The Rajah Quilt

The Rajah Quilt

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Archives Office of Tasmania - continued.

After you've discovered your convict records, the next place to look is the 'Convicts Applying for Permission to Marry'.

The information contained in the permission to marry will include the ship name if the spouse was a convict. 

Then you can look at the Colonial Tasmanian Family Links search.  These entries don't normally show first and second marriages like Grace's does, but if you contact the Archives Office they are very helpful.  They will add or correct any details if you can provide them with some evidence.

Next to each child's name is their number, and this link will take you to their marriage and children if applicable, up to 1899.

Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail

See bottom of this page for explanation of symbols.


Gender: Female
BirthBy 1825 -  CONVICT PER RAJAH   [AO]
Marriage/Relationship:1844 - CAMPBELL TOWN, TASMANIA (1ST MARRIAGE)  (  BLIGHT, CHARLES  )  [AO]
Other Names:

444493 BLIGHT ROBERT1848

Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail

See bottom of this page for explanation of symbols.


Gender: Female
BirthBy 1825 -  CONVICT PER RAJAH   [AO]
Marriage/Relationship:1855 - PORT SORELL, TASMANIA (2ND MARRIAGE)  (  DEWHURST, CHARLES  )  [AO]
Other Names:

We are so lucky to have this wonderful, searchable record in Tasmania.


Tasmanian Archives - a wonderful resource.

Researching your family history in Tasmania can be easier if you have a convict, than without.  The Archives Office of Tasmania has an excellent record search online.  You do have to keep an open mind about spelling, the way a name was recorded on any day was basically up to the person who wrote it down.  You can see from Grace's convict arrival records:

Grace STEPHENS - from the Rajah arrivals document which is now available to view online.  The record shows that she gave her native place as Pensantz (sic), Cornwall.  Her occupation was 'Ho & Nurse Girl' - Ho meaning House.  Age on Arrival - 17.  5' tall, florid complexion, oval head, red hair. Oval visage, flat forehead, eyebrows lt. red and eyes lt blue.  Nose long, mouth medium, chin round.  Scar on thumb on left hand. 

From the Conduct Records:  STEVENS Grace -   Rajah, 24 July 1841. Transported for Stealing a Gown Print.  Gaol report convicted before a prostitute. Single. Stated this offence stealing a gown piece once for same 3 months. 2 months on the town. Single. Surgeons report Quiet.
Feby 17th 1843 Archer/misconduct in being with Isaac KITT for improper intercourse 6 mths hard labour in the factory, Launceston.  The next bit is very hard to read, and at the end says TL 4/11/45 (Ticket of Leave, 1845)

You could be accused of being a 'prostitute' at that time, if you were, say, in town without a chaperone.  As a servant girl from a poor mining family, Grace was possibly often placed in a position where she had no choice.

Improper intercourse was probably just 'talking to' - but was against the rules for house servants.

I believe the scar on the thumb is an indicator of a criminal record.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quilting in the Blood

There will be more of Grace's story and my convict links to share later.
At the beginning of my Blog, I said that I'd link Grace being a Rajah Convict to what I do today. 

Yes, I sew.  Even in my pyjamas.  Sometimes I set up in the lounge room, or on the dining table.

These hand appliqued blocks are made with lovely soft flannel fabrics.

Here they are made up and quilted. 

I'm making this Snails Trail wall hanging for my son Sam, who is 22.  He lives in Ballarat where he is a 3rd year Uni student.  He might get it before his next birthday...

This is Lucy's Dragon quilt.  It's all bound and finished off now except for sewing down the hanging pocket.  Lucy has just moved into a little flat and wants to hang this quilt above her bed.

The Evening Star Wall quilt hangs in my Loungeroom.

A selection of small quilts and decorations that I have made over many years for our Christmas celebrations at home.

A cushion I made as a birthday gift for my friend Ruth. 

and a little sewing set I made for myself, I made my friend Gae a needlecase from the same pattern in blue and grey.

There have been many other projects that I don't have photos of but I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my craft.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Rajah Quilt on display

The Rajah Quilt normally lives at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.  They usually only show it on one day per year.  In 2009 and 2010 it was not displayed at all due to it being sent to London for the Historic Quilts exhibition in 2010.  So I'm very excited to learn that it is currently on display at the National Museum of Australia, in their "Irish in Australia" exhibit - which opened on St Patrick's day, and will run until the 31st of July 2011.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Roses from the Heart

This is how to make the bonnet for the project:
Download the pattern from Christina's website.  Print the pieces and cut out - you will have 3 pieces, the brim, the crown and the back insert.  If you fold the edges to the centre of your fabric you can cut 2 bonnets from approx. 60cm of fabric.  I have used plain, unbleached calico.

Pin the crown and brim pieces, and the insert, on the fold, following the pattern directions.  You have to cut the brim twice. 
Join the two pieces of the brim with a 1cm seam, taking care that you are joining the 3 un-notched edges. Clip corners, turn and press.

Sew two rows of gathering stitch along each edge of the crown piece, with the stitch length set to longer than normal.  Or you could use running stitch by hand.

Lightly gather the front and back edge of the crown.

Pin the centre back insert matching the single notch in the centre of the gathered back edge.  (The brim edge has 2 notches).  Stitch into place.

Turn and fold over a small hem along the neck edge.

Pin the gathered front edge of the crown to the brim, matching sides of brim exactly to hemmed edge and matching the notches.  Stitch the brim in place.  Fold the brim forward and press the seam to the back.
Here's our bonnet ready to embellish, and add the ties at the neck.  I hope it won't be too long before I can show you my progress on the decoration.