Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Love Child

I haven't done any kind of TV or movie review in a while. Frankly cause most movies I watch have been reviewed or maybe I'm just a little too lazy. But every now and again a little gem of a show comes out - one that so far is only being shown in Australia that I absolutely must tell you about because not only is a good story but because visually it's a feast for the 60's loving eyes! 

Last year a new drama show was broadcasted on Aussie TV called Love Child, and though I meant to blog about it then, the next series is due to start shortly so I thought it was prime time to finally write about it.

FYI - So many spoilers!

Set in Sydney at the fictional Kings Cross Hospital in 1969, the show follows the stories of the nurses, doctors and young girls who occupy Stanton House - a home for unwed underage mothers. 

As the girls are underage they stay at the house away from their families (protecting the family from the shame they will face) until they are ready to give birth under the watch of the firm but caring Matron Frances Bolton. While they are there the girls are coaxed into giving their future children up for adoption, while doing back breaking work in the hospital laundry all they way up until their water breaks. Because the girls are underage and unwed, their babies are considered illegitimate hence the term "love child." 

Things however start to shake up with the arrival of Nurse Joan Millar - freshly returned from London who befriends the girls and gives them the hope that they don't have to give up their children and helps them fight the hospitals cruel policy. 

In Australia the practice of forced adoptions in the mid century was a common way to handle the rise in pregnancies by unwed parents. The notion of the sexual revolution, without the proper education on contraception led to an increase in the amount of teenage girls falling pregnant. This led to a rise in the amount of girls sent away to homes to give birth and adopt out their babies, which at the time was seen as the right thing to do by the girls families. 

Unfortunately after the birth it led to many women becoming depressed, feeling shamed by their actions and having to return home pretending nothing had happened at all. 
Because of the stigma attached to being born out of wedlock, and the absence of any financial support for single mothers, there was a widespread view at the time that adopting out the babies of unmarried mothers was in the 'best interests of the child'

Its estimated that there were approx 250 000 children born out of this situation which eventually led to the states and national government making a formal apology in 2013 and the setting up of support networks for mothers and the children. 

While the show has a very serious side to it, the wonderful thing for me and most other fans of the show is seeing Australian shows talking about real Australian stories in our history, not gangs or criminals or that sort of thing which seemed to be only thing on for awhile. And of course diving into the best of all decades, the 60s! 

And considering this is a 60s clothing related blog, here I have for you now the characters and wonderful eye candy of fashions that is Love Child

Nurse Joan Millar (Jessica Marais) is the shows main protagonist. Having recently returned from London, Joan is excited to find herself as a nurse at one of Sydneys most prominent obstetrics departments. She gets to know the unwed mothers of Stanton House, giving them late but necessary sex education lessons, helps them with their pregnancies and especially helps one of the recently discharged mothers, Annie through her post partum depression and to get her baby back.

Her style is naturally more sophisticated than the other characters, having come from London and wears lots of simple lines and bright block colours. Her neat sophisticated way of dressing shows her worldly exposure and reflects the strong stability which the girls are lacking. She is also one of the first characters to wear bell bottom jeans showing her acceptance with of new fashion trends - an open mindedness which also helps with ushering in new ideas of prenatal care to the ward and of ideas that unwed mothers can and should keep their babies should they wish. Her nurses outfit is typical of the time - pale pink stripes with white stockings, apron and hat (sorry if those arent the right names!) keeping her inline with the other nurses and ensuring she conforms to the hospitals rules. 

While in London, Joan actually studies to become a doctor but doesn't sit the exam and as such takes on a nursing role at the hospital, watching young trainee obstetrics doctors poke and prod the young mothers whilst knowing she is much smarter than they.
She is also confident enough to take on the hospital's clean-break policy, allowing the mothers a short moment of contact with their babies and helps to investigate the allegations of drugging the girls into signing the adoption papers. 

Click on the picture to make it bigger! 

My favourite of all the girls is Viv Maguire (Sophie Hessner) - one of the young girls living in Stanton House whose family sent her away. 

After a little back seat canoodling at a happening in her town of Tamworth, Viv's parents drug their own daughter and drive her to Sydney signing her over to Stanton House after finding out shes pregnant. Although Viv is initially distraught at her situation and made to feel abandoned by her parents, Viv decides to make the best from a terrible situation and enjoy her life in Sydney -  a place she's always wanted to be!

