometimes that means just doing something fun,” TMAG’s Melissa Edwards said.

“It’s just a good time to get this out of the collection and put it on display.”

The dress has been at TMAG since 1989 when it was donated by Grundy Television.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

The silk, organza and lace gown is kept safely in a box in the dark at the museum, where it has been held since 1989.

It has twice been sent to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, twice to the United Kingdom, and it has featured at a wedding show in Melbourne, making it one of the most borrowed items from the museum.

The Neighbours wedding scene, which featured Angry Anderson’s song, Suddenly, will be projected onto a wall at the dress display.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan pose for a wedding photo dressed as their Neighbours characters The television event is often dubbed the greatest soapie wedding of all time.(AAP/Network 10)

How did it end up in Tasmania?

The museum wanted to collect 100 wedding dresses from the 20th century to preserve social history.

a wedding dress from the back, it has lace and pearls The dress is made of silk, organza and lace.(Supplied: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery)

Senior curator Peter Hughes said the idea of the collection was to reflect fashions as they changed and record famous people or events.

“The dress was a perfect choice really and we were very lucky,” he said.

A proactive volunteer at the museum approached Grundy Television about donating the dress.

Expecting the request to be declined, the museum was pleasantly surprised by Grundy’s decision to make the donation.

“That’s not something they’d normally do. I’m told they’d normally auction surplus costumes,” Mr Hughes said.

“They put it in a big padded post bag and shipped it down.”

a man and a woman are smiling at the camera, a vintage wedding dress is in the background on a form TMAG’s Peter Hughes and Melissa Edwards are excited to show the dress off.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

A romantic design

The wedding dress project was later cancelled due to the huge logistics involved in storing all the dresses, and the fact that wedding dresses were often traditional and did not actually reflect the fashion of the time.

Except, of course, for Charlene’s dress.

“It was the 1980s, the tail end of the new romantic movement. The dress is intentionally quite romantic,” Mr Hughes said.

“If you think about Lady Diana’s wedding as well, it influenced wedding fashions quite a lot.”

The dress was made by Jocelyn Creed in a wedding boutique near the Neighbours studio.

Ms Creed had experience in theatre costumes and had worked on outfits for the television variety show, Young Talent Time, and the Australian film, Evil Angels.

A hand puts a ring on a finger at a wedding. Millions of people watched Scott and Charlene tie the knot in 1987.(Supplied: Network 10)

Preserving the dress

Mr Hughes said the dress had recently been thoroughly cleaned and mounted permanently to a form to better preserve it.

“It lives in a box with tissue and is kept in the dark,” he said.

“As a textile, it can only be displayed for short periods of time in quite low light.”

Visitors to the museum will be able to view the dress in a special dark room.

Mr Hughes said the dress had only been modelled by one other person since Kylie Minogue wore the dress.

That happened in 1989 when the museum received it.

Kylie Minogue in the wedding scene from Neighbours. The whereabouts of Charlene’s veil, shoes and gloves remains unknown.(Supplied: Network 10)

Veil, shoes and gloves missing

It is not known where the shoes, veil and gloves are, and Mr Hughes said the museum would be interested in completing the set.

“If they could be found and guaranteed to be the ones that went with the dress, then absolutely,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a shame.”

A replica of Scott and Charlene’s wedding cake is held by Museums Victoria and was on show between 2000 and 2007. 

The museum will run a special ticketed event on Friday July 1 called Scott and Charlene’s Wedding Reception, and ABC Radio Hobart’s Your Afternoon program will broadcast live from the museum from 1:30pm to 4pm.

The dress will go back into a box after the public display finishes on July 31.

“It’ll be going for a long rest after this,” Mr Hughes said.

Kylie Minogue in the wedding scene from Neighbours. The famous dress will be packed away after July 31.(Supplied: Network 10)

Posted 3h ago3 hours agoThu 23 Jun 2022 at 8:14pm, updated 3h ago3 hours agoThu 23 Jun 2022 at 8:18pm