13 Jun 2015 11:51 AMVeronica Lampkin
















Maryborough Chronicle, 25 Jan 1883, 4


After setting up her business in 1878, Madame Weigel lost no time in establishing a network of agents to sell her products. Her earliest list of agents, dated to 1878/79, shows agents across the colonies and inclusive of New Zealand.



Madame Weigel would have seen these agency networks in full swing in America, a place where she had worked for five years prior to her migration to Australia. There, huge paper pattern companies such as Demorest’s and Butterick’s operated through huge agency networks with thousands of traders selling their products.

Whilst Madame Weigel operated on a much smaller scale, she too soon became a household name. With widespread advertising, often in collaboration with her agents, she reached into the farthest corners of the colonies to help women who sewed at home.

In Queensland, I have records of Madame Weigel’s agents in Barcaldine, Bowen, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Charleville, Charters Towers, Childers, Clermont, Cooktown, Gatton, Gympie, Ipswich, Killarney, Mackay, Maryborough, Mt. Morgan, Ravenswood, Rockhampton, Roma, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba, Townsville, and Warwick. Since I made up my list, I’m sure there will be more to find.

Correspondents to Weigel’s Journal of Fashion attest to Madame’s widespread appeal. One reader from Boulia, in the remote northwest corner of Queensland, called herself ‘A CONSTANT READER’ and had asked for advice on how to cook Black Pudding, or Blood Pudding; White Pudding; Saveloy, and Hop Beer. Unusually lengthy answers from Weigel’s Journal provided precise detail on how to make up the dishes.


In 1908, another reader -  ‘MME’ – from Dalby in Queensland asked for advice on how to clean gloves and a belt; in 1905, ‘Mrs HCW’ asked for dietary advice for a patient suffering from whooping cough; in 1907, ‘Mother’ from Townsville was advised that short trousers for a boy stopped at the the age of 12.


The range of agent’s advertisements shown below attest to Madame Weigel’s widespread reach, and popular appeal. Embedded within Queensland history, she did a great deal for rural and city women and their families.


© Dr Veronica R. Lampkin: Madame Weigel’s Patterns. 24 May 2015.





















Darling Downs Gazette, 24 Feb 1883, 1




North Queensland Register, 15 Dec 1902, 21



Western Champion, 25 Aug 1934, 6



Charleville Times, 9 Feb 1934, 6




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