Photograph album, with light-blue card covers and brown pages containing original black and white photographs and newspaper cuttings of, or relating to Bernice Kopple in Australia from 1951-1955, In the 1950s and 1960s Bernice Kopple worked as a performer on the Tivoli Circuit and as a fashion model.

Bernice Kopple was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1930 and migrated to Melbourne on board the ship New Australia in 1950. She was nineteen years old and travelled alone, her mother and three siblings following later. Bernice was crowned Miss New Australia during the voyage, and went on to be Miss Torquay at the Sun Beach girl contest in 1951. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Bernice worked as a model, entertainer, showgirl, snake dancer and animal handler on entertainment circuits around Australia and New Zealand. She pursued her passion for animals as a keeper at the Melbourne Zoo, lecturing on wildlife in schools and on television and developing her snake act in theatres, clubs, tent shows and drive-in cinemas.

Physical Description

Photograph album of 24 brown paper sheets bound with a blue tie on the left side in a light-blue heavyweight cardboard cover with the word 'PHOTOGRAPHS' in gold capital letters on the top left corner of the front cover. The sheets contain original black and white photographs and newspaper cuttings glued to both sides of the sheets with occasional handwritten inscriptions in white ink on the pages. There are some loose items.


Statement of Historical Significance:
Bernice Kopple's story enables the exploration of a number of key social historical themes including migration, gender, popular culture and identity. Hers is a more unconventional angle on the traditional migrant story. She both perpetuates and challenges traditional female gender roles and this is being conducted at a critical time in the history of the women's movement. She is an independent woman confident in her own sexuality but her public persona and work can also be seen as contributing to female stereotypes as sexualised beings. Her story takes place in urban and rural environments, in the public and private domain.

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