Although in real life the girls who occupied theses houses were not allowed to leave the grounds, Viv and her new friends Martha and Pattie escape the house to see the sights and sounds of Kings Cross. Kings Cross was and is still known for its strip bars and seedy nightclubs but also it was a popular hangout for visiting rock stars. The girls find and sneak into the hotel where The Rolling Stones are made out to be staying and Viv loudly interrupts a TV interview asking Mick, "How does it feel to know you're the father of my love child?!"

Viv's style is very much that of a hippie. Flowing Indian cotton blouses and dresses, crocheted vests, long beaded necklaces, suede fringe vests, tiny mini dresses and tall boots. She is very much the rebel dressing differently to everyone, sneaking out to place bets on the Melbourne Cup, taking Martha out to try to find her mum, and stealing linen for Annie's room and also a TV to watch the moon landing. Her alternative nature keeps everyone on their toes, throwing a drunken party with all the girls in the house and causing much pain to the Matron. 

She is extremely loyal to her new friends and when her brother arrives in Sydney on a break from Vietnam and invites her to run away with him and leave Stanton House, Viv decides that staying with her friends and supporting them is more important - also because Viv is young and is in a situation that she knows nothing about so staying at the house is her safest option.

Her hair is short and switches between heavy kohl lined eyes and no-make At the end of the season Viv still hadn't signed her adoption papers so I'm hoping she continues to rebel and and finds a way to keep her baby despite having no job or house to live in. 

Click on the picture to make it bigger! 


And lastly for this post (oh yes sorry there is too much goodness I had to spread it out) is Annie Carmichael.

Annie faces the most difficult situations in series one, after giving birth and having her face covered so she cannot see the baby. She returns home to Newcastle where her parents insist on acting like nothing has happened and prepare her for her Debut Ball even giving her a car to show their acceptance of her, but she receives a phone call from Nurse Joan urging her to apply for custody of her baby. Annie races back to Sydney only to be told her baby has died

Upon hearing the news Annie loses control. Hanging out with sleazy sailors and getting herself involved in Kings Cross seedy underbelly until Nurse Joan finds her and encourages her to get herself back on track for her own good and move into a bohemian share house

Annie takes to singing in clubs and impresses singer Rick Allen, taking her to appear on TV and maybe even to London, before Annie receives news that her baby is actually still alive! Annie is torn between potential motherhood and her new career

Annies style starts out quite dark and throughout the series she tends to wear black especially while in her darkest period and while hunting for her baby. She does start to bring colour into her - wardrobe mainly greens when she can see the potential in her new life, but the black - like the idea of losing a child tends to stick around. 

The deb dress her mother makes is quickly taken off when Annie realises that the pure white of the dress no longer represents who she is and the small restricting size no longer fits to her post-baby body. Annie has become a woman and knows that she has the potential for more than deb balls and suburban life.

Click on the picture to make it bigger! (Can you spot the sewing machine?)

So there you have it! Part 1 of however many posts on Love Child and its amazing fashion! Do you have a favourite outfit so far?

If you can find it outside of Australia I highly recommend watching as its so good and lovely and fun to watch. You can buy it on Amazon but you may need to figure out how to play it in your zone. But for those of you who are here but haven't seen it, you can buy it on DVD and find it on most streaming services and various digital stores.

Season 2 starts soon and season 3 has been recently announced so I hope you don't mind if I just drool all over the awesome outfits each week and maybe share them with you? 

Till next time my lovely Love Child's 

Cat xo 


  1. I love love love these costumes! Especially that standing collar dress Annie is wearing. I hadn't heard of the show but I'm going to poke around for it and see if I can watch in Canada.
    These dresses are making me miss summer so badly, I still haven't ditched the longjohns ): Soon though!

  2. This looks fun! I hope Netflix or someone in the US picks it up eventually so I can watch it.

  3. Ohhhh this is fantastic! Thank you for this amazing post! I use a safe online program that allows you to watch shows from the UK as well as Australia (I always kept up with my Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries!) and now I have to see if I can watch this! Ohhh I am soo beyond excited!! Thank you!!!! xox

  4. This looks like a fun show and the costumes are great! I'll have to see if I can stream it somehow over here. Thanks for sharing x

  5. Such a great show, I look forward to it every Tuesday night. The fashion is fantastic! Great post. :)


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