The Rajah Quilt

The Rajah Quilt

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Launch of "Patchwork Prisoners"

The long awaited work by 2 very well known Tasmanian Female Convict Researchers, Dr Trudy Cowley and Dr Dianne Snowden, was launched at Parliament House on July 19th, 2013, the 172nd anniversary of the arrival of the Rajah in Hobart.

The book is based on the various records of the time, with information about the voyage, the arrival, the women on board and what happened to them later in their lives. It also notes the 'potential quilters' on board, based on those women's records which noted their stated profession as seamstress or needlewoman.

I am not entirely in agreeance, and I know that Trudy and Dianne are not saying, that only those with recorded employment history, or recorded experience in sewing, were involved in making the quilt. There are no actual records from the voyage, or later sources, detailing the way the quilt was constructed, or the women involved.

I do agree that it is reasonable to assume that Keziah Hayter, even though she was only 19, had the needlework and literacy skills to produce the inscription on the quilt. 
photo from NGA website
I do have my own theory, with various reasons which I will go into in more depth in another post. My theory is more to do with friends and friendship, based on the history of patchwork itself, the quilts of the early to mid Victorian era, and of the Quaker philosophy of the British Ladies Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners, than with the convict records :)

Outside Parliament House in the outfit I made for the occasion

Reading the huge volume of biographies that are a separate appendix to the book

Premier of Tasmania the Hon. Lara Giddings launching the book

Dianne and Trudy on the left, with other Rajah descendants who attended on the day.

Here is a Link to the book launch on Trudy's website. Another thing we have in common is that our husbands both follow us around with a camera!
 You can obtain a copy here:

Heritage Tasmania's report on the launch day

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